The UK Border Agency has announced that the tough new Australian-style points system launch was a success as 4875 businesses registered as sponsors.
The UKBA hopes the new system will ensure only those skilled migrant workers the country needs can come here and no more.
The tough criteria means employers “must prove a resident worker doesn’t want the job before offering it to a foreign worker and it is flexible, meaning we can raise or lower the bar according to the needs of the labour market and the country as a whole”, the announcement continued.
British employers must apply to the UK Border Agency to become a registered sponsor in order to bring in an overseas or non EU worker. If the Agency is satisfied that they are reputable and willing to take responsibility for any foreign workers they employ, they will be given a sponsor licence, so far 4,875 businesses have passed the test.
Under the system for skilled and temporary workers Tiers 2 and 5, potential migrants need to obtain a job offer before they even apply for a visa, unless the job is on the shortage occupation list.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
“The points system is one of the most radical changes we’ve made to the immigration system in a generation and today’s figures show that is being delivered successfully.
“It is crucial that only those foreign workers we need come here and this new system will ensure that – we already know that there would have been a 12 per cent reduction in the numbers coming here through the equivalent work permit had the system been in place last year.”
To get in under Tier 2 skilled foreign workers must have:
* English language skills
* prospective earnings of more than £24,000, or slightly less if they have a decent qualification – or an offer of a job on the shortage list and
* enough money to support themselves for the first month of their stay
Employers who breaks the rules and employ foreign nationals without the right to work in the United Kingdom will face new civil penalties. Large fines of up to £10,000 per worker are already being handed out by the UK Border Agency. This year’s much tougher enforcement campaign has already issued over 1,000 fines worth around £10 million.