Home Secretary to lift post-study restrictions for International students

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called for a lifting of post-study work restrictions for International students in the UK. It was announced on 7 June that he had accepted Jo Johnson’s (former University Minister) clause for students at recognised universities to have an automatic right to stay on to work for two years on their Tier 4 student visa.

The earlier Post Study Scheme was replaced with a 4 month stay in 2012 by then Home Secretary Theresa May in an attempt to lower net migration figures. However, recently the government acknowledged that this causes issues and announced it would raise this to 6 months. Mr. Javid wrote on Financial Times: “It makes no sense to send some of the brightest and most enterprising people in the world straight home after their time here.”

Sajid Javid is a contender for the Conservative party leadership and his announcement was welcomed by UK universities and student community. Sajid Javid has received a huge boost to his Conservative party leadership campaign after securing the support of Ruth Davidson in the battle for Downing Street. It is not yet clear when this will be implemented and we will update this article as and when more news on the topic arise.

Share this:
Stateless child

Immigration Rule Changes for Stateless Applicants

The Stateless applicants are considered under Part 14 of the immigration rules paragraph 401 to 416 which sets put the rules and requirements in detail.

The key change that is being introduced,  increase the initial period of leave for those who qualify from 30 months to five years’ limited leave, after which they can apply for settlement. It is also now required that, in order to qualify for stateless leave, the applicant must show that they cannot acquire a nationality or a right to permanent residence in another country to which they may be entitled. This may be problematic in most cases to prove the negative.  It is also worth noting that applications for stateless leave will be refused where a person does not provide sufficient evidence that they have taken such steps, even if they are technically ‘stateless’ because they do not hold a nationality at the time of their application. There are also other minor changes in respect of family members.

The rules are made stricter to avoid abuse and to prevent applications from those  who can acquire the nationality of another country but choose not to. The changes are unlikely to impact the registering for British citizenship under nationality act.

Share this:
extended family

Extended Family of EU nationals gets appeal rights back under new regulations.

The appeal rights for the Extended family member (EFM) of an EU national has a complicated history when first the Upper Tribunal ruled that it did not exist in 2016, which was over turned by Court of Appeal a year later.

On 2 July 2018, The Court of Justice of the European Union’s gave its ruling in the Banger case. On the issue of whether it is compatible with Directive 2004/38/EC to operate a rule of national law which precludes an appeal to a court or tribunal against a decision refusing to issue a residence card to a person claiming to be an extended family member, the CJEU held that a national court must be able to evaluate whether the refusal decision rests on “a sufficiently solid factual basis” and whether the decision-maker complied with the requisite procedural safeguards governing any denial of entry or residence.

The Home Office recently also requested the claimant in response to a judicial review challenge to withdraw on the basis that the 2016 regulations will also be changed to allow appeal rights. Immigration (European Economic Area Nationals) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 were laid before the parliament on 07 March 2019 and Appeal rights are expected to be implemented within 21 days of this.

Share this:
Investor visa

Key changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa route announced by Home Office

The Tier 1 Investor visa category will remain opened contrary to the rumours that this route will be suspended or closed. The published changes to the rules make clear that the Tier 1 Investor visa category will remain open to new applicants from 29 March 2019.

The key changes are listed below.

  • Applicants will need to have held their investment funds for at least 2 years prior to the date of application;
  • The Home Office will have power to refuse an application where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds have been, or will be, transferred internationally by means which are unlawful in any of the countries involved;
  • Applicants will need to provide confirmation from a UK bank that it has carried out all required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries.

The new rules will not require investors to undergo enhanced checks on their financial situations and business histories, carried out by a UK-regulated auditor, before making a visa application, as was previously anticipated. Applicants will no longer be able to simply buy up UK national debt to qualify as an investor. Purchase of UK government bonds is being excluded as a qualifying investment.Transitional arrangements for current investor visa holders will be in place until 5 April 2023 for extension applications and 5 April 2025 for settlement applications. Full changes announced can be seen at Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC1919.

Share this:
start up visa

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur to be replaced with Start-up visa

The new Start-up visa will replace Graduate Entrepreneur exclusively for UK graduates from 5 July 2019. The Start-up category is an expanded version of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category. Applicants do not need to meet the requirement of having a graduate degree and to secure initial funding. Successful applicants will be granted 2 years’ leave (previously one year) and will be able to progress into the Innovator category to continue developing their businesses in the UK after that time. The key new requirement is that the initial applications must be endorsed by a relevant body (not yet defined in the statement of changes) to confirm that the business ideas are innovative, viable and scalable.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants apply on the basis of endorsement letters from Higher Education Institutions (HEI) or the Department for International Trade (DIT) may use this letters until 5 July 2019 and these may continue to be issued until 05 April 2019. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrants will be able to switch into the new Start-up route if they have not yet had their maximum two grants of leave under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route. If their Start-up endorsement is from the same endorsing body (HEI or DIT) as in their previous Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) application, their business ideas will not need to meet the new Start-up criteria in relation to innovation and scalability.

