Author: Adarsh Girijadevi

Naturalization after six years in the UK

If you are not married to a British Citizen you will need to meet the following requirements to apply for naturalization:

  • You must be aged 18 or over and are not of unsound mind.
  • You must be of good character.
  • You should be able to communicate in the English language (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic). There are exemptions to this requirement, for example if you are elderly or mentally handicapped.
  • You should intend to live in the UK or in Crown Service abroad (working directly for an UK Government organisation), or be employed by an international organisation of which the UK is a member, or be employed by a company or association established in the United Kingdom.

If you are not married to an UK Citizen you will need to meet the following residence requirements over the last six years.

  • You must have been living in the UK exactly six years before the date the application reaches the Home Office; and
  • During the six-year period you must not have been outside the United Kingdom for more than 450 days (about 15 months); and
  • During the last 12 months of the six-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days; and
  • During the last 12 months of the six-year period your stay in the United Kingdom you must have held permanent residence/ indefinite leave to remain (ILR); and
  • You must not have been living in the United Kingdom in breach of the UK immigration rules at any time during the six-year period ending with the date that the application is received by the Home Office.

The processing times for naturalization applications is currently about six to seven months. If you would like assistance with a naturalization application made on the basis of having permanent residency, please contact our office 020 3695 4626.

 

Businesses warned about new law agreed before Brexit

As hysteria continues over Brexit, we want to warn businesses about hefty penalties they will face for employing illegal migrants when new legislation begins next month.

The Immigration Act 2016 – agreed by parliament before the referendum – comes into force on 12 July 2016.

It will not only increase the penalties for employers who employ illegal migrants, but also make it a criminal offence to employ a person if there is “reasonable cause” to believe they are an illegal worker. This new law will make it harder for people to live and work illegally in the UK. The regulations will also impose tougher penalties and sanctions on employers who exploit illegal migrants for their own gain.Immigration Enforcement issued 1,974 civil penalties to businesses employing illegal workers In the financial year 2014/2015

In light of the increased penalties employers should ensure that extra care is taken to ensure that the proper right to work due diligence checks are carried out prior to engaging workers.The Act will create a new offence of illegal working and enable the earnings of illegal workers to be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

It also requires public authorities to ensure that public workers in customer-facing roles speak fluent English.

UK needs overseas doctors, but…

In today’s age and time becoming a doctor is not a very popular thing , at least not with the British people . The profession is very demanding , the nature of the job itself which is not alluring , its all about the long working hours which come with stressful situations . The money however is good .
Having said that , the country needs more doctors hence amid a growing shortage of General Practitioners (GPs), the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is looking to recruit more Indian doctors on Tier 2 visas to plug the gaps. According to a 2015 report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a body that promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world – Britain recruits more foreign doctors than any other major European country, with more than one-third of doctors born abroad.
Additionally, the OECD report found that the UK was also one of the largest exporters of doctors, with a rising number of healthcare workers heading abroad, to countries like Australia, to work.
Therefore the employment and training department of the NHS, Health Education England (HEE), has signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Indian-based, Apollo Hospital .Which implies that doctors in India have a bright chance to if they are looking forward to come to Britain the only condition they need to qualify is to pass the test which is difficult and not easy . HEE said that while the details of their agreement with Apollo Hospitals is yet to be finalised, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) – a national voluntary organisation established in 1996, initially set up to support doctors arriving from India to work in the NHS – said that it understood the NHS was planning to recruit ‘as many GPs as possible.’
While the news sounds good there is other side of the story as well . While the UK government has given HEE the task of increasing GP numbers by 5,000 by 2020, but the department has already failed to reach targets for GP training. Also whereas on one hand brining doctors from abroad on Tier 2 Visas is a good alternative but at the same time practically the rules regarding the tier 2 Visas remain strict and difficult . It would only be correct to say that because of the difficulties in meeting Tier 2 sponsorship licence requirements which employers need to adhere to and obtaining Tier 2 visas many employers have decided it is not worth the trouble applying for tier 2 visas.
It must also be acknowledged that the need and demand for doctors is high in Britain but its not an easy ride for these professionals .The chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, Doctor Maureen Baker, said: “Doctors won’t simply be ‘parachuted’ into the NHS. We welcome any expressions of interest from doctors outside of the EU wanting to work in the NHS – but they would first have to undergo GP specialty training, and pass our rigorous entrance assessment. They would also have to pass the GMC’s professional linguistic and assessments board test.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Lord Hunt, said that it was crucial for doctors arriving in the UK from overseas to undergo strict testing prior to being allowed to practice in Britain.
The conclusion is that doctors are wanted but their entry is difficult , the middle path would be to relax the Tier 2 conditions and make it a smooth journey for professionals coming from abroad .

