Point-based system slowing down the visa approval process

 Banks and pharmaceuticals take direct hit

Tags: Neil Carberry, CBI, graduate recruitment
18th August 2009: The government’s new points-based immigration system on the Australian pattern is apparently taking its toll. As the system makes it mandatory for employers hiring in the UK to prove non availability of local qualified workers, some of organizations including pharmaceuticals and banks are encountering unforeseen holdups.
Available information suggests the "points-based" methodology for hiring staff from overseas is resulting in slowdown of the visa approvals process for some businesses. It has also affected company training schemes, graduate recruitment and even internships.
It is widely believed the new visa application process is completely rigid and has resulted in even bigger companies advertising senior positions in local job centres just to check whether a UK resident could occupy the vacant post.
As the recession deepened, the system was introduced with a view to safeguard "British jobs for British workers". But the bigger companies have been facing the problem in hiring staff from abroad ever since the methodology came into existence last year.
The critics and legal analysts insist the government rushed ahead due to political consideration. They assert London’s international standing is likely to take a hit in the absence of a system flexible enough to cope with the ever changing business demands.
Brushing aside the apprehensions, the Home Office on the other hand claims nine out of 10 visa applications outside the UK are being processed in less than three weeks. The Home Office adds it is exploring changes to internship rules and encouraging visa case workers to be flexible over mistakes on application forms.
UK Border Agency chief executive Lin Homer says they act swiftly whenever concerns have been raised.
But the employers’ lobby organisation the CBI’s head of employment policy Neil Carberry says there is an escalating frustration on frequently changing rules and visa delays.


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