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UK employers urged to prepare for points system

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Employers in the United Kingdom who wish to hire foreign labour are being urged by the government to apply soon for a license to sponsor migrant workers under the new points based system.

The United Kingdom is slowly phasing in a new five-tier points based system to encompass all employment, student, and training based immigration into the country. So far, tier 1 for highly skilled immigration, investment, post-study work, and entrepreneurship is the only tier in effect.

At the end of November 2008, tier 2 for skilled workers and tier 5 for temporary workers will be implemented. Migrant workers coming the the UK under tiers 2 and 5 will be required to have a certificate of sponsorship from their UK employer, who must be licensed to issue certificates of sponsorship.

The UK Border Agency is recommending that employers apply now for certificates of sponsorship so leaving enough time for their applications to be considered and approved ahead of the introduction of tiers 2 and 5 in November.

"Our message to businesses is loud and clear -- if you want to employ foreign workers from outside the EEA, you need to apply now for a sponsor license," said UK Border Agency Chief Executive Lin Homer in a release.

"Business benefits from migrant labour but must join us in helping crack down on illegal working and ensure a system which is both firm and fair," he added.