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New REC Public Sector Resourcing Campaign

With at least a partial economic recovery now underway in the United Kingdom it is only a question of time before public sector expenditure is cut by the Government. The Conservatives have said that they will tackle the black hole sooner rather than later, meaning that if they successfully win the next General Election expenditure could be cut sharply. This has led the REC to begin a campaign aimed at convincing the ‘major political parties and public sector organisations that reform, rather than random cuts, is what’s needed in response to the public sector expenditure crisis’.

In a statement the Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Kevin Green, said that “A new approach to public sector resourcing is urgently needed. If new and workable methods aren’t implemented, short-term cost reductions will severely hamper the delivery of public services. Flexible resourcing must be seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”

The REC is calling for:

  • Creative solutions to reduce the cost of back office functions: In the last few years a number of Government Departments have been combined to achieve cost savings, especially related to costly back office functions.
  • Improved Procurement
  • A review of the cost of employment in the Public Sector e.g. addressing the pressing issue of public sector pensions

The group says that the recruitment industry is ‘well placed to help the public sector by:

  • Maximising top talent
  • Assisting the public sector in resourcing more effectively
  • Providing a flexible workforce
  • Outsourcing recruitment to the private sector

In the public medical sector the NHS has become reliant upon specialist agencies to deliver locum Doctors, Nurses, Allied Health Professionals etc. These specialist agencies play a crucial role in helping the NHS maintain a flexible workforce and continue to plug gaps in hospital rotas. They ensure ‘top talent’ is secured and help hospitals to resource more effectively.

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 Student suspension partially lifted in India, Bangladesh and Nepal

Since the 1st February 2010 Tier 4 Student has been suspended at the following visa application centres:

  • North India: New Delhi, Jalandhar, Chandigarh
  • Bangladesh: Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong
  • Nepal: Katmandu,

The suspension has affected thousands of genuine students wishing to study a higher education course at a UK Academic Institution. In the final three months of 2009 the three Indian Visa Processing Centres alone dealt with 12,320 Tier 4 Student Visa Applications.

The Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Pat McFadden said that “The suspension was taken in response to a huge surge in applications over a very short period of time. I am delighted to be able to announce today that, from 1st March 2010, this suspension will be lifted for all students wanting to study higher education courses, whether foundation degrees, undergraduate or postgraduate.”

However the suspension has not been completely lifted, with applications for Tier 4 Student Visas at a level lower that undergraduate still not being accepted. On the partial suspension Mr McFadden said “we will continue to keep this under review and will lift it as soon as we can, and once the new \’highly trusted sponsor\’ system for colleges and other educational establishments across the UK is in place.\”

UK Universities and the Economy

UK Academic Institutions in particular will be relieved to hear that the suspension will be lifted. Many Universities rely on higher fee paying International Students who often account for a large proportion of University revenue (resident nationals normally pay significantly less that foreign students and tuition fees are often subsidised by the government depending upon the students individual financial circumstances).

It has been estimated that International Students as a whole bring in around £8.5 billion pounds worth of income for the UK economy each year. With many Universities feeling the pinch in the wake of the economic slowdown fees from international students have been highly sought after, which is why many Institutions breathed a sigh of relief when the recent changes to Tier 4 were less severe than expected. From the 3rd March 2010 new rules will be introduced that will tighten Tier 4 of the points based system with changes including a restriction on student work during term time to 10 hours per week (from 20 hours per week).

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).

For more information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please send a copy of your current CV if available.

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Tier 4 Suspended in India (North)

The Visa Processing Centres that have been affected by the suspension are:

  • North India:
    • New Delhi
    • Jalandhar
    • Chandigarh
  • Bangladesh:
    • Dhaka
    • Sylhet
    • Chittagong
  • Nepal:
    • Katmandu

Jeremy Oppenheim, the head of the Points Based System at the UK Border Agency said “The points-based system gives us the flexibility to act to maintain the integrity of the visa system, while processing legitimate applications fairly, thoroughly and as quickly as possible. We continually check and monitor all student applications and education providers to ensure that they meet the required standards set by the points-based system. As a result of this routine monitoring and an increase in applications, we have temporarily stopped accepting new applications from North India, Nepal and Bangladesh while we carry out an investigation to ensure they are all genuine. We will take tough action against those who attempt to abuse the system.”

Visa Processing Statistics

In the final 3 months of 2009 the three Indian Visa Processing Centres dealt with a total 12,320 Tier 4 Visa Applications. In December the only centre to see a significant increase in the number of applications was Jalandhar which recorded 943 more applications in December than in November.

