Law change for immigrant workers

National Minimum Wage changed in October. The Points-based Immigration System will be introduced on November 27

31 October 2008. National Minimum Wage (NMW) was changed from 1 October 2008. The Points-based Immigration System (PBS) will come into force from 27 November with reference to sponsored skilled workers (Tier 2) and temporary workers and youth mobility (Tier 5).

The National Minimum Wage increased on 1st October. For adults aged 22 and over, it increases to £5.73, workers aged 18-21 are paid £4.77, and 16-17 year olds it increases to £3.53.

If the employer doesn’t pa pay the NMW increases, the staff can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal or the civil courts. Furthermore they could bring a claim in the Employment tribunal if they are sacked or threatened for trying to ensure they receive the increases. The employee can initiate the claim from day one of their employment – they do not need a year’s service.

Also, the Government is currently considering changes to the NMW, which we may see take effect in spring of next year.

The proposed changes include:

• A different method of calculating arrears for workers who have been underpaid, which will bases the arrears on the higher current rate at the time of the repayment and not the rate at the time underpayment. So costing the employer more if you underpay your staff.
• A higher penalty payment for employers who do not pay their workers the NMW
• New inspection powers for NMW compliance officers which make it easier for them to obtain and copy information from employers.
• A strengthening of the criminal regime for NMW offences.

The Points-based Immigration System (PBS) will be changed from 27 November with reference to sponsored skilled workers (Tier 2) and temporary workers and youth mobility (Tier 5).

Tier 2 replaces the current work permit scheme. Tier 5 covers temporary workers entering the United Kingdom for a short period.

Applications for work permits posted after 27 November 2008, when the Tiers 2 and 5 are introduced, will not be accepted (unless you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national). The person who already has a work permit should continue to apply for leave to enter or remain under the immigration rules relating to work permits, which will remain in force after Tier 2 and Tier 5 are launched.

If you are currently on a multiple entry work permit, you cannot apply under the transitional arrangements. If you want to continue working in the United Kingdom after your current leave expires, you must return to your normal country of residence and make a fresh application. This application will be subject to the full points-based system criteria.

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