Phil Woolas, Minister of State for Borders and Immigration, announced yesterday that tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system will go live on 27 November 2008.
In less than four weeks, tier 2, covering skilled workers, will replace the current work permit scheme. Tier 5 covers temporary workers entering the United Kingdom for a short period will replace a number of schemes.
Employers wishing to ‘bring non-European Economic Area migrants to the UK’ under tiers 2 and 5 will need to be licensed by the UK Border Agency as sponsor.
The UK Border announcement states that:
“Sponsors will be responsible for issuing certificates of sponsorship to migrants and ensuring that their sponsor obligations are fulfilled. Migrants can then use the certificate of sponsorship to apply for entry clearance”.
Electronic ‘certificates of sponsorship’, effectively a number, will replace the paper based Work Permit document.
Earlier this month Immigration Matters revealed that only 300 employers were registered as sponsors, out of a potential pool of 60000, which means the vast majority of companies will not be able to bring in migrant workers when the new system kicks in next month.
Employer’s who have not yet applied for a sponsor’s licence and wish to bring in migrants under tiers 2 and 5, should apply for a licence as soon as possible. The application and vetting process is expected to take up to three months.
Businesses employing existing migrant workers on Work Permits only need to register if they want extend their worker’s permits and leave to remain.
Work Permit holders have just four weeks to renew their permits (and obtain Further Leave to Remain – FLR) under the present ‘non-points-based’ system. Work Permit extension applications (WP1X) must be received the day before the system goes live.
The Home Office has introduced transitional measures to help existing permit holders who may not meet the strict new points guidelines.