Proposals to re-classify visas as either temporary or permanent
Mr Green said: “The proposals I am making today are aimed at breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration. Settlement has become almost automatic for those who choose to stay. This needs to change. The immigration system has got to be made to work properly. We want the brightest and best workers to come to the UK, make a strong contribution to our economy while they are here, and then return home.”
The current system allows many workers to apply to stay in the UK permanently. This includes overseas domestic worker routes which will be assessed during the consultation as the government does not feel it is right low-skilled workers have a route to settlement when it is looking to remove that right from more skilled workers. In 2010, 84,000 people who entered the UK for employment were granted settlement. This compares to fewer than 10,000 who qualified for employment-related settlement in 1997. The government has already implemented new settlement requirements for skilled workers entering under Tiers 1 and 2 of the points based system, which require applicants to demonstrate English-language proficiency, continue to meet the salary requirements and to pass a new criminality test.
Key proposals under consideration in the 12 week consultation include:
• Re-branding Tier 2 (the skilled worker route) as temporary, ending the assumption that settlement will be available for those who enter on this route.
• Allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK, to retain an automatic route to settlement.
• Creating a new category into which, after three years in the UK, the most exceptional Tier 2 migrants may switch and go on to apply for settlement.
• Allowing Tier 2 migrants who do not switch into a settlement route to stay for a maximum of five years with the expectation that they and any dependants will leave at the end of that time.
• Introducing an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement.
• Restricting the maximum period of leave for Tier 5 Temporary Workers to 12 months.
• Closing or reforming routes for overseas domestic workers.
Damian Green added:
“A small number of exceptional migrants will be able to stay permanently but for the majority coming to the UK to work will not lead automatically to settlement.”
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.
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