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IT Consulting General Information

As this is a client facing assignment candidates must have prior exposure to consulting, ideally with a large international consulting firm and understand system development, the core principles of systems architecture and have extensive configuration & implementation experience.

Our Consultancy Partner works with many major clients and intends to redeploy the Individual on other Client facing assignments once the first project has been completed.

The successful candidate will be able to show prior relevant experience by way of professional references provided on signed company letterhead paper i.e. 24+ months technical references with a degree qualification OR at least 48+ months technical references without a degree qualification.

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UKBA announce changes to the student visa system

New UK Border Agency (UKBA) regulations have significantly raised the standards education providers must meet before they can bring international students to the UK. So far, over 400 colleges have lost their right to recruit international students after they failed to sign up for the new inspection system. As well as cutting abuse, the new standards will help ensure that genuine international students receive the highest quality education.

In addition, a targeted UKBA investigation into more than 100 colleges has led to 51 having their licences to recruit international students revoked. The investigation followed a spike in applications from South Asia just before the English language requirement rules were tightened. More than 4,500 of these applications to study have been refused or withdrawn as a result.

One college advertised classes even though the website said it was shut for maintenance, while another could not even produce a list of students enrolled or a timetable of classes. On inspection, others could not produce any records of student attendance, or evidence of checking student qualifications.

Immigration Minister, Damian Green said:
‘Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long and the changes we have made are beginning to bite. Too many institutions were offering international students an immigration service rather than an education and too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members. Only first-class education providers should be given licences to sponsor international students.

‘We have curbed the opportunities to work during study and bring in family members. We have also introduced new language requirements to ensure we only attract genuine students whose primary motivation is to study. As well as going through tough new inspections, colleges that want to keep bringing in international students must also meet new higher sponsorship standards to ensure they are fulfilling their immigration responsibilities. Those who do not meet these standards will be removed from the sponsorship register.

The UK Border Agency has also created a list of more than 2,000 banks and financial institutions who can no longer provide evidence to verify a student has sufficient funds for their course. If a bank is on the list, a student citing that institution will not be granted a visa. Further measures to tighten the student regime are due in April. The post study work route, which has allowed graduates free labour market access, will be closed and students wishing to stay and work will need to apply under the skilled workers visa route. There will also be new time limits on student visas and tougher rules on work placements. In the mean time the UK Border Agency is continually monitoring the behaviour of all sponsors and will take action against any that are not complying with standards of education provision or immigration control.

The changes to the student route form part of the Government’s comprehensive package to overhaul the immigration system, taking action on families, settlement, those coming here to work, as well as students, in order to bring immigration levels back down to sustainable levels.

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Blackberry confirms services are ‘fully restored’

Following a three day global blackout for Blackberry services, Blackberry founder, Mike Lazaridis confirms services are “fully restored”. Millions of customers worldwide had their messaging and email services sporadically disrupted. (more…)

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Changes to the new list of English language test and providers

Changes to the updated list include:

• New acceptable test certificates for business language testing service (BULATS);
• Clarification that we accept the test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) ibt test (internet based test); and
• New test scores for tests conducted by Pearson.

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Family Migration consultation launched by the UK Government

Immigration minister Damian Green said:

“This consultation is about better family migration – better for migrants, communities, and the UK as a whole.
We welcome those who want to make a life here with their family, but too often in the past the family route has been abused as a means to bypass our immigration laws. That includes too many times when we have seen Article 8 used to place the rights of criminals and illegal migrants above the rights of the British public. That balance must be redressed where there is a clear public interest in removing someone from the UK. Our message is clear – we will not tolerate abuses. And if you cannot support your foreign spouse or partner, you cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for you.”

Key proposals include:
• defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage, to help identify sham and forced marriages;
• introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of partners and dependants, to ensure that family migrants are adequately supported as a basis for integration – the independent Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to advise on what the threshold should be;
• extending the probationary period before partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years, to test that relationships are genuine and to encourage integration into British life;
• requiring partners and adult dependants aged under 65 to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English (B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages) when they apply for settlement;
• exploring the case for making \’sham\’ a lawful impediment to marriage in England and Wales, and for giving the authorities the power to delay a marriage where sham is suspected;
• working closely with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people are not forced into marriage; and
• reviewing the full right of appeal for family visitor visas, and inviting views on whether there are circumstances (beyond race discrimination and human rights grounds) in which an appeal right should be retained.

