With just 26 days to go before Tier 2 of the Points Based System replaces the current Work Permit scheme, what can Senior Carers do to ensure they can stay in the UK?
This week, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas announced that the ‘live’ date for tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system is set for 27 November 2008.
The UK Government’s insistence that Senior Carer Work Permits can only be renewed on a new minimum ‘going rate’ salary of £7.02 per hour has left thousands of overseas workers and their employers facing an uncertain future.
We have been able to renew hundreds of Senior Carer Work Permits, with some employers, mostly around the London area, already paying in excess of this newly imposed minimum, but the majority will not pay anywhere near this level.
Unless the UK Border Agency (UKBA) adopts a more flexible approach on pay and stops this immoral ‘Work Permit lottery’ up to 25000 care staff will be deported and patients in care homes will be put at risk.
Senior Carers are in an extremely difficult position where they are forced to leave their job and change to an employer paying the Home Office prescribed salary in order to stay in the UK and obtain Further Leave to Remain (FLR). This situation is creating problems for the care industry, already struggling to find and retain good staff.
I am still receiving hundreds of calls and emails every day from worried overseas carers and whilst I usually cannot properly advise a client unless they have come in for a free consultation, here are my 7 tips for Senior Carers trapped in the Work Permits lottery:
1. Consider finding another employer
Under the revised transitional measures brought in January 2008, Senior Carers on Work Permits can now move to another employer, provided the employer is paying the ‘going rate’. If your current employer cannot pay the ‘going rate’, and you do not have a Work Permit which takes you beyond five years, at which point you could apply for indefinite leave to remain, you should consider changing jobs to secure your stay in the UK.
2. Seek Professional Advice
Get advice from an OISC registered immigration adviser and look at all your options. Most advisers should offer you a free consultation. For instance, Bison Management UK is a firm of registered Immigration Advisers and an employment agency. They can not only deal with your Work Permit, but can also find you a job with an employer PAYING £7.02 per hour.
3. Talk to you employer
Communicate with the decision maker in your organisation. You need to know if your employer is at least willing to consider paying you the ‘going rate’. If you are not being paid at least £7.02 per hour, try and convince them that you are worth it.
4. Do not enter into ‘under the table’ pay deals
If your employer cannot pay the new ‘going rate’ salary, find one that can. DO NOT, under any circumstances, enter into ‘under the table’ arrangements or dress up the salary figures to make it look as though you are being paid £7.02, when in fact the ‘extra’ money is being deducted elsewhere. The UKBA are carrying out post permit compliance visits and will check that the salary being paid is consistent with the Work Permit. Senior Carer Work Permits have recently been cancelled following compliance checks. The employer could face a £10,000, and you could be deported and banned from coming back to the UK under the HC321 rule.
5. Consider the effect of the Points Based System (PBS) on your future Work Permit renewal
Tier 2 of PBS is due to start 30 November 2008. Any Work Permit holder renewing AFTER 30 November will be doing so under Tier 2 of PBS. Although the HOme Office has promised that transitional measures will be extended in its current form, there is still uncertainty over possible changes in the future with new Immigration Minister Phil Woolas talking of een more restrictions on migrant workers. Furthermore, your employer must register as sponsors with the UK Border Agency, a three month process which many have not even started.
6. Look at Alternatives
Think laterally and look at alternative ideas – are there any other ways you could stay in the UK, for instance on a student programme combined with paid work? Are there other countries which need your skills like Canada or Australia?
7. Take Action!
Finally, don’t sit at home worrying, take action! Bison Management are running FREE seminars for Senior Carers at the London offices. Hundreds Senior Carers are changing jobs in a bid to beat the points-based deadline in November. Take action, seek advice, find out what your options are, but do something!
Bison Management UK are running FREE Senior Carer Presentations every day in October and November for people with Work Permit problems or those looking for a “Going Rate” employer.
NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED, JUST DROP IN 10.00 – 4.00 – MONDAY TO FRIDAY
If you have been refused a Senior Carer Work Permit and would like advice and a free consultation please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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