Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bogus Dentist From Iraq Found Guilty Of Faking ID Documents

In 2003 Mr Raoul gave a false name (Muhammed Ismaeel Saman) and date of birth to border officials at Manchester airport when he arrived in the UK to claim asylum. In 2007 he failed in his attempt to secure asylum so he decided to use his real name to apply for work as a Senior House Officer (SHO Doctor) with the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust. Following the conclusion of the posting he began work as a dentist in Merthyr Tydfil.

In early 2009 the UK Border Agency received a tip off suggesting that Mr Rasoul was involved in Identity fraud, he was later arrested on the 1st July 2009 while at his place of work in Merthyr Tydfil. A search of Mr Rasoul’s home revealed fake dental qualifications, references believed to have been written by Mr Rasoul, doctored birth certificates and forged letters from the Home Office suggesting Mr Ransoul had the freedom to work in the UK.

Steve Evans of the UK Border Agency’s Immigration Crime Team said that “Rasoul lied to come here, lied to stay here and lied to earn a living. He has taken a job away from someone who was entitled to work in the UK but – worst of all – he has deceived his patients. The UK has a proud tradition of giving asylum to those who genuinely need protection, but Rasoul has tried to work the system for financial benefit. Fortunately, the law has caught up with him and he now faces jail and deportation to Iraq. Anyone who wants to come to the UK to work needs to apply through the correct channels.

Although tighter rules now surround the recruitment of foreign medical professionals (in particular doctors due to the General Medical Councils new requirement to hold a ‘License to Practice’) healthcare organisations and medical recruitment agencies are still being warned to be vigilant when recruiting foreign healthcare professionals.

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 now and we will get right 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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Radical NHS Plans Announced By Health Secretary Andrew Lansley

In the forward to the white paper the Government says that “We will make the NHS more accountable to patients. We will free staff from excessive bureaucracy and top-down control. We will increase real terms spending on the health service in every year of this Parliament. First, patients will be at the heart of everything we do. So they will have more choice and control, helped by easy access to the information they need about the best GPs and hospitals. Patients will be in charge of making decisions about their care. Second, there will be a relentless focus on clinical outcomes. Success will be measured, not through bureaucratic process targets, but against results that really matter to patients – such as improving cancer and stroke survival rates. Third, we will empower health professionals. Doctors and nurses must to be able to use their professional judgement about what is right for patients. We will support this by giving front-line staff more control. Healthcare will be run from the bottom up, with ownership and decision-making in the hands of professionals and patients.”

General Practitioner Responsibility

The way in which services are commissioned in the National Health Service has been discussed for some time by politicians and heath sector organisations. Currently Primary Care Trusts are responsible for commissioning services under the influence of Strategic Health Authorities however this structure has been seen to be bureaucratic and wasteful. Under the new system GPs working in groups would be in charge of vast collections of hospital, mental health and community services – although specialist services and dentistry would not fall under their remit. An independent board would then sit above as many as 500 consortiums of GPs to set standards and hold the groups to account.

The belief is that by handing GPs responsibility for commissioning and abolishing Primary Care Trusts & Strategic Health Authorities the Government can improve the effectiveness of localised commissioning and most importantly cut hundreds of millions from the cost of running the NHS.

The Government will now consult on its plans before rolling them out over the next three years.

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 now and we will get right back to you.

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Tier 1 General Temporary Immigration Cap Details Released By UK Border Agency

How will the Temporary Immigration Cap work?

The UK Border Agency will operate the system on a first come first served basis with a limit placed on the number of Tier 1 General Visa applications considered in any one month. If an application is submitted after the limit for a month is reached, the application will be held and considered in the following months limit. Applications will continue to be accepted during the period in which the limit has been reached; however the UKBA will not process the application until the next month. Applications will be held in a queue by order of the date on which they were received. Applications in the queue will be processed when the following month\’s limit is opened. If application numbers look as though they will exceed the total limit for the whole of the interim period, the UKBA will notify the individual at the time of application. Details of waiting time will be announced on the UK Border Agency Website.

