Immigration Controls

Home Department written question – answered on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Ian Paisley Jnr Ian Paisley Jnr Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has made of the balance of power in the employee/employer relationship when (a) people on a work permit/Tier 2 who lose their job also lose the visa that entitles them to reside in the UK and (b) a work permit/Tier 2 employee is obliged to work for the employer that recruits him or her and cannot move to another employer unless the UKBA agrees to the transfer.

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Immigration

Non European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals entering the UK to undertake employment are protected by UK employment law. They have the same employment rights as settled workers. If an individual loses a job under the Tier 2/work permit arrangements, their leave to remain in the UK is curtailed to give them 60 days to find alternative employment or make arrangements to leave the UK. Non EEA nationals entering the UK to undertake employment do so on the basis of taking a specific job with a specific sponsor.

Individuals can change employers but must obtain permission from the UK Border Agency before doing so. This is to ensure that the job has been offered to resident workers and is at the appropriate skill level and being paid the appropriate rate. This safeguards opportunities for resident workers as well as protecting non EEA workers from being underpaid. It is the UK Border Agency's duty to ensure that non EEA nationals entering the UK comply with their terms and conditions of stay and sponsors adhere to the obligations to which they have signed up. Where overseas workers and sponsors abuse the immigration rules the UK Border Agency will take appropriate compliance action.

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