Tier 2 visa cap will no longer apply to non-EU doctors and nurses looking to work in Britain

People Management spoke to Jonathan Beech about his view on this announcement:

‘Jonathan Beech, managing director of Migrate UK, welcomed the “timely response” of the announcement.

“A lot of industry bodies have lobbied for this, so it’s a very good response to have at this point in time. It might just be a sticking plaster, and we will need to wait three or four months to see if the situation eases, but at least it gives a good chance for individuals and workers coming to the UK,” he told People Management.’

Read the full article here:





Summary of UK Government’s Brexit Plans

A leaked Executive Summary for EU citizens, has made a number of proposals to limit their working and residence rights following the UK’s exit from the EU in March 2019.

From this date, EU citizens will require to travel to the UK on a valid passport; National ID cards will no longer suffice as evidence.

Skills-led regime

For EU citizens wishing to enter the UK to work, the Home Office proposes to introduce a skills-led regime, in which employers and EU citizens will not have the free-reign to select which employees/employers they wish to work for. The Home Office looks to introduce the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) for EU citizens; as is the case for non-EU citizens entering the UK for work purposes. The RLMT generally means having to advertise a job vacancy throughout the UK to provide resident workers the chance to respond.

In addition, the job/skill level and pay rate will influence the length of permission to stay awarded by the UK Home Office; this could be low-skilled migrants being awarded maximum 2-years, whereas highly skilled occupations can be anything between 3-5 years. Therefore, a selective approach is being adopted by the Home Office dependant on the UK’s economic and social needs, thus cutting down the number of low skilled migrants entering the UK.

There is also an intent to only provide a route to settlement to individuals in highly skilled occupations and their dependents; consideration of ‘highly skilled’ will be on par to the current Points Based System (PBS) Tier 2 skills threshold and occupational categories for non-EU citizens; this at present is NQF Level 6 and PhD level roles.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) have been charged with examining “the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.”

The MAC will study the “economic and social costs and benefits of EU migration to the UK economy”, its impact on competitiveness, and whether there would be benefits to focusing migration on high-skilled jobs. It is due to report back by September 2018 – just six months before Brexit.

Although the Government proposes to safeguard the position of EU Citizens following March 2019; it has also hinted at ‘ending the right to settle in Britain’ for EU nationals, and placing new restrictions on the rights to accompanying family members to the UK. The ‘New Status’ in the UK means that regardless as to when a EU national entered the UK, they will need to obtain permission from the Home Office to continue to remain. This will therefore incur further fees for applications, which the Home Office proposes will be set at a ‘reasonable level’ and those with Permanent Residence, will still be expected to obtain ‘Settled Status’ if they fail to submit an application to Naturalise as a British citizen prior to March 2019.

A new UK Legal Framework

An ‘Immigration Status’ under UK Law will be imposed; EU Citizens will no longer have automatic generic ‘rights’ to move to the UK. Instead, they will need to meet the Immigration Rules in place at the time, and apply to the Home Office; in addition, the Rules will differ depending on the individual’s purpose for travelling to the UK.

Paragraph 2.10 of the leaked Home Office publication states that in the future, all EU Citizens will enter the UK under the UK Legal Framework – again reference to abolishing the entire existence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Proposals to introduce the ‘deemed’ Leave to Enter (LTE) criteria have been put forward, which would allow an EU national to enter the UK for work, study or self-sufficiency for a period of 3-6months; however, thereafter if the EU national wishes to remain in the UK, they will be expected to make an application to the Home Office for further Leave to Remain (LTR). The ‘deemed’ LTE can be cancelled by a Border Force Officer at any-time, should the EU national’s character come into question. It is worth noting that the ‘deemed’ LTE category will not extend to non-EU family members of EU nationals; they will be expected to seek permission to enter the UK prior to travel. This is similar to the current procedures followed by non-EU family members applying for a Family Permit.

Further to this; EU nationals who are in the UK as job-seekers will not be awarded residence status unless they can confirm they are self-sufficient persons of independent means.

In addition, following the removal of the CJEU, the routes under Zambrano and Surinder Singh will be abolished as the intention is to give the UK Courts the ability to set new precedents moving forward.

