Immigration rules to be eased to allow NHS to recruit more staff

The removal of medical staff from the cap will create more space for other skilled migrants to work in the UK, such as engineers and teachers.Immigration rules capping the number of foreign doctors and nurses working in the UK are set to be relaxed to allow the NHS to recruit more staff, Downing Street has confirmed.

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, has set out plans to remove overseas medical staff from the annual cap on skilled workers coming to the UK from Friday, currently limited to 20,700 “tier 2” visas per year. The removal of medical staff from the cap will create more space for other skilled migrants to work in the UK, such as engineers and teachers.The move adds to growing pressure on Theresa May to ditch her party’s goal of limiting annual net migration to the “tens of thousands”. It also shows the gap between Mr Javid and the prime minister, who was known for her tough stance on immigration when she headed up the Home Office. The Home Office will lay the regulations before parliament soon, which will come into force immediately.

More than 1,500 doctors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) had visa applications refused between December 2017 and March 2018, according to the British Medical Journal. Earlier this month, Mr Javid signalled there could be a softer approach to immigration policy under his leadership at the Home Office, including looking again at the cap on “tier 2 visas”.

New Business start-up visa route announced by the Home Secretary

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has just announced that there will be a new visa available to those who wish to start a business in the UK, the Start-up Visa. For the longest time, the Home Office and its guidance has placed barriers for prospective entrepreneurs to enter the UK and proceed with their business venture. The Start-up visa will replace the Graduate Entrepreneur Route and will be open to a wider pool of talented entrepreneurs and business founders. However, as a requirement, applicants must be able to obtain an endorsement from either a university or an approved business sponsor. Nevertheless, the application process will be quicker than all other Entrepreneur Visa applications. The new visa is expected to launch in Spring 2019.

This initiative builds on other recent reforms to the visa system – including doubling the number of visas available on the Exceptional Talent route to 2,000 per year – and shows the Government’s commitment to making the UK a dynamic, open, globally-trading nation.

If you have further questions or / and is interested in this visa, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0330 058 3929.

Paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules and Its Effect on Tier 1 Migrants

A recent investigation has shown that many of the Tier 1 Migrant workers that have made an Indefinite Leave to Remain application are facing deportation orders by the Home Office pursuant to paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules even though they have not been criminally charged or fined by the HMRC. Home Office is being criticised heavily for wrongly applying this paragraph. Paragraph 322(5) was designed to tackle terrorism and disseminate those that are seen as a threat to national security. These rules were not designed to tackle those who are making changes to their tax records. Investigation has revealed that the Home Office is not proving beyond a reasonable doubt the intent to deceive HMRC or/ and Home Office and is solely relying on the failure of notifying all the relevant parties of changes to tax records. This has caused an outcry by many questioning the competence of the Home Office and its wrongful application of the relevant provisions of the Immigration Rules. It is argued that the Home Office’s incompetence will lead those with wrongful deportation orders to have a permanent “black” mark on their immigration history. Not only will the individuals be able to obtain visa to enter countries, they will face travel restraints and restrictions. Due to its sensitivity, MP’s and members of the House of Lords are now trying to create pressure groups to inform and prevent the Home Office from wrongly applying the Immigration Rules and deporting highly skilled migrants. Last month the home secretary, Sajid Javid, promised “all applications potentially falling for refusal under the character and conduct provisions of paragraph 322(5) … have been put on hold pending the findings of the current review”.

If you are a Tier 1 Migrant facing a deportation order based on amendments to your tax records or your ILR refused, please call one of our immigration experts on 0330 058 3929.

 

 

 

Home Office set up New Team to help Commonwealth citizens

The new dedicated team will work across government to help individuals identify and gather evidence to confirm their existing right to be in the UK. The team will include a dedicated contact point and aim to resolve cases within 2 weeks once the evidence has been put together. In addition, no one affected will be charged for the documentation which proves their right to be here.

The package of measures is being introduced to support individuals, who have resided in the UK for an extended period of time, and encourage them to come forward and regularize their stay. It will help guide individuals through the process and use data from across government to help build a picture that will evidence a person’s right to be here.

The new team will work with HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education and other relevant bodies to help people evidence their right to be here.The Home Office has also published a new web page which provides information and guidance for former Commonwealth citizens. It gives examples of the type of evidence that can be provided to support applications including exam certificates, employment records, your National Insurance number, birth and marriage certificates or bills and letters.

Vulnerable EU citizens risk failing to secure right to remain in UK

Vulnerable EU citizens including the elderly, children in care and victims of domestic abuse are particularly at risk of failing to secure the right to remain in the UK after Brexit, academics have warned. As the UK draws closer to departure from the bloc, the government is developing a system to give EU citizens already living in the UK “settled status”. But a “potentially significant” number of people may not be aware that they need to apply, including tens of thousands of children, the Oxford University-based Migration Observatory said, warning that the government will need to ensure that those eligible are well-informed.

The Home Office said it was planning a range of support for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children and families, victims of domestic violence, and those with English as a second language.EU citizens living in the UK are on average highly educated and should not be expected to have problems, the academics add, but if they have more than one of the vulnerabilities described, it will put them at risk of falling out of the process. There are about 3.4 million non-Irish EU citizens living in the UK, the vast majority of whom should be eligible for settled status.

