UK Government Announce Work Permit Changes

by : Charles Kelly

In a week when Tory leader David Cameron pledged that a Conservative Government would cut immigration, John Reid seems to be beating him to the punch.

Home Secretary Reid has brought in a raft of immigration restrictions since he replaced Charles Clarke earlier this year, and he’s only just getting started. The entire immigration system is currently being overhauled as part of the Government’s 5 year stategy, which includes the introduction of a new Points-Based Scheme.

This month alone the Home Office announced three important changes to Work Permit schemes and the ‘leave to remain’ process.

On 10th November the Home Office announced that FLR (Further Leave to Remain) forms were changing from 8th November. That’s right, they published the changes two days after the forms were withdrawn.

This means that if you are dealing with any ‘in country’ Work Permits you will need to download the new FLR forms from the Home Office website

The FLR forms were ammended following surprise restrictions to the HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) on 7th November. The previous HSMP scheme was temporarily withdrawn, without notice, pending the introduction of a new sheme on 5th December 2006. See article: “New HSMP Rules – Even Bill Gates Would Not Qualify" –

On Monday 13th November it was revealed that the WP1 or Work Permit Application forms will be changing again effective 27th November. Existing forms will be accepted up until 22 December. The change also applies to WP1X and various other Work Permit forms.

The Home Office has removed more occupations from the ‘Shortage Occupations’ list including various categories of Engineers. This follows the removal of Nursing from list in August, causing problems for Care Homes applying for Work Permits.

More Details Released on Points System

At a recent conference of Immigration Law Practitioners John Larkins, Deputy Director of Managed Migration revealed further snippets of information on how the points based system will operate.

Mr Larkins was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) in London. As one of the scheme’s principle architects Mr Larkins was able to give us an insight as to how the system will work in practice, but stressed that the actual rules were still not finalised.

Employers and educational establishments will be required to register as ‘Sponsors’ and will be expected to take responsibility for the suitability of candidates, as well as informing the Home Office of ‘no shows’ and early leavers.

Up to 60000 employers and 8000 educational establishments are expected to register and a grading system is likely to be introduced.

Work Permits will be replaced by ‘Certificates of Sponsorship’ issued by registered employers, who will be expected to vouch for their candidate’s “Ability and Intention".

The Home Office has already started recruiting 190 Account Managers and 140 Compliance Officers to manage sponsors, prior to the first phase being implemented in April 2008.

I will be covering this subject in more depth in a future article on

If you should have any questions or views concerning Work Permit, Visa Extensions, Leave to Remain or need help finding staff please email Charles Kelly

For regular immigration updates see:

HOW 2 COME TO THE UK to Live Work Study or Visit by Charles Kelly & Cynthia Barker2005 ISBN 0-9546338-3-0. Available from our website,, leading bookstores in the UK and National Bookstore, Glorieta and Manila Area.