Points Based System is bad news for Senior Carers and low paid skilled workers

May 17, 2008

IMMIGRATION MATTERS

 

UK Border Agency announce Points System criteria  

Bad news for lower paid overseas workers

 

By Charles Kelly

 

09 May 2008

 

Lower paid overseas workers such as Senior Carers and most Nurses have no chance of qualifying to work in the UK under new rules announced by the UK Border Agency this week.

 

In a statement of intent, the Home Office has published proposals for “much tighter skilled and temporary worker tiers of its new Points Based System (PBS)”.

 

The schemes are split into five Tiers. Tier 2 and Tier 5 will replace around 30 different routes to the UK, including the old work permit system.

 

The announcement makes it clear, for the first time, that the Government intends using PBS to reduce immigration from outside the EU, with Gordon Brown again waving the “anti-immigration” stick following Labour’s recent disastrous local election results.

 

UK firms will have to prove they cannot find skilled workers from the European Economic Area before looking elsewhere for immigrants”, Ministers say.

 

The Home Office said “bosses would not be able to fill posts before advertising first in the UK”.

 

“The points-based guidelines for skilled workers also say most will need a job offer before coming to the country”.

 

Employers are required to advertise posts (unless it falls under one of the few shortage occupations) to prove a vacancy cannot be filled by a worker from within the EU under the current Work Permit scheme, but the new points rating system will favour higher paid skilled workers and make it much tougher to bring in lower paid skilled workers.

 

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the new system would mean UK workers “get a fair crack of the whip and that only the skilled migrants we actually need will be able to come.”

 

“Points for skilled workers, such as teachers, nurses and engineers, will be awarded according to qualifications and salary prospects.”

 

Many in staff-strapped industries, such as care and catering, would argue that they have always given UK resident workers (or to put it correctly, ‘EU’ workers) a “fair crack of the whip” and only bring in foreign workers as a last resort when they cannot fill vacancies.

 

Senior Carers will not qualify under points system

 

As expected, the points system will offer little help for the care sector, which has been relying on overseas workers for years.

 

Applicants who want to work in the UK will need to score 70 points, of which 50 must be “Attribute” points based on sponsorship, qualifications and prospective earnings.

Candidates will only score points for jobs paying over £17000 and the meagre 5 points gained will hardly make a difference. Only jobs paying more than £24000 will receive sufficient points (20) to make a significant dent in the 50 point target.

 

The Home Office “going rate”, disputed by many in the industry as too high, for a Senior Carer is £7.02 per hour or around £14000 per annum. The RCN 2006/07 pay rate for a ‘D Grade’ nurse was just over £18000 before allowances.

 

Qualifications are another way candidates can earn points, with 10 points being awarded for a Degree or Masters and 15 for a PhD. But people from poorer and developing nations will be penalised by the equivalency rules (see NARIC) meaning the majority of their degrees are considered below UK standards and will not, therefore, qualify for any points.

 

An NVQ qualification is recognised and will attract 5 points.

 

Only those who work in an area where there is a shortage of qualified people will be allowed into the UK without a job offer, however, this is a diminishing list with 38 occupations, including Doctors and Dentists, removed in March.

 

Language and maintenance will also be taken into account with migrants having to prove their English proficiency and show at least £800 in savings before being allowed in.

 

The Home Office continued.

 

“To qualify, skilled foreign nationals will have to earn a certain number of points before being allowed to work in Britain. These points are awarded only if a person can prove they will be doing skilled work, speak a good standard of English, and are earning more than £24,000, or have a decent qualification. Employers will need a licence from the UK Border Agency to offer jobs to skilled workers.”

 

The licensing system is another cause for concern among smaller employers who will have to apply for a licence in order to renew a workers permission to work. The Home Office said that applications for an employer licence, costing up to £1000, will not be available until the autumn, which is when Tier 2 is being launched.

 

Full details of the Home Office statement of intent and the proposed points based system details are published on Immigration Matters. See:

 

http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk/uk_border_agency_statement_of_intent_on_points_based_system_eligibility_criteria_060508.html

 

Immigration Matters Comment

 

As Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch puts it, the announcement smacks of pure electioneering “spin”, with migrants, once again, being used as political footballs in an attempt to win votes.

