Tag Archives: Immigration

New Border Force Cutter the HMC Protector Launched

The latest addition to the Border Force’s fleet, HMC Protector, was officially launched this Monday (17th March) by Home secretary Theresa May at a ceremony at HMS President in London. She said:

‘We are an island and seafaring nation and HM cutters have a proud history of protecting our shores.

‘Today’s vessels include sophisticated surveillance and navigation equipment to locate potential threats at sea.

‘But it is the professionalism and commitment of the crew, who patrol all year round and in all weathers, that is our strongest weapon against organised traffickers.’

HMC Protector is to join four sister cutters, Seeker, Searcher, Vigilant and Valiant, operated by Border Force in their priority function of the protecting and securing UK waters and coastal borders. They operate 24 hours a day throughout the year patrolling high risk areas and responding to risk and intelligence led information, manned by crews highly trained in maritime enforcement.

Last year officers boarded 2000 vessels arriving in UK waters with the primary aim of intercepting and deterring shipments of drugs and other prohibited goods, and people trafficking into the UK. Some of the largest seizures over recent years include:

  • 2013 – 120kg of cocaine worth £20 million was found on a yacht off the Isles of Scilly
  • 2011- 1.2 tonnes of cannabis worth £10 million was discovered on a yacht off the Isle of Wight

The Immigration control remit for Border Force and its fleet of cutters falls under the Home Office Policy of “Securing borders and reducing immigration”.

Another change announced is that in Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Italy and Finland there are changes to the UK visa application centres and you can check for details here.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, or Finance then Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

contact_us_tiny

Continue reading

The Single Market is Not a Swiss Cheese

“The single market is not a Swiss cheese. You cannot have a single market with holes in it.” said Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission,  when speaking to the FT

An historic vote in the Swiss cantons is sending ripples of surprise throughout the EU. Switzerland is not part of the EU but it has bilateral agreements that give it access to the single European market. The Swiss Peoples Party (SVP) led a campaign where a 50.3% majority of voters agreed with the need for immigration quotas on EU citizens. This directly contravenes their agreement on  one of the four EU fundamental freedoms – free movement. The others are capital and services and all four are part of a package and are not separable.

The Swiss government will now have to enforce the wishes of the electorate within the next three years.The voting reflects a growing hostility to immigrants across Europe’s big economies, with calls for tighter immigration curbs and a repatriation of powers from the EU.  Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the Austria’s far right freedom Party, welcomed the decision, claiming that citizens in every other west European state would vote the same way if they were given the opportunity.

Net immigration levels in Switzerland have risen between 60,000-80,000 per annum for the last seven years and this equates to roughly 1% of the population. The immigrants hail mainly from Italy and Germany.

The SVP blame a host of ills on this immigration; higher rents, increased levels of crime and overcrowded trains. The election result has been celebrated as a display of Swiss power in the face of over-bearing EU pressure.

“This vote says that Switzerland is a deeply divided country” says Patrick Emmenegger,  Professor of Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy at the School of Economics and Political Science at the University of St. Gallen.

Others feel there will be a real economic cost to this vote. Brussels has already warned Switzerland that its access to the EU’s single market for goods and services could be under threat. The EU is the destination for 56% of Swiss exports and 80% of Swiss imports.

The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) along with other businesses has been quick to urge the government to act in a concillatory fashion to the EU and so minimise any backlash. As well as the EU being the most important market for Swiss banks the SBA has fears over the supply of qualified staff in Switzerland with 25% currently coming from the EU. Financial services groups are some of their biggest exports and major Swiss outposts in London such as credit Suisse and UBS may be undermined.

Also like any uncertainty it leads to indecision with companies not willing to invest until there is a clearer picture. There are already rumblings in Brussels of cancelled deals with the €80 Billion EU Horizon 2020 research and development programme mentioned. Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen, a European Commission spokesperson, said Sundays vote had “not set the right tone for the beginning of an institutional agreement governing the relations between the EU and Switzerland”. However, she added, “it’s still too early in the day for Brussels to decide how to respond…. the ball is now in Switzerland’s court”.

