Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) rollout to overseas applicants

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From March, 2015 any non-EEA national applying from overseas for permission to stay in the UK for more than six months will be required to apply for a BRP and then to collect it within ten days of their first arrival in the UK. This change will be delivered over a 4 month period between March and July 2015, subject to parliamentary approval.

The basic visa application process will remain largely unchanged but the applicant will be required to provide their intended date of travel, a UK address and post code. The UK post code submitted as part of the application process will be used to identify the branch of the Post Office to which the Biometric Residence Permit will be sent for collection by the applicant. Help will be provided as part of the application process to guide the applicant in selecting the most appropriate Post Office collection branch.

Successful applicants will receive a letter informing them of the decision, which will also include notification that they must collect their BRP from the designated Post Office branch within 10 days of arrival in the UK. The passport or travel document will also be endorsed with a 30 day short validity (travel) vignette – which will be valid for thirty days from the expected date of travel provided by the applicant – to enable them to travel to the UK and to collect their BRP.

There is no additional fee for the applicant. The visa application fee remains the same.

Any applicant who does not travel to the UK within the 30-day period of their vignette must apply to the Entry Clearance Officer for a replacement short-term visa to enable them to travel to the UK.

H&R Firm Awards Announced

Many colleges and universities already have MOUs in place with local law enforcement authorities covering a variety of areas.  Our conversations with campus administrators, campus police, and law enforcement have underscored the need for additional tools and strategies that are specifically tailored to the dynamics of sexual assault on campus, as well as the needs of sexual assault survivors.  The task force is providing this sample MOU with that in mind.

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Detroit’s Lawyers Defend Billing

In court papers, lead law firm Jones Day and others that helped Detroit navigate its historic debt restructuring made a case—at the request of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes—for why their hourly billing rates and final tab are reasonable. Officials at Jones Day, who pointed out they had already cut $17.7 million from their tab, defended the $53.7 million in fees charged for roughly 17 months’ work.

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Real estate attorney Bill Kuehling

Bill advises developers, nonprofit corporations, and public entities on a variety of real estate transactions and infrastructure finance. He has more than 20 years of experience in real estate development, public/private partnerships, land use, and municipal law, and serves as an advisor to national developers seeking tax abatements, tax increment financing, or any other redevelopment opportunities across the St. Louis region.

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For Foreign Law Firms in Australia

The gamble of doing business in Australia came into sharp relief this past week when one U.S. law firm parted ways with Australia while another global firm took its relationship with the country to a whole new level.

New York law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP announced that it’s shutting down its offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong in coming months. Meanwhile, global law firm Dentons unveiled plans to merge with mainland Australia’s largest law firm.

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‘Deport first, appeal later’ measures start to bite

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Nearly 800 foreign criminals are being kicked out of the country as tough new ‘deport first, appeal later’ measures start to have an impact.

Powers introduced in the government’s flagship Immigration Act are cracking down on the appeals conveyor belt used by criminals to delay their removal from the UK. And more than 300 have already been removed – with nearly 500 more currently going through the system.

Non-suspensive appeals came into force in July, meaning Home Office officials can deport criminals before they have the opportunity to launch spurious claims under the Human Rights Act or falsely claim asylum.

Those deported then have the right to launch an appeal from their own country, rather than clogging the British justice system – costing UK taxpayers time and money in fighting the cases through the courts.

And the new powers have seen a number of criminals deported despite having family members in the UK – reinforcing the government’s stance that the right to a family life should not override the rights of wider society.

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said:

Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crime in Britain should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

The countless appeals and re-appeals lodged by criminals attempting to cheat the system cost us all money and are an affront to British justice.

Non-suspensive appeals are allowing us to kick out foreign criminals more quickly and more efficiently than ever before and I want to see them used as often as possible.

Alongside tougher crime fighting measures, improved protection at the border and greater collaboration between police and immigration enforcement officers, the Immigration Act will help us deliver an immigration system that is fair to the people of this country and legitimate immigrants and tough on those who flout the rules.

The Act has also slashed the number of appeals available to foreign criminals from 17 to just four. And they have been denied the right to appeal against deportation simply because they do not agree with our decision.

