Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

INSiGHT

winter 08

It’s landed!
Tier 2 PBS - the biggest shake-up of the immigration system for 45 years.

SPECIAL Points Based Immigration Issue
01 02 03 04 05
EDITORIAL:

Points Based Sponsorship Arrives!
LATEST INFORMATION:

Smith Stone Walters - Here to support your business under the new Tier 2 system.
LATEST INFORMATION:

Tier 2 Maintenance Test Transitional Arrangements
USEFUL INFORMATION:

Yet to register as a Licensed Sponsor?
FOCUS ON:

The Youth Mobility Scheme

01

winter 08 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

POINTS BASED SPONSORSHIP ARRIVES!
27 November 2008 heralded the biggest shake-up of the immigration system for 45 years with the introduction of a system that replaces over 80 existing routes to work and study in the United Kingdom with five tiers.

Under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System (PBS), employers (or ‘sponsors’) wishing to engage skilled migrants are no longer required to apply for the issue of a work permit via the UK Border Agency in Sheffield. Instead, sponsors now take responsibility for issuing Certificates of Sponsorship directly to prospective employees coming from outside the EU. Once the certificate has been issued via the on-line Sponsorship Management System, migrants are able to apply via a points-based assessment to come to or stay in the United Kingdom.

EDITORIAL

We are therefore dedicating this edition of Insight to the PointsBased System, and in particular to how the new system shall operate and to the key compliance areas facing employers under this scheme. In addition, we look at the new Youth Mobility Scheme, which supersedes the Working Holidaymaker route into the UK. By virtue of the number of changes being announced and introduced, 2009 should be another eventful year in the world of immigration. The Smith Stone Walters Team look forward to supporting all our clients through 2009 in meeting all your immigration needs and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

02

winter 08 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

SMITH STONE WALTERS – HERE TO SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS UNDER THE NEW TIER 2 SYSTEM.
Just as you would have contacted Smith Stone Walters when a work permit was required, under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System our company shall support your business just as fully as we did before. A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can only be issued by an employee of the sponsoring organisation or a legal representative who has been given access to the sponsorship management system. On your behalf, Smith Stone Walters will therefore ensure each certificate is issued in accordance with the strict policy guidance for Tier 2 and will collate the necessary documentation for retention and any subsequent audit verification. Once a CoS has been issued, the prospective employee must apply for permission to enter or stay in the United Kingdom. Just the issuing of a CoS does not guarantee that the migrant will succeed in getting permission to enter or stay. On your behalf, Smith Stone Walters shall therefore continue to liaise directly with the prospective assignee to facilitate and manage the issue of the associated entry clearance visa. In addition, Smith Stone Walters shall ensure that our clients gain training and support in the use of the Sponsorship Management System, including how this new system should be used to notify the UK authorities in regard to the changes in your migrant work force.

LATEST INFORMATION

In short, Smith Stone Walters shall continue to do what we do best – supporting your company in securing the right to engage skilled overseas migrants in strict accordance with UK immigration law.

TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
What will happen with work-permit applications during the transition to the points-based system? All work-permit applications received before the launch of Tiers 2 and 5 shall continue to be treated under the current work-permit system. If a migrant worker makes an application for entry clearance or for further leave to remain on the basis of a valid work permit, he or she will also be treated under the current immigration arrangements. Work permits will remain valid for entry into the United Kingdom for six months after being issued, as is currently the case. They will therefore remain valid after the launch of Tiers 2 and 5. Prospective migrants applying on the basis of a work permit issued before Tiers 2 and 5 launch do not have to meet the Tiers 2 and 5 attributes requirements.

03

winter 08 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

TIER 2 MAINTENANCE TEST APPLIED TO ENTRY CLEARANCE PROCESS – NEW!
Prospective assignees seeking entry to the UK under the Tier 2 scheme must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependants. For the main applicants this means having £800, which can be their own funds, or an A-rated sponsor, who is the applicants’ prospective UK employer, can certify that he or she will be responsible for their maintenance in a letter. Assignees using their own funds must hold the money in their personal bank accounts for a minimum of three months, for which they must show bank statements or other evidence immediately preceding and dated no more than one month prior to the date they submit their applications.** They will need a further £533 for each dependant accompanying them to the UK. The balance must not have fallen below the required minimum at any time during the three-month period. When a UK employer agrees to certify an assignee’s, and any dependant family’s, ability to maintain themselves in the UK, the assignee must provide a letter from his or her A-rated sponsor. This must be on the organisation’s official letter-headed paper or stationery and have the official stamp of that organisation and must show:

LATEST INFORMATION

Assignees using their own funds must hold the money in their personal bank accounts for a minimum of three months, for which they must show bank statements or other evidence.

the assignee’s name (plus the names of any additional family members covered), the assignee’s CoS reference number, the sponsor’s name and logo, and confirmation that the sponsor has certified maintenance for the assignee and, if applicable, any family members.

