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Look Before You Leap… Changing Jobs as a Work Permit holder can be full of Pitfalls | Immigration Matters

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You know how it goes. A friend calls you and tells you there is a vacancy in their nursing home, so you attend an interview on your day off. They seem very nice and the pay is a little higher. The home manager assures you she will take care of the work permit.

What more could you ask for? Everything seems perfect. As soon as you receive the job offer you hand in your resignation.

Your existing employer is unhappy about you leaving as it will put them in a difficult position, but your mind is made up. You serve out your notice, join your new employer and assume that they have arranged your new work permit.

Your old employer has written to the Home Office canceling your work permit, but you are not worried as the new employer is sorting everything out for you.

Upon arrival you ask your new employer about the work permit and they assure you that “everything is in hand”, so you start work.

The weeks go by but, despite several conversations and further assurances from your employer, you have still not seen your new work permit. Finally, you confront the manager and demand to know what’s happening to your work permit.

As they sit you down to tell you the real situation you get that sickening feeling in your stomach while they calmly explain that your work permit application has been refused.

Your head is spinning and you can hardly read the words on the letter they show you from the Home Office.

“We are unable to approve this application”

“What’s this all about?” you ask yourself. “I’m already a work permit holder so why have they refused me?”

Your old job and work permit are now history and your new employer has failed to obtain a new permit. You are now working illegally and have no ‘leave to remain’ in the UK as your visa is connected to your previous work permit.

The employer insists that they will appeal, complain and take the matter up with their local MP, none of which inspires you with any confidence.

At this point the employer also “regretfully” informs you that due to the refusal they can no longer keep you on the payroll.

The above story may sound like fiction, however, I receive calls on a daily basis from work permit holders and employers who find themselves in this exact position.

As I write, I have a young Filipina in my office who has received a removal order from the Home Office after her employer had failed to obtain a work permit and her visa was cancelled.

Yesterday I received three phone calls from Nursing Home owners who are employing staff illegally because of lack of knowledge or failure to follow the correct procedures.

What should you do if you find yourself in this position?

  • Seek professional advice from an OISC registered adviser or specialist law firm, even if the employer plans to ask for a review of the decision. It’s your neck on the line.
  • Do not work without a work permit and leave to remain.
  • Finally, don’t despair or give up.

Prevention is always better than cure, so my advice is not to leave a job without first obtaining a new work permit.

Take proper advice on arranging work permits before considering a job move. Do not rely on well meaning friends or relatives.

Cynthia Barker, a leading Immigration and Recruitment specialist points out that a competent adviser will normally be able to tell you whether or not you, the job and the employer will qualify for a work permit.

“Employers are not immigration experts and even large employers sometimes get it wrong.” She explained.

“One of our clients, Luz, a Senior Carer had left her nursing home job on the advice of a friend after being offered a job as Health Care Assistant with the NHS. The NHS failed to obtain the work permit. Had she approached us in the first place we would have advised her to stay put or apply elsewhere.”

Appeals Tribunal – Taylor House

Work permits have become more difficult to obtain in recent years. Work permits and visas are regularly refused. This Monday I attended yet another hearing at the appeals tribunal (AIT) to help fight the case of a Senior Carer wrongfully refused a visa by the British Embassy in Manila. Fortunately the judge agreed with us and allowed the appeal on the spot.

For regular immigration updates and previous articles see

Any Questions?

If you should have any questions concerning any of the above issues or require advice on work permits, visas and other immigration matters please email Charles Kelly

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