The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced that sheep shearers will be able to enter the country without a UK work permit for a certain period of time.
Rules set in place by the agency will mean that shearers contracted to work in Britain from April 1st to June 30th this year will not need an employment visa.
The concession will still require non-visa nationals to satisfy an immigration officer's enquiries and prove that they are genuinely looking to enter Britain for the purpose of temporary employment as a sheep shearer.
While the chance to enter the country without negotiating the UK visa system will be a welcome opportunity for some sheep shearers, there are a number of strict conditions attached to the offer. The maximum period of admittance will be three months and the individual will be restricted to working for the specific employer or contractor stated in their initial application. Furthermore, there will be no option to extend a period of stay or to switch to another category of stay, other than as a visitor, without first leaving the UK. In addition, no provision for granting admission to dependants of workers will be admitted under the concession.
In order to avoid any form of doubt, those travelling to the country are advised to bring a work contract defining and confirming the nature of their work to be undertaken and their remuneration.
Entry could be refused if this cannot be provided and the immigration officer is not satisfied that the worker is coming to Britain for the purpose stated. Other circumstances that could result in a refusal of entry include a lack of proof that the passenger will be able to accommodate and maintain him or herself without using public funds, and an element of doubt as to whether or not the individual will leave the UK at the end of their stay.
An adverse immigration history and possession of a criminal record could also lead to an applicant being turned away, as with standard UK visa cases.