New Regime for Highly Skilled Workers
The Government is introducing a new, points-based immigration scheme consisting of five different tiers of workers. For each tier, applicants will need sufficient points to obtain entry or leave to remain in the UK.
The new system is being phased in tier by tier, with a revised Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) commencing on 5 December 2006. Under the new rules, applicants require a minimum of 75 points to qualify for the HSMP.
Controlled Access to UK Labour Market for New Accession Countries
When Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007, low-skilled workers from those countries will be restricted to existing quota schemes to fill vacancies in the agricultural and food processing sectors. There will be no net increase in these existing schemes and workers will be required to have an authorisation document.
Skilled workers will be admitted to work in the UK, as they are now, along with their dependants, if they obtain a work permit or qualify under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.
Bulgarian and Romanian students will continue to be allowed to study in the UK and to seek part-time employment during their stay but will need a work authorisation document to do so. Self-employed workers will continue to be able to work here, but must be able to prove that they are genuinely self-employed.
These new arrangements will be reviewed within 12 months.
The Government intends to take powers to make it an offence for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to work in the UK illegally. The intention is to make the offence punishable by an on-the-spot fixed penalty. Employers who do not comply will be subject to heavy fines.
The Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) will continue to apply to nationals of the 8 central European countries which joined the EU in 2004. The WRS will not apply to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.