Immigration system a complex burden for employers

The UK immigration system is still ‘tremendously complicated’, with employers expected to shoulder most of the burden, according to campaigners.

Speaking at an immigration policy fringe event at the Labour Party Conference last night, Don Flynn, director of the Migrants’ Rights Network, claimed the government’s new points-based system still enables migrants up to 40 routes of entry into the UK, not five as the government has advertised.

The fact that employers now have most of the responsibility to make sure they legally hire and check migrant workers may not necessarily lead to a fairer system, he added.

“The [government’s] Migration Advisory Committee told me under the five routes of entry there are actually 30 or 40 categories. The new system is still tremendously complicated.”

He added: “Employers are now expected to shoulder a huge level of responsibility for checking the status of migrant workers. But can we really be confident that all these changes will produce social justice?”

Flynn also mocked the ‘peculiar’ tv ad campaign of Olympic hurdles aimed at enticing employers to apply for licences to hire migrant workers under Tiers 2 and 5 of the system, covering skilled and temp migrant workers respectively.

Meg Hillier, junior minister for immigration, who was present at the meeting, insisted the new system would make things easier for employers. She told Personnel Today: “Employers spend a lot of money on examining documents at the moment. The Foreign National ID Cards which come in on 25 November will help employers to check migrants’ status and avoid the fine,” (up to £10,000 for each illegal worker).

She added: “If you’re a responsible employer you should want to hire someone legally. We’re not out to penalise employers, we are here to stop illegal working.”

Last month Personnel Today reported that just 168 organisations had been granted licences, leaving thousands with just weeks to apply before the new tiers come into force in November.

The Home Office has advised that employers wishing to hire migrant workers should apply for licences by October, to allow time for a UK Border Agency inspection visit.

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