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UKBA ‘failing on Tier 2 visa controls’ report finds | Immigration Matters

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Immigration staff are failing to take action against hundreds of migrant workers with expired visas and no right to stay in Britain, a critical report has found.

John Vine, an independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), said the visas of migrants whose permits had ended were not being cancelled.

He also found insufficient checks were being carried out on companies which sponsor overseas workers.

Immigration minister Damian Green said the system was being improved.

The report comes as the government announced non-European Union workers earning more than £150,000 a year and some scientists were to be excluded from the government’s immigration cap.

Mr Green said the UK had to attract the brightest and the best to promote recovery.

Mr Vine’s report examined the government’s points-based system for skilled workers who want to come to the UK.

It found there were 150 cases where the visas of migrants who had finished jobs and were required to leave the UK were not cancelled.

And there were likely to be many more because of a backlog of 3,000 potential cases as yet unprocessed, it added.

Mr Vine said he was concerned the agency was not visiting the firms who hire or sponsor migrant staff.

He told the BBC:

“The Border Agency needs to do the appropriate checks on the sponsor, and satisfy itself of course that they are a bona fide employer and that their employment exists.

“And that’s why I was concerned about the visit to the premises not having been carried out in all cases.”

Profits before securing UK’s borders

His report also found inconsistent approaches to decision-making, with some applicants refused because of minor omissions, and others given extra time to supply the missing information.

The agency had put profits before securing the UK’s borders with an emphasis “always on income-generating work first”, Mr Vine added.

And he called for the agency to act promptly to return those living in the UK illegally.

“If people no longer qualify to stay in the UK according to their visa conditions, then they must be required to leave the country,” he said.

“Many staff perceived that quality of decision-making and controlling immigration were not as much of a priority for the UK Border Agency as generating income and providing customer service.”

Shadow immigration minister Gerry Sutcliffe said ministers were cutting 5,200 jobs at the agency at the “very time we need to improve enforcement and tackle illegal immigration.

“As the independent chief inspector’s report today makes clear, UKBA faces a resources challenge and the government is intent on making it worse,” he said.

Immigration Minister Mr Green agreed changes needed to be made to ensure the system was effective. He said:

“We do regulate sponsors properly, but obviously I’m very interested in what the chief inspector has to say and, if we do need to improve the UKBA systems, we will do so.”

He said communication among agency staff and the IT systems had been improved to ensure the system was moving “in the right direction”. Source: BBC.

Immigration Matters Comment

This report confirms what most immigration advisers already know: Employers are making serious errors when issue certificates of employment (CoS) to migrant workers.

Cynthia Barker of Immigration Advisers’ Bison UK wrote last August:

‘UK employers are risking fines and the loss of their Tier 2 sponsorship by issuing a COS or ‘Certificates of Sponsorship’ (formerly known as work permits) to unqualified migrant workers. 

‘During consultations with candidates and employers, we have noticed a lot of misunderstanding of the rules, which means that employment certificates are being given to Filipino workers without the proper checks being made on their experience and or qualifications.’ 

Immigration Adviser Evelie Padadac said:

‘Employers issue the certificates directly to the candidates who then consult us for further leave to remain. However, when looking through the paperwork, I frequently find that the candidate does not qualify under the Tier 2 rules.’

Under the old work permit scheme, replaced in 2008 by Tier 2 of the points based system, employers had to apply for each individual permit which was closely scrutinized by Home Office case workers.

But when Tier 2 was introduced the Government handed employers a years supply of CoS certificates – effectively a Work Permit – to issue as and when required.

No further checks on the validity of the application or whether the applicant was qualified or not, it appears, were carried by UKBA staff unless glaring errors were spotted by the Leave to Remain team when processing the applicant’s visa.

The Tier 2 working visa system is a disaster waiting to happen.

This week the Home Office has unveiled details of a proposed major overhaul to the Tier 2 working visa route scrapping many of the procedures brought in by the previous Government.

Under the new system, employers will have to apply for a certificate of sponsorship from the UK Border Agency for a specific post (as they used to under the previous Work Permit scheme) if they wish to bring someone to the UK – an about-turn on the current Tier 2 system under which businesses were given an annual allocation.

Employers and their prospective workers are urged to take advice from a qualified immigration adviser before issuing employment certificate and applying for further leave. Even if the worker obtains the Tier 2 working visa, it could later be revoked if errors come to light or indefinite leave (ILR).

We also recommend an annual health check or file audit to ensure that work permit holders and workers on student visas are still legal and avoid fines of up to £10,000.

Evelie Padadac is an OISC registered immigration adviser with Bison Management UK specializing in work and study related visas as well as a file checking audit service for employers.

See also:



Tier 2 Working visa reforms announced by UK Border Agency

Immigration visa cap grounds Airbus UK recruitment plans

71 shortage occupations to be removed from Tier 2 visas in points-based shake up

MAC’s new list of graduate level occupations for Tier 2

Immigration cap on foreign staff will compromise patient care says NHS

London Mayor’s new attack on UK Immigration Cap

Interim Immigration Cap unlawful High Court Judges Rule

Australia to speed up skilled migrant applications to boost economy

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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7 Responses to “UKBA ‘failing on Tier 2 visa controls’ report finds”
Read them below or add one

  1. now lies the problem as residents in these country when you apply for a job in a care home the response of the employers theres no more the first place they are here to study but they can easily get the job without experience and qualification but are working as senior carers. i have done my nvq but i finish it just for 6 months but thier visas were up to 3 years.they should be sent home then apply again for the job .your so called student are already professionals in their country.they should be check by ukba because they are working more than the hours. allowed. if the govt wants money they should think of the 10,000 pounds penalty in every migrant who had breach the law from the employers.

  2. Immigration Matters would like to point out that it is perfectly legal and within the Immigration Rules to switch from a Tier 4 student visa to Tier 2 working visa (work permit), as thousands of students have done. Students who decide to stay in the UK under Tier 1 PSW or Tier 2 are not doing anything wrong. The points based system was supposed to streamline the immigration system. Not all students stay. Many have gone on to get jobs in other countries such as Canada, Middle East and Australia.
    If a student or migrant worker is qualified (could be a degree or an NVQ3) and has the required skills, knowledge and experience and they have a UK employer (who needs staff and cannot find them locally) willing to sponsor them they can legally switch to Tier 2.
    Most of the jobs they fill are on the SHORTAGE OCCUPATIONS LIST or the employer has to prove that the post cannot be filled within the resident labour market (advertised within the EU) before he/she can sponsor an overseas/non-EU worker.

  3. the immigration are blind enough being fooled by this so called students.they are here to study but after completing the course they want to change ther visas from tier 4 to tier 2.its very clear that they are here to work.what about the british people,nore jobs because they are taken by this so called students with dependants who are also working.wake up united kingdom the abuse is very clear,listen to your people give priority to your citizen who also need the job for the welfare of thier families,

  4. kabiite says :

    on ground some employers instead of processing work permits for there suitable staff they instead terminate them from job because staff requested for work permit. And i dont think that is fair.if uk boader needs more information about it contact me on my email adress i can give you more information. Uk boarder you need us the common people to work with you to get quality qualified staff than being malised by our employers.

  5. The requirements will be on the UKBA or UK Visas websites.

  6. nenita elivera says :

    I want to invite my sister and my niece to come to london? what papers do i employer is willing to help me.

    please advise me what to do .
    thanks a lot

  7. […] UKBA ‘failing on Tier 2 visa controls’ report finds […]

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