Author: Adarsh Girijadevi

PM used first Lord Mayor’s Banquet speech to warn about immigration

Theresa May last night warned Britain’s elite to learn the lessons of Brexit and Donald Trump by never again ignoring the public’s fears about immigration – but some guests appeared to drop off during her speech.

The Prime Minister used her first Lord Mayor’s Banquet speech to say voters never gave permission for immigration to change their communities.However, despite her rousing and impassioned speech that ‘change is in the air’, not everyone seemed to be hanging off her every word. Some guests – including David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – appeared to be taking a nap during her address.

As she spoke from a gold chair in a gilded room, Mrs May and her audience dined on a menu of Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps, fillet of British beef, mini toffee apples and ‘The Lord Mayor’s Knickerbocker Glory’. And they washed their hearty meal down with a selection of the finest wines including a Chateau Lynch-Moussas 2003 – which can sell for more than £300 a bottle.

The Prime Minister was pictured in a stunning red gown as she arrived with her husband Philip, who donned a white tie tuxedo as they arrived at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet tonight. Mrs May told the audience of VIPs few would have predicted the political earthquakes that have shaken pundits in 2016.

She said: ‘Change is in the air. And when people demand change, it is the job of politicians to respond.’ In her speech, Mrs May made clear controlling immigration is a key demand of the electorate as people have seen ‘jobs being outsourced and wages undercut’.And she added: ‘They see their communities changing around them and don’t remember giving their permission for that to be the case.’She insisted they will ‘respond to these concerns’ and ‘make these twin forces work for everyone’.

In a TV interview yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he understood the concerns about immigration but said intolerance was not the right solution. And she added: ‘They see their communities changing around them and don’t remember giving their permission for that to be the case.’She insisted they will ‘respond to these concerns’ and ‘make these twin forces work for everyone’. ‘Blame should be put where it belongs and that is the corporate investment decisions that have done so much damage to industry all over Europe,’ Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.

Mrs May also told businesses the referendum marked a new era for an ‘agile’ Britain that, rather than turning inward, and can ‘show the world that we can be the strongest global advocate for free markets and free trade because we believe they are the best way to lift people out of poverty’. But Labour campaign chief Jon Tricket said the PM had made been making such pledges since she took office in July.’Theresa May has spent the early days of her time in No 10 giving speeches about spreading opportunity and providing leadership but her actions have betrayed her,’ he said.

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Theresa May says UK will not raise visa quota for Indian nationals

Theresa May has dashed Indian hopes for a more liberal visa system for its nationals wanting to work in the UK by arguing that the current offer is generous enough.Speaking on the way to her first bilateral meeting in Delhi, the prime minister argued that Britain was already able to attract the “brightest and best” from outside the EU. “The figures show that we issue more work visas to India than I think US, Australia and China put together. Nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted. We have, I believe, a good system,” she said.

The comments will prove disappointing for some in the Indian government and business community who have argued for more of their highly skilled professional workers to be able to get six-month visas for the UK and other European countries.The demand for more freedoms for Indian workers moving abroad was a part of trade negotiations with the EU, which stalled because of failure to agree on it and other issues.

Vince Cable, the former Lib Dem business secretary, said May’s refusal to agree to any such liberalisation in the past was a key stumbling block to trade talks between the EU and India. Although he admitted they were complex negotiations, he claimed that her unwillingness to budge was down to an obsession over getting the net migration numbers down as home secretary.May said she hoped that her three-day visit to India would pave the way for a future trade arrangement after Brexit as she sought to break down barriers. However, she suggested she did not think a more generous visa system was necessary.

“Trade is an important part of our relationship with India. India is the third-biggest investor into the UK – second-biggest creator of private sector jobs in the UK. And the UK is the biggest G20 investor into India, but there is more we can do,” she said.May was joined by a delegation of business representatives for a trip during which she attended the India-UK tech summit in Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before a bilateral meeting.