 

On Monday Gordon Brown, just days after suffering one of Labours biggest local election defeats, was outlining measures to “discourage companies from hiring immigrants”.

 

Labour lost 331 seats across local councils in England and Wales in last week’s local election. In London, Conservative Boris Johnson ousted Labour’s incumbent Mayor Ken Livingstone.

 

The Labour government, trailing the opposition Conservatives in the polls, says it is trying to deal with public concerns that immigration is causing overcrowding and straining public services. The Conservatives have proposed an annual cap on migrants and seem to be winning votes by taking a tougher stand on immigration.

 

When the PBS was first unveiled by the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke in 2005, it was heralded as a positive step forward, which would make it easier and more transparent for companies to hire the workers they need from overseas. Now, when the political tide has turned against immigration, it is being sold to the electorate as something which will restrict immigration.

 

Home Office analysis showed if the tighter Tier 2 and 5 rules had been in place last year, close to ten per cent fewer skilled and temporary migrants from outside the EEA would have been allowed into Britain to work in equivalent categories – around 20,000 people. The Home Office also confirmed that from this year low skilled workers from outside the EU will be barred.

 

The Points Based System discriminates against migrants from poorer countries, who will struggle to meet educational equivalence and maintenance requirements. This despite the fact that Work Permit holders are not entitle to state benefits and have usually been more than able to stand on their own feet.

 

Finally, what will happen to the thousands of existing Work Permit holders such as Senior Carers who haven’t got a hope in hell of qualifying under the new rules? The Government must give those workers and their employers a lifeline.

 

This week Immigration Matters wrote to a Home Office Minister to confirm a rumour that the Government is planning to extend the “transitional arrangement”, which runs until the introduction of Tier 2, beyond September to help reduce the “impact” of the changes on Senior Carers.

 

Why not grant Work Permit holders with four years continuous work in the UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)? This would solve thousands of cases at a stroke and avoid costly legal action and appeals.

 

After all, these migrants would have already qualified for ILR had the rules not been changed and applied retrospectively.

 

Immigration Matters will publish the reply as soon as we receive it and inform readers of any further developments.

 

For the latest immigration news visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

 

If you need immigration advice please email me at: info@immigrationmatters.co.uk

 

Bison UK are running special free seminars for Senior Carers worried about their status. For further information or to book a place call 0208 905 1822.

 

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Points Based System – Statement of Intent by the UK Border Agency

May 17, 2008

Points Based System

Statement of Intent Published by the UK Border Agency

06 May 2008

The finer details of the Points based system are buried deep inside the collossal Home Office website.

Immigration Matters has reproduced the details for the benfit of its many thousands of reader worried about the effects of the new system on their status, as well has employers who could lose much needed valuable staff.

Eligibilty

This page explains the planned eligibility criteria for Tier 2 – skilled worker in the points-based system.

The information is based on our statement of intent published on 6 May 2008. The information will be updated as the UK Border Agency continue to develop the policy over the next few months.

To be eligible to apply to come to the United Kingdom under Tier 2 – skilled workers need to have:

§                        a job offer;

§                        certificate of sponsorship from one of our licensed sponsors; and

§                        scored enough points to apply.

Points assessment

Applicants will need to score a pass mark of 70 points from the three sets of criteria:

§                        attributes;

§                        English language skills; and

§                        maintenance.

Attributes

Applicants must score at least 50 points in this category and can score points under three set of criteria:

§                        sponsorship;

§                        qualifications; and

§                        prospective earnings.

Resident labour market test

If your job is not on the shortage occupation list, your job offer will need to pass the resident labour market test. This test ensures that resident workers have had the opportunity to apply for the job before it is filled under Tier 2.

Sponsorship

To apply under Tier 2 – skilled workers will require a valid certificate of sponsorship issued by one of our licensed sponsors. You can score up to 50 points for your certificate of sponsorship. More information about how sponsors can become licensed can be found in the employers and sponsors section.

In order to come to the United Kingdom under Tier 2 your potential employer will only issue a certificate of sponsorship if you:

§                        are filling a vacancy that requires a worker with skills at NVQ level 3 or
      above;

§                        will comply with the conditions of your permission to stay and leave the
      United Kingdom when your leave expires.

