On 11 June 2012 the Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route. The changes came into effect for new applicants from the 9th July 2012 and were a response to the pressure on the government to reduce the number of immigrants. The expectation of the Home Office was that the changes would significantly reduce the number of family visas. The full details of the changes are available on UKBA’s website.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Family Migration enquiry was launched on 20 November 2012 to explore the impact of the new rules and their report was released yesterday. The main focus of the enquiry was on the following point:
The new minimum income requirement of £18,600 for British nationals and permanent residents (‘UK sponsors’) seeking to sponsor a non-EEA spouse or partner, rising to £22,400 to sponsor a child in addition and a further £2,400 for each further child included in the application; and the new rules on sponsorship of non-EEA adult dependents applying to come to the UK.
Over 280 submissions were received by the inquiry committee, including over 175 submissions from families who had been adversly affected by the rules. Charities, lawyers, local authorities, businesses and MPs submitted written evidence.
The key official findings are:
- Some British citizens and permanent residents in the UK, including people in full-time employment, have been separated from a non-EEA partner and in some cases their children as a result of the income requirement.
- Some British citizens and permanent residents have been prevented from returning to
the UK with their non-EEA partner and any children as a result of the income requirement.
- Some children, including British children, have been indefinitely separated from a non-EEA parent as a result of the income requirement.
- The current permitted sources in order to meet the income requirement may not fully
reflect the resources available to some families.
- The adult dependent relative visa category appears in effect to have been closed.
In general it is the rigid enforcement of the rules that is the problem. The proposed migrant’s salary cannot be taken into account when calculating the £18,600 even if they have a high salary. In practical terms it means that people with a right to live here cannot bring their high earning partner to live with them if they themselves are not working. They may be looking after their children and have no plans to work or to become a drain on the public purse. If their children were born in a non-EEA country and require a visa the bar to entry is set even higher. The UK misses out on the skills of the ‘dependent’ migrant and the income tax revenue from their high salary. Some people have had to claim benefits when that was never their plan and their children are then growing up in a low income one parent family. In parts of the UK average income levels are well below £18,600 and so that level of income is then not achievable.
The APPG Migration Group had this to say
We urge Government to consider the emerging evidence about what must be the unintended consequences of these rules, and hope they will agree the need fully to review whether, one year on from their introduction, these rules have struck the right balance between different interests.
Increasingly young people are working abroad as part of their career development and when starting a personal relationship are probably not thinking about the complexities of immigrations systems. It would be odd if they were. In the first flush of romance they are more likely to believe that love conquers all.
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Overseas business people and students have suffered from long delays in acquiring visas simply because they have not been able to get an appointment. The problem was caused by individuals and organisations booking several appointments at a time which then prevented others from taking up those appointments. 20 to 30% of the appointments were ‘no shows’ and a waste of visa officials time. According to a BBC investigation ‘scammers’ were selling free appointments for as much as £200 to people wanting to process their visas.
A new pre-payment system to help prevent the abuse and increase the efficiency of premium visa appointments was launched on the 8th April 2013 by Immigration Minister, Mark Harper. Visa applicants pay £375 for an appointment and will now have to pay a refundable deposit of £100 when booking an appointment. If they fail to keep it they will not get a refund unless they have cancelled it at least five working days days in advance. The Home Office also plan to launch an online application pre-payment service later in the year as part of its commitment to improving customer service.
Mark Harper said “We are determined to ensure that genuine visa applicants receive the very best visa service possible, and this is just one of the changes that we will be introducing to make sure this is the case.
The new system will help to make more appointments available for genuine applicants and help protect them from paying unnecessary and often unfair fees to agencies or individuals.”
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Changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa route will mean that you no longer have to pay the full application fee upfront, before you know whether your designated competent body will recommend your endorsement. They will no longer need to hold onto your passport while the designated competent body is considering your endorsement, allowing you to travel.
The process will be split into two:
Stage 1 will be applying for endorsement by a designated competent body.
Stage 2 will be applying for permission to work in the UK under this route.
If you have exceptional talent or if you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK then 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.
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Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, has announced that executives known as Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees (ICT), who are paid more than £152,100 pa, will be exempt from the rule that forces non-Europeans to spend a year outside the UK if they wish to switch between temporary and permanent visas.
In practical terms this rule meant that staff who transferred to the UK headquarters of multi-national companies could not be taken on as permanent employees in Britain at the end of their temporary contract. These executives will be exempt from taking an English test if they want to extend their leave in the UK and the amount of documents they must provide in order to show they have worked for their company for over a year are also being reduced.
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills had lobbied the Home Office on this issue after receiving complaints from the business community. It was seen as a bar on highly skilled migrants who have valuable global and UK business experience which we need in order to encourage growth and international trade links.
If you are working in the UK on a Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer Visa and you would like to ‘switch’ to Tier 2 General Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help. We partner with Tier 2 Licensed employers and consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual under Tier 2 General.
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Alas Brazil’s hope of having their cardinal elected as Pope was dashed by Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis of Argentina. Having got the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016 this would have been the icing on the cake for Brazil. It will continue to thrive regardless.
At the end of September 2012 David Cameron, the Prime Minister, took a 40-strong trade delegation on a two day visit to Sao Paulo to capitalise on the Olympic connection and to foster trade links with one of the world’s emerging economic powerhouses. He opened a JCB digger factory which is expected to produce £100 million a year in orders for components from JCB plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wales. Mr Cameron said: ‘This visit is about British jobs, British growth and the British economy, because I want Britain to be tied up to the fastest growing economies on the planet.’
During the visit it transpired that Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was a hot topic of conversation with the media. Boris’s handing over of the Olympic and Paralympic flags ahead of the Rio Games in 2016 was beamed into millions of Brazilian homes and they wanted to discuss the rivalry between them. It can only be good for business if they are taking such a keen interest in our capital and the country even if David Cameron had a few moments where his diplomatic skills were put to the test. By all accounts he acquitted himself well.
Till recently we have thought of Brazil as a very poor country without much hope. Brazil is tackling poverty through its Bolsa Família Program and for this they receive technical and financial support from the World Bank. It is a family grant scheme where 13.9 million poor families with children receive an average of R$70.00 (about US$35) in direct transfers. In return, they commit to keeping their children in school and taking them for regular health checks. It is cited as one of the key factors behind the positive social outcomes achieved by Brazil in recent years and their government claims that it has lifted 22 million people from extreme poverty.
According to the FT, this week Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announced an additional disbursement of R$773 (US$395) million. This is for 2.5 million very poor people and they will receive it on top of their Bolsa Família grant. The aim is to break the cycle of poverty and to give Brazil the educated workforce it needs to forge ahead.
Brazil’s star is in the ascendant and that we need to take advantage of the opportunities it will afford us. Therese May, the Home Secretary, was keen to end the agreement that allows Brazilians up to six months in the UK without a visa over concerns about illegal immigration from that country. Yesterday David Cameron used Prime Minister’s Questions to reject proposals for new regulations for Brazilian visitors to the UK. Therese May has now cancelled the plan following concerns that it would impact business links with the country as well as the UK tourism industry.
According to The Telegraph, Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow and chairman of the all-party group on Brazil, said: “I am delighted it is not going to happen because Brazil is one of the most important nations on earth and we have to build as close relations with them as possible.”
Therese May has changed her mind just in time to save us from an own goal.
Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing Tier 1 Visa Applications / Extensions and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor Information Technology or Engineering Professional on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).
To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.
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