New Delhi:

  • In December 2009 the Centre dealt with 593 Tier 4 applications
  • In November 2009 the Centre dealt with 806 Tier 4 applications
  • In October 2009 the Centre dealt with 979 Tier 4 applications

Jalandhar:

  • In December 2009 the Centre dealt with 2,150 Tier 4 applications
  • In November 2009 the Centre dealt with 1,207 Tier 4 applications
  • In October 2009 the Centre dealt with 1,498 Tier 4 applications

Chandigrah:

  • In December 2009 the Centre dealt with 1,919 Tier 4 applications
  • In November 2009 the Centre dealt with 1,344 Tier 4 applications
  • In October 2009 the Centre dealt with 1,824 Tier 4 applications

Each month Commonwealth Contractors produces Visa Processing Statistcis relating to Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 & Tier 5.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors represents highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with a number of UK based Agencies & Consultancies who require the services of highly skilled professionals with skills difficult to find in the UK. If you are a UK based Agency and you wish to advertise a highly skilled role on Commonwealth Contractors please Submit your details now and we will get right back to you.

For more Information 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 current CV so that we can pass details to our Agency and Consultancy Partners.

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Earned Citizenship & Identity Cards

The new Earned Citizenship System will be split into 3 parts:

  1. Temporary Residence (time spent on Tier 1 (formerly HSMP) or Tier 2 (formerly UK Work Permit))
  2. Probationary Citizenship
  3. British Citizenship or Permanent Residence

In order for a migrant to progress from the Temporary Residence stage to the Probationary Citizenship stage he or she will need to:

  • Spend a minimum amount of time in the UK – 5 years for Tier 1 (Highly Skilled) & Tier 2 (Skilled) migrants
  • Obey the law
  • Pass an English Language Test and / or a Life in the United Kingdom Test
  • Meet additional requirements – those on the Work route will need to still be employed and paying taxes

By providing Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants with an Identity Card and linking the National Identity Register to National Insurance Numbers will the UK Border Agency in future check with the HM Revenue & Customs to ensure tax compliance? At present a worker normally provides a letter from his or her employer to confirm that the employment is ongoing but no investigation is made by the UK Border Agency as to whether taxes are being paid.

If in future the UK Border Agency intends to check whether an individual is employed and paying taxes will they:

  • Request a letter of employment and ask the employer to declare that all taxes are being legally paid?, OR
  • Request confirmation from the HM Revenue and Customs? If so what happens where the migrant does not have a National Insurance Number? Where they have yet to submit a Self Assessment Tax Return? Where they owe outstanding tax to the HM Revenue and Customs? Will issues negatively affect an application?

Of course, all of these questions are simply theoretical at the moment, however it is worth considering as the Government has come under pressure to make it more difficult for migrants to gain UK Permanent Residence & Citizenship (hence the Earned Citizenship system). This is due in part to the prospect of UK population hitting 70 million by 2028 & greater pressure on Public Services etc.

If you are a Tier 1 or Tier 2 migrant Commonwealth Contractors recommends gaining a National Insurance Number and ensuring all appropriate taxes are paid to the HM Revenue and Customs during the course of Tier 1 or 2 employment. If you are a freelance contractor on a Tier 1 visa it may be a good idea to avoid using a Contractor Limited Company until Probationary Citizenship has been secured. For Non EEA nationals on Tier 1 visas better options exist for dealing with project billings than using a Contractor Limited Company.

For more Information call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you.

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Changes to Tier 1 in 2010

Recommendations for Tier 1 General (formerly the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme):

  • A minimum Bachelors Degree qualification should be reintroduced to Tier 1 General, at present applicants require at least a Masters Degree of better: 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). By reducing the minimum education requirement the UKBA will:
    • encourage more fresh Tier 1 visa applications
    • improve the retention of those on Working Holiday Visas & Tier 1 Post Study Work Visas
    • reduce the number of applications currently made under Tier 2 General (formerly UK Work Permit)
  • Successful applicants should receive an initial two year stay rather than the current three years. If they are in highly skilled employment they should be able to apply for a three year extension at the end of two years.
  • Professional qualifications should be considered equivalent to a Masters Degree. Qualifications include those in Accountancy, Healthcare, Finance etc
  • The ‘Salary Multipliers’ should be reviewed: Salary Multipliers are used where an individual has income from a foreign country. The multiplier takes into affect the regional differences in income
  • Significant increases should be made to the thresholds under which applicants claim points for previous earnings. Anyone with income below £24,000 should not receive any points: At present those with income between £20,000 & £22,999 receive 15 points and those with income between £23,000 and £25,999 receive 20 points. Those that wish to claim maximum points for previous earnings in the future may also require greater income (at present 45 points are awarded for £40,000+)
  • High earners with income of at least £150,000 should not need to satisfy the educational requirement
  • Applicants under the age of 39 should receive points: At present anyone aged 31 or below scores points under Tier 1. The age category is likely to be raised due to the fact that the Previous Earnings requirement will be increased and the Salary Multipliers will be made more difficult. Younger applicants are less likely to earn as much as older applicants.

Recommendations for Tier 1 Post Study Workers:

  • The Post Study Work sub category of Tier 1 should continue, however the MAC suggests that the Government should access whether all courses and colleges should be treated in the same way.

The Government is expected to make an announcement on changes to Tier 1 in early 2010. Normally the MAC’s recommendations are fully implemented.

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