Debate on Article 8 of the ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life) has been initiated by the consultation through highlighting that while people have a right under the Article; it is not an absolute right. It is legitimate for the Government to interfere with the exercise of that right when it is in the public interest to do so, including to protect the public and maintain immigration control.
Further Information:
• In 2010, 48,900 visas were granted to people on the family route. Of these, 40,500 were granted on the basis of a marriage or civil or other partnership, and 8,400 were granted to other dependants.
• At present, anyone who is refused a family visitor visa has the right of appeal. In 2009/10, these appeals – which were often based on new information which should have been submitted with the original application – made up approximately 40 per cent of all immigration appeals and cost around £40 million.
• To reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer, and deliver an appropriate system for applicants, the government is reviewing this right of appeal. Appeals based on grounds of race discrimination and the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to be allowed, but the government is inviting views on

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BusinessEurope highlights growing Engineering Skill Shortage

The President of BusinessEurope, Jurgen Thumann, said that \”European policymakers have so far been tardy to recognise the skills shortage and its consequences, as well as to act on it. It seems there is a rather complacent belief that Europe performs well enough. As is shown in the paper, this is not the case. Instead it is high time to move out of the comfort zone and to explore new ways to improve the supply of STEM-skilled labour. The growing shortage of skilled labour is a problem that has been highlighted by companies frequently in the past few years, most recently in a major study we launched in February on Europe\’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. An improved skills base encourages innovation, better jobs and economic growth across Europe.\”

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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REC welcomes Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

The Chair of the Recruitment and Employment Confederations Pharmaceutical & Scientific group, Lawrence Levy, said that “Britain clearly benefits from allowing world-class scientists to work here, and as such this announcement is welcome news. Scientists of this calibre are being sought by every industrialised country, and the need to keep Britain globally competitive in attracting the best talent is paramount. It is also good news that the government plans to monitor the limit of one thousand visas. There is no way to know exactly how much demand this scheme will generate, particularly as scientists will be competing with artists for these places. It would be folly to deny a leading heart disease specialist, for example, the right to work in Britain because he applied for visa number 1,001. REC Pharmaceutical & Scientific members help clients across the country find the best scientific talent, and are keen to assist the government both in monitoring the level of take-up of this new route and in assessing the suitability of whichever ‘competent body’ they choose to run the scheme.”

A revamped Tier 1 will also include changes to the ‘Investor’ and ‘Entrepreneur’ sub categories. Two days ago Damian Green, the Conservative Immigration Minister, announced a package of measures to attract the super rich to the United Kingdom. Under the new rules Investors willing to keep at least £5 million in a UK bank account will qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years, those that deposit more than £10 million will qualify for ILR after 2 years and the length of time Investors can stay outside of the UK will be increased from 90 days to 180 days per year. This new settlement policy for the super rich appears to contrast sharply with plans for standard migrants (e.g. Tier 2 General migrants) as it believed that the Government intends to make it far more difficult for Tier 2 migrants to secure ILR (settlement) in the future.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners

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79% drop in Financial Services IT Contract offers in January

The Managing Director of Powerchex said in response to the figures \”The fact that the number of available opportunities for IT contractors fell by almost 80% in January is a worrying development in its own right. However, putting the latest figures into context, there are 32% fewer opportunities now than in January 2010 when the job market was really competitive. Many organisations appear to be delaying funding decisions to see what other companies are doing and make sure they are not over‐committing themselves in non‐core projects. This is not good news for IT contractors.\”

Only a few weeks ago a leading IT Recruitment Consultancy within the Banking Sector said that highly skilled IT Contractors in particular stand to profit in the near future with many Banks unable to hire permanent workers due to a lack of skills in the permanent market. And only last month the Monster Employment Index reported that the Information Technology sector had seen opportunities surge with annual growth of 34% reported.

