New refugee work visa to be revealed
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, is set to unveil plans for a new refugee work visa next week. The work visa will be part of a displaced talent mobility scheme and will see refugees with skills needed to fill job shortages in the UK offered 5-year work permits.
Announcing the new pilot scheme, the Home Secretary said:
“I am announcing that those displaced by conflict and violence will now also be able to benefit from access to our global points-based immigration system.
To enable skilled displaced people who have had to flee their homes to come to the UK safely and legally through established routes.
We will work with the charity Talent Beyond Boundaries and other partners on this pilot project.”
What is the displaced mobility pilot?
The displaced talent mobility pilot will create a work permit route for displaced persons from Jordan and Lebanon who have skills that can be used to fill job shortages. The initial pilot will see the work permit granted to 100 refugees and their families. The visa will grant them entry and the ability to work in the UK for up to 5 years.
It’s also understood that it will be possible for successful applicants to change employers once in the UK and that the new visa will act as a route towards permanent settlement in the UK after 5 years.
Who is eligible for the new visa?
The pilot will be open to people currently living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan, people fleeing conflict in Syria, Gaza and Iraq may also be eligible.
The visa will be a part of the UK’s points-based immigration system. To qualify, applicants will need to prove that they have the necessary skills required to fulfil roles on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List.
It’s expected that applicants will have to fulfil the same requirements associated with the Skilled Worker Visa that include:
- Having a job offer from of UK sponsor company
- Meeting the minimum salary threshold
- Demonstrating a knowledge of the English language
How does the new visa differ to a Skilled Worker Visa?
The new work visa for refugees is similar to the Skilled Worker Visa and it is understood that the intention of the new visa is for it to operate alongside the Skilled Worker Route. The new visa will not have lower eligibility requirements but will instead address administrative issues that can result in discrimination against displaced persons.
The new visa will act as a tailored subcategory of the Skilled Worker Visa where application barriers for displaced persons will be tackled. It is unclear exactly how the pilot will do this but it’s expected that there will be committed case work support to make the application process simpler. Other issues that will need to be addressed include the logistics around meeting the English language requirement as well as submitting travel documents, this is because it is unlikely that the eligible refugees will have degree certificates and other documents available after fleeing their homes.
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