Business Helpdesk launched
On July 1 2013 the Home Office launched the Business Helpdesk in response to demand from employers for a single point of contact for queries about becoming a sponsor or hiring people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Following a successful pilot, the new service is now available to all sponsors, businesses and Tier 1 investors.
For employers, the Business Helpdesk can provide:
- clarification on immigration policy or guidance;
- status updates on applications for sponsorship;
- status updates on any applications made after becoming a sponsor;
- status updates on applications to work or stay in the United Kingdom made by employees;
- a check to ascertain whether a prospective or existing employee has an application with the Home Office;
- information to enable employers to check on the right of an individual to work for them; and
- technical help for the Sponsor Management System.
Consultation on upcoming immigration bill
On July 3 2013 the government launched two consultations seeking views from stakeholders, businesses and the general public on proposed immigration legislation. Proposals on healthcare provision and privately rented accommodation have been published. The consultation seeks views on proposals to change the basis on which migrants access health services, which include levying an upfront charge of £200 for migrants entering the United Kingdom for more than six months. Another proposal is to create a new requirement for landlords to conduct immigration checks on tenants, with penalties for those that provide rented accommodation to illegal non-EEA migrants.(2)
Internal review of Tier 2 of points-based system
The Home Office is undertaking an internal review to consider how the application and enforcement of immigration policies and processes in relation to skilled and highly skilled migrants can be improved. It will include an assessment of the administration and enforcement processes that businesses encounter when employing a Tier 2 worker, including becoming a licensed sponsor and the processes that migrants both overseas and in the United Kingdom are subject to when obtaining permission to work. The review will consider this from the point of view of UK businesses, with particular regard for small and medium-sized enterprises' experience of these processes. The review will:
- look at what can be done to improve the processes from a customer perspective;
- examine any scope for easing compliance rules; and
- examine how to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.
The Immigration Rules underpinning the points-based system and the principles of sponsor obligations are outside the scope of the review.
The Home Office has invited businesses and sponsors to take part in a survey so that all views can be taken into consideration.
For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.
(1) A guide and consent form for the helpdesk can be found at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/501145/bus-guide-helpdesk.
(2) The consultations can be found at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/consultations/.
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