Modi used a speech to heavily hint that he wanted young people to be more able to travel abroad to study, after stricter rules in Britain on how long graduates can stay contributed to a halving of the number of Indian students coming to the UK to study over five years.“Education is vital for our students and will define our engagement in a shared future. We must therefore encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in education and research opportunities,” he said.

May used her speech to the tech summit to insist she wanted an open relationship with India, laying out plans for India to become the first visa country to be put on a registered traveller scheme which helps speed up the experience of visitors in British airports.

Full story can be read here.

Tier 2, Tier 4 & English Language requirement – Immigration rule changes

The government announced on 3rd November, changes to the Immigration Rules which will affect applications made on or after 24 November unless stated otherwise.

The main changes are outlined below:

Tier 2

Implement the first of 2 phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee.

  • Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000, with some exemptions
  • Increasing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000
  • Reducing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year
  • Closing the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category

These changes will come into effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after 24 November 2016. The date from which intra company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in due course.

Tier 4

A number of changes are being made, including amendments to the academic progression rule, maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme and evidence of overseas qualifications, UK qualifications used as evidence, and a series of minor and technical adjustments.

English language requirement

As announced in January this year, a new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is being introduced for non-EEA partners and parents.

This affects those applying to extend their stay after 2.5 years in the UK on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM (Family Member) of the Immigration Rules. The new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave under the family Immigration Rules is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017.

More information is available in the statement of changes.

Immigration Act 2016 – Upcoming changes

The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No.2 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2016

The Secretary of State has made a second commencement order bringing into force further provisions of the Immigration Act 2016.

1. The appeals provisions under sections 63 to 65 come into force on 01 December 2016.

Section 63 is the ‘remove first appeal later’ provision which provides the power to certify human rights claims not involving asylum or protection issues if it would not breach the applicant’s human rights to do so, with the effect that the appeal may only be brought from outside the UK. The change introduces a power for the Home Office to remove a person who pursues a human rights appeal even while the appeal is pending. A similar power was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 but applied only to foreign criminals. It is now extended to all migrants who might rely on a human rights appeal. Given that the only grounds on which normal family immigration decisions can now be appealed are human rights grounds, this change affects a wide spectrum of “ordinary” migrants whose application has been refused by the Home Office.

2. The power to cancel 3C leave under section 62 also comes into force on 01 December 2016.

This applies where an individual has failed to comply with a condition of their leave or used deception in seeking leave to remain whether successfully or not.

3. The new residential tenancy provisions under sections 39-41 come into force in England on 01 December 2016.

These include the criminal offence of leasing premises to a person disqualified from renting and the new eviction powers.

  • Section 39 of the Immigration Act 2016, which creates a new offence of knowingly leasing premises to a person who does not possess the right to rent by inserting new sections 33A, 33B and 33C into the Immigration Act 2014
  • Section 40 of the Immigration Act 2016, which inserts a new section 33D into the Immigration Act 2014 which enables a landlord to terminate a residential tenancy agreement in certain circumstances

4. Further illegal working provisions come into force on 01 December 2016.

These are the provisions related to private hire vehicles and to illegal working closure notices and compliance orders.  Transitional provision is made in respect of these provisions so that those granted temporary admission or released from detention by an immigration officer do not commit an offence if they have permission to work while the immigration bail provisions are not yet in force.Section 54 and Schedule 8 come into force on 01 December 2016 date bringing into force provisions that allow for multiple entry search warrants except in Scotland where these are not permitted.

5. Sections 77 to 84 (language requirements for public sector workers) come into force on 21 November 2016.

These are all the provisions relating to the duty on public sector authorities to ensure that public sector workers in customer-facing roles within the UK have a command of spoken English (or in Wales, English or Welsh) to enable the effective performance of their role.

6. The provisions on labour market enforcement undertakings, orders and supplementary provisions will all come into force on 25 November 2016. 

These provisions are aimed at tackling breaches of labour market legislation. The Government considered that the existing system of fines were not sufficient to deal with the kinds of serious or repeated offences seen so it has introduced provisions that work like an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) for employers.