As the Temporary Immigration Cap for Tier 1 General is believed to have been set at 5,400 for the remaining 8 and a half months of the financial year the monthly limits are believed to be:

  • 318 Tier 1 General applications in July 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in August 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in September 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in October 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in November 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in December 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in January 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in February 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in March 2010
  • Permanent Immigration Cap Set in April 2010

What Subcategories of Tier 1 will the Immigration Cap relate to?

The Temporary Immigration Cap will relate to out of country Tier 1 General Visa applications only. If you are already in the UK and you wish to submit a Tier 1 extension application you will not have to worry about:

  1. The Immigration Cap, this will not apply to you, OR
  2. The Increase in Tier 1 General Points. You will not have to gain 100 points rather than 95 points to qualify

The other subcategories of Tier 1 will be excluded from the limit, namely; Investor, Entrepreneur & Post Study Worker (see below). In 2009 there were only around 1,000 Investor & Entrepreneur Visa applications and the Government believe that applicants make such a contribution to the UK that they should be excluded. Although the Post Study Work subcategory of Tier 1 has been excluded for the moment it remains to be seen whether this will be the case in April when the permanent cap is introduced.

What happens if I apply for a Tier 1 General Visa between now and the 19th July 2010

If you apply for a Tier 1 General Visa between now and the 19th July 2010 your application will continue to be assessed as normal. No Immigration Cap will be applied during this period and you will be able to apply with 95 points, rather than 100 points.

What if I am already in the UK under Tier 1 General and I want to apply for an extension?

You will be excluded from the limit if you are already in the UK under Tier 1 (General) and you apply for an extension, or if you are already in the UK under another Immigration category and you switch into Tier 1 (General). For example those already in the UK on Tier 2 General Visas (formerly UK Work Permits) will be able to apply for a Tier 1 General Visa without having to worry about the cap.

Will the UK Border Agency increase Tier 1 General Requirements?

The UK Border Agency has announced that it will increase the pass mark for Tier 1 General from 95 points to 100 points. The increase is expected to come from the Attributes points scoring areas (i.e. Qualifications, Previous Earnings, Age and UK Experience) rather than the English Language or Maintenance Requirements.

An updated application form and guidance document will be published on the 19th July 2010. Please note that you will not have to meet the increased points mark if you are already in the UK in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
  • Writer, composer or artist
  • Self-employed lawyer

If you are in the UK in any other immigration category and you apply to switch into Tier 1 (General), or if you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to score 100 points.

When will the Permanent Immigration Cap be introduced?

The Permanent Immigration Cap will be introduced at the start of April 2011. Full details of the cap will be announced around the time.

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 now and we will get right 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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New Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor Guidance Released

What is the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme?

The aim of the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme is to streamline the application process for Sponsors and to allow the UK Border Agency to concentrate limited on site immigration audit bandwidth on high risk and poorly performing sponsors. By identifying up front ‘those sponsors who are achieving the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor obligations and whose students are showing the greatest compliance with the terms of their visa or leave’ the UK Border Agency can dedicate hard pressed resources to more important areas of the Immigration system while ensuring satisfactory compliance targets are met.

Who is the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme available to?

Initially the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme will only be rolled out to Tier 4 Sponsors however the scheme will be expanded later this year in order to deal with sponsors under Tier 2 and Tier 5. Only those Tier 4 Licensed organisations that have held an ‘A Rated’ Tier 4 license for the last 12 months will be able to apply under the new scheme. This is due to the fact that the UK Border Agency will look at the prior performance of a sponsor in order to determine suitability.

The Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme is a further segmentation of the existing sponsor rating system. Once introduced sponsors will either be considered:

  • Highly Trusted Sponsors (the highest level of Sponsor Segmentation – Greater freedom and streamlined processes)
  • A Rated Sponsors (standard level of sponsor licensing. Sponsors meet all UKBA requirements)
  • B Rated Sponsors (sponsors fall below the requirements for sponsor licensing. They must work towards an ‘A Rated’ License)

Why become a Highly Trusted Sponsor?

