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Understanding immigration quotas


Even though immigration quotas are not generally used for migrant workers coming to the UK, your business should be aware of the special arrangements for workers from Romania and Bulgaria.

The Sectors Based Scheme (SBS) allows UK based employers to use Romanian and Bulgarian nationals only to fill certain special jobs within the food manufacturing industry. The SBS Scheme is only available if your business cannot recruit the workers it needs from what are called ‘resident workers’ - defined as workers within the EEA (European Economic Area).

To allow immigration quotas to take place, your business must apply for a letter of approval under the immigration quotas scheme. After you have gained approval, your workers can then make a formal application, using form BR3, to the UK Border Agency. If successful, they will be issued with the accession worker card that enables them to work legally in the UK.

Note that you should check the status of anyone from Romania or Bulgaria that would like to work for you to ensure they are not already exempt from work authorisation requirements. More details are available in the leaflet 'Sectors based scheme (Bulgarian and Romanian national only) - guidance for employers' that is available to download from the UK Borders Agency website.

Using the immigration quotas scheme does not mean your business has any reduction or exemption from normal migrant worker law. If you are in any doubt about the legal standing your business has when using the SBS system, always seek qualified advice as soon as possible. Ignorance is never a defence under UK law, so make sure you are using SBS in accordance with all the current immigration laws and regulations.

If you would like to obtain legal advice about employing migrant workers, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist immigration solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local immigration solicitors please call us on 0800 177 7162 or complete the web-form above.

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