Share this:
Innovator Visa

Innovator visa introduced to replace Tier 1 Entrepreneur

The Home Office announced on 7 March 2019 by statement of changes (HC1919) regarding the closure of Tier 1 Entrepreneur route and introducing ‘innovator’ and ‘start-up’ visa categories. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications can continue to be made until 29 March 2019.

The Innovator visa category is intended for more experienced business people and will require an endorsement in addition to the £50,000 to invest in their business from any legitimate source (reduced from £200,000 for most applicants in the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur category). There will not be any funding requirement for those switching from the Start-up category (replacing graduate entrepreneur) who have made significant achievements against their business plans. The Innovator category may lead to a settlement in the UK. Innovators will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 3 years continuous residence in the UK as innovators, provided they satisfy at least two of a list of criteria relating to how much money they invested, how much the business grew and/or how many jobs they created.

There is not yet a set list of organisations that can endorse someone for an innovator visa, but we understand that endorsing bodies like Tech Nation will be participating in this scheme. Extension applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants will remain open until 5 April 2023, and settlement applications until 5 April 2025.

Share this:
Tier 5 GAE

Tier 5 GAE Internship Scheme for International Students

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) programme is for people coming to the United Kingdom through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice through work placements, whilst experiencing the wider social and cultural setting of the UK. This route could be a good alternative for those International Students who struggle to obtain a Tier 2 work visa and yet it is a least known route among the Point Based System routes.

The Programme would allow you to spend up to two years in the UK gaining valuable professional and life experience. Tier 5 GAE allows UK employers to hire the brightest candidates from overseas, helping them start their careers in highly respected companies and utilise that expertise once they go back to their home country. This route requires to have an overarching sponsor as opposed to employer being a sponsor under the Tier 2 Scheme. The list of overarching sponsors can be found here.

The requirements vary with schemes by different overarching sponsors. In order to apply from the UK, you must have lawfully obtained a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s degree during your last grant of leave, and need a Tier 5 GAE sponsorship to obtain a professional qualification/registration in same field as your degree, or to do an internship of less than 12 months that is directly related to your qualification, and you are not filling a permanent vacancy. More details of this can be found here. The employers would need to apply normally for a registration to join the scheme. At City Legal we can assist the employers with the GAE registration process and assist you with your Tier 5 GAE visa application.

Share this:
NHS

Immigration health surcharge (IHS) to double from 8 January 2019

The immigration health surcharge will be increasing from 08th January 2019. The increased fee will be £400, doubled from the previous £200 for each year of the visa duration applied. There is a lower rate for students and Tier 5 Youth mobility workers which is £300; again doubled from the previous £150.

The draft order was passed further to a final parliament approval on 28th November 2018 and will impact all applications made on or after 08th January 2018. There is however no official statement from Home Office or Health Department, but various sites including freemovement.org.uk has reported this on the basis of good authority.

Share this:
pablo

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.

Share this:
Invest T1

Tier 1 Investor visa suspended from midnight tonight to crackdown organised crime

The Tier 1 (Investor) immigration route will be suspended from midnight tonight (6/7 December) which means no applications will be accepted after today.

Currently, a Tier 1 (Investor) visa is granted to wealthy candidates who are willing to make a substantial financial investment of £2 million, £5 million or £10 million in Government bonds or British businesses in return for permission to apply for permanent residence in five, three or two years respectively.

This so-called ‘gold-plated’ visa scheme which allows foreign investors a fast-track to settlement in the UK is planned to be suspended in order to tackle money laundering as part of serious organised crime conducted by those granted this visa. The Immigration Minister has been reported stating that the planned measures aim to make sure that only those genuine investors who play by rules and intend to support the UK business can benefit from the UK immigration system.

While a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules is planned to be laid before Parliament later today, as assumed to make the changes necessary to suspend the Tier 1 (Investor) route, the route itself will be re-introduced for applications in 2019 at unspecified date. Changes are planned to be serious, including removing government bonds from the list of acceptable investments and leaving only active and trading UK companies as option for investment while also obliging applicants to provide comprehensive audit trails evidencing the money source.

The announcement has been received as a shock by some practitioners who are concerned about the timing of introduction of these measures which collides with the timing of debating of the whole new future of the UK immigration system amid Brexit which may have a negative effect on already nervous investors coming from abroad.

These planned changes to investor visa scheme are not the first aimed to tackle non-genuine migrants investing in the UK through the Tier 1 (Investor) immigration route, as previously in November 2014 and April 2015 there had been reforms under which applications can be refused if there are reasonable doubts about the source of the investment funds or that they have been acquired through unlawful conduct. Those reforms resulted in planned plummeting of the number of Tier 1 (Investor) visas in their immediate aftermath.

Share this: