Category: Immigration Rule Changes

Key Changes to Tier 1 visas announced in new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules

The immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, has announced on 06th December 2018,  a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules with major reforms to Tier 1 of the points-based system. The full version of the changes proposed can be viewed here.

The key changes are the introduction of a new Innovator route targeting more experienced people to replace the existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur route and suspending the Tier 1 Investor route which will be reformed soon. The new Innovator route will have a similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability.

According to the Statement laid before Parliament, these reforms will be introduced in the spring and is aimed to ensure that the UK remains a world-leading destination for investment and innovation. There is also wider changes planned for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. The changes will expand this route to provide for a route of entry for leading architects endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, under the remit of Arts Council England (ACE). This change builds upon other reforms to the route earlier this year, including doubling the number of places available, providing for faster settlement to existing leaders in their fields endorsed under this route, and expanding the route to leading fashion designers, also endorsed under the remit of ACE.

There will be also more technical changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 routes for highly skilled workers. These changes will be made to ensure the Immigration Rules remain up-to-date and for consistency purposes.

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New Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules July 2018

New Statement of changes was passed to the Parliament on the 15th of June 2018. These changes will come into force on 6thof July 2018.

Changes are applicable to:

  • Returning Residents
  • Overstayers
  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Absences for Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications
  • Students
  • Afghan Citizens
  • Dubs Amendment and Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016
  • Turkish Workers
  • Other Changes

Returning Residents

For those that have been absent from the UK for longer than two years, must apply for a leave to enter by re-establishing that they have convincing ties to the UK and that they do intend to make UK their permanent home. Those who have been absent for under two years can return without a visa. The new Rules also state that exceptions to the two-year rule for family members only now apply for the permanent diplomats.

 Overstayers

Paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules allows Overstayers to make two consecutive applications as an exception. However, from 6th of July they will only be able to make and rely on the exception once. Also, Paragraph 320 (7BB) of the Rules will have changes. This means that out-of-time application made under the application of paragraph 39E will disregard the period of overstay pursuant paragraph 320(7B).

EXAMPLE:

Jamey’s leave was expiring on 05th  June 2018. Application for leave to remain as a spouse was submitted on 07th  June 2018. This application was out of time but within 14 days of his leave expiring. Jamey explained that he had been medically not well and hospitalised and hence could not have applied before. SSHD accepts this as a good reason beyond Jamey’s control, such that his application can be considered under the rules, disregarding the overstay. However, Jamey’s application is refused because he did not meet the English language requirement. The refusal is dated 10th  July.

Previously, relying on paragraph 39E, Jamey would have had an opportunity to make another application by 24th July, and again disregarding the overstay. From 6 July, this will no longer be possible for Jamey. It is now only possible for an applicant to apply for further leave within 14 days of the expiry of the previous leave disregarding the overstay once.

Tier 1

There will no longer be rules in relation to indefinite leave to remain for Tier 1 (General) Migrants as the route is now closed as of 6th of April 2018. Applications submitted after 6th of July 2018 in relation to Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) will widen for arts. The endorsement of arts applicants will now include individuals in the fashion industry.

Applicants under Tier 1 (Investor) can no longer take out dividend and interest payments generated before the investment portfolio purchase. In addition to this, Applicants must prove that the funds are only, duly invested in qualifying investments and that no loan is or has been secured against those funds. In relation to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications, minor changes will reflect the timing requirement of letters from legal representatives and will reflect the provision for accountants to approve that the investment has in fact been only made on the applicant.

Tier 2

Visas for skilled non-EU workers were always limited. From 6th of July 2018, doctors and nurses will be exempt.

  • Deletion of references to jobs sponsored at level 4 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework, as, since June 2012, this was increased to RQF level 6.
  • Clarification that an applicant cannot own more than 10% of shares, even if indirectly (for example via another corporate entity), in a limited company sponsoring them, save for certain exceptions. The old Rules did not specify that an application could not own the shares indirectly.
  • Applicants applying after 6 July 2018 who have been absent on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave will now need to submit evidence of the adoption or birth.
  • Finally, a migrant who has been absent for work without pay for four weeks or more will no longer have their Tier 2 leave curtailed when the absence was for assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas, providing their sponsor agreed to the absence(s) for that purpose.