Section 37 and Schedule 5 of the Immigration Act 2016 come into force on 1 December 2016 and provide for limitation, denial or deprivation of private hire licences to those who do not have permission to work or whose permission to work is restricted.

Once these provisions are in force, the whole chapter of Part 1 on the labour market will be in force.  Section 25 which places a duty on the Secretary of State to issue a code of practice giving guidance to enforcing authorities about the exercise of their functions under sections 14 to 23 was brought into force on 12 July 2016, along with the provisions on the Director of Labour Market Enforcement and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, when the first commencement order made.

If you are unsure how the new rules may impact you or requires any Immigration advise regarding this, Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626.

UK government rejects Post study work visa calls for Scotland

Calls for the reintroduction of a post-study work visa system for international students in Scotland have been rejected.The UK-wide visa scheme was initially scrapped in 2012. An inquiry by the Scottish Affairs Committee concluded that removing the visa had made Scotland a less attractive destination to study.

But the UK government rejected the call, saying other visa options were available for former students.The post-work study visa allowed overseas graduates to work for two years in the UK after completing their studies.It was abolished after the Home Office concluded that the system had been open to widespread abuse.But the Scottish Affairs Committee report cited an 80% drop in non-EU students remaining in the UK after graduating since the visa was scrapped.

It said change was necessary to address demographic challenges in Scotland and fill skills gaps in areas including health and finance.The University of Edinburgh has also warned of a “brain drain of global talent”caused by students moving away from Scotland after graduation.In a response published by Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill, the UK government said the four current visa categories available to non-European Economic Area (EEA) graduates of UK universities “comprise an excellent post-study work offer”.The government also said abuse of the previous system had “damaged the reputation of our education system”.

It added: “This was supported by evidence that the availability of the tier 1 (post study work) category gave rise to a cohort of migrants who, to a significant degree, were unemployed or engaged in unskilled work and was likely to seek to abuse the immigration system in order to prolong their stay.”The government also noted that visa applications from international students to study at Scottish universities had increased by 10% since 2010.

It said: “Applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would complicate the immigration system, harming its integrity, and cause difficulties for employers with a presence in more than one part of the UK.”We have taken important steps to reform the student migration system and we have no plans to re-introduce a post-study work scheme that does not lead to skilled work and could reintroduce many or all of the issues we saw under the former tier 1 (post study work) category.”

A pilot scheme is taking place at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Imperial College London to simplify the visa application process for Masters students and grant them an additional six months leave to remain after the end of the course to find a graduate job under Tier 2 visa rules.The government said: “The institutions taking part in the pilot were chosen due to their consistently low level of visa refusals.”Should the pilot be a success, the Home Office will be considering expansion of the pilot further, including to highly-compliant institutions in Scotland.”

SNP MP Pete Wishart, who chairs the Scottish Affairs Committee, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the response.He said: “Despite the almost universal support for improving post-study work schemes in Scotland, we are still to see these factors have any influence on the direction of policy.”We reiterate our call for the UK government to engage constructively with Scottish higher education institutions on this issue.

SC chief executive Liz Cameron said: “At a time when the Scottish economy is facing serious challenges in the shape of a low growth rate and high levels of skills shortages, all in the face of a redefinition of our relationship with the European Union, it simply beggars belief that the UK government is closing the door on an opportunity for talented international people to contribute to our economy.

“Scotland’s world class universities and colleges must be able to compete for the best talent available across the globe and we need these skilled people to put their learning to use in Scotland’s businesses, driving innovation, increasing productivity, eliminating skills shortages and growing Scotland’s international connectivity. “

PM’s student deportation programme in tatters as legal appeal falls apart

A long-running programme to deport foreign students from the UK on the basis of hearsay evidence was in ruins today, after the appeal court ruled against the Home Office.

