Monday, December 3, 2007

UK Sponsor to be Required for UK Visa Application

Effective January 1, 2008, United Kingdom (UK) will start implementing its new immigration policies for all foreign workers. Edgardo Espiritu, Philippine Ambassador to London, announced this information.

One of the proposed changes presented to the UK Parliament last March is that all visa applicants in UK will now be required to have a UK sponsor. Under the new system, applicants for a UK visa will be classified into five levels and will be subject to a points-based system. This new rule will cover all foreign workers except the highly skilled.

The Filipino community voiced out their concerns about the new policy and the proposed changes have enthused debates. In his report to the home office, Espiritu said, "The announced implementation of the UK's new points-based immigration system beginning on 1 January 2008 has caused concerns for the Embassy as it will affect the current and future movement of Filipinos into the UK."

Filipinos in UK are specifically worried about the lack of clear guidelines for domestic workers and for Filipino workers presently working there. Espiritu said, "The proposed system is not clear where the domestic workers stand nor is it clear on the status of those who are already in the UK."

For their sentiments to reach the UK policymakers, Espiritu conducted a meeting with the Filipino migrant community groups, like the Center for Filipinos, and immigration advisers for migrant workers like the Kalayaan.

To protect the interest of Filipino workers, the Ambassador consulted with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of London, the UK Parliament, and immigration solicitors and advisers.

In one discussion, Espiritu emphasized that Filipinos " made positive contributions toward the enrichment and strengthening of the British society" and that Filipinos "should be equally proud to convey the same to our British friends."

Espiritu added, "The embassy will continue to dialogue with various sectors of the Filipino community, immigration practitioners, and the media on the effects of the new system on our migrant community."

by: Carmela Bognotia (ofwguide)

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