Government to crackdown on foreign criminals with demand for police checks

Following increased concerns over rising immigration levels and the government’s inability to deport hundreds of foreign criminals each year, often on “human rights” grounds, as of September immigrants will be forced to prove they have had police background checks or face being banned from entering the UK.

Latest government figures show net migration at 318,000, some way off Prime Minister David Cameron’s ambitious target which stands in the “tens of thousands”. The new proposal makes up a significant part of James Brokenshire’s new plans to crackdown on foreign criminals. The initial phase will apply to Tier 1 visa applicants, who are seeking entry as either investors of at least £2 million, entrepreneurs intending to set up a business in the UK or dependants of such migrants. As of September, those applying under Tier 1 will be required to show proof of criminal records checks for every county they have lived in during the previous ten years. Anyone unable to provide proof will be refused a visa, while anyone found lying about their criminal records will be banned from Britain for 10 years.

The initiative is likely to be extended to other visa routes in 2016/17. Records for minor offences, which were committed a long time ago will not necessarily lead to a refused visa application; although more serious crimes resulting in lengthy custodial sentences will not be taken so likely by the Home Office. Implementing such plans will not only help ensure more dangerous foreign criminals are kept off Britain’s streets, but will also help minimise the chance of more serious cases, such as that of Latvian builder Arnis Zalkans.

 

*Immigration Rules update* – Tier 4 changes

On 13th July the government published changes to Part 6A of the Immigration Rules, many of which will affect Tier 4 of the Points-Based System.

Despite a fear that Home Secretary Theresa May might drastically change this area of the Immigration Rules, and consequently impair the UK’s ability to employ and nurture the world’s best young talent post-university, the alterations made appear to be comparatively measured. The changes entail:

  • Allowing university students to study a new course at the same level, although only where there is a link to their previous course, or the university confirms that this supports their career aspirations. There will be credibility interviews and sanctions against universities who are not compliant (as of August)
  • Banning those who are not studying at an ‘embedded college’ from extending their Tier 4 visas in the UK, as well as banning all college students from switching to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK. If a student wishes to study another course, whey will be required to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK (as of November)
  • Stopping new students at publicly funded colleges from working, bringing them in line with those at private colleges (as of August)
  • Preventing Tier 4 Dependants from taking a low or unskilled job, but allowing them to work either full or part-time in a skilled role (commences in the Autumn)
  • Reducing the time limit for study at further education level from 3 years to 2 years, the latter being the time British students generally spend in further education

Encouragingly, the Home Office seems intent on continuing to attract bright and genuine international students, whilst reducing abuse of immigration legislation. The reality is reassuringly far from the gloomy picture painted by the Daily Mail over the weekend.

For further updates and any important changes to the immigration rules, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Lower salary threshold for latest Tier 2 allocations

All Tier 2 restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) applications scoring at least 45 points will be granted this July. This will come as a relief to UK businesses sponsoring non-EEA nationals and is a stark change to last month’s oversubscribed Tier 2 (General) limit.

Last month, applications scoring less than 50 points were being refused due to the sheer volume of applications exceeding the number of available certificates.

Countless businesses in the UK faced restricted CoS rejections and needed to start the recruitment process from scratch.

June’s minimum salary requirement was £46,000, considerably higher than July’s requirement of £32,000. Migrants who score at least 45 points on their restricted CoS and are being offered a minimum annual salary of £32,000, should be successful.

Managing Director Jonathan Beech said “It is important to note that just because the number of points required for restricted CoS sponsorships are lower than last month, it does not mean that they are going to be the same or lower in the next coming months”.

Britain to streamline visa procedures for Chinese tourists as of today

Applying for British and European visas at the same time often takes non-EEA tourists a long time, and potentially costs hundreds of pounds.

The UK government has made this a thing of the past for Chinese visitors and business travellers, who as of today, will be able to apply for both UK and European visas in one simple, single process.

The worry was that previously, Chinese visitors were being deterred from holidaying in the UK since this involved applying for a separate visa.

Previously, tourists were only able to apply for one single Schengen visa for most of the EU, excluding the UK, thus, this scheme will be highly beneficial.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA), claims that Britain could be losing as much as 1.2 billion pounds a year due to Chinese tourists choosing to visit cities such as Paris and Milan instead of London, which requires a separate visa.

Home Secretary Theresa May said that “This scheme will create a one-stop shop for Chinese visitors to the UK and Europe” whether it is for leisure or business.

Applicants will now be able to apply online, using the same set of documents for both visas and then finalise the process by booking an appointment for a UK visa.