The decision to quietly shelve the legal challenge is a damning moment for Theresa May, who presided over the department when it used flimsy evidence to threaten tens of thousands of foreign students with detention and deportation.The Home Office argued in a court case that the students had fraudulently completed English language tests, but was unable to point to any expert evidence substantiating its accusations. Its own officials, whose testimony it had put forward as proof of student fraud, were dismissed by the court as lacking “qualifications or expertise, vocational or otherwise, in the scientific subject matter of these appeals”.

The department appealed that ruling but today its case was dismissed as “fundamentally misconceived”.The ruling opens up the possibility of thousands of students, who have been kept in limbo since March while the Home Office appealed, winning their legal battle against the government.

The Home Office appeal originally claimed that the case was unfair, that the deputy judge was biased, that witnesses had not been given an opportunity to explain evidence properly, and that the tribunal had misunderstood expert evidence.But lawyers for the student in the case say they received a surprising letter from the Home Office suddenly capitulating and admitting there were “no compelling reasons to pursue the appeal”. It also offered to pay costs if the appeal was withdrawn.

In a hearing today, the court decided to pass a judgement, regardless of the Home Office’s attempt to withdraw its own appeal.It is currently unclear whether other students accused of fraud under the programme will be able to use the judgement in their cases.Some cases will certainly be conceded while others are likely to be offered settlements, but that may still leave thousands of students uncertain about their legal status.

The court today asked the Home Office to come up with a policy detailing what it will do in these cases.There is a stark divide in the deportation cases between those students offered a right of in-country appeal and those told they had to appeal out of country.The students forced into the out-of-country appeal route often suffered dawn raids by immigration enforcement, followed by an indefinite period of detention, followed by deportation – all on the basis of evidence the courts then found to be worthless. Their only legal redress was in a court case in their home country, which would have seen their existing British student visa expire regardless of whether they won or lost.

For many students, who had spent thousands of pounds coming to the UK to study, the sudden threat of deportation and subsequent costly legal battle left them without money or the qualification they originally came to the UK to pursue.

New immigration curbs needed ‘to change tide of opinion’

The Home Secretary told the Conservative conference companies were “getting away” with not training British workers and tougher recruitment tests were needed.

Students on “low-quality courses” could also face tougher entry rules.She promised councils £140m to address migration pressures and moves to deport EU criminals for “minor crimes”.In a wide-ranging speech, her first significant policy address since becoming home secretary in July, Ms Rudd also announced a further crackdown on illegal immigration through new powers to go after landlords, employers and banks that facilitate it.But the proposals were met with concern by business groups while Labour said they would be taken with a “pinch of salt” given the government’s failure to meet immigration targets.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is still committed to reducing net migration to “sustainable” levels – taken to mean below 100,000 a year – even though David Cameron failed to meet the target between 2010 and 2015, with net migration recently exceeding 300,000.

Ms Rudd, who campaigned to remain in the EU during the referendum, said immigration had brought benefits to the UK but the difference between those settling in the UK and those leaving was “too substantial” and that the Brexit vote had shown British people demanded action.Although this would not happen “overnight”, she said only a substantial reduction could help “change the tide of public opinion… so once again immigration is something we can all welcome”.

“I come here today with a warning to those that simply oppose any steps to reduce net migration,” she said. “This government will not waver in its commitment to put the interests of the British people first “Reducing net migration back down to sustainable levels will not be easy. But I am committed to delivering it on behalf of the British people.”Launching a consultation on entry rules for foreign workers and students, Ms Rudd said the tests that employers had to undergo before recruiting from abroad had become “tick-boxing exercises” and too often resulted in British citizens being discriminated against.

“The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do,” she said. “So I want us to look again at whether our immigration system provides the right incentives for businesses to invest in British workers.”While she was committed to attracting the best students from around the world, she said the current system too often “treated every student and university as equal” with insufficient consideration given to the contribution they could make to the UK against the obligations they placed on the state.

“Foreign students, even those studying English Language degrees, don’t even have to be proficient in speaking English. We need to look at whether this one-size-fits-all approach really is right for the hundreds of different universities, providing thousands of different courses across the country.”And we need to look at whether this generous offer for all universities is really adding value to our economy. This isn’t about pulling up the drawbridge. It’s about making sure students that come here, come to study.”

