How can the immigration changes affect your dream of building up a global career? Immigration changes in USA, UK, Australia and Canada.

July 20, 2018

How can the immigration changes affect your dream of building up a global career? Immigration changes in USA, UK, Australia and Canada.

The changes in immigration scenery have brought an air of uncertainty among global companies and professionals. For companies which need to hire globally to keep their businesses and operations competitive, these changes mean intensification in their talent pool shortage which blocks business growth. For professionals and students who have the desire of working, living and studying in a different country to support their global careers, these changes mean the possibility of having visas and work sponsorships decrease drastically. 

I have participated in a few discussions between global companies and immigration service providers where they decided to get together, share and debate their immigration challenges and potential solutions for them. I decided to make available what I have heard and seen in my professional day by day in an easy and summarized way to help the members of Ubeyon’s community understand better the current changes in immigration and their implications in building up a global career.

Let’s divide this blog in 4 sections where we will discuss the actual and proposed policy changes in immigration and the best practices for work permits/visas for these countries: USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Before I start, I am not an immigration lawyer and I don’t have the intention of giving legal advice here. I am just sharing my professional experience in the Global Human Resources field. I have to educate myself and participate in different events to provide the best solutions for my companies. We have hired or transferred a few foreign nationals between our offices globally.

All the countries highlighted here will be watching their visa requests more closely. Any small mistake can affect companies and professionals. The best way to overpass these challenges is educating yourself better. Consequently, let’s start!

This first blog will be about:

Policy changes in immigration and the best practices for work permits for Uk.

In the UK if you break an immigration law by entering or exiting the country, you could be banned from the country for 10 years, consequently, let’s be very careful when applying for a selection process there and visas. You don’t want to spoil your career chances there.  In the UK, there is a five-tier visa system consists of the following:

Tier 1 Visa: for ‘high-value migrants’ outside the EEA which covers entrepreneurs, investors, and ‘exceptional talent’ visa (very rare).

Tier 2 Visa: for ‘skilled workers’ outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK. An employee needs a sponsor to be able to work in the UK. Such as skilled workers who are transferred to the UK (different office location) by the same company, skilled workers where there is a proven shortage in the UK labor market, ministers of religion and athletes.

Tier 3 Visa: for low-skilled workers for specific temporary labor shortages (very rare).

Tier 4 Visa: for students outside the EEA.

Tier 5 Visa: six sub-tiers of temporary worker including creative and sporting, charity, religious workers, and young workers for holiday’s season.

The most common visa process is Tier 2 (this is the one which I will be talking about). Companies use it for hiring and transferring foreign talent for long-term employment (not just a business trip). Under Tier 2, you have Tier 2 General which is used for new hires. For this category, you will need to take an English language competency, IELTS and TOEFL 

Companies need to apply for a valid sponsor license before applying for a work visa for the employee. Once the company has this license it is valid for 4 years. You should make sure the company which you are considering to participate in the selection process has this license otherwise your visa will not be processed.

The company also needs to provide a labor market test showing that it has not been successfully able to hire a citizen for the position you are being considered. The employer must carry out the resident labor market test, which means advertising the position for at least 28 days in accordance with strict Home Office requirements. An employer is exempt from the test if the employee will earn over 155,300 pounds per year. Please be aware that from April 2017, employees will have to earn at least 159,600 pounds per year to avoid the test.

That is why here your resume needs to be perfect and match the job description and requirements of the company. Work on it, and adjust your resume! 

With this test, companies are trying to prove that they have tried to recruit first nationals but have not had a good response for the role, or the national candidates are not qualified enough to be hired. Can you see how your professional qualifications need to be outstanding in the UK market?

Sharing two cases which I took care of, for one of my companies/clients in the UK. I hired a JAVA developer in Brazil to work remotely with a few projects and clients in the USA. While working in Brazil remotely, we had a few projects in the UK with Universities clients. The employee said he would like to experience working in Europe, consequently, I started preparing the process internally. For this visa, my employee had to take an English language competency IELTS (not TOEFL) and my HR department applied for a labor market test. As mentioned above as a company, we need to show that we have not been successfully able to hire a citizen for the position you are considering to hire a foreigner. We advertised the position for at least 28 days (by law).

The first time we did it, we failed because my employee’s qualifications and resume were not “special” enough, UK citizens had a similar skill set. I could not sponsor my employee. I had to go back and plan a new strategy. I studied our internal projects, the technology behind it; I searched the labor market of UK to understand the lack of skill set there and my employee’s professional background. I realized that we didn’t just need a JAVA developer; we also needed someone who knew Liferay (a portal technology which is based on JAVA). Consequently, I planned an intensified training where he would learn and practice the new skills set not found in the UK market. We did it for 6 months. My employee was very smart, learned very quickly and delivered a short-term project under this technology while in Brazil. Now that he had a new skill set, we redid the job description and his resume and followed the same process again (a labor market test). This time, we proved that we were unable to recruit and select nationals for the role.

The second case was with a NET. An architect who went through the same process, however; because he was an architect with experience in the latest technology at that time, we did not have any issues. We hired him as an employee who was transferred from one office to another (Tier 2ICT). You can do this after one year working as a full-time employee with the same company. In the USA, it’s called L visa. A minimum salary is required for both categories.

I am sharing inside company’s knowledge that you would probably never have access to. Can you see how hard is for companies to hire internationally? Can you see how we had to come up with a completely different strategy to bring the employee to the UK?  Can you see how your professional qualifications need to be outstanding in the UK market? You need to bring something special for the country. 

New rules for UK immigration

New rules for Tier 2, the process will be more expensive which will make companies think twice before looking for talents outside the UK and bringing them on-board.

New immigration skills charges of 1000 pounds per skilled worker per year for large employers and 364 pounds for small or charitable employers. For example, a large employer would have to pay 5,000 pounds to sponsor an employee for 5 years. Applications for Ph.D. and graduate trainee roles will be exempt from the charge. Can you see as higher as your educational degree is, easier becomes? Invest in your education!

Higher minimum salary– The minimum salary for Tier 2 (General) will increase to 30,000 pounds per year (from 25,000 pounds).

Transferring employees within the same company– The minimum salary will increase to 41,500 pounds per year and Tier 2 (ICT short-term staff) category will be closed to new applicants in April 2017. All the applications will have to be under the ICT (long-term staff) category, which has higher minimum salary.

Additional – Criminal background. Be out of trouble, please!

Immigration health surcharge– From April 2017, ICT migrants will no longer benefit from the current exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge. The main applicant and their dependents will have to pay 200 pounds per year. A family of four on five-year visas will need to pay 4,000 pounds extra, for example. The employee usually pays this surcharge at the time of submitting their application, but in many cases, they are reimbursed by the employer.

How can Brexit impact the visas in the UK?

This is still an immigration proposal. Before the cutoff date (not determined yet), foreigners who have lived in the UK for five years will receive an offer to remain permanently in the country and have equal rights as UK citizens. For those who have not lived in the UK for 5 years before the exit of UK from EU, they will be able to apply for visas and/or status until to reach 5 years. After reaching 5 years, they can apply for UK citizenship. After the cutoff, the immigration status of new applicants will be needed and will be not guaranteed.

I hope it was insightful, thank you for reading it! Please be tuned for the second country: Policy changes in immigration and the best practices for work permits for Canada!


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