Leaving the EU – where would we stand?

149357543_0Over the past 12 months, there has been a large amount of speculation regarding the UK’s stance on immigration policy and whether leaving the EU is a viable and beneficial option. Recent immigration statistics published at the end of August by the Office for National Statistics illustrated that net migration to the UK had risen to 330,000 last year. Despite the Government’s target to reduce migration to the tens of thousands, this latest figure is in fact the highest on record and making up 183,000 of this figure are migrants from within the EU. Despite the Government’s target to reduce migration to the tens of thousands, this latest figure is in fact the highest on record and making up 183,000 of this figure are migrants from within the EU. Despite the Government’s target to reduce migration to the tens of thousands, this latest figure is in fact the highest on record and making up 183,000 of this figure are migrants from within the EU.

At face value therefore, it could be argued that leaving the EU and ‘free-movement’ would be a strong contributing factor to helping the Government reduce net migration and reaching its ambitious target. However face-value very rarely reflects the reality of the situation.

There is no easy solution and leaving the EU would have its own repercussions. First of all leaving the single market could have potentially detrimental consequences on business and financial services. One of the biggest advantages of the EU is free trade between member nations, making it easier and cheaper for British companies to export their goods to Europe. Second, less migrants from the EU might make for difficult policy implementation regarding asylum seekers and refugees, with the possibility of more space for this category of migrant. Third, recent data has devalued the argument that there has been a large influx of unskilled migrants entering the UK from other EU member states and in fact not having free movement would harm our chances of attracting the best talent from the continent. Finally, following Norway’s example by leaving the EU and joining the European Economic Area actually renders the UK just as susceptible to the effects of free movement as if it was still in the EU.

Combine these arguments with the fact that there is barely any significant evidence of negative impacts on jobs or average wages from EU migration, leaving the EU seems to be becoming a somewhat outdated reason for trying to lower net migration. The UK is stronger and more influential within the EU and sacrificing continent-wide and worldwide stature is not the answer. It is fair to say that the Government has its work cut out.

Living illegally in the UK to become even tougher

Yesterday Minister of State for Immigration, James Brokenshire, announced in a press release that new measures, to be introduced in autumn, will aim to tackle illegal immigration, making it even harder for illegal migrants to live in United Kingdom.

The government’s latest proposed measures include a crackdown on individuals driving a car whilst in the UK illegally. The Bill could see vehicles being seized from any individual who does not have the right to be in the UK. Migrants could also find themselves facing a sentence of up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine.

Immigration Enforcement Officers will have new powers to be able to search properties, individuals and seize vehicles if somebody is suspected of being in the UK illegally.

There are three prevailing themes in the new immigration Bill:

  • There will be a clampdown on the exploitation of low-skilled migrants and employers could see an increase in punishments for employing individuals who are in the UK illegally
  • There will be an increase of powers, making it easier to remove individuals who do not have a right to reside in the UK
  • The Bill will build on the Immigration Act 2014, which wants to ensure that only people living legally in the UK can obtain driving licences, bank accounts and rental accommodation

In his statement yesterday, James Brokenshire announced that “Whether it is working, renting a flat, having a bank account or driving a car, the new Immigration Bill will help us to take tougher action than ever before on those who flout the law.”

London School of Business and Finance has licence revoked for the second time

The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) has once again had its sponsor licence revoked after failing to remain compliant with the Home Office’s increasingly stringent regulations regarding licence holders.

Part of Global University Systems (GUS), which had another of its institutions’ licences revoked earlier this year, the LSBF cannot sponsor any new non-European Union students or workers. The college has 20 working days to appeal, although according to a statement released by the UKVI, “existing sponsored students and workers may continue with their studies or employment until a final decision on the status of the licence is made by the Home Office.”

Since the coalition government began allowing private colleges to expand in 2010, the LSBF has grown rapidly and recruits a large number of overseas workers and students under the Tier 2 and Tier 4 sponsor routes respectively.

The LSBF are confident of being reinstated on the register of licensed sponsors once the UKVI have received “representations correcting errors in the UKVI’s initial statement” according to a spokesperson.

Having your sponsor licence revoked is a serious matter and is detrimental not just to your future opportunities for recruiting the best and brightest, but also your reputation. Implementing robust recruitment and compliance processes is imperative. For further information on our sponsor licence and compliance services, do not hesitate to contact us.