The child refugees being unlawfully detained by the Home Office

Anyone who’s ever worked in a pub knows it can be pretty impossible to always guess someone’s age correctly just by looking at them.

But that’s exactly what the Home Office has been trying to do to unaccompanied child refugees and the consequences have been calamitous.

When a child turns up in Britain by themselves and claims asylum they’ve undoubtedly already suffered a lot. At the Refugee Council, some of the children we work with tell us that they’ve witnessed the death of their mum or their dad. Sometimes it’s both. They’ve usually escaped their country using the services of smugglers and face beatings, rape, detention and death on their perilous journey to safety.
Very few unaccompanied children make it as far as Britain in their search for a safe place. We received just three per cent of asylum claims made by lone children across Europe last year.
You might think our government would be able and willing to look after such a small group of such vulnerable children properly. Think again. The very authorities who are tasked with protecting child refugees here in Britain have instead been jeopardizing their safety.
When an unaccompanied child arrives in Britain, they often don’t have any easy way of proving their age. Most countries that refugees come from don’t register births in the same way we do, although some will have documents that can help provide information about their age.
Even if refugees do have documents with them, they may not actually belong to them and may instead have been bought from or given to them by a smuggler. This is a reality acknowledged by international refugee law. After all, it’s pretty hard to persuade a regime you’re escaping from to give you a passport and an exit visa. Any documents lone child refugees have used to travel with are likely to have an adult’s date of birth because children would not be allowed to travel alone.
It’s a tricky business, but there is a process for establishing the age of someone who claims to be a child and is not believed; they should be referred to social services for a timely, sensitive and expert-led age assessment.
That doesn’t always happen. Up until now, Home Office officials have been allowed to quietly ruin children’s lives by guessing their ages based purely on their physical appearance instead of bothering to refer them to the experts.
Unsurprisingly, these officials often guess wrongly. The consequences can be severe. Firstly, if someone who claimed to be a child is thought by immigration officials to be an adult, their credibility can be undermined and their asylum claim can be affected.
Think about that. Decisions on asylum claims can be life or death. If the Home Office think you’ve lied about your age, they assume you’re lying about other things too. But what if you’ve never lied? What if you just look a bit older than you are?
The immediate impacts of being told you’re actually an adult can be grim. It means the Home Office has the power to throw you behind bars alongside adults, in one of the UK’s many shadowy Immigration Removal Centres.

This shouldn’t happen to children. It’s widely accepted that locking children up is bad for their health; both physically and mentally. In 2010, the Coalition Government finally acknowledged this was the case, and pledged to end the detention of children for immigration purposes. Finally, a child’s well being and safety looked set to trump political expedience.

But six years on, although the numbers are lower than before, the government is still locking up unaccompanied children in immigration detention who it mistakenly thought were adults. At the Refugee Council, we’ve found over 120 of them since 2010.
Children we’ve found in detention bear the scars. Some of them still have nightmares about their time imprisoned in this country, years after it happened.
Earlier this week, the High Court handed down a judgment that could change all of this. The court ruled that someone’s age was a matter of ‘objective fact’ and cannot be based on physical appearance or demeanour. This means that the Home Office’s current policy is unlawful and children who have been affected by it could be entitled to damages.
In their response, Home Office lawyers said the ‘absurd’ judgment meant the Home Secretary ‘could face major difficulties operating her detention scheme’.

