The Points-Based System for migration to the UK covering Work Permits for non-EU workers under Tier 2, has been rushed through by the Government and is having unexpected effects on companies looking to recruit from overseas, according to leading immigration lawyers.
Despite being under development since 2005, the system has been introduced “without proper consultation”, says Nichola Carter, a partner at Penningtons, and representative of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.
In an article in the Financial Times, Nichola stated:
“They didn’t really consult properly to begin with, though they have started to, now things are going wrong”.
One criticism was that the system had a negative impact on companies trying to bring in talented overseas graduates, even though the Points-Based System was only meant to bar lower-skilled migrants from being recruited instead of British workers.
“The message to the rest of the world is incredibly negative, just as we need to maintain our economic attractiveness,” says Sarah Keeley, immigration lawyer at Cameron McKenna.
“It was never a fact that Joe Public was worried about a highly skilled professional coming over from New York or a Chinese engineering graduate on a traineeship.”
Users highlighted the fact that the UK Border Agency had adopted a ‘box-ticking’ approach to hiring overseas employees, which works well for straightforward applications, but falls short of addressing the many “odd” cases. Under the previous ‘Work Permit’ system, replaced by Tier 2 last November, cases were assigned to a case worker empowered to consider unusual circumstances.
Some MPs have questioned whether internal company moves, where organisations are bringing in staff from overseas offices, are used as a loophole in the system.
The Migration Advisory Committee, which monitors the system, is expected to announce this week whether these issues will be addressed, and will also announce if more professions are to be made off-limits to non-EU workers because of the recession.
Source: HR Review
Immigration Matters Comment
The Home Office did launch a public consultation on the points based system about three years ago. However, the ‘consultation’ consisted of a series of loaded questions, which made it clear that the system was going to be introduced regardless of public opinion.
The Home Office received only a few hundred replies.
Many in the education sector feel that Tier 4 of the points system, for student visas, has also been pushed through at rapid pace.
Hundreds of colleges and educational providers are still waiting to get on to the UK Border Agency’s Sponsors Register, a process which involves several inspections by accreditation bodies and UKBA staff.
An increasing number of overseas students are running into difficulty renewing their student visas where the educational provider is not listed on the Tier 4 Register of sponsoring colleges, according to Immigration Adviser Evelie Padadac of Bison UK.
Since Tier 4 of the Points based System was implemented on 31 March this year, colleges must be licensed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to take international students on student visas.
In country students already in the system do not come to light until they want to extend their visas.
International students can check the Tier 4 Sponsors Register on the ‘Sponsoring students under the points-based system for immigration‘ of the UKBA website.
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