Absences for Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications

Secretary of State, introduced a transitional arrangement to ensure that the new absences calculation rule does not adversely affect applicants whose absences occurred during leave granted under Rules in place prior to 11 January. A second change to the Rules relating to when continuous residence is broken brings the entry clearance provisions in line with the more generous in-country provisions. Continuous residence will usually not be considered to be broken when the applicant left and returned provided they had leave, and there are some exceptions. Two new exceptions have been added:

  • where the applicant makes an application for entry clearance within 14 days of the leave expiring and the Secretary of State considers that there was a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative why the application could not be made during the currency of continuing limited leave; or
  • where a successful application for entry clearance is made following the refusal of a previous application to which an exception applied, and the application was made within 14 days of that refusal (or the expiry of the time limit for making an in-time application for administrative review, or any administrative review or appeal being concluded, withdrawn or abandoned or lapsing).

Students

Students will be subject to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme if they are going to study and learn knowledge and skills that can be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. All applicants must now obtain a certificate before they proceed irregardless of the length of their studies. Students will also be able to study on a study abroad programme even if the program was introduced newly in the current course.

Postgraduate migrants will now be able to bring their dependents with them to the UK as long as the course is six months or more. Students can provide evidence of previous qualifications online. This includes electronic copies from awarding bodies online checking services. However, this is up to the discretion of Home Office as they still have the right to ask and see the original copy.

As per documentary evidence requirements, the list varies depending on the country. The new changes will expand the country list allowing students to decide which evidence to submit based on where the application is made. Therefore, they will have the ability to choose from their country of residence or their country of nationality.

Afghan Citizens

New Rules are introduced to provide a route to settlement for Afghan citizens granted leave under these schemes, and their immediate family members. To be eligible for settlement, Afghan nationals and their family members will need to have lived in the UK with leave granted under the scheme for five years, and not fall for refusal because of good character. The application will be free of charge and there will be a specific form for settlement applications under this route, although that has not yet been released.

Dubs Amendment and Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016

Children who do not qualify for international protection or humanitarian protection but are admitted to the UK under the Dubs amendment, can now be granted a new leave, Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 leave.

This leave will be granted if it is proven that:

  1. the person is not excluded from being a refugee under regulation 7 of the Refugee or Person in Need of International Protection (Qualification) Regulations 2006 or excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection under paragraph 339D of these Rules;
  2. the person’s application for refugee status or humanitarian protection has been refused;
  3. there are no reasonable grounds for regarding the person as a danger to the security of the United Kingdom;
  4. the person has not been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, and does not constitute a danger to the community of the United Kingdom; and
  5. none of the general grounds for refusal in paragraph 322 apply.

If the conditions are satisfied, the child will be given a leave for five years. The leave will not restrict the child from studying, working and accessing public funds. Furthermore, where the child is unable to obtain a national passport, they will be able to obtain a UK travel document as long as they are not refused on grounds of national security or public order. If the child completes five years of residence in the UK, they will be eligible for indefinite leave to remain and will not incur any application fees. Similarly, dependent children will also be given leave as long as the main applicant that has the parental responsibility is granted leave.

Turkish Workers

The UK Government is introducing the European Communities Association Agreement also known as Appendix ECAA or Ankara Agreement. This route will allow Turkish workers, business individuals and their family members to obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK as long as certain conditions are met. They are as follows:

  1. their last grant of leave was under the ECAA;
  2. they have lived in the UK continuously for five years;
  3. they have shown sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom, in accordance with Appendix KoLL;
  4. they have been able to support any family members with them without recourse to public funds to which they are not entitled; and
  5. they do not fall for refusal under general grounds for refusal.

Dependent children will be given indefinite leave to remain as long as the main applicant is granted leave. Dependent children do not have to prove the five years residence. However, partners of the main applicant need to show that they have resided in the UK for five years before they can be eligible for the indefinite leave to remain. Therefore, if the main applicant obtains the indefinite leave to remain before the partner reaches the five-year residence period, the partner can apply for further leave to remain so that they can obtain the five-year residence.

Other Changes

From 1st of July 2018, Croatian nationals will no longer require authorization to work or require registration cards to prove right to work as they will benefit from the entirety of EU Movement Rules. This will allow Croatian Nationals to apply freely as there will no longer be any more limits under the Tier 1 and Tier 2 route.

An adopted child who has limited leave as per Family Immigration Rules and is aged 18 years or above at the time of the application for indefinite leave to remain, must be able to satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement. Finally, changes will be made to the list of approved government authorized exchange schemes for Tier 5 migrants.

