Tough immigration controls for employers

Employers in the UK who plan to recruit skilled workers from outside Europe must register with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) by 1st October. Employers in the UK who plan to recruit skilled workers from outside Europe must register with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) by 1st October to ensure they are licensed when the scheme goes live at the end of November.

Text/ Under the Government’s new Australian-style points system businesses wanting to employ skilled foreign workers from outside the EEA and sponsor their entry to the UK must apply for a licence.

UKBA said it is committed to supporting industry through the introduction of the rules to ensure legitimate businesses do not fall foul of the new regime and only those with the skills the country needs will be able to work or study here and no more.

Employers found to have negligently employed illegal migrants face large on-the-spot fines of up to £10,000 prosecution and a prison sentence. The Agency is holding series of meetings on the tough new points system for national and international industry.

Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: "The points system is one of the biggest shake-ups to the immigration system in a generation ensuring only those with the skills we need will be able to work or study here and no more.

"This tough points system, plus our plans for newcomers to earn citizenship, will reduce overall numbers of economic migrants coming to Britain, and the numbers awarded permanent settlement.

"Our message to businesses is loud and clear – if you want to employ foreign workers from outside the EEA, you need to apply now for a sponsor licence."

Earlier this year the Home Office unveiled the criteria which businesses will have to meet to become a sponsor under the points system. These are that: any business must register with the Agency as a sponsor before they can bring foreign workers from outside the EEA into the UK to work; and as a condition of keeping their licence, sponsors will need to alert us if migrants do not comply with their immigration conditions – for example if they disappear or do not turn up for their job or course. Any sponsor that does not comply with this requirement will risk losing its licence. From November, those who register successfully will be able to sponsor new foreign workers to work in the UK or support those already in the UK who want to stay.

Skilled foreign workers must have: enough points through their qualifications and potential earnings; a good grasp of English language; and enough money to support themselves for the first month of their stay. The new points system is just one part of the biggest shake up to immigration and border security in 45 years, along with fingerprint visas for anyone wanting to come to the UK and compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals.

Minister Byrne: “Only those with the skills we need will be able to work or study here and no more”