The only absurd thing about this judgment is the fact that it was necessary at all. If the government genuinely believes its own frequent claim that Britain has a proud tradition of protecting refugees, it shouldn’t let an obsession with throwing people behind bars simply because they’ve sought protection here take priority over the wellbeing and safety of vulnerable children.

The Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession Scheme

On 1 April 2012 the UK Border Agency (UKBA) introduced the Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) concession to replace The Sojourner Project. A person who successfully qualifies for this concession will receive temporary leave for three months, which allows them to apply for access to public funds (including jobseeker’s allowance, income support and housing benefit). During this three month period the person should make a separate application for indefinite leave to remain under the Domestic Violence Rule.

Who is eligible for the DDV concession?

There are strict eligibility criteria for the concession, which applies to single adults and adults with children. To meet the UKBA’s criteria a person must: Have entered the UK or been given leave to remain as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner of a British citizen or someone present and settled in the UK; and Have had that relationship break down due to domestic violence; and Be destitute and in need of financial help; and Intend to make a claim to stay permanently in the UK under the Domestic Violence Rule.

Spouses of EEA nationals do not fall within the scope of the concession and, at the present time, it does not cover the spouses of Commonwealth soldiers resident in the UK.

If a person is granted three months leave under the DDV concession this will replace the leave given to enter or remain as a spouse or partner. If a migrant does not submit an application for indefinite leave to remain to the UK Border Agency within the three month period, their leave will come to an end and they will be expected to either apply to regularise their leave in the UK in another category or leave the UK. The UK Border Agency encourages applicants to submit applications for indefinite leave within six weeks of being granted leave under the concession, which is similar to the time periods that were used in the Sojourner project, to allow them time to make a decision whilst an applicant has access to public funds. If there is a serious reason why an application is unable to be submitted within the three month temporary leave period, the applicant or their representative must contact the UK Border Agency and discuss the reason of the possible delay. As long as a person submits an application before their temporary leave expires, their leave will continue until they are either granted further leave, their application is rejected or, if they choose to appeal a rejection, until their appeal rights are exhausted.

Change of conditions forms – where destitute people need to gain access to public funds.

• A request for a change of conditions of leave granted on the basis of family or private life where the applicant has become destitute, for example the condition related to ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’.

• An application for access to public funds under the Victims of Domestic Violence Concession.

The OISC has concluded that the provision of advice and services related to both of these applications is a “relevant matter” within the Act requiring regulation. This is because a relevant matter includes “an application for, or variation of… leave to remain in the UK”. Section 3(3) of the Immigration Act 1971 establishes that leave to remain can be varied by adding, varying or removing conditions.

Please give us a call to discuss if you or someone you know is in a similar situation on 020 3695 4626.

UK work visa for Indian students being proposed by Boris.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has proposed a new Commonwealth work visa for Indian students which will allow them to work for two years after graduating from a British university. This, the Mayor hopes, will help address the sharp decline in foreign students coming to study in the United Kingdom.

As part of proposals he has forwarded to the United Kingdom government, the new two-year Commonwealth work visa would kick-start with India and then be extended to other Commonwealth countries if successful.

London the education capital

“London is indisputably the education capital of the world with more top performing universities than any other city globally. However, current restrictions on overseas students are putting off the brightest Indian minds from coming to study in the capital and it is crazy that we should be losing India’s top talent and global leaders of the future to countries like Australia and the United States,” Mr. Johnson said.

“I hope we can work with London’s universities and government to address this and make sure the capital remains the leading destination for international students,” he said.

Third-largest such market

India is the third-largest international student market in London, after China and the US. However, the number of Indian students studying at London’s higher education institutions has more than halved over the last five years.

