The Points-Based System for granting Work Permits to non-EU workers, said to have been rushed by the Government is having unexpected effects on companies looking to recruit from overseas.
Despite being under development since the 2005 election, the system was introduced “without proper consultation”, according to Nichola Carter, a partner at Penningtons, and representative of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.
Quoted in the Financial Times, Nichola stated: “They didn’t really consult properly to begin with, though they have started to, now things are going wrong”.
One complaint was that the system had a negative impact on companies trying to bring in talented overseas graduates, even though the Points-Based System was only meant to bar lower-skilled migrants from being recruited instead of British workers.
“The message to the rest of the world is incredibly negative, just as we need to maintain our economic attractiveness,” says Sarah Keeley, immigration lawyer at Cameron McKenna.
“It was never a fact that Joe Public was worried about a highly skilled professional coming over from New York or a Chinese engineering graduate on a traineeship.”
One problem is claimed to be that the ‘box-ticking’ approach to hiring overseas employees works well for straightforward applications, but falls short of addressing the many “odd” cases. With the previous system, cases were assigned to a case worker empowered to consider unusual circumstances.
Some MPs have questioned whether internal company moves, where organisations are bringing in staff from overseas offices, are used as a loophole in the system.
The Migration Advisory Committee, which monitors the system, is expected to announce this week whether these issues will be addressed, and will also announce if more professions are to be made off-limits to non-EU workers because of the recession.