Thanks to Mark Barnett, head of Immigration at Steeles Law Solicitors, who wrote this summary (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2008 sees radical changes being introduced into all aspects of Business Immigration as a result of the introduction of Civil Penalties for illegal workers on 29th February 2008 and the new Points Based System being introduced on a roll out process by the Home Office which will affect 80 current work and study immigration categories.
The points based system will be based on a five tier structure and will have significant impact on those companies proposing to make new work permit applications and/or extension applications, in that they will need to apply to be licensed as a sponsor and have various ongoing obligations in order to maintain their licence.
Tier 1 which includes Highly Skilled Migrants is likely to be implemented in March 2008 and Tier 2 which covers the existing Work Permit Scheme albeit a greatly modified basis, to include an English language requirement and electronic certificates of sponsorship issued by the licensed UK companies , in Autumn 2008.
Further details here.