I thought I'd take my opportunity on the Visa Bureau Blog to say a few words about the transition from the HSMP to the new Tier 1 General Skilled Migration programme here in the UK. It's occupied a lot of our time! It usually does whenever the Home Office makes a major change like this.
Our UK caseworking team and our online editorial team worked hard to make sure that the UK Visa Bureau website was up to date as soon as the change from the old HSMP went ahead.
The changeover has certainly been an interesting experience! Aside from the days of research, writing and caseworking, the biggest challenge has been getting the message out to clients. The HSMP, it seems, was a very well known programme. It was an easy "brand" to remember, and it described exactly what the programme was after - highly skilled people who wanted to live and work in the United Kingdom. It was so well known that people continue to refer to the new Tier 1 programme as the HSMP.
It's an easy confusion to make. Both the Tier 1 General Skilled Programme and the HSMP are essentially the same. Both use a similar points test with similar education, occupation and income requirements, and both are meant to attract highly skilled migrants to the UK.
We've been working to help educate our clients and prospective clients on the changeover. Our site now has detailed information on the Tier 1 programme, and we make sure that we talk callers to our freephone line through the changes.
But, if people still want to call it the HSMP, that's fine by me.
- Tom Blackett is the Online Editor for the UK Visa Bureau.
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