Changes made to immigrant worker rules

Key changes which now affect whether overseas butchers and meat processors can work in the UK have been implemented.

Among the changes, employers now have to pay those applying to work in the UK, after 6 April 2010, a higher minimum salary. Fortunately, due to a shortage of skilled meat boners and trimmers in the UK, businesses wishing to recruit overseas workers generally non-EU/EEA are usually exempt from some of these new tougher and more costly requirements.

Employers failing to comply with the immigration rules face civil penalties of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.

Since 6 April 2010, the points an individual can earn from their education and salary changed. Fewer points will now be awarded for overseas workers earning lower salaries in the UK, and no points will be available to those who are paid less than £20,000 per year. This means employers will have to pay new overseas workers more, unless those individuals can earn points for their education.

The shortage occupation list sets out jobs that are recognised as being difficult to fill with UK workers. It allows employers to recruit, circumventing the bureaucracy and costs surrounding the rules on advertising, which apply to skilled jobs that do not appear on the list. But workers must still be paid at least £9 per hour. The workers will also need to pass an English language test.

Overseas workers already in the UK who wish to remain working here for the same employer do not have to sit another English language test or provide further evidence of their finances, their prospective earnings or their qualifications.

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