The full statement of changes can be viewed here.

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Immigration Act puts further obligations on banks to check the Immigration status of customers.

The Immigration Act 2014 prohibited firms from opening current accounts for people who don’t have leave to remain in or enter into the UK. The Immigration Act 2014 has been amended by the Immigration Act 2016 and these amendments come into force on 30 October 2017.

There will be a number of additional requirements on firms including a requirement to carry out periodic checks of the immigration status of existing current account customers. This will include accounts opened before the 2014 Act prohibition came into force and will encompass situations where accounts may have been opened during a period of lawful stay but where the migrant has remained in the UK after their leave has expired.

The first immigration check is required to be carried out for the quarter beginning on 1 January 2018. Firms will be checking for accounts operated by a disqualified person (i.e. a person who is in the UK but who does not have the required leave to enter or remain in the UK).

The firm must then inform the Home Office if any account is identified and the Home Office will then carry out a check. The Home Office will have a range of options including requiring firms to close the account as soon as possible and power to apply to the Court to freeze an account until the individual leaves the UK.

The Immigration Act 2014 (Bank Accounts) Regulations will be amended to extend the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) duty to monitor and enforce compliance with the new requirements. The FCA is currently consulting on its approach to the amended Immigration Act and regulations including reporting, monitoring and enforcement.

What do you need to know?

New accounts

Where the check identifies that the applicant is a disqualified person, firms must refuse to open the account. This prohibition includes:

  • opening joint current accounts for any disqualified persons
  • opening a current account where the disqualified person is a signatory or is identified as a beneficiary
  • adding any disqualified person as a current account holder, signatory or identified beneficiary in relation to an existing current account

Where firms refuse to open a current account due to concerns the person is a disqualified person, the firm must tell that person the reason for the refusal (as long as doing so does not conflict with obligations under other legislation e.g. Anti-Money Laundering legislation). Particular wording has been prepared by the Home Office which can be used where firms have refused an account.

Existing accounts

In terms of existing accounts, from 1 January 2018, firms will also be required to carry out quarterly immigration checks and any accounts found to be operated by a disqualified person must likewise be reported to the Home Office.

What do firms need to do?

  • make arrangements to comply with the Immigration Act 2016 and ensure that the relevant checks are put in place and employees are aware of the obligations and receive the necessary training;
  • put in place record-keeping procedures so that they can demonstrate compliance with the Immigration Act 2016 to the FCA. Firms will need to keep these records for at least 5 years. Firms will also need to confirm to the FCA each year that they are complying with their obligations under the Immigration Act;
  • terms and conditions will need to be updated in order to take account of the new quarterly checks; and
  • any issues with compliance will need to be reported to the FCA in the usual way.

Implications of the Immigration Act

This will place yet a further obligation on firms to monitor account activity. Appropriate systems and checks will need to be put in place to ensure compliance with this new obligation. Industry experts have expressed concerns that these requirements will make it harder for legitimate customers to open bank accounts.

Questions have also been raised about where liability will lie if things go wrong. In circumstances where a search brings up a number of names this may lead to the incorrect bank accounts being frozen or closed which could lead to claims being issued against firms. Appropriate records will need to be maintained to show why decisions have been made in order to evidence a firms compliance with the act.

Firms will also need to ensure its policies and procedures are clear and comply with other legislative requirements.

Who is affected?

You have been refused a current account

Banks and building societies are required to carry out immigration status checks on people applying for current accounts. Under the Immigration Act 2014 they must refuse your application for a new current account (or an application to add you as a signatory or identified beneficiary to a new or existing current account) if you are a disqualified person.

You may be disqualified if you are in the UK and need leave to enter or remain (under the Immigration Act 1971) and don’t have leave to be here. This could be because you:

  • never had leave to enter or remain (because you entered the UK illegally)
  • had leave but stayed after it expired or was revoked
  • are an European Economic Area (EEA) national subject to deportation action who has exhausted all rights of appeal

Your account has been closed

Banks and building societies are required to carry out immigration status checks on people who hold current accounts. If you are identified as being disqualified from holding an account, then, under the Immigration Act 2014 the bank or building society must close your accounts (or restrict access where you are a signatory or identified beneficiary, or the account is jointly held with a non-disqualified person). You may be disqualified if you are in the UK and need leave to enter or remain (under the Immigration Act 1971) and don’t have leave to be here. This could be because you:

  • never had leave to enter or remain (because you entered the UK illegally)
  • had leave, but stayed after it expired or was revoked
  • are an European Economic Area national subject to deportation action who has exhausted all rights of appeal.

