The Government are targeting a net decrease in immigration to the UK by releasing a practice that was suspended late last year. Damien Green, Conservative immigration minister, has announced a replacement scheme for Tier 1 visa’s in order to limit and monitor the number of migrant workers.
To achieve this they are putting a cap of 1,000 visas for tier 1 (generally) highly skilled migrant workers. This new system will operate within the Points Based System of immigration control from 6th April. However whilst the outline of the measures has been announced, the details of exactly how the replacement Tier 1 visa will work in practice is yet to be announced.
The schemes aim is to make 1,000 visas available to migrant workers who wish to settle in the UK and who have ‘exceptional talent’ in one of the specific fields of science, art and humanities. Those who hold applicable qualifications will be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years and four months, with the option to extend that time by two years.
The 1,000 visa limit a year will be closely monitored by the government as the year progresses. This is essential to ensure the benefits are being achieved and the restrictions to employers are analysed to ensure maximum efficiency.
Despite the benefits that the government hope the scheme will bring, issues have already been raised. According to John Hayes, a partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, the new scheme will make it very difficult for highly skilled migrant workers to obtain a visa to enter the UK to work. This in turn will create a barrier for employers to recruit the workers they so desperately want and need.
With the new scheme coming into affect from April 6th recruiters and employers should keep an eye out for further developments in the programme. These developments may well affect an employer’s ability to bring non-EU workers into the UK to become a part of their organisation or as candidate roles.
Non-EU workers already in the UK on the tiered skilled worker visas who wish to switch to tier 1 should apply now as the deadline for such application is April 5th.