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Need a UK work permit sponsor? Make sure your employer has a sponsorship licence

by Marissa 30/07/2009 14:05:00

The sponsorship licence is vital for
any employer acting as a UK
work permit sponsor

It's been 10 months since the introduction of the Employer Sponsorship Licence as part of the UK work permit sponsor process. Since November 2008, the UK Border Agency made it a requirement that every employer looking to bring in new non-EU migrant workers to the UK OR extend the work permit of current employees MUST have a valid and current employer sponsorship licence.

For more information on the application process, download the sponsorship licence information PDF or check the FAQ below.

How has the employer sponsorship licence changed since its introduction? 

While the licence and eligibility criteria have remained the same, I'm happy to report that processing times are much faster than expected, with current timeframes standing at 1 to 3 months (as opposed to the 6 months initially stated by the UK Border Agency).

How does a company qualify for an employer sponsorship licence? 

To qualify for a licence, organisations must complete an online application, making sure to provide all supporting documentation and meet the necessary evidentiary requirements. This MUST be supplied within ten days of the initial application.

Please note: Failure to submit all required documents could result in a company’s application being delayed and further costs being incurred. Following the receipt of these documents, the company will then be subject to a compliance visit from the UK Border Agency, who will verify whether or not to grant the licence. Companies will also be required to comply with the illegal working requirements. 

What are the illegal working requirements and how do they affect a UK work permit sponsor?

The illegal working requirements state that all non-EU employees are required to provide documentation that proves their right to work BEFORE being employed by a UK company, and copies of this information must also be retained by the employer.

Employers and UK work permit sponsors who fail to keep the requisite information on all non-EU employers can be served with penalty notices, unless the employee has valid and subsisting leave to be in the UK, and that leave does not restrict them from being employed by the company. 

What are the penalties for a UK work permit sponsor that does not have an employer sponsorship licence?

Companies without an employer sponsorship licence will be unable to bring in new non-EU migrant workers to the UK or extend the work permits of current employees. Any non-EU employees they hire will be considered illegal workers, with the maximum level of penalty being a fine of £10,000 per employee and up to two years imprisonment. 

The information package is a great first step for any employer looking to apply for an employer sponsorship licence, and explains the service that the UK Visa Bureau provides. We recommend that any UK employer of non-EU migrants read the document in full (as well as any supplementary information on employer sponsorship requirements on our website), and then complete a UK visa application.

- Marissa Murdock is the Casework Department Manager for the UK Visa Bureau. To contact the UK Visa Bureau, complete a UK visa application.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Return of the 10 pound pom: How to get your £10 flight to Australia

by Tom 15/07/2009 13:50:00

The £10 flights are only on offer
to working holiday visa holders.

Could it be the 21st Century return of the "10 pound pom"? The price makes it seem too good to be true, but the £10 flight to Australia offer being promoted by STA Travel is 100% genuine, although some are still confused as to how they can take advantage of this astonishing deal.

For the uninformed, on Wednesday, 5th August, 150 one-way Qantas tickets to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane or Adelaide will be put on sale for just £10 from STA Travel. However, there's one small catch; only Australian working holiday visa holders will be eligible for the offer.

How can I be eligible for a £10 flight to Australia?

As the offer's exclusively for working holiday visa holders, the answer's simple; makes sure you've been granted your Australian working holiday visa! While applying is fairly simple with our online visa application, it can take a week or two in some cases for the visa to be granted. Therefore, it's vital that you make your application sooner rather than later if you're keen to get your hands on the deal of the decade.

What does an Australian working holiday visa let me do?

The Australia Working Holiday Visa gives young people between the ages of 18 and 30 from working holiday visa eligible countries the opportunity to have an extended stay in Australia for up to 24 months. 

The visa allows you to make your initial entry into Australia no later than 12 months from the date that the visa was granted. The visa permits you to stay in Australia 12 months from the date that you first enter Australia, and you can then leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you wish during your 12 month stay. However, if you depart Australia during your 12 month stay you are not able to recover the period of time you have spent outside Australia.

Where can I go to purchase a £10 flight to Australia once I have my working holiday visa approved?

The flights are set to be put on sale at the eight following STA promotional branches on Wednesday, 5th August:

  • Belfast (92/94 Botanic Avenue BT7 1JR)
  • Birmingham High St (222-224 Corporation Street B4 6QB)
  • Bristol (43 Queens Road BS8 1QQ)
  • Glasgow (122 George Street G1 1RF)
  • Leeds (88 Vicar Lane LS1 7JH)
  • London Victoria (52 Grosvenor Gardens SW1W 0AG)
  • Manchester (Albert Square 86 Cross Street M2 4LA)
  • Southampton (6-8 Civic Centre Road SO14 7FL)   

Doors open at 8am, but don't expect to be alone in trying to take advantage of this deal, as keen applicants have been advised to camp out beforehand to be in for a chance at the £10 tickets.

Remember though, even if you're first in line on the 5th of August, you won't be able to purchase the ticket without a valid working holiday visa. Don't miss out on becoming a "10 pound pom"; apply online for your Australian working holiday visa today.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Important upcoming changes to New Zealand immigration

by Jodie 09/07/2009 14:54:00

Changes are coming to New
Zealand immigration.

The New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) recently announced a number of changes set to come into effect on July 27 that will impact both the temporary and permanent New Zealand visa categories.

The most important of these changes are those set to be made to the List of Skilled Occupations and the Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL). In an effort to have the lists align the revised version of the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), both lists will see:

  • The removal and addition of new occupations;
  • The addition of specialisations within occupations;
  • Occupation title changes;
  • Occupation scope changes; AND
  • The merging of occupations.

What does this mean for my New Zealand visa application?

The changes to the List of Skilled Occupations and LTSSL have the potential to change the eligibility of an applicant for a New Zealand visa, depending on whether their nominated occupation is added or removed from either of the lists.  However NZIS have also made provision in their policy for applicants whose occupation is removed from the LTSSL but have already had their Expression of Interest (EOI) selected from the pool. These applicants will NOT be affected, and they will continue  to be considered as if their occupation had not been removed.

However, what I advise all applicants to do is please remain calm. We are currently in the process of reassessing all our clients, but should you be trying to complete the process without the aid of a licensed immigration advisor, I advise that you take the time to research the changes and get a full and correct understanding of how they will affect you before taking action.

What other changes are coming to New Zealand immigration?

To summarise the other changes coming to New Zealand immigration, we can expect the following further changes to be made on July 27:

  • A new policy called Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) has been established and replaces the Transitioning to Recognised Seasonal Employer (TRSE) policy. As a result, some TRSE changes have been made as a reaction to the introduction of SSE policy. For more detailed information on these changes see the following news item on the NZIS website: 'New seasonal work policy for horticulture and viticulture businesses and amendments to Recognised Seasonal Employer policy'.
  • A special Visitor policy has been introduced for work permit holders who have received a dismissal notice within the 90-day trial period.
  • The Essential Skills work policy has been amended to limit the visa and permit length to one year for lower skilled workers. Additionally, a note has been added to state that self-employment does not meet the Essential Skills policy objectives.
  • All New Zealand working holiday visa holders may now undertake more than one course of study, which must not exceed three months in total during their stay in New Zealand. Working holidaymakers from Canada, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and Taiwan may study more than one course not exceeding six months in total.

- Jodie List is Casework Department Manager for the New Zealand Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.