Tory migrant cap detrimental to UK economy

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has written to Home Secretary Theresa May warning that the restrictions on non-EU migrant workers are damaging the UK’s economic recovery. The Financial Times reports that for the first time since the introduction in 2011 of restrictions on workers from outside the EU, the 20,700 annual limit is set to be exceeded.

Last year, 6,780 visas remained unallocated and Cable has suggested that if ministers decide not to scrap the restrictions altogether, the Home Office ought to allow the allocations from previous years to be rolled over to 2014. According to official figures, in June, July and August the monthly allocation of 1,725 visas was exceeded.

In attempting to meet the Conservative Party’s target of curbing net migration by next year’s election, Ms May could be hampering businesses hiring the most suitable talent they require to fill important vacancies when the UK economy needs it most. As well as removing the cap, lowering the £153,500 salary threshold would allow more jobs to become available to talented migrants who could possess skills lacking in a number of sectors in the UK.

Skills shortages in the UK are not a new phenomenon and it is crucial to the UK’s economic prospects that the immigration legislation creates avenues for skillful migrants to contribute to growth in the UK.

Tier 1 General: an important reminder

The Tier 1 (General) category visa was closed to new applicants outside the UK on 6th April 2010 and as of 6th April 2015, will close to applicants who wish to extend their visa. If you applied for a Tier 1 (General) visa on or after 6th April 2010, you can extend your visa for a maximum of 3 years.  Those who applied for either a writer, composer or artist visa, a self-employed lawyer visa, applied under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or for Tier 1 (General) before 6th April 2010, may extend or switch to Tier 1 (General) for a maximum of 2 years. Dependants can still apply to join applicants who have obtained prior entry clearance for Tier 1 (General).

In addition to this, as of 6th April 2018, applications for indefinite leave to remain will no longer be accepted under the Tier 1 (General) category. Therefore, those currently in the UK under Tier 1 (General) must submit an application for indefinite leave to remain on or before 5th April 2018. You can qualify for settlement once you have been in the UK for a consecutive 5 year period. Should you require any advice regarding your Tier 1 (General) extension or indefinite leave to remain application, do not hesitate to get in touch

Landlords beware…hefty fines introduced in order to prevent housing of illegal immigrants

From 1st December 2014, landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton will be required to check that that any adult aged over 18 has the right to live in the UK before letting a property to them. If after this date a property is let to someone who doesn’t hold the right to rent, landlords could face fines of up to £3,000.

Under section 22 of the 2014 Immigration Act, unless the person is a British citizen, EEA or Swiss national or someone with the “right to rent”, which entails being lawfully compliant with current immigration legislation, a landlord should not permit anyone to rent property under a residential tenancy agreement starting on or after 1st December. The restriction and civil penalty provisions referred to as “the Scheme”, aim to make certain that immigrants who are present in the UK illegally are unable to establish a settled life in the UK.

Landlords can carry out, without needing to contact the Home Office, basic document checks in order to avoid a civil penalty; suitable identity includes passports or biometric residence permits. Landlords letting property to people with a time-limited right to rent will need to conduct follow up checks in order to remain compliant and avoid a potential fine. If these reveal that an individual no longer has the “right to rent”, landlords will have to not only keep detailed records of their checks, but must report to the Home Office within a certain timeframe.

If you think this legislative change might affect you, the Codes of Practice gives an in depth explanation; including whether you are affected and if any exemptions apply.

Alarming Statistics

Sponsorship Transparency Statistics Show why Sponsor Compliance is Crucial…

With the lead up to the general election in 2015 and the rising anti-immigration rhetoric from Eurosceptics, the government in Westminster have been under constant pressure to act on growing migration statistics from both EEA and non EEA citizens. Immigration enforcement has been catapulted to the forefront of the government’s plans and it appears that this will not be changing any time soon.

On the 28th August 2014, fresh sponsorship transparency data surfaced, revealing several immigration enforcement figures during the second quarter of 2014.

The data shows that a high number of sponsors were either suspended or had their licences revoked throughout the second quarter of 2014, for failing to comply with the immigration rules or their sponsor obligations.

Most notably, the data illustrates that within Tier 2 (employee sponsorship), a total of 197 sponsors had their Licences suspended and 118 licences were revoked for misconduct.

The recent statistics highlight that no individual, firm or education authority is immune from immigration enforcement and it reiterates the significance of compliance and the serious nature of misconduct.

In addition, 2014 saw the strict enforcement of Secure English Language testing. Over 1,800 cases were faced with refusal or removal decisions in respect of the ETS-linked English language tests. Almost 800 enforcement visits were made, with over 90 individuals being removed from the United Kingdom.