Author: Adarsh Girijadevi

Theresa May urges global measures to tackle ‘uncontrolled migration’

At the UN summit in New York, the prime minister said the migration crisis had been “exacerbated” by “unprecedented” numbers of economic migrants.She urged a change in approach, saying refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.

The UN says a record number of people have been displaced by conflict.It estimates that 65.3 million people were either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced at the end of 2015, an increase of five million in a year.

The UN summit for refugees and migrants is aiming to agree a “more humane and coordinated approach”.Addressing world leaders, Mrs May called for a greater distinction between refugees and people trying to enter a country for economic reasons.

But she said the current levels of “uncontrolled migration” were not in the interests of the migrants or the countries involved, and served to reduce popular support for refugees.

“We need to be clear that all countries have the right to control their borders and protect their citizens and be equally clear that countries have a duty to manage their borders, to reduce onward flows of illegal and uncontrolled migration,” she said.

She argued that refugees should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrived in because the current trend of onward movement exposed them to increased danger and benefited criminal gangs.

Such an approach would bar EU countries from allowing migrants to travel onwards from countries like Greece, Italy and France through Europe to Britain.

Theresa May rejects points-based system for EU nationals

Theresa May has rejected a points-based system for controlling EU migration, one of the key promises of Leave campaigners during the referendum. Speaking in China, the PM acknowledged people had voted for more control on the numbers of people moving to the UK.

But she questioned whether a point-based model would work and Number 10 later said it was “not an option”.Mrs May is attending the G20 summit of world leaders in Hangzhou, her first international summit as prime minister.

Although Mrs May supported remaining in the EU, she has said that the Brexit vote must be respected and suggested that curbs on the current free movement of EU citizens into the UK would be a red line in future negotiations with the EU.

But she told journalists in China that exercising greater control did not necessarily mean an Australian-style points system for deciding the number of skilled and unskilled workers who could come into the UK every year from the EU and beyond – with numbers to be determined by MPs.Asked whether she was concerned this was too blunt an instrument, she replied: “One of the issues is whether or not points-based systems do work. A lot of people talk about a points-based system as always being the answer in immigration.

Her spokesman went further, saying: “The precise way in which the government will control the movement of EU nationals to Britain after Brexit is yet to be determined. However, as the PM has said many times in the past, a points-based system will not work and is not an option.”

Mrs May also indicated that EU citizens may continue to have preferential rights to live and work in the UK after Brexit.She said people “wanted to see an ability to be able to control the movement of people from the European Union. And obviously that’s what I say, not free movement as it has been in the past”.

During a series of interviews, Mrs May also declined to guarantee the UK would use money saved by leaving the EU to spend another £100m a week on the NHS or cut VAT on energy bills.

Home Office trials new system to speed up EU residency

Home Office have launched the online registration programme to cope with the thousands of EU migrants applying for permanent residency status after Brexit. Under the system, which is being trialed for the next two weeks, European citizens who have never previously declared they are living in Britain will be able to log on and bid to stay.

The revelations come after officials reported a surge in residency applications from EU migrants in light of Britain’s decision to quit the 28-nation bloc. There are currently an estimated 3.5 million EU nationals living in Britain although the true number is not known because – unlike countries like Germany – the UK does not require them to document their arrival.

As a result the new registration system will work as a useful audit for the Government on the true number of European citizens living and working in the UK ahead of crunch Brexit talks with other member states. The pilot programme, uncovered by the Financial Times, is being tested in secret by a group of about 20 corporate clients ahead of a public launch expected later this year. It will help the Home Office cope with an expected huge surge in the number of permanent residence applications from EU citizens, which stood at just over 25,000 a year before the Brexit vote.

Most of those are applications seeking residence rights for non-EU spouses or children to be allowed leave to live in the UK full time. The pilot programme, uncovered by the Financial Times, is being tested in secret by a group of about 20 corporate clients ahead of a public launch expected later this year. It will help the Home Office cope with an expected huge surge in the number of permanent residence applications from EU citizens, which stood at just over 25,000 a year before the Brexit vote.

Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 if you require any assistance regarding your stay in the UK as an EU Migrant.

Illegal working penalties total £21.5m in July to December 2015

UK Visas and Immigration have published a report showing the total number of fines (civil penalties) for illegal working given to employers in 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015. In that period 1820 illegal workers were found, with 1271 penalties issued coming to a total of £21.5m. Currently it is a criminal offence to ‘knowingly’ employ an illegal worker and employers can face an unlimited fine and up to two years in prison. From 12 July 2016, S.35 of the Immigration Act 2016 extends the existing criminal offence to also included a situation where the employer has ‘reasonable cause’ to believe that the employee is an illegal worker and the maximum term of imprisonment for conviction will increase from two years to five years.

Current guidance on conducting illegal working checks can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

EU warns UK on Freedom of Movement

There can be no pick and choose single market for the UK, EU leaders have warned, after meeting in Brussels to discuss the UK vote to leave the bloc.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said anyone wanting access to the EU’s market must adhere to criteria “without exception”.There could be “no negotiation without notification”, he said.

The German and French leaders and European Council President Donald Tusk said the same.Mr Tusk said there would be another meeting of EU leaders, excluding the UK, on 16 September in Bratislava to discuss so-called “Brexit”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also reiterated that there would be no discussions with the UK until Article 50 was formally triggered by the UK government.”We wish that that would happen as soon as possible,” she said.

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the rest of the EU wanted to have the “closest possible” relationship with the UK after Brexit. But he said immigration was a “great concern” among UK voters and squaring this with access to the EU single market would be a “huge challenge”.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, said that Mr Cameron told EU leaders at Tuesday night’s dinner that the “lack of a decisive and effective method to handle migration” had led the majority of British voters to choose to leave the EU.

The principle of freedom of movement of people is one of the “four freedoms” – along with goods, capital and services – that underlie the EU’s internal market. EU leaders seem united after Wednesday’s meeting that there will be no “nuances”, as Mr Juncker put it, for the UK.

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.