Those organisations holding a ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ License will be granted additional freedoms and offered new services to recognise their previous track record of good compliance. Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsors will be able to:

  • Offer courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 and Equivalent
  • Offer courses below degree level that include work placements
  • Assign additional Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificates to students that have already undertaken two re-sits providing the re-sit has been approved by the internal panel and board who authorise re-sits in exceptional circumstances
  • Undertake a more flexible approach to reporting student non attendance of the 10 expected contacts requirement
  • Benefit from a dedicated Account Manager who will manage a portfolio of sponsors and will act as a single point of contact with the assurance of at least one annual visit per year and the option for further services

Dedicated Account Managers

One of the key benefits of securing Highly Trusted Sponsor status is the fact that sponsors receive a dedicated Account Manager who is capable of providing expertise and understanding of the differing tier requirements. The Account Manager attends annual site visits in order to ensure everything is running as it should and all of the sponsors concerns are dealt with. On approval of the status the Highly Trusted Sponsor received a dedicated email address and contact telephone number for the Account Manager.

The UK Border Agency’s Dedicated Account Managers:

  • Build relationships with sponsors in order to address concerns and provide a high quality services
  • Undertake presentations in order to increase awareness of UK Border Agency services
  • Help to ensure that sponsors are attracting genuine international students to the United Kingdom
  • Help sponsors address any queries that they may have
  • Identify trends and options for regional or national forums
  • Maintain and develop the relationships with sponsors
  • Be responsive to customer needs and intervene where issues arise
  • Escalate any concerns appropriately within the UK Border Agency
  • Assist the sponsor to maintain their Highly Trusted sponsor licence

Highly Trusted Sponsor Criteria & Application Fees

In order to apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor License an organisation must pay the £400 application fee and submit a full online and paper based application to the UKBA. Applicants will be assessed against the following nine criteria in the 12 months immediately preceding the application:

  1. Sponsors must have a minimum of six months as a Tier 4 ‘A Rated’ Sponsor
  2. Sponsors must have recruitment practices in place to ensure as far as possible only genuine students are accepted and issued with Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  3. Sponsors must not have been issued with a civil penalty in the last three years and any civil penalty issued prior to that must have been paid in full
  4. Sponsors must have in place practices to minimise the number of refusals of leave for migrants applying with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). In the future the UKBA may publish a target percentage rate for refusals however at the moment refusal information for a particular location does not exist
  5. Sponsors must ensure potential students are vetted thoroughly before issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). The UKBA expects no more than 2% of the total number of students issued with entry clearance to have not enrolled within 1 month of the course commencing
  6. Sponsors must take all reasonable steps to ensure that students attend and complete their course of study. The UKBA expects no more than:
    1. 1% of those ceasing their course within 33% of the course duration
    2. 2% of those ceasing their studies within 66% of their course duration
    3. 3 % of those enrolled who have failed to complete their course
  7. Sponsors must ensure that no more than 5% of the total number of students sponsored who have been granted leave under Tier 4 must have failed to enrol or failed to complete the course
  8. Sponsors must ensure attendance or progression monitoring is completed in accordance with their sponsor duties
  9. Sponsors must not have had any serious concerns raised following a UKBA inspection in the previous 12 months

If an organisation applies for Highly Trusted Sponsor Status but is refused the sponsor retains their existing license unless in the course of the application process the UKBA spot an area of non compliance that may lead to a license downgrade or removal.

Highly Trusted Sponsor Approvals

If the UK Border Agency chooses to approve a Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor application the organisation applying for the status will be placed on the UKBA’s list of Highly Trusted Sponsors and details will be published on the UKBA website. Once approved the organisation is provided with the contact details for the dedicated Account Manager.

At present application times are unknown as the system is new however it is expected that processing times will be published in the future. Sponsors are advised to submit an application as soon as possible in order to avoid any delays in processing. Sponsors that wait may be delayed as a heavy volume of applications is expected.

