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Home Office News on 07 August 2009
The UK Border Agency has today announced changes to the points-based system, and has revised its guidance for employers and education providers who sponsor migrant workers and students.
We have made these changes in response to concerns that our customers have raised, and to ensure that the points-based system continues to facilitate the trade and travel that benefits the United Kingdom while also ensuring that the immigration system is not open to abuse.
The changes to the system include:
creating an escalation route for university vice-chancellors and academic registrars through the use of a dedicated mailbox for urgent incidents requiring immediate attention, with a guaranteed response within 72 hours; and
modified rules on students' maintenance requirements.
Additionally, we are:
developing new guidance for 'milkround' recruitment campaigns, to provide a truer test of the resident labour market whilst meeting the needs of businesses;
outlining our plans to develop our IT system, making it even easier for customers and sponsors to use;
looking at developing a new employer-led route for interns, to sit alongside and complement our existing Government Authorised Exchange scheme; and
making a number of changes to our guidance for points-based system sponsors.
We hope these measures will demonstrate our continuing commitment to building a system that controls the numbers coming to the United Kingdom while also facilitating trade and travel.
You can download a full list of the changes to the sponsor guidance, and information on the other announcements we have made, from the right side of this page.
7th November 2006
On 7 November 2006 the HSMP was further revised. The overall points score required for approval was increased to 75 points.
The Work Experience, Achievement in applicant's chosen field, HSMP Priority Applications for General Practitioners, and the Partner's Achievements sections were removed from the Programme and the points awarded for qualifications and previous earnings were amended. The Young Person Assessment was also amended to include additional age bands. An additional points scoring section was introduced for UK Experience, as was a mandatory requirement to demonstrate an appropriate level of English language skills.
We are experiencing some temporary delays in the processing for Leave to Remain and specific Work Permit work streams including Worker Registration Scheme and Highly Skilled Migrant Programme applications which may be inconveniencing some customers. As a consequence of these delays we have increased our processing capability to ensure that these delays are quickly overcome. The delays relate to a change in our payment processing contractor which we are confident will lead to a better service for all our customers in the near future. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused and are working hard to recover our service standards.
March 2006, the UK announced its new approach to immigration using a points based system. While this system is not expected to be in place until, at the earliest, mid-2007, some of the changes it will bring be as follow.
Under the new HSMP scheme, it will be simpler for highly qualified immigrants to obtain visas, while less skilled immigrants will find it more difficult (as has always been the case!). Now, however, specific points will be awarded to all potential immigrants based on the applicant's age, financial situation, education, qualifications, English language ability and other factors. All applicants other than the most highly skilled will need to provide a certificate of sponsorship from an approved sponsor, such as an employer or a school, when making their application. Sponsors will have to apply to sponsor a potential immigrant and will also be rated by the Home Office.
The new HSMP system is not a linear ranking of attributes but a system of weightings and trade-offs. This means that, for example a person with just a Bachelor's degree and high previous earnings, or someone with a UK PhD and relatively low previous earnings would equally earn enough points to apply. The government says the system is still objective to use, since it is clear how many points will be awarded for a given attribute, and how these attributes can be combined to gain enough points to make an application.
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