Business Leader Magazine seeks Migrate UK’s opinion on new Prime Minister

Barney Cotton, assistant editor for Business Leader Magazine spoke to Karen Kaur, Migrate UK’s senior immigration consultant:

‘Boris Johnson is a Prime Minister who knows that ‘playing the numbers game’ is not going to cut immigration levels as has been the Conservative manifesto since 2010 whilst Theresa May was still Home Secretary. Maybe that is why May became Prime Minister as there was the hope that migration levels will be reduced but Boris has learnt from this. Although migration from EU member states has dwindled, the rest of the world is still open for business and continues to compete for a place in the UK market.’

‘Although Boris doesn’t commit to reducing immigration levels, he does propose to put in place a stringent points-based system like Australia, which will see an elitist immigration system which takes into consideration a migrant’s level of skill, education, age and English language proficiency thus, side-lining the lower skilled migrants.’

‘However, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is proposing to drop the skill level to RQF level 3 so Boris’s request to the MAC to focus on an Australian points-based system to ‘control’ migration as oppose to ‘lowering’ it, may well be taken into consideration but without his desired result.’

‘It would be much better to see the quota system abolished alongside lowering of skill levels as MAC proposes, as there is a need for both highly skilled migrants and those that work in key manual and seasonal roles. Boris’s assertion that the migrant’s professional and personal skill levels be taken into account, will no doubt be a welcomed viewpoint on the way in which migration should be handled but his blasé approach with failing to comment on the cut to immigration levels has swung in his favour. He hasn’t promised to cut migration, but he has shown the intention to curb it.’

MAC report recommends additions to the shortage occupation list

Personnel Today, People Management and Recruiter report on MAC (Migration Advisory Committee) recommendations.

Vets, web designers, psychologists and architects are among the occupations that have been proposed as additions. It was noted that the shortage occupation list was last reviewed by the committee in 2013. The labour market has changed significantly since that time.

Migrate’s senior immigration consultant Karen Kaur was approached for her comments. Karen highlighted that the recommendations only apply under the current immigration rules.

“Now the list will cover 9% of the jobs within the market as opposed to 1% as previously seen. In fact, these recommendations should reach further to include engineers and IT professionals to the shortage list, as we have seen an increase in companies in the engineering sector contacting us with growing concern about their future workforce.”

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UK looks beyond EU – migration from south Asian countries increases 30 per cent

Francis Churchill from People Management has examined
registrations for National Insurance numbers, comparing 2017 figures with 2018. The registrations indicate a decrease in EU workers and an increase in migrants from south Asian countries. People Management interviewed Migrate’s senior immigration consultant Karen Kaur.

“Migrate UK has seen an increase in the number of intra-company transfers from Asia.”

“While the statistics echoed last week’s National Audit Office report showing a drop in EU migration, it was also a positive sign that despite Brexit concerns, the UK was still able to find the skills it needed elsewhere.”

“[Businesses] are trying to make a conscious effort to find somebody within the UK. But if people are not available, and EU nationals are saying they don’t want to stay for these roles, that doesn’t mean we’re not able to pick up the skills from the rest of the world.

“I think we’re finding that although [Brexit has] stopped a lot of EU nationals coming to the UK, it hasn’t stopped the rest of the world.”

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Continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit sees fall in EU workforce in UK – ONS statistics

Businesses unable to make recruitment decisions risk losing talent to competitors – and not just from outside the UK.

Karen Kaur, Migrate’s senior immigration consultant has noticed that some businesses are choosing to put sponsor licences in place in order to avoid uncertainty and get on with job.

Personnel Today spoke to Karen, asking her about the significance of the ONS statistics.

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Migrate UK advises businesses who want to recruit EU nationals to “get them into the country before 29 March” and ensure they are registered.

The British Chambers of Commerce has said a no-deal Brexit would cause significant changes to terms of trade, but businesses lack the information they need to plan accordingly. Key questions have been put to the government about the ability for staff to travel for work in Europe and the availability of skilled European labour in Britain if an exit deal is not agreed by 29 March.

Lauren Rebecca Brown from People Management spoke to Karen Kaur.

Despite the government issuing guidelines in regard to European leave to remain, Migrate’s Karen Kaur warns these are temporary measures.

Kaur advised businesses who know they want to recruit EU nationals to “get them into the country before 29 March” and ensure they are registered. 

EU citizens and their family members already resident in the UK by 29th March 2019 will be welcome to stay under the current rules of free movement. They will have until 31st December 2020 to make an application for ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-settled’ status.

