Immigration Rules – Statement of Changes, March 2014

On 13th March 2014 a statement of changes to the immigration rules was presented to parliament.

The policy paper can be found on https://www.gov.uk

Changes to Immigration Rules include:

For Sponsored Workers under Tier 2

  • Allow Tier 2 (ICT) and Tier (General) applicants to be granted up to 5 years’ leave (rather than up to 3 years’) at a time;
  • An annual update to the minimum salary thresholds for appropriate salary rates for individual occupations (as set out in the codes of practice);
  • A rise in the minimum rate required to qualify for Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term staff. This has risen to £24,500;
  • A rise in the minimum rate required to qualify for Tier 2 (ICT) Long Term staff. This has risen to £41,000;
  • A rise in the minimum rate required to qualify for Tier 2 (General). This has risen to £20,500;

Cross-cutting PBS changes;

  • A rise in the rate of ‘maintenance’ fund thresholds for PBS migrant and their dependants in line with changes to the cost of living since the last update in 2012.

2014 Immigration Bill

The Immigration Bill is currently completing its Parliamentary passage and once Royal Assent has been received, the measures within the Bill are expected to be implemented from summer 2014 onwards.  

What the Home Office wish to do: 

  • The bill will reform the removals and appeals system, making it easier and quicker to remove those with no right to be here;
  • The bill will end the abuse of Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life;
  • The bill will prevent illegal immigrants accessing and abusing public services or the labour market.

How the Home Office are going to do it: 

The Bill will make it:

  1. easier to identify illegal immigrants by extending:
  • powers to collect and check fingerprints;
  • powers to search for passports;
  • powers to implement embarkation controls;
  • powers to examine the status and credibility of migrants seeking to marry or enter into civil partnership.

2.  easier to remove and deport illegal immigrants by:

  • cutting the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to 4 – preserving appeals for those asserting fundamental rights;
  • extending the number of non-suspensive appeals. Where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm, we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later;
  • ensuring the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights in immigration cases;
  • restricting the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it.

3. more difficult for illegal immigrants to live in the UK by:

  • requiring private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, to prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing;
  • making it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties;
  • prohibiting banks from opening current accounts for migrants identified as being in the UK unlawfully, by requiring banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening accounts;
  • introducing new powers to check driving licence applicants’ immigration status before issuing a licence and revoking licences where immigrants are found to have overstayed in the UK.

In addition the Bill also contains measures to:

  • introduce a new requirement for temporary migrants who have only a time-limited immigration status to make a contribution to the National Health Service;
  • simplify the current fees legislation, which is spread across a number of different Acts, amending the criteria and process in regards to the Home Office’s ability to charge fees for immigration services.

Taken together, these measures aim to make the UK the least attractive destination for illegal immigrants, reinforcing the message that the UK welcome legal migrants who contribute to the UK economy and society but will take firm action against those who break the rules.

 

UKVI announce new application fees

February 2014

increased immigration fees from 6th April 2014. Some major categories see increases of more than 38%.

On 3rd February 2014 The Minister for Immigration, Mark Harper announced proposals to change the fees for immigration and nationality applications made to United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and for services provided by the department. The new fees will be brought into force from 6 April 2014 with some fees for premium services overseas coming into effect on 31 March 2014.

In developing these proposals, the Home Office has sought to limit most increases to 4%. Fee changes are implemented in April each year and the Home Office states that funding is necessary to operate effective immigration controls and invest in improving service levels to customers.

There are further targeted increases to bring dependant fees in line with main application fees, to register as a British Citizen and some premium services. For certain application categories, the Home Office will continue to set fees higher than the administrative cost to reflect their value to successful applicants. One of the most startling increases affects dependants of Points Based System migrant workers in the UK who wish to extend their stay or apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain). A 38.4% minimum fee increase is proposed in these categories.

For further information, please contact us.