The Home Office has the power under the Immigration Act 2014 to apply for a freezing order in relation to current accounts for disqualified person.

Query the decision

If a bank or building society refuses your application for a current account or closes your current account under the Immigration Act 2014, it will normally tell you why. If you believe there’s been a mistake, you should contact the Home Office with evidence of your lawful immigration status. If you have a right to be in the UK, the Home Office will change your details so you can re-apply to open a current account or re-open your existing account.

If you have any further questions or require any assistance relating issues with your bank account give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or email us on [email protected]

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EEA (EFM) Appeal rights – Case of SALA overturned in the court of appeal

The EEA – Extended family member’s appeal rights were withdrawn further to the judgement in the case of Sala (EFMs: Right of Appeal : Albania) [2016] UKUT 411 (IAC). The Upper Tribunal in this case has ruled that there is no right of appeal against a decision by the Home Office to refuse a residence card to a person claiming to be an extended family member.

A a direct result of this judgement, the Home Office updated their guidelines regarding the appeal rights & all subsequent application refusals did not carry any right of appeal. The First Tier tribunal also invalidated appeals outstanding with them which caused a real panic among the appellants.

The court of appeal considered this in the case of MK Pakistan & overturned the judgement yesterday by allowing the appeal on the interpretation grounds. The effect of the decision is that all those appeals pending under the 2006 Regulations should now be able to proceed. Those that have resulted in notices of invalid appeal will need to be challenged. This point may be slightly academic now, in the sense that only the 2006 Regulations are directly affected, but the path to a challenge to the 2016 Regulations now exists.

If you are affected by SALA case and wants any further advise on how to challenge this, please call one of our experts on 020 3695 4626.

 

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Changes to Spouse Visa income requirements.

Following the landmark Supreme Court decision in the case of R (on the application of MM (Lebanon)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department in February 2017, although the judges upheld in principle the Minimum Income Rule, which requires an income of at least £18,600 for British citizens and others to sponsor a foreign partner, the decision did offer a glimmer of hope for the countless number of couples who, although in possession of sufficient funds, cannot meet the onerous rules with regard to the source of the income. The judgment refers to the fact that 30,000 spouse applications were refused between 2012 and 2014 and only 26 were referred for further consideration outside of the Immigration Rules, relying instead on Article 8 human rights grounds.

The court did however rule that the Minimum Income Rule was unlawful in failing to protect children and failing to take account of other sources of income not permitted under the immigration rules.

For example, in the case of British citizens who are not in active employment, perhaps through child care commitments or study, unless these individuals can provide evidence of savings of at least £62,500, their foreign national partner will not be able to meet the minimum income requirement in an application for entry clearance, even if said partner is earning in excess of £18,600.

Viewers of the May/Corbyn Q and A session hosted by the BBC a few days prior to the General Election on 8 June 2017 might recall listening to the plight of a young member of the audience, pleading for these rules to be softened. She recounted how she had met her husband at university in the UK, fell in love and married, only to then have to immediately separate and conduct a long distance marriage once his studies ended, so that they could amass the necessary £62,500 in savings, which has to be held for six months!

So, what is this glimmer of hope offered by the esteemed Supreme Court judges? An opportunity for the government to amend this unfair rule to permit the income of the foreign partner to be taken into account you might think! Alas not so.

The government published its latest Statement of Changes on 20 July 2017 with the stated intention on giving effect to the decision in MM. The main provisions are:

