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Key furniture production staff not included on immigration list

UpholsteryproductionWood machinists and upholstery sewing machinists will not be able to come to the UK and work from next year under the government’s planned points-based immigration system.

Under the plans, to enter the UK and to be able to work under the new system from 1 January 2021 - from within or outside the EU - a person must be in a skilled, eligible occupation, be able to speak English to the required level and, in the majority of cases, have a sponsoring employer that pays the Immigration Skills Charge.

While many furniture production staff will be classified as eligible, wood machinists and upholstery sewing machinists are not included on the list.

‘Many skilled furniture production operatives will be deemed as eligible occupations to obtain a work visa. However, we do need to establish the status of wood machinists,’ says Nick Garratt, BFM md.

‘At the moment, there is some confusion over their definition, as this term is also specifically identified as falling into the category “paper and wood machine operatives” which is an ineligible visa occupation. While it seems likely that furniture wood machinists, which are in short supply, are eligible, we are seeking clarification on this with the Migration Advisory Committee

‘Another issue we are looking to address centres around the current status of upholstery sewing machinists as being excluded from entry. We have submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee, through the British Furniture Confederation, a request, supported by evidence, to include this role as an eligible occupation.’

The association has issued guidance on the proposed scheme to its members.