In the first of a series of online ‘Bitesize Briefings’ for UKWA members, the Association’s specialist legal advisor Aaron & Partners confirmed that the Government has made a series of welcome changes to the new immigration rules affecting businesses employing overseas workers.
Significantly for warehouse operators, the previous minimum requirement for RQF Level 6 has been dropped to Level 3 (A level equivalent), in recognition of the need in some sectors for lower skilled workers. Furthermore, the Resident Labour Market Test has been abolished, which means employers no longer have to prove that employment has been offered first to British workers, the six years maximum stay is no longer applicable and the annual quota for immigrant workers has been suspended.
Ikram Malik, specialist immigration solicitor at Aaron’s commented, “These changes are clearly good news for the warehousing industry and other sectors that have historically depended on immigrant workers. This will help with staff shortages, allow companies to employ specialists from overseas and is likely to improve staff retention.”
He added, to take advantage of these opportunities, employers need to apply to the Home Office for a Sponsor License. For SMEs with 50 staff or fewer, annual turnover of less than £10.2m and assets of less than £5.1m, the cost is just £536. The license is granted for four years and in addition to other advantages, it provides visibility of the sponsor to overseas students who have graduated in the UK and are looking for work here.”
UKWA CEO Clare Bottle concluded, “This was a valuable half an hour spent over lunch break, with key points delivered concisely by Ikram. The changes he shared with us are indeed welcome, although we seek leniency from Government in enforcing immigration regulations on members at this early stage post-Brexit, and we would also urge consideration for further reducing the skills requirement to RFQ Level 2.”
The next Bitesize Briefing, which will look at Limitation of Liability, will be held at 12.30-1pm on Thursday 23rd September.