Under the new rules, once a decision has been taken to deport a foreign criminal they will have to lodge any appeal and all papers their lawyers think are relevant to their attempts to stay from outside the country. This is putting a stop to delaying tactics often employed by criminals desperate to thwart justice. Previously, it was commonplace for criminals to submit to the court reams of new, unconsidered ‘evidence’ creating legal delays while government lawyers studied the new paperwork.

The non-suspensive appeals measures will work alongside other powers in the Immigration Act to speed up the justice system and make it more efficient.

Note:

The figures in this article are taken from internal management information compiled by Home Office officials (between 28 July 2014, when the first Immigration Act Commencement Order was laid and when the amendments to the EEA Regulations came into effect, and 17 December 2014). They are provisional and so subject to revision.

All of these cases in this article are associated with non-suspensive appeals for deportees. These are contained in Section 17(1) and 17(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 (certification of human rights claims made by persons liable to deportation) and, in respect of EEA nationals, in Regulations 24AA and 29(3) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (human rights considerations and interim orders to suspend removal, and effect of appeals). Regulation 29(3) provides that an appeal against a deportation decision no longer automatically suspends removal proceedings.

Further regular information on removals and voluntary departures can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly Immigration Statistics publication.

Non-EU family members do not need visa to enter UK, says European court

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Britain cannot impose a blanket visa requirement on family members originally from outside Europe but who have valid EU residence rights, the European court of justice has ruled.

The decision is another setback in the government’s campaign to control immigration from the European Union.

Concluding that the EU’s freedom of movement rules trumped British claims that visas were needed to combat abuse of the EU residence card system, the judges in Luxembourg said the Colombian wife of Sean McCarthy, a dual British and Irish national living in Spain, did not need a UK visa or family permit to visit Britain.

The high court referred the case to the ECJ after McCarthy contested UK insistence on a family permit or visa, valid for six months, for his wife, Helena, every time they visit Britain. The couple have two children, both British nationals. The ECJ decided that Helena McCarthy’s Spanish residence card entitled her to travel to Britain without first obtaining a UK visa in Spain.

“The UK is disappointed with the judgment in this case,” said a government spokesman. “As the case is still to return to the UK’s high court for a final judgment, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The government argues that because it views the system of residence permits in some EU countries as suspect and open to abuse, it is entitled to impose a blanket entry requirement. The EJC dismissed this view, ruling that where suspicion existed, individual cases could be investigated and visa requirements imposed, but not as a general catch-all system.

“The [UK] legislation at issue requires an entry permit to be obtained prior to entry into UK territory, even where the authorities do not consider that the family member of an EU citizen may be involved in an abuse of rights or fraud. Family members who possess a valid residence card are thus prevented absolutely and automatically from entering the territory of the member states without a visa,” the court of justice said.

“The fact that a member state is faced with a high number of cases of abuse of rights or fraud cannot justify the adoption of a measure founded on considerations of general prevention, to the exclusion of any specific assessment of the conduct of the person concerned himself.

“Such measures would mean, as in the present case, that the mere fact of belonging to a particular group of persons would allow the member states to … disregard the very substance of the primary and individual right of EU citizens to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states.”

Immigration, EU freedom of movement and whether Britain should remain in Europe are increasingly vexed issue in the runup to next year’s general election. The Luxembourg ruling looks likely to cause trouble for David Cameron since it could open doors to thousands of non-EU nationals. It will also disgruntle Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers and fuel the Ukip anti-EU and anti-immigration campaign.

“Britain will be forced to recognise residence permits issued by any EU member state, even though the system of permits is wide open to abuse and fraud,” said the Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe.

“This ruling extends the so-called ‘right to free movement’ to millions of people from anywhere in the world who don’t have citizenship of any country of the EU. This is yet more proof that Britain can never take back control of its borders as long as it remains in the European Union.”

Timothy Kirkhope, a Conservative MEP, said: “We need a visa system controlled by the UK and not the EU. Of course the UK should have an immigration system which is fair, and does not disadvantage the right of British citizens to be with their family.

“We are disappointed as we believe that the UK’s visa system is both fair and lawful. Britain will always be best placed to decide and deal with its own immigration needs … not a judge in Luxembourg.”