The Director of IT Recruitment at Networkers International, James Smith, told the Recruiter at the time that “Our business has been fuelled by the financial markets by both the banking industry and insurance as well. We have been doing a lot of recruitment for those kinds of organisations. New projects are kicking off at the banks. In 2009, with the state of the economy, a lot of cuts were made but going into 2010 and now a lot of the banks and insurance houses have started new projects which they haven’t done for the last three or four years. Overall, we see continuation of steady growth for contract and permanent staff. The demand for permanent staff remains high and is higher than contract staff. Due to the lack of skills in the permanent market, there will be a shift in terms of growth on the contract front. As clients cannot find those permanent workers, they will get contractors in to work on a shorter-term basis or a project basis.

In January the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK Economy swung back into contraction in the final quarter of 2011; registering a 0.5% decline (a 0.5% increase had been predicted). At the time the ONS put the figures down to the coldest December in 100 years. The Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, Kevin Green, said that “The economy is still predicted to grow by just over two per cent during 2011 but while this won\’t drive huge job creation, it will be enough for the jobs market to remain positive.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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International Student Numbers Increase / UK Student Numbers Decrease

The Executive Director of 1994, Paul Marshall, said that \”Higher education is one the UK\’s most successful export industries and today\’s figures show that it is going from strength to strength. However, this progress could be brought to an alarming halt if ministers follow through on plans to scrap all visas for international students taking courses below degree level. \”

The Government Consultation into Tier 4 of the Points Based System is currently open and accepting submissions (until the end of April 2011) from parties who may be affected by changes to the scheme.

Economic Impact of Tier 4 Reforms

Recently a cross party group of MPs raised ‘’profound concerns’’ to Theresa May (the Home Secretary) over the economic implications of tough new plans to reform Tier 4 of the Points Based System. The group of MPs which included Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers raised concerns that the reforms will force may English Language colleges to close meaning the loss of thousands of jobs across the country and a significant amount of revenue (it is estimated that overseas students contribute £100m annually to the local economy in Brighton alone).

Tony Milns, who represents English UK, said that \”A lot of MPs with language colleges or schools in their constituencies are concerned. They realise the economic and other benefits to their constituents of having foreign students spending money.\” And a representative of Universities UK went on to say that \”We do not think that international students should be counted as migrants. They are not here for economic reasons, their time in the UK does not count towards any later application for settlement, unlike workers, and they have no recourse to public funds.”

Tier 4 Student Proposals

  • Reduction in the number of people coming to the UK to study below degree level
  • Introduction of a tougher English language requirement
  • Provisions to ensure that students wishing to extend their studies show evidence of academic progression
  • Limits on students\’ entitlements to work and their ability to bring in dependants
  • An enhanced accreditation process for education providers, alongside more rigorous inspections.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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REC JobsOutlook Survey points to increase in future hiring

Key JobsOutlook Figures:

  • 21% of employers said that they will be adding to their headcounts during the course of 2011
  • 74% said that they plan to keep their workforce numbers static in 2011
  • 5% intend to reduce their permanent and temporary headcount during the course of the year
  • 95% expect to grow or keep their permanent headcount the same over the course of the next 3 months
  • 32% plan to grow their agency workforce over the next 12 month
  • 20% intend to increase their temporary staff within the next three months

The REC’s Director of Research, Roger Tweedy, said that “It is encouraging to see that employers are setting great store in building flexibility into their workforces for the short and long term while the economy remains in such a fragile state. Over the coming year, temporary work will continue to provide an important route back into the labour market. Though the labour market does show signs of stabilising, the first three months of this year could see a few jitters which is why the majority of employers are planning to keep their permanent workforce static. The public sector squeeze, together with the increase in VAT and slowing economic growth means that this caution is understandable – in fact we may have expected businesses to be more cautious about hiring in the short term. However, the feedback from recruitment professionals confirms that fluidity is returning to the jobs market. The fact that 20 per cent of employers are planning to increase staffing levels over the coming year is an encouraging sign but real concerns remain with regards to the ability of the private sector to absorb expected cuts in the public sector.”

The survey results comes a few days before the latest unemployment figures are due to be announced.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News. To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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