Green: Tier 2 work permit holders can’t change employers without UKBA’s permission

Individuals who come to the UK on Tier 2 work permit arrangements can change employers but only after obtaining permission from the UK Border Agency, Immigration Minister Damian Green has said.

In a written response to Ian Paisley Jnr, MP for North Antrim, Mr. Green said that “Non European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals entering the UK to undertake employment are protected by UK employment law. They have the same employment rights as settled workers.”

He, however, pointed out that if an immigrant loses a job under the Tier 2/work permit arrangements, then their leave to remain in the country is curtailed to give them 60 days to find alternative employment or make arrangements to leave the UK.

“Non EEA nationals entering the UK to undertake employment do so on the basis of taking a specific job with a specific sponsor,” Mr. Green said. “Individuals can change employers but must obtain permission from the UK Border Agency before doing so. This is to ensure that the job has been offered to resident workers and is at the appropriate skill level and being paid the appropriate rate.”

The minister said that the rule both safeguards opportunities for resident workers and protects non EEA workers from being underpaid. “It is the UK Border Agency's duty to ensure that non EEA nationals entering the UK comply with their terms and conditions of stay and sponsors adhere to the obligations to which they have signed up. Where overseas workers and sponsors abuse the immigration rules the UK Border Agency will take appropriate compliance action,” Mr. Green said.

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