The UK Border Agency has finally published details of transitional measures for existing migrants affected by the Points Based System.
With the introduction of Tier 2 and 5 just weeks away, Immigration Matters and OISC registered advisers have been inundated with calls from worried Work Permit holders.
In particular many Senior Carers and their employers have been in a near state of panic over the new system, which has seen workers ‘jump ship’ to obtain the security of a new 5 year Work Permit and leave to remain.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) website explains what people with existing ‘leave to enter’ (visa) or ‘leave to remain’ under categories being abolished need to do when Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system (PBS) takes effect at the end of November.
The announcement goes on to clarify how it will treat migrants with leave to remain in a category that currently lead to settlement.
“If you are already in the United Kingdom, you will be able to complete your period of leave, providing you continue to meet the terms of your leave.”
Applicants who have been granted entry clearance (visa) abroad, but have not yet entered the United Kingdom will be allowed to enter the United Kingdom and complete their period of leave.
“If you have been granted a period of leave of over six months, you will be able to leave and re-enter during your period of leave. However, if you have been granted less than six months leave, you will not be able to re-enter under one of the abolished categories and you will need to apply again under the full requirements of the points-based system.”
Applications for Work Permits sent after PBS kicks in will not be accepted other than for Bulgarians or Romanians.
There will be no transitional arrangements for categories such as the Working Holiday Maker scheme, Japan Youth Exchange scheme, extensions are allowed and do not lead to settlement.
The UKBA has published a table which explains the transitional arrangements for all categories which will be abolished when Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system are introduced see:
The announcement confirms earlier Immigration Matters reports (16 June 2008) that the ‘UKBA will extend transitional arrangement’ and allow Senior Carers to extend or renew Work Permits post PBS. We now have full details including the required salary, which remains at £7.02 per hour.
Employers must register as sponsors (three months in advance of the expiry date of the permit) in order to apply for a Work Permit extension, but the overseas worker will not be required to score points for qualifications, prospective earnings, the resident labour market test, English language skills or maintenance.
In other words, overseas Senior Care Workers will be able to renew their permits and leave to remain without qualifying under the strict new points criteria, provided the job and salary still meets the criteria.
Cynthia Barker, of leading Work Permit specialists Bison UK, welcomed the announcement.
“Over the last couple of months we have been swamped with calls and visits to our free seminars from Senor Carers worried about what will happen to their work permits and jobs after the dreaded points system comes in.
“This news will hopefully put their minds at rest and at least those in jobs paying £7.02 per hour have a chance of extending their stay until they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.”
The news will of course come as welcome relief for the thousands of Senior Carers currently on Work Permits with less than 5 years of qualifying leave. Immigration Matters has been campaigning for Senior Carers ever since the Home Office introduced severe restrictions on Work Permits in January 2007.
The latest transitional measure will unfortunately be of little benefit to the many hundreds workers sent home after their permits could not be renewed during 2007 when the Home Office lurched from one fudged arrangement to another. Should they not be allowed back to the UK to resume their careers?