**

For four months after the date Tier 2 goes live the UK authorities will accept that the maintenance requirement has been met, provided that the assignees can show that they have the specified amount of funds available prior to the date of their applications. The assignees therefore do not have to show that it has been in their bank account for a minimum of three months.

04

winter 08 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

QUESTIONS ON THE NEW POINTS BASED SYSTEM Smith Stone Walters are here to give you advice and guidance on the new responsibilities your company has as a licensed sponsor.
What if my organisation has yet to register as a Licensed Sponsor?
If your company intends to recruit skilled migrants via the Points-Based System, you will be required to hold a sponsorship licence. In applying to be listed on the register of licensed sponsors, your UK business will be required to meet the following criteria:

USEFUL INFORMATION

that you are a legitimate organisation working within the law in the United Kingdom, that there are no reasons to believe that you are a threat to immigration control, and that your organisation will meet its sponsorship duties; these duties include record keeping, reporting, compliance, co-operating with the UK Border Agency, and tier-specific duties.

Where can you gain support in securing a licence and maintaining compliance?
Smith Stone Walters has formally demonstrated to the UK Border Agency that we hold a good understanding of the sponsorship arrangements, along with presenting evidence relating to the types of checks and services we make when working with clients. We are therefore able to support and assess a prospective sponsor’s compliance fully under the new Points-Based System. Having already successfully supported many clients in acquiring a sponsorship licence via the UK Border Agency, the three key areas upon which Smith Stone Walters strongly advise clients to focus when seeking to gain a licence and protect themselves against prosecutions in the future are: following the procedures outlined in ‘Comprehensive guidance for employers on preventing illegal working’ to protect yourself from penalties for employing illegal workers, having a system in place to ensure that the contact details of address, telephone, and mobile telephone of each migrant worker are kept up to date, and having systems in place to make sure that migrants are monitored sufficiently; for example, making regular contact if the migrant works at client sites or from home, and establishing a suitable procedure for the size, type, and structure of your organisation to make sure that your designated responsible person is informed of any circumstances which should be reported to the UK Border Agency and then does so. For further advice on what responsibilities your company has as a licensed sponsor, please contact Smith Stone Walters.

05

winter 08 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters
UK: USA: Smith Stone Walters 111 John Street Suite 800 New York, NY, 10038 Tel: +1 646 378 4407 Fax: +1 646 378 4409 Email: usa@ smithstonewalters.com Smith Stone Walters Ltd Title House 33-39 Elmfield Road Bromley Kent BR1 1LT Tel: +44 (20) 8461 6660 Fax: +44 (20) 8461 6661 Email: info@ smithstonewalters.com

FOCUS

Within each of our quarterly newsletters, Smith Stone Walters highlights a particular area of UK immigration law to provide clients with a clear and concise account of the key issues. We trust this section will prove to be both informative and of interest to you. Our focus for this quarter falls upon...

The Youth Mobility Scheme – Allowing young people
between 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for up to two years.

WHO CAN APPLY? To apply, you currently have to be a national of: • Australia, • Canada, • Japan, or • New Zealand.* WHAT ARE THE APPLICATION CRITERIA? Before you apply, you need to make sure that you meet the criteria detailed below. These will give you the 50 points necessary to qualify for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

Your finances - 10 points awarded.
You must have an amount equivalent to £1,600 for maintenance held in your personal bank account on the date of your application. This is worked out based on the exchange rate at the time when you apply ARE THERE ANY OTHER RULES? Under the new scheme, you: • must not be travelling with any dependent children, • must not previously have spent time in the UK on the UK’s Working Holidaymaker Scheme or Youth Mobility Scheme, • must not set up a business, play professional sport, coach professionally, or work as a doctor in training in the UK, • but you may travel with your spouse or partner as long as he or she has his or her own Youth Mobility Scheme visa or qualifies for entry in another way. HOW DO I APPLY? If you meet the application criteria, you can apply for your Youth Mobility Scheme visa from your home country. For further advice on gaining entry to the UK via this scheme, please contact Smith Stone Walters.

Sponsorship status - 30 points awarded.
You must have a valid passport that proves that you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, or New Zealand* – *Please note that British Overseas Citizens (BOC), British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC), and British Nationals (Overseas) (BNO) are also eligible for visas under the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Your age - 10 points awarded.
You must be aged at least 18 when your visa begins and under 31 on the day you make your application

This publication is not meant to be used as a substitute for proper professional advice based on the facts of a particular transaction as it is not intended to be a complete coverage of the subject. Smith Stone Walters Limited accepts no liability for any action taken based on the contents of this publication.

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