Employer compliance

Employers will be expected to conduct ‘right to work checks’ evidenced via a valid Passport confirming EU nationality, or via a Home Office biometric immigration document. Failure by any EU citizen to comply with measures in place, by remaining in the UK longer than the unrestricted period allows, without a valid residence permit will be committing a criminal offence, which may lead to sanctions being applied against the employer and EU citizen; this could result to re-entry bans for the EU citizen and criminal investigations against an employer.

The House of Lords approach

GDP – Gross Domestic Product for the UK will be measured taking into account the GDP per head of existing residents; the House of Lords has also stated that ‘analysis should rather be on the effects of immigration on income per head of the resident population’. Therefore, EU nationals will be deemed valuable to the UK only if, they not only benefit themselves, but also, they ensure that existing residents are better off. As a rule, wherever possible, UK employers will be expected to meet their labour needs from the resident labour market – the UK Government wishes to build on the domestic skills to build a strong and competitive market. This will be through investing in training for the resident labour market, which in the last 20 years has declined.

Intra-company transfers

When designing the future immigration policy for EU citizens, the UK proposes that it will be desirable to bring in highly skilled EU citizens and allow companies to attract global talent. Further provisions will be made for intra company transferee’s – however, currently this route does not lead to settlement for non-EU nationals, and the same can be expected for EU citizens. Currently, non-EU nationals must be sponsored by a UK employer to enter the UK and work for their particular business; this may be the future for EU citizens; sponsorship from a UK employer allowing them to work in the UK; therefore, taking away the flexibility of switching from one employer to another without having a sponsorship in place.

10 Key ‘Post Brexit’ Points

  1. Phased Withdrawal: there will be three stages to the transformation of the UK’s immigration policies; the initial phase, before Brexit, will introduce the immigration bill, this will be followed by the implementation phase ‘of at least two years’ and the final phase will put in place the new tougher rules.
  2. Britain first: this language confirms that the new immigration policies will be much more UK-focused.
  3. Passports and border controls: Proposal suggest that in the future, EU nationals will need to show their valid passport when coming to the UK; National ID cards will no longer suffice.
  4. Free-movement during phase 2 and biometric identification: The UK ‘will end free movement in its current form’ after the UK leaves the EU. During phase 2 (the implementation phase), people who wish to reside here for an extended period will have to provide proof of citizenship either with a passport ‘or a Home Office biometric immigration document’; also known as a Biometric Resident Permit.
  5. Permits, fingerprints – and cost: When applying for a resident permit for the UK, certain documents and fingerprints will need to be provided.
  6. Permits for most workers will only last for up to two years: Highly skilled occupations and those with ‘real expertise’ will be offered permits for longer than 3 years during phase 3 (when the rules are made tougher).
  7. Restricting the rights of EU family members to enter and remain in the UK: Again, the Home Office seeks to put in place a tougher regime which restricts residency to ‘partners, minor children under the age of 18 and adult dependent relatives’; therefore, extended family members will no longer qualify as family members under the new tougher laws.
  8. Income requirements for some EU nationals: Although precise details have been withheld, a new income threshold for some EU citizens before being permitted to reside in the UK.
  9. British workers prioritised: The new rules will set out to make it harder for employers to employ labour from EU countries, by reducing the opportunity for workers to settle long-term in the UK and to prevent family members from joining them in the UK – especially low-skilled workers; thus, forcing UK employers to think twice before employing from the EU.
  10. Refusing Entry: this will strengthen the UK’s ability to refuse entry to EU citizens with a criminal record, or those considered a threat to the UK – the vetting process may be aided by an online screening procedure.

Migrate UK recommendations

The UK government will be reluctant to verify or comment on any of the leaked information above. Current Home Office policy dictates that nothing has changed and that EU ‘qualified persons’ residing in the UK continue to benefit from free movement rights. However, the leaked document clearly outlines the vision for change so it is important that EU citizens and family members check their eligibility for both Permanent Residency AND British Naturalisation applications. A valid and qualifying British Naturalisation application must be submitted before the official EU exit date in order to avoid being subject to an ‘Immigration Status’ under proposed UK law.

For employers, it is important to identify their EU citizen workers and where possible ascertain when they entered the UK and became a ‘qualified person’ (employed, self-employed, work seeker, student, self-sufficient). This will enable an employer to effectively map out the future of their employees as new immigration legislation is announced.