If you have a certificate of sponsorship for a job on a shortage occupation list you will be awarded 50 points.

If you have a certificate of sponsorship for a job not covered by the shortage occupation list, your job will have passed the resident labour market test and you will be awarded 30 points.

Qualifications

You can score up to 15 points for your qualifications. Points will be awarded in the following way:

Qualifications

Points awarded

No qualifications

0

NVQ level 3

5

Bachelors or masters

10

PhD

15

 

Points will only be awarded for the highest level qualification you hold.

Prospective earnings

Applicants can score up to 20 points for your prospective earnings. Points will be awarded in the following way:

Prospective earning (£)

Points awarded

17,000 – 19,999

5

20,000 – 21,999

10

22,000 – 23,999

15

24,000 +

20

 

Maintenance

Applicants must score 10 points in this category by showing that you are able to support yourself while you are in the United Kingdom. To score these points you will need to show that you have £800 in savings that you will be able to use while in the United Kingdom. If you intend to bring dependants you will need to show you have a further £600 for each dependant.

English language skills

Applicants must score 10 points in this category by showing that you are able to speak English to a basic standard. This is a mandatory requirement. This will include an ability to understand and use familiar everyday expressions, basic phrases and be able to introduce yourself and others, and be able to answer basic personal questions about yourself. Guidance on language tests that will be accepted as evidence will be available on the website at a later date.

Applicants will need to show that you are competent in the English language by:

§                        passing a test in English equivalent to the appropriate level;

§                        coming from a majority English speaking country; or

§                        having taken a degree taught in English (verified using national academic
      recognition information centre data).

For the latest immigration news visit http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk%20/

 

If you need immigration advice and would like a free consultation please email me at: info@immigrationmatters.co.uk

 

Gary Glitter banned from Philippines

May 17, 2008

IMMIGRATION MATTERS

17 May 2008

British police have sent warnings about the former pop star turned pervert, who was jailed for molesting two girls aged 11 and 12, to other countries in south-east Asia.

This week officials in the Philippines announced that they had banned the 64-year-old beast from their country for life as an “undesirable alien”.

Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, fled Britain in 2000 after serving a four-month jail term for possessing pornographic images of children.

After trying unsuccessfully to move to Cuba, Glitter went to Cambodia, but was deported after officials branded him “a threat to the security of the country and the national image of Cambodia“.

Glitter moved to Vietnam, where he was arrested in 2005 and charged with raping underage girls.

He narrowly escaped the death penalty by paying compensation to the girls’ families and was convicted in 2006 of committing obscene acts with minors and sentenced to three years.

Glitter will be deported to Britain upon his release from Phuoc prison in August. But experts from the Metropolitan Police Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre fear he will try to go abroad again to prey on more kids.

The Met have sent reports on Glitter to several foreign embassies in London. The Filipino authorities are the first to take action to keep him out.

Marcelino Libanan, Immigration Commissioner in the Philippines, said: “I have placed him on a blacklist so he cannot enter our country. That is our first line of defence.”

Glitter is a faded ‘has been’ 70’s pop star who has tried to rekindle his career on a number of occasions. He now has about as much chance of making a come-back as Frank Sinatra. The world is a small place with few hiding places for the likes of Glitter and ‘hat’s off’ to The Philippines for banning him.

For the latest immigration news visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

 

If you need immigration advice and would like a free consultation please email me at: info@immigrationmatters.co.uk

New points based system for UK immigration starts for Tier 1

March 9, 2008

The Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) launched its flagship points scheme last week, the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in 45 years, with the introduction of Tier 1 for highly skilled migrants. 

According to the BIA, the points scheme will ensure that “only the best can work in Britain” and “will attract the most talented with the skills the UK needs to remain a global leader in the fields of finance, business, and technological innovation”. 

During the lead in to the introduction of Tier 2 in September, the BIA will also begin licensing businesses that want to employ migrants form outside the European Union. There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to £10000 for those flouting the rules and caught hiring illegal workers.  

The entire scheme will be rolled out over the next year or so, and kicks-off with new rules for highly skilled foreign nationals currently working in the UK who want to extend their stay.  

