02 September 2008

UK home office warns employers to apply for sponsor licence

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New licences for UK employers to hire migrants are due to become compulsory this November, however according to Personnel Today, very few companies have applied for them.

The licences are part of the recent changes to the immigration system, in which potential migrants will need to earn points to support their UK visa applications.  The points-based system was developed using the Australian system as a template, and means that migrants’ applications for UK visas will be assessed on their skill ability, age, experience and the level of need within that particular job sector.

All employers of migrants from outside the EU on a UK skilled visa or temporary work visa will need to have a licence.  So far, only 168 companies have applied for a licence, but thousands more will need to register for the UK Border Agency’s list of eligible sponsors. The Home Office has advised businesses to register by the start of October so inspections can be made in time for the introduction of the new immigration laws.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson told reporters last week, "Our message to businesses is loud and clear - if you want to employ foreign workers from outside the European Economic Area, you need to apply now for a sponsor licence."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.

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