2014, A Year in Immigration

With a General election in May 2015 just around the corner, immigration once again has become the focal point of party debate. David Cameron is undoubtedly under pressure from both a wide number of British voters, as well as the European Union. Attempts to curb EU migration will require a change of stance by the continent’s governing body, and only time will tell whether Jean Claude-Juncker will compromise with the UK and its desire to lower net migration.

Nonetheless, with the Introduction of the Immigration Act, 2014 has been both a significant and eventful year in UK immigration.

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced various changes to the field of immigration, these include:

  • Migrants who do not have settled status being required to make a financial contribution to the NHS even if they do not make national insurance contributions;
  • Regardless of nationality, landlords must now carry out immigration status checks on their tenants, to ensure that they have a right to be in the UK;
  • Those who are in the UK illegally will now be prevented from obtaining a UK driving licence or opening a bank account;
  • The right of appeal has now been removed for certain immigration decisions, this has been as a result of the Home Secretary’s plan to reduce decisions that can be appealed, arguably limiting people’s rights. The number of ways in which an individual can appeal has been reduced from 17 to just 4.

Changes were also made to Tier 1 Investor applications, where the minimum investment requirement doubled from £1 million to £2 million.

The Tier 1 (General) route will close to those wishing to extend their stay in in this category as of 6 April 2015. From 6 April 2018, the Tier 1 (General) category will be closed to all migrants who wish to settle under this visa route.

Such changes highlight the continual push by the government to curb net migration, however, these changes have not been implemented without controversy, and they fail to illustrate the positive impact that the majority of migrants have in the UK.