Tier’s 2 and 5 of the much heralded points based system (PBS) went live today signalling a sad farewell to the paper based Work Permit, as well as the popular Working Holiday and TWES schemes.
The five tier Aussie-style points scheme will replace 80 routes in to the UK with around 20, culminating in the introduction of Tier 4 for students next Spring.
Under Tier 2, for skilled workers, employers must apply on-line to the UK Border Agency for a licence to ‘sponsor’ migrants to the UK.
Once registered, employers can issue ‘Certificates of Sponsorship’, which replaces Work Permits, to migrants they feel are suitably qualified.
Employers will have far greater responsibility for ensuring overseas nationals are legally working in the UK, or face the loss of their licence and workers and fines of up to £10,000.
Education providers will need to register as sponsors in order to recruit non EU students when Tier 4 goes live at the end of March 2009.
Immigration Advisers Bison UK have been working furiously to get the last remaining Work Permit applications submitted before the deadline.
Manager Cynthia Barker said:
“All our staff worked extremely hard to complete the WP1 and FLR applications submitted on time.”
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas thinks the new system will restrict immigration to the UK and said recently:
“Had the points system been in place last year there would have been 12 per cent fewer people coming in to work through the equivalent work permit route.”
The outspoken Minister was criticised this week by Dr John Setamu, The Archbishop of York for “unmerciful” immigration policies.
Work Permit holders in certain occupations like Senior Carers will have transitional arrangements for renewing their leave to remain. Others may be able to switch into Tier 4 student status to upgrade their skills.