Immigration Cap - The New Changes

Posted on In Focus Apr 2011 - by Tandoori Editor
Immigration Cap - The New Changes

With a new government and a change in one of its pledges, Maria Fernandes looks at how immigration is being drastically reduced.  

The march to Trafalgar Square last year to save the curry industry resulted in a temporary reprieve. The Migration Advisory Committee decided, having received evidence, that chefs were in acute short supply, and that it was not possible to plug those gaps within the UK without a proper infrastructure or training measures in place. The government of the day agreed.
Since last year the coalition government has changed one of the pledges it made to reduce immigration numbers. This article charts the changes.
Tier 2 employers will continue to require Sponsor Licences. Later this year there will be proposals for creating a “highly trusted scheme” which is currently being introduced for students.
The measures for change include:
• Raising skill levels to graduate levels
• Introducing a cap on numbers, initially a temporary one and from the April 6,
 a permanent one.
• Raising English qualifications
The starting point: Graduate level (NVQ level 4)
The permanent cap introduces the following conditions as the starting point as far as chefs are concerned:
• Minimum pay must be £28,260 per annum after deductions for accommodation, meals and other allowances
• The job requires five years experience in a similar role
• The job is not a fast food outlet, a standard fare outlet or take away, ie  where sauces are bought in and not prepared from fresh ingredients)
• The job is in one of the following roles: 
- Executive chef (only one per establishment)
- Head chef (only one per establishment)
- Sous chef (only one per four staff per establishment)
- Specialist chef (only one per establishment)
Those who had allocations of certificates and did not use them by the April 6, 2010 will automatically lose them.
Annual limits
From the April 6, there will be two types of jobs: Restricted and unrestricted jobs. The process will depend upon whether the person is applying to come from abroad or from within the UK. 
Restricted positions
This is for applicants coming from abroad only. There will be an annual cap of 20,700 per year from April 6, 2011 to April 5, 2012 divided monthly with 4,200 granted in April and 1,500 thereafter. 
Assessing points
Points need to be scored from two areas:
Stage 1: Shortage occupations will score 75 points; certain PHD level jobs will score 50 points (these positions are specified); and where the resident labour market test is conducted there will be a score of 30 points. Shortage occupations will be prioritised over other occupations.
Stage 2: Points are scored on the basis of salary. The rule here is the higher the salary the greater the points (see table on bottom right). No other information or circumstances are taken into account.
An applicant must score points from both the above. The application cut off is the fifth and will be considered on the 11th of each month and will solely be approved on the basis of the highest scores.
Where there is an increase of up to 100 extra positions which score the same number of points, they will be granted, and the next month’s allocation will be proportionately reduced. If there is an under use it will be rolled forward to the next month.
An applicant will need to score a minimum of 32 points to make it a valid application, otherwise the system will not allow the request  to proceed.
If the application is successful, you will be notified within five working days. If it is unsuccessful, a fresh application has to be made the following month. It is only possible to issue a certificate for the position applied for at the salary stated.  
Unrestricted positions
This is for those already in the UK either with the same employer, changing employer or switching from permitted categories.  
The UK Border Agency sent an email in the second week of March this year, requesting applicants to outline any staff they needed. Those who responded will receive an allocation if the request is accepted.
Those who did not reply will be zero rated. However, once the system is up and running, it will be possible to make an application via the sponsor management system. 
Certificates granted can only be used for the job as requested, ensuring that the skill is at the level permitted, the labour market test – if appropriate – is carried out and the correct salary paid. 
The English Level
The minimum level for new applicants will be raised to B1. This extends the level to reading, writing, speaking and listening. Those already in the UK under the rules in place before April 6, 2011 will not be subject to these changes.
Other changes
• The salary of employees must be paid into their personal bank or building society account. Payments can no longer be paid in cash. This rule will apply to all new and existing employees
• The minimum salary must be £20,000
• The employer will need to declare that the appropriate rate is being paid. This will make it easier for employers to be stripped of their licence if they are found not to be paying the declared amounts.
Applicants who qualified before April 6, 2011
Those who qualify before April 6, will not be subject to:
• The annual limit,
• The new graduate level job requirement
• The new salary requirements
• New English requirement
This applies to those extending their stay and those who are changing employers.
Those applying after April 6, will need to pass the Life in the UK test. The ESOL qualification will no longer be accepted.
The salary bands:
Salary Points
£  20,000 — £  20,999.99 .....   2
£  21,000 — £  21,999.99 .....   3
£  22,000 — £  22,999.99 .....   4
£  23,000 — £  23,999.99 .....   5
£  24,000 — £  24,999.99 .....   6
£  25,000 — £  25,999.99 .....   7
£  26,000 — £  26,999.99 .....   8
£  27,000 — £  27,999.99 .....   9
£  28,000 — £  31,999.99 ..... 10
£  32,000 — £  45,999.99 ..... 15
£  46,000 — £  74,999.99 ..... 20
£  75,000 — £  99,999.99 ..... 25
£100,000 — £149,999.99 ..... 30
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