  • new general provisions which require the decision-maker, in the circumstances specified, to consider whether the minimum income requirement is met if the other sources of income, financial support or funds set out in the new paragraph 21A of Appendix FM-SE are taken into account. The specified circumstances are that, firstly, the minimum income requirement is not otherwise met and, secondly, it is evident from the information provided by the applicant that there are exceptional circumstances which could render refusal of the application a breach of Article 8, because it could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a child under the age of 18 years, whom it is evident would be affected by a decision to refuse the application.
  • Paragraph 21A of Appendix FM makes provision as to the other sources of financial support which the decision-maker will take into account in such cases. These are: a credible guarantee of sustainable financial support from a third party; credible prospective earnings from the sustainable employment or self-employment of the applicant or their partner; or any other credible and reliable source of income or funds available to the couple. Paragraph 21A also makes provision for particular factors which the decision-maker will consider in determining the genuineness, credibility and reliability of such other source of income, financial support or funds.
  • A requirement that the decision-maker, when an application does not meet the requirements of the rules, goes on to consider on the basis of the information provided by the applicant, whether there are exceptional circumstances which would render refusal of the application a breach of Article 8 because it would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant or their family.
  • A requirement for the decision-maker, in considering an application under the new general provisions, to have regard, as a primary consideration, to the best interests of any child affected by the decision.
  • A stipulation that grants of visas under these new general provisions will put applicants on the 10-year route to settlement, with scope to apply later to enter the five-year route where they subsequently meet the requirements.
  • Measures to ensure that a child is granted leave of the same duration and subject to the same conditions as their parent, who is or has been granted leave under these rules.
  • Measures to ensure that the partner of a person with refugee status or enjoying humanitarian protection cannot qualify for indefinite leave to remain before their partner does.

It is hard to conceive of circumstances which are not exceptional when considering the enforced separation of a family. No doubt these rules will give rise to a substantial body of case-law to decide where the line should be drawn and most cases will inevitably be decided on their facts. It is regrettable that the government does not define ‘unjustifiably harsh’ consequences, which means that applicants will have to amass strong evidence in support of their application in the hope that it meets the unknown threshold of harshness in order to engage Article 8.

Where there are children involved, it is most likely that Article 8 will be engaged, in order to meet the requirement to ensure the best interests of the child are served.

Not only do these rules impact British citizens but also those with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK. Following Brexit, EU citizens will have to apply for ILR in order to secure ongoing rights to remain in the UK. They will also be subject to the Minimum Income Rule should they wish to bring family members to the UK. Until now EU citizens have been able to bring their non-EU family members to the UK by meeting a considerably lower income threshold.

Certainly the immigration rules continue to throw up challenges for couples and their children to get on with their lives in the UK and no doubt the EU dimension will engender further complexity.

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UK must agree implementation period for EU migration curbs – Lords committee

The European Union and Britain offered few compromises at their first full round of Brexit talks which ended on Thursday, and the pound fell on worries that British ministers were prepared to walk away without a deal.

While negotiators laid out their disagreements in Brussels, Prime Minister Theresa May met company bosses at home, with one employers’ group saying her government needed to engage in “sustained and structured” discussions with business over Brexit and avoid an abrupt departure from the bloc. Separately, academics warned of “widespread, damaging and pervasive” costs if Britain failed to reach at least a transitional trade deal with the EU before its scheduled departure from the bloc less than two years from now. At the European Commission, the negotiators laid out their opening positions in four days of talks that showed some common ground. But they also confirmed differences over how to protect the future of expatriate citizens, while uncertainty persisted over a financial settlement and the future of the Irish border, which will become an external frontier for the EU in 2019.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said there was “a fundamental divergence” on how to protect the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and of Britons in the remaining 27 EU countries after Brexit. He said European courts should guarantee citizens’ rights after Brexit. “Any reference to European rights imply their oversight by the Court of Justice of the European Union,” he told a joint news conference with British Brexit Secretary David Davis. Britain, however, says people voted in last year’s Brexit referendum to end shared EU sovereignty, and its judges should therefore have jurisdiction.

Davis said the meetings in Brussels had provided “a lot to be positive about”. But when asked if Britain would accept the principle of a net payment from London to Brussels – and not vice versa as some British ministers have suggested – he gave no direct answer. Barnier called on Britain to clarify at the next round of talks in August how it would maintain a common travel area with the Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the EU.

Both sides have said they want to avoid reimposition of border controls between the republic and British-ruled Northern Ireland. However, so far neither has proposed a solution to an issue that remains sensitive almost two decades after a peace deal ended years of violence in the province.

Full story can be read here

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Wrong Brexit immigration policy could leave north-east industries without a workforce

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said he had grave concerns for the north-east’s fish processing, soft fruit and seasonal farming sectors, which rely heavily on EU nationals.

Lord Duncan said there needed to be more focus on how to allow EU nationals to continue to work in the north-east of Scotland after Brexit. He said: “The area I have most concern about is the EU nationals question, particularly on the fish processing side, where upwards of 90% of workers are EU nationals. These are challenging but very well-paying jobs but they are not attractive jobs and so they are filled with migrants in places like Peterhead.