Employers will need a licence to bring in Non-EU migrants 

The Government will start the licensing system for employers who want to recruit from overseas and bring skilled workers into the UK. No company will be granted a sponsor’s licence without being approved in advance by the Border and Immigration Agency.  

Employers bringing in skilled workers under Tier 2 can now start applying for the licence, as Work Permits will no longer be issued once Tier 2 takes effect this autumn.  

Tier 2 could have serious consequenses for those workers, such as Senior Carers and possibly nurses, who, ity would appear, will not gain sufficient points to qualify for a visa extension under the points system.  

Some Senior Carers are already moving jobs prior to Tier 2, because this is the only way they can secure a longer visa. See “Senior Carers in Snakes and Ladders… 

Announcing the scheme last Friday Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: 

“The introduction of our Australian-style points system will ensure that only those with skills the country needs can come. 

“Migrants benefit this country economically, contributing an estimated £6bn to our national output, as well as socially and culturally and it is right that we have a system which is fair but firm, accessible but controlled. 

“Today’s proposals are part of the biggest changes to British immigration policy in a generation which include a new deal for those migrants seeking citizenship here, a new UK Border Agency to strengthen controls at the border and the introduction of ID cards for foreign nationals.” 

Alongside the Government’s plans to ensure Britain has access to the skills and talents it needs, rogue employers from today face civil penalties of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker they employ.  

Those found to have knowingly hired illegal workers could incur an unlimited fine and be sent to prison. The change comes as BIA stepped up action in 2007 against illegal working by 40 per cent. 

New civil penalties will be easier to enforce and fines will be imposed 

Fines and penalties for employing illegal immigrants are nothing new, however, a key difference is between this and the previous system is prosecutions will no longer have to be based on criminal law, where the process was longer and the burden of proof more stringent. As a result very few employers were prosecuted or even sanctioned. 

Everything will change under the new ‘civil penalty’ system where fines can be imposed with minimal process, although a criminal offence for knowingly employing illegal workers will still exist for the more extreme cases. 

In other words, employers (including individuals employing domestic staff) who perhaps unwittingly employ people without the right to work will be fined.  

Bosses could be penalised by up to £10,000 per illegal employee, even if it was unintentional, but may escape the full penalty where they have carried out all of the employment checks in the prescribed manner.  

But, if the checks have not been carried out or have been carried out incorrectly, there is a sliding scale of penalties, starting from £2,500. 

The BIA has been running a campaign over the last couple of months to warn employers about employing overseas nationals illegally, so expect to see a tougher line. 

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne added: 

“Today sees the start of our points system and the beginning of on-the-spot fines for businesses who employ illegal workers, introduced a day ahead of schedule. 

“New £10,000 penalties mean instant justice for those firms who try and undercut others by employing illegal immigrants. With the new compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals later in the year, there can be no excuse for not checking the identity of those applying for jobs. 

“The key to shutting down illegal immigration is to shut down illegal jobs. Last year we stepped up our illegal working operations by 40 per cent. Now our enforcement teams have a host of new powers to shut down dodgy bosses who draw illegal immigrants to Britain.” 

As the measures announced today take effect the Government is also taking steps to target rogue employers through new legislation in the Employment Bill. The Bill proposes tough new penalties for businesses not paying workers the minimum wage and agencies which exploit workers and undercut legitimate business. 

Also confirmed is the establishment this year of a new UK Border Agency (replacing the only recently formed BIA) with the aim of ensuring that the UK has one of the “toughest borders in the world”.  

Other measures include the introduction of a new system to count people in and out of the UK and ID cards to strengthen the UK border and help keep out those who don’t have the right to be here. 

For further information on see: 

Applying under Tier 1 of the points-based system

Information for employers and sponsors

Preventing illegal working  

If you need immigration advice and would like a free consultation please email me at: info@immigrationmatters.co.uk 

For the latest immigration news visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk  

Charles Kelly will be running an Advice Clinic at the Care Show, Bournemouth 1 and 2 April 2008. 

To book see: http://www.careshow.co.uk/page.cfm/Link=42/t=m/goSection=5

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