New system to control migration to the UK

From today all skilled migrants who have been offered a job in the UK will be able to apply for their UK visa under a new simplified but more secure system.

Under Tier 2 of the UK’s new Points Based system, migrants who have been offered a job will need to be sponsored by their prospective employer as part of their visa application. The new simplified application process replaces the two stage work permit system and is designed to be more transparent for skilled workers.

Under PBS, skilled foreign nationals will earn points for objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience. Only those with enough points can get a visa to work in the UK.

Tier 2 applicants will need to show a firm job offer before they apply for a visa.  British-based companies will have to prove they cannot fill skilled posts with a resident worker and must show that the job vacancy has been advertised in the UK. Employers will need a licence from the UK Border Agency to offer jobs to skilled workers.

Also today the Home Office has launched a new Business Visitor visa which clarifies what activities are permitted during business visits to the UK. The new visa will allow visa nationals to stay for up to six months to attend meetings, arrange deals, undertake fact finding missions, conduct site visits and undertake promotional activities.

Tier 5 of the PBS, covering those travelling temporarily to the UK is also being introduced today. It covers sportspeople, entertainers and charity workers and works together with a new Special Visitor visa.

The introduction of Tiers 2 and 5 of the PBS follows implementation of the first Tier of the system for highly skilled migrants without a job offer, which came into effect earlier this year. Tier 4, for students will be rolled out from March next year.