Upcoming changes

On the 17 March 2006, the Home Office officially launched its Command Paper setting out proposals for a new points-based approach to managing the flow of migrants coming to the UK to work or study. Using the Prime Minister’s words, “the challenge for the government is to maintain public confidence in the system by agreeing immigration, where it is in the country’s interests and preventing it where it is not”. The new system is the result of a consultation exercise carried out by the government.

The points-based system (likely to be effective February 2008)

The new system is likely to be become effective around February 2008. It is hoped that applicants will find the system simpler to understand and the rules for entry will be clearer and more consistently applied.

Note the tiers!

  • Tier 1 - Highly skilled individuals to contribute to growth and productivity
  • Tier 2 - Skilled workers with a job offer to fill gaps in the UK labour force
  • Tier 3 - Limited numbers of low skilled workers to fill specific temporary labour shortages
  • Tier 4 - Students
  • Tier 5 - Youth mobility and temporary workers - people allowed to work in the UK for a limited period to time to satisfy primarily non-economic objectives.

Be aware that for each tier, applicants will need to gain points to obtain entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK. Points will be awarded based on applicant’s ability to be successful in the labour market. Details of the areas in which points will be awarded have not yet been published and we will send a bulletin as and when these are available.

Self assessment will form the first step of the application process for all applicants and will be an online process. If the potential applicant scores the required number of points, he or she can then submit an application to the British Diplomatic Post in their country of residence or origin. In addition, the applicant must provide “independently verifiable” documentation to support the application.

Sponsorship - all applicants in tiers 2 - 5 will need to provide a certificate of sponsorship from an approved sponsor (UK employer/educational institution) when making the application. Sponsors will be given grades A or B according to their track records and policies. Sponsors who conform with all their responsibilities and whose migrants are found regularly to comply with their immigration conditions, can expect to be rated A. Sponsors who have a less good track record or could do more to improve their procedures will be rated B. Sponsors in category B will therefore have an incentive to establish a good track record. New sponsors will be risk-assessed on a case-by-case basis before being allocated an initial rating.

Beware! Failing sponsors or those in relation to whom the Home Office have evidence of large scale non-compliance or fraud, will be removed from the list of approved sponsors and may be prosecuted.

All applicants in tiers 2-5 will need to provide a certificate of sponsorship from an approved sponsor (UK employer/educational institution) when making the application. Sponsors will be given a rating depending on their previous history with the Immigration Authorities as well as their policies in relation to the employment of migrants.

The Command Paper states that the new system will be introduced in a phased manner, tier by tier. Employers are to be reassured that impact assessments of the proposal will be carried out before implementation. Source: A Points-Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain (CM6741) - Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Office Department, by Command of Her Majesty - March 2006