The Border and Immigration Agency has today published revised ‘transitional arrangements’ for Senior Carers to allow overseas Work Permit holders to change jobs without the need to meet the new criteria introduced last August.
In addition, a Work Permit extension may now be granted for a maximum of 12 months for pre-2004 permit holders, without the need to meet the minimum £7.02 salary requirement.
“We have been flooded with calls from worried carers over Christmas and have been working flat out with our free Senior Carer surgeries during the holidays, and already have a large number of Work Permits for ‘job movers’ in the pipeline.
“We still have a number of Senior Carer jobs available for anyone who wants to move to an employer paying £7.02 on a first come first serve basis.”
The news will come as no surprise to readers of Immigration Matters, which first reported that the BIA were reviewing the policy on 14 December 2007, when the news was leaked. Since then we have received many hundreds of calls and emails.
The transitional measures were put in place on 13 August 2007 following the introduction of strict new guidelines for new Senior Carer Work Permits.
At the same time, the BIA brought in a special concession (waiving the new criteria for extension applications) for existing Senior Carers to allow them to renew their permits, provided their employer met the new “going rate” of £7.02 per hour.
The going rate was heavily criticised and shunned by many employers, who were unable to pay the higher rate, leaving the lives of up to 25000 overseas care workers hanging in the balance.
Overseas Senior Carers can now switch jobs to employers willing to pay the “going rate” in order to remain in the UK
The BIA are now introducing two further measures which will be good news for job changers and those with Work Permit approved prior to 31 December 2003.
Firstly, the existing measures will now include “change of employment applications”, which will benefit Senior Care Workers with no choice but to change jobs to a ‘£7.02 paying’ employer, provided they are still in the United Kingdom.
The Work Permit skills criteria, in relation to the requirements of the job, will be waived for existing senior care worker work permit holders, provided they:
- are in the United Kingdom,
- wish to move to a Senior Care Worker post for another employer and
- the new employer must pay the going rate of £7.02.
Secondly, for those Senior Carers who have had Work Permits granted prior to 31 December 2003, an “exceptional extension” may be granted for a maximum of 12 months provided the person is in the United Kingdom.
This should take them to five years continuous employment, enabling them to apply for Indefinite Leave (ILR).
As well as the skills criteria, in relation to the requirements of the job, the requirement to pay the going salary rate “will also be waived for extension applications”, provided the person is in the United Kingdom.
Significantly, they will also waive the requirement to “carry out the job as described on the previous Work Permit approval”, provided the Work Permit holder continues to fulfil a care role for the same employer on at least the same salary level.
What if you have been previously refused?
For the many hundreds who have been refused extensions over the past six months, many of whom have had to return home, there is some relief. The BIA has said that:
“Customers who have had previous applications refused will not have their cases reopened but should apply again enclosing the correct fee”.
If the application was refused within the past 28 days, customers may apply for a review of the decision, which will be considered in line with the new transitional measures.
These transitional measures will continue at least until the introduction of Tier 2 of the points-based system later in 2008.
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BIA announcement in full:
Home Office Forms
To apply for a Work Permit Extension see form WP1X