The announcement reads:
This year we began the roll out of the new points-based system – the biggest shake up of the immigration system for 45 years. At the end of November we will be launching the skilled worker tier (tier 2) and the temporary worker tier (tier 5).
Under the points-based system, employers will need a sponsor licence to bring in skilled or temporary workers from outside the EEA or Switzerland.
Today we are publishing our service standards for applications under the points-based system. The service standards cover applications under tiers 2 and 5. We want to give businesses certainty about:
- when they need to apply for a licence;
- how long it will take us to deal with their licence application; and
- how long it will take us to deal with subsequent applications from the migrant they intend to employ to enter the United Kingdom.
Applications after 1 April 2009
From 1 April 2009, we will aim to process all licence applications in a maximum of four weeks. We will also aim to deal with migrant’s applications to enter the United Kingdom in a maximum of four weeks.
Applications before 1 April 2009
To take account of the higher volumes of licence applications we will need to deal with in the transition to the new system, we need to set slightly longer timescales for applications between now and 1 April 2009.
Employers who want to be able to issue certificates of sponsorship to migrant workers when tiers 2 and 5 open to migrant applications at the end of November 2008 should apply for a sponsor licence as soon as possible. You must apply no later than 1 October 2008.
Once tiers 2 and 5 have opened to migrant applications, we will aim to process applications for a sponsor licence in a maximum of six weeks. We will also aim to deal with migrant’s applications to enter the United Kingdom in a maximum of six weeks. We will then move to the four week standard set out above from 1 April 2009.
All the service standards above assume that employers are able to host a visit from us, should one be necessary, within one week of us getting in touch with them. If this is not possible, it may lead to a delay in processing the application.
These standards are designed to give businesses assurances around the maximum processing times for applications. We will endeavour to deal with applications more quickly where possible. Timely applications by employers and migrants will help us to ensure that employers’ business needs can be met.