Government outlines UK Visa reforms

- Posted in United Kingdom by Visa Bureauon 17 February 2011

The changes are part of the Government's new annual limit on non-EU workers, which will take effect on 6 April.

At the end of last year the Home Office announced that 20,700 visas will be made available to skilled workers applying through Tier 2 of the points-based system, as well as 1,000 visas under a new exceptional talent route.

Under the new system, employers will have to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship from the UK Border Agency for a specific post if they wish to bring someone to the UK - this is a change from the current system which gives businesses an annual allocation.

The government has also announced that employers filling a vacancy that attracts a salary of £150,000 or more will not be subject to the limit on the number of certificate of sponsorship that may be allocated.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “Britain needs to attract the brightest and the best to fill jobs gaps but this should never be at the expense of workers already here.

The annual limit of 20,700 certificate of sponsorship will be divided into 12 monthly allocations but due to the likely demand in the first month, 4,200 certificate of sponsorship will be made available in April. After that the limit will be set at 1,500 places per month. Any places that are unused each month will be rolled over to the following month.

In the event that the monthly allocation is over subscribed, certificate of sponsorship applications will be ranked using a points system designed to favour jobs on the shortage occupation list, scientific researchers and those with a higher salary. Once a certificate of sponsorship has then been granted to an employer it must be assigned to the prospective employee within three months.

Workers from outside the EU who want to come to the UK will need to have a graduate level job, speak an intermediate level of English, and meet specific salary and employment requirements.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  UK Visa applications to the British Embassy.