New strict rules for foreign students and workers

Woolas lays rules to implement Tier 4 of Points Based System
11th March 2009: Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has laid the immigration rules that will implement Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS) for international students.

The PBS is part of a robust system of controls designed to prevent illegal migration and to welcome only those migrants that the country needs.

Mr. Woolas said that the Government is committed to encouraging people from overseas to study in the UK. “We recognise the contribution that international students make to the UK economy and the benefits that encouraging overseas students brings in terms of diffusing British values and fostering a positive view of the UK overseas. At the same time it is also vital that we prevent abuse of our student migration rules by those who whose real intention is to work here without proper authorisation.”

The new rules set stricter limits on courses involving work placements to ensure they are not used as a route for disguised employment. They also limit the amount of time those coming to the UK to study as adults can spend on low level courses.

Students will also be required to have a licensed sponsor before they can be admitted. “In doing so, we will be ensuring that those who benefit from migration take responsibility for the migrants that they bring to the UK, and take more responsibility for their recruitment decisions,” the minister said.

Tier 1 becomes more selective

The new rules also make changes to Tier 1 of the Points Based System for highly skilled workers. Applicants under the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) route will no longer receive points for postgraduate certificates and diplomas other than UK postgraduate certificates of education and those applying for their first period of leave under Tier 1 (General) will no longer receive points for bachelor’s degrees or for previous earnings of less than £20,000.

collegegraduatestudents1.jpgThe amendments to Tier 1 (General) were announced by the Home Secretary on 22 February.

“At a time of rising unemployment it makes sense to control inflow and be more selective about the migrants who come to the UK. This more selective Tier 1 policy will give the most highly skilled migrants—the migrants who make the greatest economic contribution to the UK—access to the labour market while ensuring that other skilled migrants can only enter under Tier 2, which is designed to ensure that migrants are only admitted for skilled work where there is nobody available within the resident labour force to fill the post”, Mr. Woolas said.

He added that the removal of the postgraduate certificates and diploma route from Tier 1 (Post Study Work) also responds to evidence of a high level of abuse of these provisions. The Government will, however, continue to award points for UK postgraduate certificates of education as there is no evidence of abuse of the qualification and students must meet robust requirements including mandatory previous qualifications in order to gain this qualification.

The Government has also amended the Tier 2 and 5 rules introduced in November to enable overseas qualified nurses and midwives to switch from the Government authorised exchange sub-category of Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) into Tier 2 (General) on completion of their registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Footballers who come to the UK in the creative and sporting sub-category of Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) will now be allowed to switch into Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category of the Points Based System (PBS). The new rules will also allow, subject to certain conditions, private servants in diplomatic households who have been working in the UK in the international agreement sub-category of Tier 5 for a continuous period of five years to be eligible to apply for settlement.

The new rules introduce further clarification of the activities in which business visitors are permitted to engage.
The new rules amend the existing knowledge of life provisions, deleting the provision under which applications for indefinite leave in categories that require the knowledge of language and life in the United Kingdom but do not meet this requirement are automatically considered for an extension of stay.

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