Category Archives: General UK Immigration News

Changes to the skills shortage occupation list come into effect

The shortage occupation is part of the Tier 2 immigration route via the points based system. Highly skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) seeking to work in the UK must apply for visas via this route. Employers can only bring someone into the UK under Tier 2 if the job is on the shortage occupation list or if they pass a resident labour market test (no suitable resident workers apply after advertising the job in the UK first for 4 weeks).

Occupations that the MAC recommended be removed from the list include:
• secondary education biology teachers;
• speech and language therapists;
• pharmacists;
• orthoptists;
• veterinary surgeons; and,
• rank and file orchestral musicians.

Added to the list will be:

• actuaries;
• high integrity pipe welders;
• environmental scientists; and,
• geochemists

The government has accepted the MAC’s recommended list in full however, rank and file orchestral musicians will not be removed from the list immediately, until further discussions take place with the industry to discuss the resident labour market test

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting

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New policy guidance on the marriage visa age of 21

This case challenged the requirement under paragraph 277 of the Immigration Rules for both foreign spouses and their sponsors in the UK to meet a minimum age of 21 before the foreign spouse could be granted a visa to enter or remain as a spouse or partner. Paragraph 277 (along with other paragraphs of the Immigration Rules) was amended on 27 November 2008 to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21.

The Supreme Court has ruled that, whilst they recognised that the Secretary of State was pursuing a legitimate and rational aim of seeking to address forced marriage, the change to the rule (increasing the minimum marriage visa age from 18 to 21) disproportionately interfered with the Article 8 rights of those who were in genuine marriages.

The guidance primarily affects applicants whose applications for entry clearance or leave as a fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner were refused under paragraphs 277, 289AA, or 295AA of the Immigration Rules solely because they or their sponsor were aged between 18 and 20 and whose application was refused on that basis between 27 November 2008 and October 2011. This applies to applications made within or outside the UK. The guidance sets out how such applicants can apply for a review of the original decision to refuse a visa which might now result in a visa being issued.

Changes to the Immigration Rules have been laid in Parliament today to reinstate a minimum age of 18 for a spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner and for their sponsor in order to qualify for entry clearance, leave to enter, leave to remain or a variation of leave on that basis. These rules will come into effect on 28 November 2011.

The new policy guidance explains how applicants affected by the judgment can request a review of an earlier refusal due to the age requirement by 31 May 2012. Further information on how to request a review can be found under the partners and families section, Husband, wife or civil partner, Unmarried or same-sex partner, and Fiance(e) or proposed civil partner categories.

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting

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Minimum 21 years age requirement for foreign spouses declared unlawful

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated that the new rule would reduce the number of forced marriages. Supreme court judge, Lord Wilson said, “I would acknowledge that the change in rules is rationally connected to the objective of deterring forced marriages. But the number of forced marriages which it deters is highly debatable. What seems clear is that the number of unforced marriages which it obstructs from their intended development for up to three years vastly exceeds the number of forced marriages which it deters”.

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green criticised the High Court Judgement: “This is another very disappointing judgement, which overturns a policy that exists and is judged to be consistent with the ECHR in other European countries. The judges themselves agreed increasing the marriage visa age had a legitimate aim. We believe this decision will put vulnerable people at risk of being forced into marriage. We will come forward with our response in due course.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Reduction in jobs available via the Shortage occupation list

The shortage occupation is part of the Tier 2 immigration route via the Points Based System. Highly skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) seeking to work in the UK must apply for visas via this route.

Today recommendations were accepted from MAC resulting in a number of jobs covered by the list drop by 40,000, reducing the total amount from 230,000 to 190,000. Further recommendations made by the MAC include changes  where evidence from a range of industries and sectors showed resident workers are available to fill the vacancies.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘Alongside our limits on overseas workers we are also taking action to provide businesses with the skills they need from the British workforce and reduce their need for migrants. We want the brightest and the best people from outside the EU with the skills we can benefit from in the UK.’

Occupations that the MAC recommended be removed from the list include:
•    secondary education biology teachers;
•    speech and language therapists;
•    pharmacists;
•    orthoptists;
•    veterinary surgeons; and,
•    rank and file orchestral musicians.

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

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Overseas visitors will pay the price for their NHS debts

Changes to the Immigration Rules detailed in Parliament recently, meaning that those subject to immigration control who fail to settle an outstanding bill of £1,000 or more will not be allowed to enter or remain in the UK until the debt is paid off.

Damian Green said: ‘the NHS is designed to meet the healthcare needs of the UK and we won’t tolerate abuse of this service. We welcome overseas visitors, but those who use NHS facilities need to pay for them, or they will be barred from coming here. It’s very simple – pay up or you won’t be welcome in the UK.”

The NHS will provide information that will enable the UK Border Agency to identify the debtors and – when they apply to return to or remain in the UK – to refuse their applications. The information sharing arrangements are being phased in over the coming months. It is hoped that the £1,000 threshold will capture 94 per cent of outstanding charges owed to the NHS.

This change follows consultations carried out last year by the UK Border Agency and the Department of Health. A 2009 review set out to examine the rules on charging overseas visitors for access to NHS services in England.

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

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UK citizenship test may include knowledge of British history

Prime Minister, David Cameron, said “there’s a whole chapter in the citizenship handbook on British history. But, incredibly, there are no questions on British history in the test. Instead you’ll find questions on the roles and powers of the main institutions of Europe and the benefits system within the UK. So we are going to revise the whole test and put British history and culture at the heart of it.”