This gives hope to the integrationists and some business people who think that with a three year period for implementation into law the quotas can be set at such a level that the EU does not feel compelled to cancel its accords.

Could the Swexit influence the Brexit?

The events in Switzerland are already referred to as the Swexit while the UK coming out of the EU is referred to as the Brexit. Banks, asset managers and insurers have lobbied the UK government over the importance of the single market to the City of London. The EU is the biggest single market for UK exports of financial services and generates a trade surplus of £15.2bn. Watching how Switzerland discusses and manages its situation with the EU may inform people in the UK of the correlation between EU membership and the prosperity of the UK.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, or Finance then Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

contact_us_tiny

Continue reading

UK Eases Visa Rules – 1st October 2013

Last Friday, Mark Harper, the immigration minister, announced changes which generally ease visa rules from 1st October 2013. Some of the key changes are:

  • Removal of the English language requirement for intra-company transferees.
  • Tourists and business visitors are allowed to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit.
  • Share ownership restrictions waived for senior staff earning £152,100 or more.
  • Artists of exceptional promise enabled to apply under Tier 1.
  • Graduate entrepreneurs will find it easier to switch into Tier 2.
  • New youth mobility scheme quotas set for 2014
  • Hong Kong will be added to the list of participating countries and territories on the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme in order to further strenghten business, trade and cultural ties.
  • Some students will be allowed to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.
  • The removal of the prospective student route.
  • The expansion of checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for.
  • The introducion of  powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English.
  • Dependants in the Points Based System and other work routes will be allowed to apply from within the UK, providing they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or temporary release. They will still need to satisfy all other existing requirements.
  • Special rules for overseas visitors to the Commonwealth Games 2014 were included.
  • With effect from the 28th October 2013 there will be changes to how applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

contact_us_tiny

Continue reading

Got non-EEA Dependents? Money & Not Love Will Conquer All

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Some children, including British children, have been indefinitely separated from a non-EEA parent as a result of the income requirement.
  4. The current permitted sources in order to meet the income requirement may not fully
    reflect the resources available to some families.
  5. 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.

Do you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering or Finance?

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!
contact_us_tiny

Continue reading

Mahindra Satyam and Tech Mahindra endorse new merger plans

Mahindra Satyam, previously named Satyam Computers, was created following a major stake bought by Tech Mahindra in 2009. This venture occurred due to Mahindra Satyam being involved in one of India’s biggest accounting frauds. Since then, Satyam Computers, renamed Mahindra Satyam, has been trying to rebuild its company and the merger is seen as a major drive in this process.

Ramalinga Raju, Satyam’s founder, admitted in 2009 that the company had been falsifying their accounts for a number of years. The company, however, was given a lifeline following a proposal by Tech Mahindra to purchase a major stake.

A statement from CP Gurnani, CEO of Mahindra Satyam reads:
“The Mahindra Satyam turnaround is a shining story of determination and grit and now comes to its most important chapter, with this merger”. According to latest figures, the company had made a net profit of 3.08 Rupees (£38m, $61m) in the three months before the end of December 2011 – an increase of 424% from a year prior.

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

Continue reading

New rules for UK Tier 4 and Tier 1 visas for students

As previously reported, the Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa route will come to an end on 6th April 2012. On this visa, students are able to work in the UK for up to 2 years after they graduate. Following this closure, the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa will be in its place, however, a lot of people will not actually be able to qualify for it.

The new policy also requires graduates applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa, to have an offer of employment for a skilled job, with a salary of at least £20,000 (more in some cases), from a reputable employer certified by the UK Border Agency, as a means to continue to live and work in the UK.

