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News 2008
News ->New immigration points-based system begins

(6 February 2008)

Liam Byrne, Borders and Immigration MinisterDetails of Britain's new Australian-style points based immigration system (PBS) were announced today as the Government published the rules for highly skilled Indian workers applying to come to the UK. The regulations will start coming into force on 29 February 2008 when any highly skilled foreign nationals currently working in Britain who want to extend their stay will need to apply under the new system. In April, the new system will begin to be rolled out overseas when anyone from India who wants to work in the UK as a highly skilled migrant will need to apply under PBS. By the summer the new highly skilled system will operate worldwide.

Speaking from Delhi during a visit to discuss how PBS will work with the Indian Government, Borders and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: "Our points system is starting on time and on plan. I've no problem with taking the best systems in the world, like Australia's points system, and bringing them to the UK. This is a key part of the huge shake-up to our border security this year."

"The points system means only those migrants Britain needs can come to the UK. We know that migrants contributed to our economy to the tune of £6 billion to GDP in 2006. A strong system for highly skilled migrants is vital to Britain winning these benefits because these migrants are well-educated and pay lots of tax."


Under the new system applicants will need sufficient points to qualify for entry to the UK to train, study and work. Points are awarded according to objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience. It also introduces a formal link between applicants and their sponsors who will have a better idea of the likelihood of success of the application.

Tier 1 is the first of five tiers of the PBS due to be rolled out over the next 12 months. Tier 2, targeting skilled workers with a job offer and Tier 5, for temporary workers such as musicians, actors and sportsmen will both come online in the third quarter of 2008. Tier 4, for students, will follow at the beginning of 2009. There are no plans to introduce tier 3, which covers low skilled routes.


The announcement follows the completion in January of the Border and Immigration Agency's global rollout of fingerprinting for all visas three months early. Now every person in the world coming to the UK on a visa has their fingerprints taken and their details checked against watch-lists - if they're on the list for the wrong reason they can't come in and could be banned from applying to come again for up to 10 years.


The retrospective HSMP change has been severely criticised by the Labour Party's own MPs and Lords. The HSMP Forum claims that "the points based system which is set to be implemented will create age and racial discrimination apart from which there are other difficulties to sustain stay under the scheme. One of them includes ignoring income levels ranging from migrants based in various parts of the UK e.g. salaries drawn in London is much higher than salaries drawn in other parts of the UK. The new mask of tier 1 given to HSMP tends to treat the scheme for temporary stay contrary to the earlier approach of making it a platform for settlement of immigrants."

Baskaran Kumarasamy, Executive Committee Member of HSMP Forum said "The overall phase by phase approach of the Government is to restrict and eradicate majority of the Indians and other non EEA nationals from the UK by creating difficulties for them from initial entrance to sustaining their further stay. "

" The UK Home Office has been coming up with many difficult propositions which would make life in the UK more difficult for Indians and other non EEA Nationals. The recent of them are;

  • Increase in the application and renewal fee to almost double for those under tier 1 General Highly Skilled Migrants (GHSM) scheme
  • Proposed security deposits for visitors and cut in the duration of their stay during the visit to 3 months.
  • Employers employing non EEA migrants will be asked to pay a one time license fee of £1000 to act as sponsor. "

Mr Kumarasamy added "the majority of British and Asian Origin MPs, Lords and Race Equality and Human Rights bodies have been criticising the retrospective HSMP changes and the Points Based System which is being applied by the Home Office. The Immigration Minister is turning a blind eye to all."

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