UK points-based immigration system deemed ‘utterly inflexible’ by lawyers

The government’s points-based immigration system has caused unexpected problems for UK companies hiring staff from overseas because it is “utterly inflexible”, the Financial Times has reported.

The points-based system was launched last year in a bid to keep ‘British jobs for British workers’, but has led to delays in visa approvals for organisations recruiting foreign staff for positions in the UK. It has also led to problems with graduate recruitment, internships and training schemes.

Leading immigration lawyers told the Financial Times that the system was “utterly inflexible” and pointed to the absurdity of FTSE 100 companies having to advertise senior positions in local job centres to see if a UK resident could fill the role.

Employers’ group the CBI said it strongly supported the points-based system and that the Home Office was responding quickly to problems.

But Neil Carberry, head of employment policy at the CBI, said: “There is growing frustration that rules are getting changed pretty much on a weekly basis, and there is frustration about visa delays.”

The Home Office said nine out of 10 visa applications outside the UK were being processed within three weeks. It added it was exploring changes to internship rules and encouraging visa case workers to be flexible over mistakes on application forms.

Lin Homer, UK Border Agency chief executive, told the FT: “Where concerns have been raised we have acted swiftly.”

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