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Pinoy Abroad

DFA issues advisory on changes in UK immigration system

March 31, 2011 9:20am
The Philippine Embassy in London advised Filipinos in the United Kingdom, especially those who plan to work or study there, of recent changes in the Points-Based System of Immigration (PBS) effective this April.

In a news release posted on the Department of Foreign Affairs website, the Embassy said the UK Border Agency (UKBA) had announced the major changes in the PBS.

"Filipinos are advised to check detailed information on the guidelines and requirements for applying to work or study in the UK on the website of the UK Border Agency at," it said.

Also, it said they should verify any job offers, particularly those secured online, with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) at or the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-UK (POLO) at or

The DFA noted the changes are meant to reduce net migration, to build confidence in the Immigration System, to select the best and brightest to work or study in the UK, and to bear down on the abuses of the system.

Under the new system, the Tier 1 (Highly-Skilled Migrants) General Category will be closed to new applications while transitional arrangements will be introduced for existing Tier 1 visa holders looking to extend their stay.

Exceptional Talent visas will be introduced for people in science and the arts.

Prospective Entrepreneur Visas will likewise be introduced and settlement in the UK for investors will be accelerated.

For Tier 2 (Skilled Migrants) Category, there will be a limit of 20,700 places for Out-of-Country (out of the UK) applications, as the route will become more selective and target the best workers.

Tier 2 will be reserved for graduate occupations determined by the UKBA and the Migrant Advisory Committee (MAC) – the current list includes nurses, medical practitioners, IT operations technicians, finance/investment analysts and engineers.

The full list is posted on, the DFA said.

It also said sponsors (employers) will have to apply for Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) with the UKBA.

COS for Intra-Company transfers, In-Country applications (those already in the UK), and those earning over £ 150,000 per annum will not be affected by the new limit.

In the Tier 4 (Students) Category, all sponsors must be accredited by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED) and its devolved equivalents.

All sponsors must also be a UKBA Highly Trusted Sponsor. University and publicly-funded further-education colleges' students will retain current work rights of 20 and 10 hours a week, respectively. All other students will have no right to work.

Only postgraduate and government-sponsored students on more than 12 month courses can bring dependents, and these dependents can work in the UK.

Post-study work route will be closed except for those who have an offer of a skilled job under Tier 2.

"The current changes and limits will not apply to those who are already in the UK and who entered the country under a different set of guidelines," the DFA said. — LBG, GMA News
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