02 September 2009

UK immigration rules seen as uncommercial

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A UK lawyer has spoken against the new points-based UK immigration system saying that many London firms view the immigration rules as uncommercial.

Edward Wanambwa, partner at CM Murray LLP, wrote a comment peice for City AM today saying that the new UK immigration rules will damage the city and make it harder for employers to recruit workers, and leave the UK highly skilled migration visa as the last immigration option.

Last month a number of changes were made to the UK immigration system, the result of which Mr Wanambwa said employers were likely to see a decline in the number of Intercompany Transfers (ICT) and that many city employers will have to find other ways of hiring people who had immigrated to the UK with, for example, with the UK highly skilled worker visa.

Mr Wanambwa wrote that recent changes to the system had created on one hand a tightening of the rules, and on the other a relaxation on the UK immigration rules.

"Firstly, migrants from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland cannot use the intra company transfer (ICT) to directly replace a “settled worker”. "Secondly, it has been clarified that where a migrant’s job changes – eg through promotion – the employer has to issue a new Certificate of Sponsorship and the migrant worker must obtain fresh permission to remain in the UK.

On the positive side firms no longer have to advertise senior roles with Jobcentre Plus for positions with a salary over £130,000, a requirement called an "absurdity" by Mr Wanambwa. Also positive, a migrant's salary no longer has to be paid in the UK, and a reduction or increase in a migrant's salary or working hours will not necessarily mean a change of employment action.

"Even though we have seen a slight relaxing of the rules around the edges, many City employers will still view the immigration rules as'uncommercial', inflexible and too restrictive, as they seek to attract and retain talented employees from around the world," Mr Wanambwa said.

 The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK immigration and UK work permit applications.

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