A new Controlling Migration Fund will help councils in England deal with the pressure on public services, such as the NHS and housing, from high volumes of immigration.The Conservatives promised to introduce the fund in their 2015 election manifesto, having abolished a similar mechanism – set up by the last Labour government – in 2011.

Ms Rudd said the new migration fund would be more targeted and effective than its predecessor. It would, she said, support stretched councils and build on existing efforts to stop illegal immigrants receiving housing benefit, and tackle rogue landlords.For Labour, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham welcomed the new money but said “we’ve heard these conference promises on net migration and child migrants before and they haven’t come to anything”.

The proposals also received a mixed response from business and the higher education sector.The Institute of Directors said it was clear immigration would remain a “bone of contention” between employers and the government while ministers have been warned their plans could damage universities.

James Pitman, from Higher Education UK and Europe, said: “The home secretary needs to be honest that a significant reduction in the number of international students will lead to upward pressure on the fees paid by British students, reduced investment in facilities, and damage to local economies,” said James Pitman, from Higher Education UK and Europe.Among a number of other pledges, Ms Rudd said EU nationals that repeatedly commit “minor crimes” would be liable to be deported while courts would get clearer guidelines on what they needed to take into account in cases involving EU offenders

She also announced that the government was extending the Unduly Lenient Sentencing scheme – under which people can ask the attorney general to look again at sentences where they believe a mistake has been made – to cover all terrorist offences sentenced in the Crown Court and enable people to take cases to the Court of Appeal.

Net migration will be slashed by tens of thousands as Brexit gives us control

The Prime Minister said the policy “hasn’t been watered down” but refused to offer a date when she will achieve the goal because she is “constantly working” to close immigration loopholes.Ahead of her address to the Conservative party conference on Wednesday, Mrs May was forced to defend her stance on immigration.

Speaking to BBC’s Radio 5 Live, she said: “First of all, the policy hasn’t been watered down.

“We still believe we want to net migration down to sustainable levels – that means in the tens of thousands – so the policy hasn’t changed.“Of course, what has changed, is when we leave the European Union we will able to bring control to the movement of people from the EU into the United Kingdom.“That is part of the immigration system we haven’t been able to have control over in the past, but as an independent sovereign country, of course we will be able to have that control.”

She was then challenged by presenter Rachel Burden to give a date when she would be aiming to deliver the promise for.

Mrs May replied:

“I think if you listen to any of the interviews I’ve given on immigration over the six years I was home secretary and those I’ve continued to give as Prime Minister I’ve always made the point that in immigration you actually have to be constantly looking at the issue, you have to be constantly working to make sure you’re closing any loopholes that people might try to find in the system.“That’s what we continue to do and continue to look at immigration from outside the European Union as well as looking at what would be the right controls to bring in the future movement from the EU.”

Despite not outlining an exact date, Mrs May’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Britain will not wait until Brexit to begin cutting levels of migration.Ms Rudd is expected to use her conference speech today to announce plans to limit the number of non-EU migrants in a bid to cut the level of net migration in the run up to Brexit.

Ministers have been examining plans to restrict student visas so that only the brightest and best foreign students can move to Britain to study.Speaking at a fringe meeting, Ms Rudd said that she believe immigration is a “good thing” but said it does not mean “we can’t control the amount of migrants we have coming here”.


Britain will not wait for Brexit to cut migration, Amber Rudd to say

Britain will not wait until Brexit to begin cut level of migration, the Home Secretary is expected to say as she unveils a crackdown on people coming to the UK from outside the EU.Amber Rudd is expected to use her conference speech to announce plans to limit the number of non-EU migrants in a bid to cut the level of net migration in the run up Brexit.

It comes after Theresa May announced that Britain will trigger Article 50 and begin the formal process of leaving the EU in March next year, meaning Brexit will not take place until 2019.Ministers have been examining plans to restrict student visas so that only the brightest and best can come to study at reputable universities in Britain.

