#Article (Archive)

Biggest Shake-up to UK Immigration System in 40 Years

Jun 16, 2008, 4:01 AM

A news release from the British High Commission has indicated that as part of a plan to facilitate entry to the United Kingdom (UK) of all potential workers, the UK government today announced the introduction of a new system for assessing highly skilled migrants wishing to go and work in the UK.

Tier 1 of the new Australian style Points-Based System (PBS) will come into effect on 30thJune 2008.

According to the news release, the points system means those migrants Britain needs could get entry to the UK. "Tier 1 builds upon the success of the highly skilled migrant programme and is aimed at attracting applicants who have the very highest skills or who wish to establish themselves in business or to invest in the UK. Further tiers relating to students, workers with a job offer and temporary workers will be rolled out over the next 12 months", the release adds.

The new system, the release went on, is far easier for applicants to use as they will earn points for their qualifications, previous earnings, competence in English language and ability to support themselves and their dependents.

"They can calculate, before they make their application, whether their points add up to entry as a highly skilled worker. The system is also more straightforward. What was a two-stage application process now has only one stage - and the initial visa will be granted for three years, not two," the release notes.

Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said, "The UK is a fantastic place to work and develop for those with the skills we need. A points system has worked well in Australia and I think it will work well for Britain. This is a key part of the huge shake-up to our border security this year."

The release further revealed that the introduction of PBS follows a tightening up of British border security arrangements. All visa applicants, the release went on, now have to submit their fingerprints for checking against government databases before visas are approved.

In the same vein, severe penalties have been introduced for employers of illegal workers in the UK and a new unified border force has been established. In addition, since 1stApril, applicants who use false documents or deception when making visa applications will face a ban from the UK of up to ten years.