Emphasis of the system is on good language skills in English
The new points system for UK migrants has commenced and aims to be fully deployed by 2009. The scheme has taken some years to develop. This system completely changes the way migrants will be allowed into the UK to work, train or study.
The previous 80 work permits and entry schemes for work and study are replaced by this new system. The objective is to provide opportunity for the most skilled workers to gain access into the UK. The better your skills the more chances you have to gain entry into the UK.
This system does not affect the European Union. Therefore, workers and students from the EU will be still allowed to move around the without any restrictions.
There are five tiers that define the way people applying for UK work and study will be reviewed for acceptance. Points will be awarded based on experience, aptitude, age and the requirement for their specific skills in any sector of the UK labour market. The five tiers are as follows.
- Tier One – Highly Skilled: This is the first phase of the system. It applies to the most highly skilled people who will easily be able to enter the UK on points to work or set-up businesses without a job offer. People in this category are seen to be most advantageous to the economy of the UK and will have the most opportunity and flexibility to reside in the UK. For example, entrepreneurs, business people, highly qualified scientists and consultants. This tier is to be fully operational by mid 2008.
- Tier Two – Skilled with a Job Offer: This tier is applicable to those people who are qualified and/or highly experienced in a wide area of industries including health and office-based jobs. Also, people who may already have a job offer in the UK where there are shortages such as the National Health Service. Points will be awarded for their experience and abilities. All employers are urged to register for such workers and will need to meet strict criteria in order to be allowed to recruit such workers. This tier will come into practice by the end of 2008.
- Tier Three – Low Skilled: This tier addresses the need for lower skilled workers to be allowed into the UK. With the advent of EU workers fulfilling jobs in hospitality, agriculture and food processing the need for temporary migration is now less. Therefore, this tier is designed to vet those workers for such jobs.
- Tier Four – Students: This tier focuses on students coming to the UK to study where they pay for tuition. This is to aid educational establishments formalise the route of students coming to the UK and attract more eligible students to the UK. This tier will be deployed in 2009.
- Tier Five – Temporary Workers and Youth Mobility: This final tier applies to people seeking temporary working capability in the UK. Where their work will be for a limited time only such as musicians who visit for a concert or sports people working for a competition in the UK. Any exchange visits or holiday working by young people will be addressed by the Youth Mobility part of this tier. This tier is expected to be in force by the end of 2008.
A Migration Advisory Committee will review shortages in the UK job market and advise the government how t o address these. Especially, using Tier Two to aid employers recruit more foreign workers to meet their demand.
A Migration Impacts Forum has been set up to focus on parties outside of Government, to provide dialogue in an organised and frequent manner related to migration issues and impacts of local needs.
Employers looking to employ foreign workers will be required to obtain licences to sponsor workers into the UK and conform to certain sponsorship requirements.
Emphasis of the system is on good language skills in English and the ability for migrants to support themselves and their dependants in the UK.
This change will affect a lot of workers and students from the South Asia and will now scrutinise their ability to work or study in the UK. One of the major requirements of the points system will be fluency in English. This will immediately reduce the prospect of people with excellent skills and ability to obtain jobs in the UK purely based on poor language skills, which in the past has not prevented manual workers finding work.
Does this mean that such strong measures will increase the black economy in the UK and further increase illegal work practices to find ways around the system?
How will this impact Brit-Asian businesses such as the sewing factories churning out clothes by the hour and the huge number of Asian food restaurants employing chefs who do not have the language skills but definitely know far more about cooking excellent food? It will be interesting to see how the new system will cater for such needs.