Speaking at a fringe meeting yesterday Mrs Rudd said that she believes immigration is a “good thing” but said it does not mean “we can’t control the amount of migrants we have coming here”.She said that she will be judged “harshly” if she fails to reduce the level of net migration to tens of thousands, but suggested it is more important that Britain has “control”.

She said: “Some people do come up to me and say all we want is control, we don’t mind so much about the numbers. We want to make sure we have got control.”However she warned that any curbs to free movement of EU migrants could not be allowed to “damage” the economy, amid suggestions that highly-skilled and key workers will be exempted.

Asked if she agreed with Leave campaigners who want to see more immigration from the Commonwealth, Ms Rudd, who is in charge of immigration policy, replied: “I don’t think it’s helpful to refight the campaign.”She also appeared to criticised Theresa May for suggesting that a parliamentary vote on Brexit would “subvert” democracy. “Those aren’t the words I would use,” she said.

She also warned that more children are being trafficked to the “Jungle” camp in Calais as she defended Britain’s border controls.The Government has come under pressure to accept more child refugees from the camp, which the French authorities are preparing to destroy.

However Mrs Rudd said:  “There is a view that the average age of children in the camp has come down recently. That may be because they know we are going to be taking some of these children.”You have to be so careful not to encourage the traffickers who are the people preying on these vulnerable children. There is a very very brutal, nastry trade in people going on.

“I think it is crucial that the message we sent is that we will take people from the camps in Syria and Libya and continue to give the message that just because you come over to France and you’re illegal, you cannot necessarily get to the UK. Otherwise we do not help people.”

She also  suggested that the sexual harassment of young women should be considered a hate crime by the police. The Home Secretary said she “really welcomes” police forces which have had the “strength to call out” harassment.

Home Secretary dismisses Boris Johnson’s suggestion that immigration from Australia could increase after Brexit

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has dismissed a suggestion from her Cabinet colleague Boris Johnson by insisting the Government has “no plans” to make it easier for Australians to come to Britain after Brexit.

Ms Rudd said she does not want to increase immigration from Australia, despite the Foreign Secretary’s insistence last month that it would be a “fantastic thing” if the UK had a “more sensible system” for dealing with migration between the two countries. Mr Johnson had met his Australian counterpart last month for a bilateral meeting in London and said: “I’m very confident that we will be able to at least sketch out, pencil in, the essentials of a very progressive deal that will be good for Australia, good for the UK, good for Europe and good for the world.”

Asked about Mr Johnson’s comments, she told a Times Red Box fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham: “Somebody promised to increase immigration from Australia, who would that be?” When the questioner replied “Mr Johnson”, Ms Rudd went on: “Mr Johnson again, yes.“There are no plans to increase immigration from Australia… We have a very good relationship with Australia and young persons’ access, particularly to Australia, is very good.“Julie Bishop [the Australian foreign minister] was over just a few weeks ago, we agreed that it was a good thing. She is aware, as everybody is, that everything is under review. But I do think that that particular scheme with Australia works very well, so I wouldn’t envisage a change.”

Ms Rudd also cast aside indications from her Cabinet colleagues that certain groups will be exempt from the Government’s curbs to immigration after Britain leaves the EU. The Chancellor Philip Hammond has previously signalled that highly skilled workers, including bankers and businessmen, will be exempt while Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, has indicated that European builders will be allowed to work in Britain following Brexit.But speaking at a fringe event in Birmingham, Mr Rudd said she had “noticed” that “all different ministers are going around saying my lot are going to be fine”.

The Home Secretary added: “But the fact is we’re still doing the work on it. The Prime Minister has said we will be changing freedom of movement within the European Union. We will. My department is leading on this and we are looking at the best way to implement that and I’m going to be taking it forward to the Brexit Cabinet committee in due course. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t disadvantage our economy as we do it.”Asked whether the ministers were getting “overexcited”, Ms Rudd replied: “Well I think ministers are entirely rightly complaining on behalf of their constituent parts and I’m listening carefully.”