Duration of HTS Licence

Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) licenses will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval. If a sponsor wishes to reapply for a license it must reapply with the appropriate application fee before the current license expires. In the event that the license expires the sponsors status is downgraded to ‘A Rated’.

Applying for a Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor License

If you are a Tier 4 ‘A Rated’ Sponsor (and have been for the last 12 months or more) and you wish to apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor License Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help. We partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms who specialise in licensing applications and can help to ensure that your application is successful. Our Partners can also help to ensure that any individual Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificates issued to prospective students are issued in the correct manner and that all students meet current Tier 4 (Student) criteria.

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 now and we will get right 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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Public IT Contracts Published Online From July 2010

From July Government Departments will need to publish historic information on the Combined Online Information System (COIN) database and all tender documents for contracts over £10,000. Later in the year all information will be transferred to a single website (rather than individual Governmental sites) and Government bodies will need to provide details of central government spending over £25,000 and p information on international development projects over £500, including financial information and project documentation.

In the letter the Prime Minister said “I would be grateful if departments would take immediate action to meet this timetable for data transparency, and to ensure that any data published is made available in an open format so that it can be re-used by third parties.\”

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 now and we will get right back to you.

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Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme up and running

Highly Trusted Sponsors can now offer the following ‘Restricted Courses’ to Tier 4 (General) Students:

  • Courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 or equivalent, AND
  • Courses below degree level that include a work placement (other than foundation degrees, which can still be offered with a work placement by any Tier 4 (General) sponsor)

Those Tier 4 (General) licensed organisations that only hold a standard license (A-Rating or B-Rating) can now only offer courses at National Qualifications Framework Level 4 or equivalent. These organisations cannot offer a course that includes a work placement unless those courses are degree level courses or foundation degrees. If you are a prospective migrant student and you would like to find out more contact Commonwealth Contractors.

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 Tier 1 Visa Applications / Extensions and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a Medical, Information Technology or Engineering Professional 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 now and we will get right 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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Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor Key Dates

The UK Border Agency is launching the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme in an effort to streamline the application process for Sponsors and to allow the UK Border Agency to concentrate its limited on site immigration audit bandwidth on high risk and poorly performing sponsors. By identifying up front ‘those sponsors who are achieving the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor obligations and whose students are showing the greatest compliance with the terms of their visa or leave’ the UK Border Agency can dedicate hard pressed resources to more important areas of the Immigration system while ensuring satisfactory compliance targets are met.

Key Dates for the launch of the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme for Tier 4 Organisations

  • 22nd March 2010: The Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme is officially launched by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). From this date on the UKBA will accept Highly Trusted Sponsor License Applications from licensed organisations.
  • 6th April 2010: New Immigration Rules come into force which see:
    • Some Publicly Funded Tier 4 Licensed Sponsors placed on the Highly Trusted Sponsor Register automatically
    • Certain courses restricted to only Highly Trusted Sponsors such as courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 and Equivalent and courses below degree level that include a work placement (Note: Privately funded Tier 4 sponsors who hold an A-Rating will be able to continue to assign Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for restricted courses until the end of April, pending an application for a Highly Trusted Sponsor License
  • 30th April 2010: The deadline for Privately funded Tier 4 sponsors who wish to continue to assign CASs for restricted courses after this date
  • 30th May 2010: The date by which the UKBA would like all publicly funded Tier 4 organisations who were given Highly Trusted Sponsor status on the 6th April 2010 to apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor License if they wish to retain the license past the 30th June 2010
  • 30th June 2010: The date that signals the end of the transitional period for becoming a Highly Trusted Sponsor. Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificates issued further to restricted courses can only be assigned by sponsors who have gained a Highly Trusted Sponsor License

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 Tier 1 Visa Applications / Extensions and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a Medical, Information Technology or Engineering Professional 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 now and we will get right 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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Special Report: Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme

What is the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme?

The aim of the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme is to streamline the application process for Sponsors and to allow the UK Border Agency to concentrate limited on site immigration audit bandwidth on high risk and poorly performing sponsors. By identifying up front ‘those sponsors who are achieving the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor obligations and whose students are showing the greatest compliance with the terms of their visa or leave’ the UK Border Agency can dedicate hard pressed resources to more important areas of the Immigration system while ensuring satisfactory compliance targets are met.

