Immigration minister Liam Byrne announced on 18 April 2007 the timetable for the introduction of the initial points-based system, which is to replace the current existing forms of permission for entering the UK.
The first change will be the introduction of 'Tier 1', to be launched at the beginning of 2008. Tier 1 is supposed to cater for highly skilled migrants.
If it ain't broke...
The first question is, why? What is so wrong with the current system that it needs this complete change? Part of the government's argument has been that there are more than 60 routes into the UK. While these include less well known headings such as Japan Youth Exchange and research students to MPs, the vast majority of applications are filed under rules relating to work permit employment and students.
Is the government bowing to international (US) pressure - as there is also entry into the UK under grounds of representing a religious order?
A further government criticism of the current system is that there are (potentially) two separate applications that may need to be processed. Therefore, it says, there is duplication and delay.
Not only are two applications (initial permission and then additional visa/entry clearance) not always necessary, they actually deal with completely separate points.
Byrne also said: "With the exception of an elite group of highly skilled migrants, all other foreign workers or students will need a UK sponsor to vouch for them, and help us make sure they are playing by the rules." Surely, two separate applications provide the government with sufficient opportunity to not only verify applicant details but also to log sufficient information for travel purposes?
It appears it will no longer be enough for an employer to make the work permit application (and comply with existing Section 8 (illegal working) legislation. One implication i