Once free movement has ended from 30th March 2019, EU citizens arriving from this date for the first time will require permission to remain under the UK immigration rules. For those wishing to stay for more than 3 months, they will need to apply for temporary leave to remain valid for 3 years. This allows work and study but is non-extendable. To stay longer or be able to re-enter, they will need to meet the UK skills based immigration system still under review;

Until the details of any skills-based system are settled, employers can no longer realistically use incoming EU nationals as part of a long-term staffing strategy. British Chambers of Commerce figures released in January revealed businesses across all sectors, particularly manufacturing, were already facing significant and increasing difficulties in recruitment.

With no indication yet of what minimum financial thresholds will exist under the skills-based migration system, any workers given temporary leave to remain may still face having to leave after three years.

“Medium and highly skilled workers are likely to meet the threshold, but lower-skilled workers would be most affected,” she added.

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Migrate UK advises businesses – be proactive; do not bury your head in the sand

HR Magazine  Brexit: The latest

With little clarity from the government, what can businesses do?

Karen Kaur was interviewed by HR magazine for her insights into the actions businesses could be undertaking.

“There are some practical steps HR can take in the wake of all of this ambiguity, advises immigration analyst at Migrate UK Karendeep Kaur. January saw the launch of the government’s EU Settlement scheme, allowing EU nationals who’ve been in the UK five years to apply for ‘settled status’, and those who haven’t for ‘pre-settled status’.

“You need to engage with each individual because each person’s situation will be different,” says Kaur. “So HR has to ask its workers questions like ‘are you married?’ Don’t bury your head in the sand as an HRD. Because if there is no deal it could be that we only have a three-month transition period to get statuses sorted.”


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People Management speaks to Karen Kaur – EU nationals need to register under EU Settlement Scheme to avoid uncertainty

In an attempt to provide guidelines for EU nationals living and working in the UK, the government has announced that under a no-deal Brexit, EU nationals arriving in the UK after 29 March would have to apply for leave to remain in order to stay more than three months.

The government would introduce an interim arrangement that would allow European Economic Area (EEA) citizens and their families to come to the UK to visit, work or study for three months, after which they would need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain.

This would give them a further three years, after which they would need to apply again under the skills-based immigration system that the government hopes to have in place by 2021.

People Management contacted Migrate for their comments:

Karen Kaur, Migrate’s senior immigration consultant said an interim period would prevent a “complete shutdown” on recruiting from the EU in the event of ‘no-deal’, but it would be a “temporary reprieve”.

There would be more uncertainty after the three years as it is still unclear whether EU nationals with temporary reprieve will meet the new migration rules.

“Yes they’re still going to be able to stay for up to three years, but after that they’ll be expected to leave again if they don’t meet the minimum threshold,” she said, adding that medium and highly skilled workers were likely to meet the threshold, but lower-skilled workers would be most affected.

Migrate UK advises businesses that know they are recruiting EU nationals to “get them into the country before 29 March” and ensure they are registered under the government’s EU Settlement Scheme to avoid the uncertainty. “At the moment we know that a pre-settled or settled application is not costing anything and the decision process is quite swift,” she said.


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Government launches EU Settlement Scheme

People Management asked Karen Kaur for her comments

The benefit of the scheme was that it allowed employers and HR professionals to apply early and “spread a sense of security” through their workforce.

However, there is the potential for a huge number of applicants looking to apply.  Therefore it is more than likely that the system will fall over in the attempt to process millions of applications which will undoubtedly be flooding in.

So saying that, one of the aims of the public test phase is to combat any issues with the system prior to the nationwide launch in March 2019.


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Government’s immigration whitepaper signals need for businesses to secure sponsor licences

Personnel Today – HR Review sought out Migrate UK immigration analyst’s advice for businesses after the government published it’s whitepaper for immigration.

From the magazine:

Karendeep Kaur gave the following advice:

Today’s long awaited new immigration white paper won’t necessarily safeguard EU workers’ future in the UK if Britain ends up with a ‘no deal’ Brexit, or help with the skills shortage. While a no deal would mean no transitional period for EU workers to transfer to pre-settled status, it would also result in a likelihood that companies would immediately be required to hold a sponsor licence, which can take up to four months to secure and thereafter issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to their employees.

Now more than ever is the time employers must take immediate action, to help safeguard the skills they need to grow their business in times of uncertainty. To safeguard additional skill shortages, HRs and employers should apply for a sponsor licence now so the business has the correct permitted documentation to employ EU workers whether there’s a deal or no deal.

Identify all your EU workers and their current status in the UK – have some already got a registration certificate (RC) or a permanent residency (PR)? If not, for the sake of just £65, depending on their status, employers should help employees to arrange either a RC or PR and obtain a passport which is going to be a requirement in place of the National ID cards. If they have EU family currently in the UK with them then can do a combined EEA Family Member application with the RC or PR application.


Government White Paper confirms skills-based immigration system