The UK is attempting to reduce net migration into the country to the “tens of thousands”. Changes that have already been introduced include a recent cap on skilled migration and new requirements for people immigrating to Britain as family members. There are tougher English language requirements and there may be tougher financial requirements. Families who want to sponsor overseas relatives may have to post a large financial bond worth thousands of pounds.  “We will make migrants wait longer, to show they really are in a genuine relationship before they can get settlement,” Cameron said.

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

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Misleading UK immigration claims results in a clash between politicians

In justifying the proposal, May used the example of a Bolivian man who avoided deportation based on the fact that he had a pet cat in the country. The Home Secretary cited the case of an “illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had pet cat”.

Kenneth Clarke later expressed his scepticism about the claim, commenting: “I’ll have a small bet with her that nobody has ever been refused deportation on the grounds of the ownership as a cat”. Clarke was proved right when the judiciary revealed the cat had no bearing on the man’s case, and was only mentioned to show evidence of a long-term relationship with his girlfriend.

Despite the gaffe, Theresa May will push ahead with her proposals to make it easier for the UK to deport migrants by changing the interpretation of the ECHR. The proposals would see the law disregard any family connections in the UK if the migrant has been in the country illegally, thus making it far more difficult for people to remain in Britain based on the ECHR’s guarantee of a right to ‘private and family life’.

Last month the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he would block any move by the UK to bypass the ECHR. “Let me say something really clear about the Human Rights Act. In fact, I will do it in words of one syllable – it is here to stay.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

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Migration Advisory Committee Proposes Cuts to Shortage Occupation List

The Shortage Occupation List is a roster of jobs for which there is an endemic shortage of suitably skilled resident workers. If a job appears on the list, an employer can fill it with a non-European Union national without having to complete a resident labour market test. Applications to fill shortage occupations also get priority access to the monthly cap on restricted certificates of sponsorships.

Further recommendations from MAC include adding some occupations to the list, nevertheless its proposal would result in a net reduction in occupations as a percentage of the UK’s overall workforce. Industries affected by the recommendations include: electrical energy production, natural resources, nuclear power, aerospace engineering and computer gaming.

The MAC’s recommendations are now being considered by the Home Office. While not binding, the MAC report will likely carry significant influence in any upcoming changes to the Shortage Occupation List. In the past, the Home Office has acted on MAC recommendations in one to three months.

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

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Family migration reform to promote better integration

During a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies, the Minister highlighted research that supports the government\’s proposals on family migration. The proposals which are currently being consulted on will prevent the family route being used to bypass immigration laws, while welcoming those who want to make a life here with their family and contribute to their local community.

Reports on family migration to the UK show:
•    Two-thirds of a sample of those granted a marriage visa in 2009 had never visited the UK before deciding to move here permanently;
•    The proportion of people entering on family visas who settle here permanently varies hugely by nationality – of the family migrants granted a visa in 2004, 8 out of 10 from Bangladesh and Pakistan had settled here permanently within 5 years, compared with just 10 per cent of Australians;
•    20 per cent of a sample of sponsors of marriage visa applicants were either unemployed or had an income below the national minimum wage;
•    37 per cent of sponsors from the sample were living with family members or friends; and
•    In 2009-10, the Department for Work and Pensions spent £2.6 million on telephone interpreting services and nearly £400,000 on document translation.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

“These are sensitive issues which have been ignored for far too long but ones we are determined to tackle. We want a system that lets everyone know where they stand and what their responsibilities are. If your marriage is not genuine, if you have no interest in this country and its way of life, if you are coming here to live off benefits, don\’t come in the first place. That is why our focus is on delivering better family migration – better for migrants, for communities and for the UK as a whole.”

Plans to reform family migration are outlined in an ongoing consultation which includes proposals to:
•    Define more clearly what constitutes a genuine marriage for the purposes of the immigration rules to help identify sham and forced marriages;
•    Introduce a minimum income threshold for those sponsoring family migrants to ensure they are supported at a level that helps integration;
•    Extend the probationary period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years to test the genuineness of relationships and to encourage integration into British life before settlement is granted; and
•    Require spouses, partners and adult dependants aged under 65 applying for settlement to be able to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English.

In 2010, family migration accounted for around 18 per cent of all non-EU immigration to the UK. In 2010, 48,900 visas were granted to spouses, partners and dependants of British citizens and those with permanent residence in the UK.

Early findings from the consultation launched in July 2011 show broad public support for many of the changes the government has proposed. The great majority back the proposed requirement that spouses and partners must have to understand everyday English before being allowed to settle here permanently.

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

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Immigration cap poses risk to UK economy

The popular Tier 1 (General) category no longer exists. There is a new Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)category; however, hardly anyone meets the requirements for this visa category. Moreover, Tier 2 skilled immigration for applicants with a job offer from a UK employer was capped at approximately 21,000 visas per year and, for many people, made a lot more difficult. The government’s report suggested that non-EU Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants, at present levels have a small positive impact on GDP per head and contribute positively to net public finances and play an important part in the provision of education, health and social services.

The report stated that cutbacks to immigration would not be evenly spread and could have a severe impact on certain sectors. \”It would be remiss not to point out that there is widespread concern among employers regarding the impact that limits on migration could have,\” the report stated. UK Businesses and industry groups are concerned about the recent immigration restrictions.  Neil Carberry, employment affairs director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), told The Independent that the \”ability to base highly skilled foreign staff in the UK helps to attract investment that also supports British jobs.\”

\”With numbers in the employer-sponsored work permit system already relatively low, there is little evidence that this part of the system should be the government\’s key priority on controlling migration,\” he added. \”We should want to attract these people to come and retaining a route to settlement is a key part of that, although businesses don\’t object to having a more formal points test for the right to settle.\”

Commonwealth Contractors

At
Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled
International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more
Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit
your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas
of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax,
immigration and contracting.

contact_us_tiny

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