In 2009-10, there were 9,925 Indian students in the British capital, while in 2013-14 there were only 4,790. This comes at a time when the demand for higher education is growing due to India’s economic growth and the expansion of its middle class.

The Mayor and senior academics from some of London’s leading higher education institutions got together at City Hall on Tuesday to address this issue.

Second proposal

A second proposal aimed at reversing the trend of falling numbers of international students includes a work visa for graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for up to two years.

“Although not restricted to nationality, this would be attractive to Indian students for whom STEM degrees are popular. It would also help to meet a critical skills shortage in the U.K. in areas such as life sciences, engineering and technology,” a statement from the Mayor’s office said.

Everything London has to offer

Gordon Innes, CEO London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company, added that “at a time when we are facing increasing competition from many other countries, we should make sure we are doing all we can to encourage young people to study here and experience everything London has to offer.”

A major factor behind falling number of Indian students is believed to be the closure in 2012 of the U.K.’s Post Study Work Visa, which gave non-EU students the right to remain in the country for two years after graduation.

Immigration Rules Changes Announced 29th October 2015

The government announced on 29th October, changes to the Immigration Rules. Most of these changes will affect all applications submitted on or after 19 November 2015 unless otherwise stated.

The main changes are:

Asylum

  • making asylum claims from EU nationals invalid, unless exceptional circumstances apply
  • clarifying the circumstances in which refugee status will be withdrawn

Settlement

  • ensuring indefinite leave and naturalisation applicants, who normally rely on an English language qualification, take a secure English language test
  • the introduction of the £35k minimum earnings threshold for Tier 2 settlement, which will come into force on 6 April 2016

Family/private life

  • providing that a child’s application for entry clearance will be refused where the Secretary of State considers that the sponsor or the sponsor’s partner poses a risk to the child

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) of the points-based system

  • amending the endorsement criteria used by Tech City UK, to better reflect the skills and experience of target applicants who are most likely to add value to the UK digital technology sector

Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system

  • adding nurses and four digital technology jobs to the Tier 2 shortage occupation list
  • changes to clarify the charity worker rules for sponsors and applicants.
  • Setting the annual allocation of places available under the youth mobility scheme for 2016
  • minor amendments to the list of government authorised exchange schemes

A robust immigration policy is right – Theresa May

Mrs May observed that mass immigration is incompatible with a cohesive society if proper preparations are not made for large numbers of new arrivals. She said if we are going to have more people then we need more schools, more homes, more doctors and better transport infrastructure. This is especially true in London and the South East, where most immigrants settle.

Most voters would consider this analysis to be uncontroversial, and yet she has been accused of harsh rhetoric and lurching to the Right. A blizzard of statistics has been deployed purporting to show that there is a net benefit to Britain of high immigration and that she was wrong to say that indigenous workers are losing their jobs as a consequence. But figures can be produced to substantiate the points she made, too. This debate is ultimately futile.

The fact is that this country has experienced by far the highest levels of immigration in its history over the past 20 years and few, if any, preparations were made for it. Those who say it has been good for the country may well be right; but they are making a post hoc virtue out of something that was never intended. Until 1997, it was assumed that net migration would continue at around the 50,000 mark for the foreseeable future. The figure is now six times that. No government can ignore the impact of such a change.

Mrs May still seems wedded to the notion that net immigration can be reduced to below 100,000 – a five-year target set in 2010 and missed by a mile.

The Home Secretary should not be so fixated on an arbitrary and unachievable ambition, though she could consider changing the statistical base. After all, why should students from overseas and British people coming home be included in the immigration figures at all? The Institute of Directors is right to say that Britain must always be open to the brightest and the best from around the world but, equally, business should take the lead in training young Britons with the skills they need to be world beaters. In education too, more needs to be done to ensure that school leavers are qualified to succeed in the global jobs marketplace.

What this government – any government – must do is set out a policy that identifies who we want in the country and those we don’t, enabling the former to come while dissuading the latter. That is the essence of an immigration policy. The same is true of asylum: it should not be contentious to say that while we will offer sanctuary to people in genuine fear of persecution, those who are not bona fide refugees should be removed.