“How do we create a system that allows EU migrants to continue to fill these processing jobs as well as those in farming and seasonal work?”

Lord Duncan said he did not think rural affairs minister Michael Gove’s preferred points-based system was workable. He said: “It needs to be a non points-based system.”

Full story can be read here

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Theresa May under pressure to drop migration target after warning over Brexit recruitment crisis.

Theresa May has come under new pressure to drop her target to reduce migration after a report warned that Brexit is already causing recruitment problems for UK companies.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for the recruitment industry, said the Government’s failure to outline a post-Brexit immigration policy was adding to uncertainty for both business and EU workers in the UK. REC’s survey of 607 employers found evidence that a growing number are taking on temporary workers to plug gaps caused by skill shortages. Some 87 per cent intend to maintain or increase their use of temporary staff in the next three months.

Kevin Green, REC’s chief executive, said: “Brexit is making the situation more challenging. In London for example, a third of people working in construction are from the EU and it’s difficult to see how firms will manage if their workforce aren’t encouraged to stay in the UK and continue to contribute to our economy.”

Mr Green added: “Decisions about the future immigration system are too important to be subject to political whim – we need policy to be built on sound evidence and data. Businesses need access to people to deliver growth, and that the current UK workforce alone cannot meet demand.” The REC’s “jobs outlook” report said the engineering, construction and education sectors could face unfilled vacancies in September or October.

Full story can be read here

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Brexit talks must not lose sight of immigration issue.

We hear masses about a Brexit “Bill” and about the future role of European Court of Justice. But what has happened to the issue of free movement? Wasn’t this supposed to be one of the Government’s fabled “red lines”?

While Theresa May  in her manifesto renewed David Cameron’s vow to bring net migration down to 100,000 a year we have scarcely heard a thing on the subject since the election. There has to be a suspicion that the Goverment is preparing for a climbdown, that it is opening the way for a deal in which Britain would remain partially in the single market with EU citizens free to travel to Britain, to look for work here and to claim benefits here much as before. In fact the Government began to change tone subtly on free movement as early as the first week in April even before Theresa May made her decision to call a general election.

Speaking on a trip to Jordan, about as far from the political fray of Westminster as she has been in recent months, the Prime Minister started to talk of an “implementation period” in which free movement could continue to operate for an unspecified time. There has been a similar shifting of position in the Government’s promise to guarantee the rights of EU citizens already resident in Britain. There is widespread agreement that people settled in Britain should have the right to stay in return for UK citizens resident abroad having the right to remain there.

But there is the issue of a cut-off date: since when should an EU citizen have had to be living in Britain to qualify for the automatic right to stay? At first it was suggested that it should be the date of the referendum: June 23 last year. But the date keeps slipping forward. It now could be any date between when Article 50 was triggered – in March this year – to the date on which Britain officially leaves the EU, expected to be March 2019.

Full story can be read here

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There’s going to be ‘chaos’ in the food industry after Brexit, report warns…

A report from food policy specialists has said that ministers need to establish a clear plan for how a new food system will operate. As it stands, the UK gets 31% of its food from the UK and the report’s authors have warned that provisions need to be put in place before Brexit occurs in 2019. The absence of a trade deal could push the price of imported food up by 22%.

Even a ‘soft’ Brexit – which would see the Uk remain in the single market or customs union, could badly impact the food and farming industries.Ahead of the departure deadline, there are thousands of pieces of legislation concerning food which require consideration, covering areas such as agriculture and fisheries.

Author Tim Lang, a professor from City University in London, accused the government of a ‘serious policy failing on an unprecedented scale’ for its handling of the situation. Mr Lang said: ‘The Government has provided next to no details on agriculture and fisheries, and there has been total silence on the rest of the food chain where most employment, value adding and consumer choice are made. ‘With the Brexit deadline in 20 months, this is a serious policy failure on an unprecedented scale. Anyone would think they want a drop into the World Trade Organisation abyss.’He added: ‘At least the UK entered World War Two with emergency plans. No-one has warned the public that a Food Brexit carries real risks of disruption to sources, prices and quality.’

These include a “clear integrated plan for UK food”, new legislation to ‘replace 4,000 pieces of EU law relating to food’ and subsidies to cover the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which the UK is expected to leave. The report, which is based on more than 200 sources, continues: ‘Prices, which are already rising and likely to rise more, will become more volatile, especially harming poor consumers.’

Full story can be read here

 

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