For latest updates on the status of EU Nationals in the UK, please click here.

 

UK Visa Fees Increase from April 2018

The UK Visas & Immigration announced new fees for immigration and nationality coming into effect on 6 April 2018. The changes include increases to Tier 2 work visa fees, indefinite leave to remain and naturalization applications. We’ve highlighted some of the increases below but a full list can be found here.

TIER 2 VISAS

  • Overseas
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff up to 3 years: £610 (previously £587)
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff over 3 years: £1,220 (previously £1,174)
  • In country
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff up to 3 years: £704 (previously £677)
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff over 3 years: £1,408 (previously £1,354)

TIER 1 VISAS 

  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur overseas: £1,021 (previously £982)
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur in country: £1,277 (previously £1,228)
  • Tier 1 Investor overseas and in country: £1,623 (previously £1,561)
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur overseas: £363 (previously £349)
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur in country: £493 (previously £474)

OTHER WORK VISAS 

  • Representative of overseas business (overseas application): £610 (previously £587)
  • Representative of overseas business (in country application): £704 (previously 677)
  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker & Youth Mobility Scheme: £244 (previously £235)

 SETTLEMENT & BRITISH NATIONALITY 

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain: £2,389 (previously £2,297)
  • Naturalisation as a British citizen: £1,250 (previously £1,202)

Please contact us on 020 3695 4626 if you need any assistance on UK immigration.

Owning & Operating a business may amount to private life under Article 8

The court of appeal recently considered the case of  Onwuje v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 331  under Article 8 and Underhill LJ accepted that “an entrepreneur’s ownership of, and involvement in, his or her business may also be regarded as an aspect of their private life for the purpose of article 8”, as stated in Niemietz v Germany (application no. 13710/88).

In Niemietz the European Court of Human Rights accepted that the concept of private life should not be limited to an “inner circle” but should include professional or business activities, “since it is, after all, in the course of their working lives that the majority of people have a significant, if not the greatest, opportunity of developing relationships with the outside world”.

Even though the appeal did not go through in this case, the comment is worth noting for future private life claims involving business aspect.

New Procedure to request personal information held by UK Visas and Immigration

UKVI recently initiated a new procedure to request personal information that is held on the Home Office’s immigration records (this is also known as a ‘subject access request’).

There are 3 types of request you can make:

Basic

Your request will be free of charge and you will receive a response within 20 days of your identity being verified by the Home Office.

You can request a copy of:

  • an electronic summary of your immigration history
  • landing cards we hold electronically
  • an electronic summary of entry clearance records
  • Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) information
  • entry and exit records for the past 5 years

Most people find that this option gives them all the information they need.

Specific

This is a new pilot option, which allows you to request information usually only available through a detailed request. This request is also free of charge and you will receive a response within 20 days of your identity being verified by the Home Office.

You can request copies of up to 5 single documents, including:

  • a list of your visa applications made in the UK
  • a particular decision letter
  • the outcome of an appeal (appeal determination)
  • an individual detention progress report
  • a deportation order
  • a particular interview record

If you need more information than the single documents in this list, you will need to make a detailed request.

Detailed

This allows you to request a copy of your full Home Office file. Your request will cost £10 and you will receive a response within 40 days of your identity being verified by the Home Office.

Initially, you will be sent an electronic summary of your immigration history (as with a basic application) as this gives most people what they need. However, this option allows you to request further information from your Home Office file if you still need it.

You can apply via  the online application and this will reduce the time it takes to respond to your request. If you choose the detailed option, you will also be able to provide payment online using a credit or debit card or PayPal.

You can use the online application form to request access to personal information held by UKVI.

You can still make an application in writing, ensuring that you supply all the supporting documents listed in the ‘evidence to send’ section below and post to:

Subject Access Request Unit
UK Visas and Immigration
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 2BY

Full details of the process and evidence required can be read here.

Home Office in doubt whether a new immigration system can be created by March 2019

Home Office chiefs fear a new immigration system to track EU citizens for the first time will not be ready by March 2019. The alarm comes after Theresa May overruled officials to insist free movements ends on Brexit Day.

The decision means that after March 29, 2019, the Home Office must be able to both register EU citizens already here for permanent residency and separately track new arrivals during the Brexit transition period. Meanwhile Brussels had demanded anyone who arrives in Britain during the transition period – when free movement will effectively continue – be treated exactly the same as people already here, including gaining rights to stay long term.

In the negotiations, Britain has promised anyone who wants to stay will be allowed, subject to the same offer to Britons in Europe. Last year the Home Office managed to issue 164,000 work visas to non-EU nationals. This figure will have to rise to around 400,000 when EU citizens need visas.

Immigration Health Surcharge paid by migrants to double

Charges paid by temporary migrants in the UK to use the NHS are to double, the government has announced. Ministers said the move would raise around £220m a year for the health service while ensuring that migrants made a “fair contribution” towards its costs.

The increase to the immigration health surcharge – payable by people from outside the European Economic Area staying in the UK for six months or longer – means the main rate will rise from £200 to £400 a year. The discounted rate for students and those on the youth mobility scheme will go up from £150 to £300.

A surcharge was brought in by the government in 2015 in a clampdown on so-called “health tourism”. It has been questioned by some doctors, who have voiced concern that the policy could be discriminatory and result in racial profiling to identify chargeable patients.