Who is the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme available to?

Initially the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme will only be rolled out to Tier 4 Sponsors however the scheme will be expanded later this year in order to deal with sponsors under Tier 2 and Tier 5. Only those Tier 4 Licensed organisations that have held an ‘A Rated’ Tier 4 license for the last 12 months will be able to apply under the new scheme. This is due to the fact that the UK Border Agency will look at the prior performance of a sponsor in order to determine suitability.

The Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme is a further segmentation of the existing sponsor rating system. Once introduced sponsors will either be considered:

  • Highly Trusted Sponsors (the highest level of Sponsor Segmentation – Greater freedom and streamlined processes)
  • A Rated Sponsors (standard level of sponsor licensing. Sponsors meet all UKBA requirements)
  • B Rated Sponsors (sponsors fall below the requirements for sponsor licensing. They must work towards an ‘A Rated’ License)

Why become a Highly Trusted Sponsor?

Those organisations holding a ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ License will be granted additional freedoms and offered new services to recognise their previous track record of good compliance. Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsors will be able to:

  • Offer courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 and Equivalent
  • Offer courses below degree level that include work placements
  • Assign additional Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificates to students that have already undertaken two re-sits providing the re-sit has been approved by the internal panel and board who authorise re-sits in exceptional circumstances
  • Undertake a more flexible approach to reporting student non attendance of the 10 expected contacts requirement
  • Benefit from a dedicated Account Manager who will manage a portfolio of sponsors and will act as a single point of contact with the assurance of at least one annual visit per year and the option for further services

Dedicated Account Managers

One of the key benefits of securing Highly Trusted Sponsor status is the fact that sponsors receive a dedicated Account Manager who is capable of providing expertise and understanding of the differing tier requirements. The Account Manager attends annual site visits in order to ensure everything is running as it should and all of the sponsors concerns are dealt with. On approval of the status the Highly Trusted Sponsor received a dedicated email address and contact telephone number for the Account Manager.

The UK Border Agency’s Dedicated Account Managers:

 

  • Build relationships with sponsors in order to address concerns and provide a high quality services
  • Undertake presentations in order to increase awareness of UK Border Agency services
  • Help to ensure that sponsors are attracting genuine international students to the United Kingdom
  • Help sponsors address any queries that they may have
  • Identify trends and options for regional or national forums
  • Maintain and develop the relationships with sponsors
  • Be responsive to customer needs and intervene where issues arise
  • Escalate any concerns appropriately within the UK Border Agency
  • Assist the sponsor to maintain their Highly Trusted sponsor licence

Highly Trusted Sponsor Criteria & Application Fees

In order to apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor License an organisation must pay the £400 application fee and submit a full online and paper based application to the UKBA. Applicants will be assessed against the following nine criteria in the 12 months immediately preceding the application:

  1. Sponsors must have a minimum of six months as a Tier 4 ‘A Rated’ Sponsor
  2. Sponsors must have recruitment practices in place to ensure as far as possible only genuine students are accepted and issued with Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  3. Sponsors must not have been issued with a civil penalty in the last three years and any civil penalty issued prior to that must have been paid in full
  4. Sponsors must have in place practices to minimise the number of refusals of leave for migrants applying with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). In the future the UKBA may publish a target percentage rate for refusals however at the moment refusal information for a particular location does not exist
  5. Sponsors must ensure potential students are vetted thoroughly before issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). The UKBA expects no more than 2% of the total number of students issued with entry clearance to have not enrolled within 1 month of the course commencing
  6. Sponsors must take all reasonable steps to ensure that students attend and complete their course of study. The UKBA expects no more than:
    1. 1% of those ceasing their course within 33% of the course duration
    2. 2% of those ceasing their studies within 66% of their course duration
    3. 3 % of those enrolled who have failed to complete their course
  7. Sponsors must ensure that no more than 5% of the total number of students sponsored who have been granted leave under Tier 4 must have failed to enrol or failed to complete the course
  8. Sponsors must ensure attendance or progression monitoring is completed in accordance with their sponsor duties
  9. Sponsors must not have had any serious concerns raised following a UKBA inspection in the previous 12 months

If an organisation applies for Highly Trusted Sponsor Status but is refused the sponsor retains their existing license unless in the course of the application process the UKBA spot an area of non compliance that may lead to a license downgrade or removal.

Highly Trusted Sponsor Approvals

If the UK Border Agency chooses to approve a Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor application the organisation applying for the status will be placed on the UKBA’s list of Highly Trusted Sponsors and details will be published on the UKBA website. Once approved the organisation is provided with the contact details for the dedicated Account Manager.

At present application times are unknown as the system is new however it is expected that processing times will be published in the future. Sponsors are advised to submit an application as soon as possible in order to avoid any delays in processing. Sponsors that wait may be delayed as a heavy volume of applications is expected.

Duration of HTS Licence

Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) licenses will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval. If a sponsor wishes to reapply for a license it must reapply with the appropriate application fee before the current license expires. In the event that the license expires the sponsors status is downgraded to ‘A Rated’.

Applying for a Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor License

If you are a Tier 4 ‘A Rated’ Sponsor (and have been for the last 12 months or more) and you wish to apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor License Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help. We partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms who specialise in licensing applications and can help to ensure that your application is successful. Our Partners can also help to ensure that any individual Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificates issued to prospective students are issued in the correct manner and that all students meet current Tier 4 (Student) criteria.

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 Detailsand 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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Changes to Tier 1 General in April 2010

Headline Changes to Tier 1 General

  • Bachelors Degree Qualifications are to be reintroduced into Tier 1 General after a 12 month absence. In April 2009 following challenging economic conditions the UK Border Agency increased the minimum requirements for Tier 1 General from a Bachelors Degree to a Masters Degree. This change not only reduced applications from those looking to come to the UK for the first time but also the retention of existing visa holders (such as those already in the UK on a Working Holiday Visa (now Tier 5) or Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa)
  • Significantly higher bandings for the Previous Earnings requirement are to be introduced (minimum £25,000 required, previously applicants only required £40,000 to score 45 points, now £40,000 only secures 25 points)
  • 75 Points awarded for highly skilled workers with income of £150,000 or above
  • Points awarded for age right up to 39 years of age
  • Tier 1 General approvals will now be granted for an initial 2 years, after which time an applicant can apply for a 3 year extension. Previously applicants were granted an initial 3 years after which time they could apply for a 2 year extension

Tier 1 General Points Required

In order to qualify for a Tier 1 General Visa (formerly the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Visa) an individual must score at least 75 points for Attributes (Qualifications, Previous Earnings, Age and UK Experience) and validate the English Language and Maintenance Requirements.

Qualifications Requirement (Maximum 45 Points)

The Bachelors Degree Qualification has been reintroduced into Tier 1 General after a 12 month absence. Bachelors Degree qualifications were removed from the Qualification requirement due to the recession in April 2009.

  • Bachelors Degree Qualification – 30 Points Awarded
  • Masters Degree Qualification – 35 Points Awarded
  • PHD – 45 Points Awarded

In order to qualify against the requirement an individual must provide his / her original qualification. The qualification must be recognised as a qualifying degree by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC).

Previous Earnings Requirement (Maximum 75 Points)

The Previous Earnings Requirement has been revamped significantly. Highly Skilled applicants with income above £150,000 will now be able to qualify for a Tier 1 General visa outright. Otherwise the minimum earnings requirement has been increased to £25,000 from £20,000 and the bands have been shifted up significantly.

  • Previous Earnings under £25,000 – 0 Points Awarded
  • £25,000 – £29,999 – 5 Points Awarded
  • £30,000 – £34,999 – 15 Points Awarded
  • £35,000 – £39,999 – 20 Points Awarded
  • £40,000 – £49,999 – 25 Points Awarded
  • £50,000 – £54,999 – 30 Points Awarded
  • £55,000 – £64,999 – 35 Points Awarded
  • £65,000 – £74,999 – 40 Points Awarded
  • £75,000 – £149,999 – 45 Points Awarded
  • £150,000 or above – 75 Points Awarded

Please note that if you are a contractor income received in the form of reimbursed business expenses will not qualify as a suitable form of remuneration. Ideally applicants will be able to show stamped and signed payslips for a 12 month consecutive period in the prior 15 months. Gross salary before tax and social security deductions will be assessed.

Age Requirement (Maximum 20 Points)

As the Previous Earnings Requirement has increased significantly the Age Requirement has also been increased with points awarded to individuals who are aged up to 39.

  • Over 40 years of age – 0 Points Awarded
  • 35 to 39 years of age – 5 Points Awarded
  • 30 to 34 years of age – 10 Points Awarded
  • 29 years of age or under – 20 Points Awarded

Applicants normally prove age by providing a valid Passport. Age is considered to be the age at which the applicant submits the application.

UK Experience (Maximum 5 Points)

  • Qualification Obtained in the United Kingdom – 5 Points Awarded
  • £25,000 or higher in previous earnings in the United Kingdom – 5 Points Awarded

Recognising Professional Qualifications

For some time there have been calls for the UK Border Agency to recognise a greater number of professional qualifications, especially those in Accountancy and Law. In the recent announcement the UK Border Agency has said that it already awards Tier 1 General Points for Professional Qualifications and that many Professional Qualifications already exist on the Points Based Calculator. All qualifications on the Points Based Calculator have been recommended to the UKBA by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC).

The UKBA suggests that if an individual disagrees with the Points Based Calculator that should contact their awarding body and ask them to contact UK NARIC in order to assess whether the qualification is suitable.

Tier 1 General Applications

If you are a highly skilled worker who is interested in applying for a Tier 1 General Visa contact Commonwealth Contractors today for a professional visa assessment. The Points Based System is flexible and therefore regularly changes. Commonwealth Contractors OISC registered partners can ensure that highly skilled individuals stay abreast of the latest changes and give themselves the best chance of securing a highly skilled visa.

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 now and we will get right 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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National Insurance Petition

The group says that the proposed National Insurance Increase is a ‘tax on jobs and that the increase will “discourage companies of all sizes from taking on new staff at a critical point in our economic recovery”.

Rather than use a National Insurance increase to close the budget deficit the group is calling for the Government to address the ‘inefficiency in public sector spending’. Last week the REC began a new Public Sector Resourcing Campaign calling for reforms to public sector resourcing and warning against ‘knee jerk job cuts’. The REC’s campaign calls for the government to reduce the cost of back office functions, improve procurement and address the pressing public sector pensions issue.

The group says that research suggests that:

  • Employers face a £25.6bn bill to comply with new regulations between now & 2014 (£14bn is the NICs increase)
  • A 1% NI increase could result in the loss of 57,000 jobs & could cost the Exchequer £900m in social security payments
  • 84% of Institute of Directors members believed that even a 0.5% increase in employer NICs would have a negative impact on the UK economy
  • A 1% increase in employers National Insurance will cost the retail sector an additional £220 million per annum
  • CIPD research found that 12% of employers intend to recruit fewer staff as a result of the planned hike in employers’ NICs, while 8% would cut jobs
  • REC research found that 21% of companies were planning to take on new employees in 2010, recruiters fear this workforce expansion will be choked off by the planned hike in NICs payments

Petition Signatories

  • David Frost – Director General – British Chamber of Commerce
  • Stephen Robertson – Director General – British Retail Consortium
  • Richard Lambert – Director General – Confederation of British Industry
  • Jackie Orme – Chief Executive – Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Philip Orford – Chief Executive – Forum of Private Business
  • John Wright – Chairman – Federation of Small Businesses
  • Miles Templeton – Director General – Institute of Directors
  • Kevin Green – Chief Executive – Recruitment and Employment Confederation

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 now and we will get right back to you.

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