Other changes will include:
• The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route, with up to 1000 places for students working on innovative ideas wishing to stay in the UK in order to develop them, but who do not meet the requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. Graduates under this route will be granted stay in the UK if they can invest £50,000 in their business and switch to the new Tier 1 Entrepreneur route.
• Plans to increase the amount of funds that students and working immigrants and their dependants have to prove they have enough to support themselves financially whilst living in the UK, will be introduced.
• International students studying below degree level on a Tier 4 Student visa will have their work placement time restricted to one-third of the course time. However, the rules will remain the same for students studying at degree level or above. Students at this level will be able to spend up to half their time at a work placement, provided that at least the other half comprises of formal studies.
• Restrictions will incur to time spent studying at degree level for students on a Tier 4 Student visa, to a limit of 5 years.

A statement from Green reads:

“It is vital that we continue to attract the brightest and the best international students, but we have to be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay. With the introduction of the Graduate Entrepreneur route and the restrictions on student work, we are reforming the system to deliver immigration to benefit Britain.”
Furthermore, UK immigration have announced plans to establish further changes to current standard UK immigration regulations for permanent residents, overseas domestic workers and Tier 2 and 5 of the points based system. Additional announcements for these changes which have been planned for an April 2012 introduction are to be made within the upcoming weeks.

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

Continue reading

More immigration and settlement routes require biometric residence permit

Since the rollout began in November 2008 the UKBA have issued around 650,000 biometric residence permits, containing fingerprints and photograph on a secure chip. Biometric residence permits are an important step in fighting immigration abuse and illegal working and make it easier for employers to verify a foreign national’s right to work in the UK.

Employers can download guidance on checking biometric residence permits and their security features from the UKBA. From 31 May 2012 the UKBA will launch a new automated online checking service to provide quick and easy real time checks on biometric residence permits, the holder’s identity and their right to work.

The Post Office will provide a service for applicants to provide their biometric information throughout a network of locations across the UK. This will ensure that a biometric enrolment facility is within reasonable travelling distance for most of applicants. The additional Post Office locations will join the 17 branches already offering biometric enrolment. It is expected that additonal branches will be operational from March 2012, with all 104 locations operating by 10 April 2012.

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

Continue reading

English language tests for applications under Tiers 1, 2 and 4 of the points-based system

The amendments include:

• the City & Guilds test scores now show ‘pass’ and there is a separate English language test for spouse/partner applications.
• for City & Guilds tests the documents required for a migrants application have been amended.
• ETS have changed the way that the scores for their TOEFL ibt (internet based test) map against the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
• the ETS TOEFL ibt (internet based test) now includes scores for spouse and partner applications.
• there is a change to the web address for the TOEIC (The test of English for international communication) English language test.
• Cambridge ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) have amended the title of one of their tests from ‘International Legal English Certificate’ to ‘Cambridge English Legal’.
• for Cambridge ESOL tests the minimum grade requirements are clearer.
• Trinity College tests now have a 2 year expiry date.

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

Continue reading

UK immigration to begin processing visitor visas for Olympic Games

The press release from UK Border Agency noted that the Games are expected to be the biggest event that the UK has ever hosted and that many extra visitors will arrive during the busy summer period in 2012. It is advised to apply as soon as possible so UK immigration officials can process your application in a timely manner.

If you meet the requirements, you will be issued a UK visitor visa with a start date that will cover you for the whole Olympic and Paralympic Games period. Once you receive your UK visitor visa, you can then travel to the UK for the Games from the beginning of 2012.

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

Continue reading

UK visas for Pakistanis issued faster

All UK visa applicants can benefit from the new facility located in Karachi where a UK visa can be issued within 15 working days on receipt of a complete application with relevant documents. The premium service should lead to faster services to the business community in Pakistan and also make it quicker and easier for Pakistani people to obtain visit visas to attend upcoming UK events like the golden jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II and the London Olympics.

The service includes a dedicated lounge for visa applicants that provides a personalised service for the submission of their applications and passports for visa processing. UK visa applicants can also receive free SMS alerts regarding the status of their UK visa application.

The added service is in response to a substantial increase in the number of visa applications received by the UKBA from Pakistan in 2010. In 2010, the UK Border Agency received close to 100,000 applications from Pakistani nationals.

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

Continue reading