Tag Archives: News

Taiwan is added to the Tier 5 youth mobility scheme

From 1 January 2012, Taiwan will join the list of countries and territories that participate in the UK’s youth mobility scheme, under Tier 5 of the points-based system. (more…)

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UK to charge for immigration and asylum appeals

Appeals may be made in some types of visa application if you think that UK immigration officials have made an error in refusing your visa application. Also, from 19 December individuals will need to lodge their appeals at the tribunal in the UK. UK immigration will no longer accept appeals at any overseas UK visa application centres. Any exemptions to the fees will be outlined by the UK Ministry of Justice and full guidance about the changes will be published on 19 December 2011.

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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Online check to be introduced to simplify the Biometric residence permits process for employers

Damian Green said:
‘It is vital that we work with employers to give them the tools they need to meet their obligations. Our new online checking service will also turn up the pressure on those who wish to live and work here illegally. The message is clear – the UK is no longer a soft touch for illegal workers.’

It was also announced that from 29 February 2012 BRPs will be issued to more categories of foreign nationals, including refugees and those granted permission to settle in the UK. BRPs, which hold a person’s fingerprints and photograph on a secure chip, are issued to non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in the UK for more than 6 months. They are an important step forward in the fight against immigration abuse and illegal working.

BRPs are simplifying the process of checking an individual’s right to work by replacing the wide range of documents currently in use. The new online checking service for employers will enable quick and easy real-time checks on permits and their holder’s identity and right to work in the UK.

Around 600,000 BRPs have been issued since November 2008. From next year they will cover all those applying from inside the UK to remain here for more than 6 months. To meet increased demand and provide foreign nationals with more locations around the UK where fingerprints and photographs can be taken, the immigration minister has today announced that a contract for the collection of this information has been awarded to the Post Office Ltd. The contract will run for 4 years and Post Office Ltd will offer a network of around 100 locations from spring 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

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Employment restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals extended

Damian Green, said: Maintaining these controls will make sure migration benefits the UK and does not adversely impact on our labour market. The government is radically reforming the immigration system, and has already announced an annual limit on work visas and tough new rules for students to ensure net migration is reduced from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. The Migration Advisory Committee has made a clear case for extending the existing restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians. This government has also made clear that we will always introduce transitional controls on all new EU member states as a matter of course.

The decision supports the government’s commitment to reduce employers’ dependence on migrant workers, particularly for lower skilled jobs. This will help the unemployed to find their way back into work and help the domestic workforce to acquire the skills the economy needs.

A report from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) looked at the impact on the domestic labour market if the transitional controls were removed. It found that lifting the current restrictions could cause more EU2 nationals to come to the UK to work, particularly in lower skilled occupations where there is greater risk of displacement of resident workers and a negative impact on wages.

Permission to work will normally be given only where the worker has a specific job offer and the work is in skilled employment for which the employer has been unable to find a suitably qualified resident worker. There are also quota-based arrangements for lower skilled jobs in the agricultural and food processing sectors which will stay at the same level for 2012 and 2013.

The extension of the restrictions does not affect the position of those who have already been authorised to take employment in the UK.
The Migration Advisory Committee’s report into EU2 (Bulgarian and Romanian) nationals was released on 4 November 2011 and can be found under the ‘see also’ section on the right side of this page.

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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United Nations Agency ‘hacking attack’ investigated

A spokeswoman for the UNDP said the agency believed “an old server which contains old data” had been targeted. “The UNDP found [the] compromised server and took it offline,” said Sausan Ghosheh.”The server goes back to 2007. There are no active passwords listed for those accounts.”Please note that UNDP.org was not compromised.”

Details were posted on the website Pastebin under the Teampoison logo. The message preceding the login details accused the UN of acting to “facilitate the introduction of a New World Order” and asked “United Nations, why didn’t you expect us?” Many of the email addresses given end in undp.org, but others appear to belong to members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The poster noted that several of the accounts had “no passwords”. The message ended with the taunt: “The question now is how? We will let the so called ‘security experts’ over at the UN figure that out… Have a Nice Day.”

The security company Sophos noted that Teampoison hackers had previously attacked the maker of the Blackberry smartphone’s website and had published private information about former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Teampoison recently announced they were joining forces with Anonymous on a new initiative dubbed ‘Operation Robin Hood’, targeting banks and financial institutions,” the firm’s senior technology consultant, Graham Cluley wrote on Sophos’s blog.

The groups said at the time that their operation aimed to take money from credit cards and donate it to individuals and charities. They said people would not be harmed as the banks had to refund fraudulent charges.Teampoison added a “shoutout” to Anonymous in its UN attack posting, adding a link to a Youtube video with more information about its banking attack plan.

These latest moves serve as a reminder that so-called hacktivists are skilled and willing to collaborate to take down their targets, according to Professor Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey’s department of computing.”One of the big problems is that there is so much data around that people forget about their older systems that still have valuable data on them,” he said.”The lesson here is that anything that holds any data of any value must be protected.”

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 salary for sponsorship under family route should be raised

Presently the threshold is an annual income of £5,500 after tax, excluding housing costs. This is equivalent to £13,700 before tax and including housing costs. The thresholds are based on the income levels at which a family is not entitled to state benefits or contributes at least as much to the public finances as it consumes in services.

A salary threshold of £18,600 would reduce settlement through the family route by 45 per cent, the MAC estimates. A minimum of £25,700 would reduce it by 63 per cent.

Chairman of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf CBE, said:
‘The current threshold of £5,500 seems low considering the government’s desire to ensure new migrants settling in the UK are not a burden on the state. Our recommendations are made on a purely economic basis and we recognise that family migration is not determined by economics alone. However our analysis suggests there is justification for raising the pay threshold.’

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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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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Changes to the 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.

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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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