For family members of EU citizens; employers will need to check the resident permits of a family member of EU national if they wish to work in the UK. Therefore, this will not only effect the EU citizen working in the UK, it will also affect their EU or non-EU family member.

However, employers must remember that family members of low-skilled EU citizens will be less likely to be permitted entry into the UK, therefore, acting as a deterrent for EU citizens on low skilled jobs to enter the UK initially; as oppose to highly-skilled workers whom will have been awarded a residence permit between 3-5 years.

‘Brexit’ – what does this mean for EU citizens?

Current political uncertainties will be a cause for concern for many individualsBrexit...

With political activity in Britain over the last few days resembling a typhoon, you would be mistaken for thinking that the UK voted to leave the EU over a year ago. Only two weeks back, this pivotal vote was announced.

Since the EU referendum we have seen a Prime Minister resign, MPs furiously racing to become candidates for the top job and EU leaders hastily running to emergency meetings. If that wasn’t enough, the top two candidates for the role of PM, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, are promising different things when it comes to protecting the right to remain of EU nationals in the UK.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, has refused to publically state whether EU nationals may be asked to leave the UK, whereas Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, has vowed to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK.

In reality, there is no certainty as to whether protecting the rights of EU nationals is something that can be achieved for definite without Article 50 and, therefore, negotiations being triggered beforehand.

At the moment, everything that politicians, journalists and the general public have been talking about regarding ‘Brexit’ is speculative.

In the meantime, here are a few scenarios that may unfold in the coming years:

A right to remain for qualified persons  

It is likely that those EU nationals currently residing in the UK as qualified persons (workers, job-seekers, students, self-employed and self-sufficient individuals) will have an automatic right to remain provided that they apply for some sort of residency document proving their right to live and work in the United Kingdom. The main concern would be those individuals that are not seen as qualified persons and whether their immigration status would be safe.

An ‘Australian style’ points based system

Whilst we already have a British points based system in place for non-EU citizens, it is likely that a similar, ‘Australian style’ points based system would be applicable to all EU and non-EU citizens wanting to live and work in the UK. If the current points based system is anything to go by, industries such as construction and catering would likely to be hit hardest.

Restrictions for new EU citizen arrivals post official Brexit

As it stands, most EU citizens already in the UK should (in theory) have a safe immigration status, however, it is highly likely that post the UK officially leaving the European Union, which is not likely to happen until at least the 1st January 2019, new EU citizens would be faced with restrictions on living and working in the UK.

What we recommend for EU citizens

From now on, we recommend that all EU citizens thinking of living in the UK post-Brexit, hold paper based evidence of their immigration status in the UK. At the moment, EU nationals can work in the UK by showing evidence of their original passport or EU identity card. Depending on how long EU nationals have resided in the UK, it is now highly recommended that they either apply for a permanent residency document (if they have been a qualified person for at least 5 continuous years in the UK), or a residency certificate.

Numerous EU citizens will be caught out with the fact that they did not take out comprehensive sickness insurance at a time when they were either a self-sufficient person, a work-seeker or student.

In a nutshell, we advise individuals to keep up to speed with current affairs, UK/EU negotiations and not to panic. In effect, changes will only take place after negotiations have concluded.

New UK Immigration Fee Changes Announced


Yesterday, on 11 January 2016, proposed changes to fees for UK visas, nationality, immigration and Premium Service applications, were announced by the government. The proposed changes will take place throughout 2016-17, with the majority of changes being fee increases rather than reductions.

Such fee changes will apply only after additional legislation is laid before Parliament, which is due to take place by April 2016.

The proposed changes will see visitor, settlement and nationality visa fee increases, however, Tier 2 Sponsor Licences and Certificates of Sponsorship remain unchanged. This aligns with the government’s targets to cut immigration figures without impacting the valuable, Tier 2 skilled workforce. Premium Services will also see increases, with applicants possibly having to decide whether they want to wait for a postal application.

Maximum levels will be set on fee upsurges for categories that the Home Office are able to charge over the coming 4 years, yet, it seems that there will be no increases to the maximum levels themselves.

Migrate UK comment that “the government wants UK Visas and Immigration to become a self-sufficient, self-funded service by 2020 in an attempt to decrease taxpayer contributions.”

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.