UK Immigration Act, 13th May 2014. Statement of Important Changes

Legislative changes in UK immigration law will have an important impact both on people looking to work in the UK and potential employers. Here are a number of key points to take note of.

1. Right-to-work checks

Right-to-work checks, as part of the recruitment process, must be carried out to make sure that only those people who are legally entitled to work in the UK are taken on by employers. Reducing the number of acceptable documents for right to work has made it easier for employers. There is therefore less chance of old, easily-forged documents being used by respective workers during the employment process.

2. Civil penalty increase

If found to be employing an illegal migrant without undertaking the necessary checks, the new law means employers are susceptible to a maximum penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker, with a starting point of £15,000 for a first-time offence.

3. Director and partner liability

Directors and partners of limited-liability businesses will be held jointly liable for penalties, and action will be taken against businesses that fail to pay the civil penalties imposed for employing illegal workers.

4. Students’ right to work

Because of restrictions on their ability to work, employing international students can be problematic. The Act requires migrant students to provide evidence of their term dates as part of the right-to-work checks to prevent students breaching their visa conditions. The Government intends to consult various education providers before introducing the measure to make it simpler for employers to complete checks on their student workforce.

5. Restrictions on appeal

The Act removes the right of appeal for the majority of immigration applications, reducing 17 rights of appeal to only 4. Home Secretary Teresa May claims that the Act creates “an effective and efficient appeals system”. Although aimed towards preventing foreign criminals from remaining in the UK, one consequence is that some migrants not being able to appeal against unfair immigration decisions.

Other significant changes

Tech City UK

Expanding the exceptional talent route was announced by the Prime Minister last December and will allow Tech City UK to endorse top innovators and professionals in their field so that they can then come to the UK without the need for a sponsoring employer.

China Relations

Creating a new category for overseas government sponsored language teachers will enable teachers to raise knowledge and awareness of Chinese culture and society in the UK. With its economic presence and global influence, it is of utmost importance to nurture a strong and long lasting relationship with China.