New checks introduced to stop illegal migrants opening bank accounts

For the first time banks and building societies will be barred from opening a current account for immigration offenders who are on the anti-fraud CIFAS database. Where the CIFAS checks identify that the applicant has no leave to enter or remain in the UK, the firm must refuse to open the account. If firms do not comply, the FCA will be able to levy financial penalties, restrict a firm’s deposit-taking permissions, or even bring forward criminal sanctions.

These measures will make it more difficult for illegal migrants to gain access to credit cards

Preventing illegal migrants from opening current accounts will make it more difficult for them to subsequently gain access to credit cards, mortgages or loans.

Bank accounts are important for establishing an identity in the UK

Bank accounts are important pieces of identification which make it easier for illegal migrants to access benefits and services they are not entitled to and therefore allow them to establish a more viable life in the UK.

Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire said:

For too long it has been too easy for people to live in Britain despite having no right to be here.

These changes, as part of the Immigration Act, will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain.

These reforms are helping us to build and deliver what we have always promised — an immigration system that truly works in the national interest.

The immigration “windfall” for the Treasury

The controversy over immigration is about more than money – though what often sparks furious debate is the frequently levelled charge that immigrants, especially those from Eastern Europe, are a burden on taxpayers.

But the opposite is true, according to a new report, by University College London’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration.

It calculates that immigrants from the so-called new Europe, those 10 countries which joined the EU in 2004, contributed £4.96bn more in taxes up to 2011 than they took out in benefits and use of public services.

In other words, and according to the report’s authors, Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini, they were a boon to the state and the public finances, not a burden.

And this calculation may understate the net fiscal benefit to the Treasury: the calculation includes immigrants’ proportionate share of all public service costs, those that increase when the population increases, such as health and education, and those that don’t, such as the armed forces and defence.

If the fixed costs are excluded, the net benefit of immigration from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic et al to the Exchequer would more than double to £10.5bn.

And to put these numbers into perspective, the rest of us – the indigenous population – were a massive drain on the state over the same period, to the tune of £617bn, based on allocating to immigrants a share of all public spending costs, or £679bn if fixed costs are heaped exclusively on natives.

By the way, there is some logic to attributing all the fixed costs to the native population, because we would have to pay them, whether or not the immigrants were here.

Anyway, the big point is that without the immigrants, our taxes or public sector borrowing would be measurably higher. Which, at a time when the government is failing to reduce the UK’s unsustainably large public sector deficit at the speed it would like, seems of some relevance.

And, by the way, the net benefits of immigration from the rest of the European Union (the richer more developed countries) was £15bn, with full costs allocated, and £18bn without.

As for immigrants from the rest of the world, they contributed £5bn or £20.5bn on the same basis.

Now for the avoidance of doubt, these calculations include all out-of-work and in-work benefits, including tax credits and child benefit.

The importance of this analysis is that for the first time it calculates the net costs or benefits of immigrants from the accession countries – in that the critique of earlier work by the same authors, from Migration Watch, was that any benefits came from old Europe immigrants, not from Poles, Czechs and so on.

But, there are some costs of immigration that are ignored here.

For example, there is evidence that immigration drives down the pay of the indigenous population, especially among the lowest paid. So in-work benefits to natives may be increased by immigration.

Prof Dustmann – who is the author not only of the current report but an earlier widely cited one on how immigration reduces the pay of those who earn least – says these increased costs of benefits paid to natives would nowhere near wipe out the fiscal contribution of the immigrants.

A couple of other points are worth making.

The immigrants are disproportionately young.

And if they stay in the UK, their contribution may actually rise – if they become more skilled – up until their retirement, when they would become a net drain. That said, they may well return home long before retirement.

Finally, and corroborating an argument made by proponents of immigration, Dustmann and Frattini point out that the immigrants tend to be better educated than native Brits, and they calculate that the value of the education they received, paid for by their home countries and not us, was £6.8bn, again up to 2011.

However, there may be good reasons for curbing immigration, to do with social cohesion, sense of community, culture and happiness. But this report suggests one argument that isn’t compelling is the one that alleges immigrants are a big cost to the state.