But two obstacles remain. First, controlling who comes is impossible for as long as Britain is part of the EU’s free movement of labour provisions – and changing benefit qualifications will affect that only at the margins. Second, it is already the case that illegitimate asylum seekers should be deported but most aren’t. In a speech that was more thoughtful than she is being given credit for, Mrs May correctly identified the problems brought about by the great migration. Whether she is any closer to a solution is another matter entirely.

Thousands of foreign students at publicly funded colleges are to lose the right to work.

The immigration minister, James Brokenshire, announced on Monday that from next month students from outside the European Union who come to study at publicly funded further education colleges will lose the right to work for up to 10 hours a week.

The “new crackdown on visa fraud”, as the Home Office describes it, is aimed at ensuring that student visas are used for study and “not as a backdoor to the country’s job market”.

Further measures will be introduced this autumn, including:

  • Reducing the length of further education visas from three years to two.
  • Preventing college students from applying to stay on in Britain and work when they finish their course, unless they leave the country first.
  • Preventing further education students from extending their studies in Britain unless they are registered at an institution with a formal link to a university.

The number of foreign students at British further education colleges has slumped in recent years from a peak of more than 110,000 in 2011 to 18,297 in the last 12 months.

The fall is partly a result of a squeeze by the home secretary, Theresa May, in an attempt to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000.

Ministers say the fall is also a result of a drive to reduce visa fraud and close down hundreds of privately funded “bogus” colleges.

The latest changes extend restrictions on non-EU students at privately funded colleges to those at publicly funded colleges. It is thought that there are about 5,000 non-EU students at publicly funded colleges, many of them studying for A-levels before applying to British universities.

Brokenshire said there had been signs of increased fraud at some publicly funded colleges and evidence of immigration advisers advertising college visas as a means to work in Britain.

“Immigration offenders want to sell illegal access to the UK jobs market, and there are plenty of people willing to buy,” he said. “Hardworking taxpayers who are helping to pay for publicly funded colleges expect them to be providing top-class education, not a backdoor to a British work visa.”

The Association of Colleges warned that the government measures risked seriously restricting Britain’s ability to attract international students.

“Preventing international FE students continuing to study in the UK after they have finished their studies will limit the progression of students from colleges to universities,” said its chief executive, Martin Doel .

“A-levels and international foundation year courses represent legitimate study routes for international students with many going on to successfully complete degrees at top-ranking universities. In blocking the route from further education to university, the government will do long-term harm to the UK as an international student destination and this policy needs urgent reconsideration.”

He added that the colleges had stringent monitoring systems to check attendance and were keen to see any evidence that they were being used as a back door for bogus students.

Improved figures on Restricted CoS – Tier 2 for July

UK businesses wishing to sponsor and employ non-EU nationals in the UK will rejoice to hear that June’s dramatic refusal rate should be much reduced this month, with requests for restricted CoS which score 45 points or more and offer the prospective employee a salary of £32,000 being granted.

When compared to last month’s minimum salary requirement of £46,000, this is a considerable improvement for many of those wishing to sponsor migrant employees.

Last month, the migrant cap caused the rejection of countless restricted CoS requests by UK businesses last month. This document is essential to the hiring of non-EU staff in the UK and the high rejection rate caught many UK sponsor organisations off-guard as it was the first time that demand had outstripped supply since the inception of the Points-based System.

The situation, however, is far from being resolved. With the UK economy going from strength to strength, demand for overseas employees is constantly on the rise and showing no sign of slowing down.

To make matters worse, Home Secretary Theresa May has just announced plans which will throw yet more international graduates into the mix. This poses a stark challenge for the migrant cap which the Conservative government has vowed not to increase.

One thing, however, remains quite clear: the higher the salary stated on the restricted CoS, the higher the chances over the next few months of it being granted.

If your organisation has any concerns over your monthly allocation of restricted CoS, please contact City Legal Services  today.