Prime Minister to consider new measures in bid to cut demand for migrant labour

In an attempt to reduce migrant labour to the UK and give British people “the skills they need” to find jobs, Prime Minister Cameron has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to look into ways of curbing non-EEA migrant labour.

The Migration Advisory Committee will advise on ways of boosting funding for UK apprenticeships and rising minimum salary thresholds for work visa applications as well as modifying the skills shortage criteria.

The government will require the MAC to look into re-structuring visa routes where skills shortages are genuinely required and ways of limiting the time that any sector is seen as being in shortage.

Mr Cameron’s government have suggested implementing a levy on Tier 2 visas. They argue that this could be used to fund apprenticeships, thus, helping British people.

If new proposals go ahead, there could also be restrictions on the automatic right to work of Tier 2 dependants and the Intra Company Transfer route could see the introduction of the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Prime Minister Cameron claims that “in the past, it has been too easy for businesses to recruit from overseas, undermining those who want to work hard and do the right thing”.


Information Commissioner’s Office demands Home Office reports on detention centres

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has asked for the Home Office to release potentially detrimental reports detailing the running of Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres within a matter of weeks.

Despite government officials arguing that the confidential documents would harm both the commercial interests of contractors Serco and GEO Group and the Home Office’s power to negotiate with future contractors, the ICO stated that the public interest in transparency was vital.

Corporate Watch’s Phiil Miller, cited in The Guardian newspaper, described the ruling as landmark, sending “a strong signal to government to be far more transparent on outsource contracts. Home Office bureaucrats should not shield private security companies from public scrutiny”.

The ICO’s decision certainly reflects a widely-held view that the operation of Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) is not up to scratch. Both media coverage and prison reports carried out by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons have contributed to the decision process, with the former revealing a disturbing increase in serious self-harm.

The government has yet to confirm whether it will appeal the decision, with both contractors also declining to comment at this stage. Watch this space…

Tier 2 General limit oversubscribed

For the first time since it’s introduction, the Tier 2 General limit (under the Restricted ‘quota’ system) has been oversubscribed, which has resulted in applications scoring less than 50 points being refused.

This means that in order to be successful, requests for Certificates of Sponsorship for June 2015 would have needed the vacancy:

  • to have been at PhD Level with the worker being paid at the ‘going rate’ for the vacancy in question (minimum £20,800); or
  • to have been at Shortage Occupational level with the worker being paid at the ‘going rate’ for the vacancy in question (minimum £20,800); or
  • To have been advertised (Resident Labour Market Test) with no resident worker meeting the mandatory requirements AND the worker being paid a minimum of £46,000.

Please note this does not relate to those migrants within the UK who are switching into Tier 2 General status (non restricted route).

Should you be affected by this or require any assistance with planning a Tier 2 (General) application don’t hesitate to contact us.

Prime Minister’s Questions reveals fresh immigration proposals

Net migration has reached a 10-year high of 318,000 this year, some 200,000 more than pledged by David Cameron in 2010. Despite many arguments suggesting the positive impact, both financially and socially of migration towards the UK, during Prime Minister’s Questions this week Mr Cameron announced a number of new plans to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands. These proposals included measures to raise minimum salary thresholds, limit the number of work permits and the introduction of new business levies for businesses employing migrant workers.

The government’s Migration Advisory Committee will take these proposals into consideration, which also not only aim to protect domestic workers from being undercut by migrant workers, but are also designed to boost apprenticeships. Mr Cameron, who chairs the Immigration Taskforce, has also elicited plans to rethink how long certain sectors can declare they have a skills shortage, as this enables employers in the particular sector to take on migrant workers.

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors and quoted in the Independent, has raised concerns over Mr Cameron’s proposals. Despite needing to attend to the public’s concern on immigration, Mr Walker states that employing migrant workers is purely a consequence of needing to find “people with the skills needed by employers”.

Mr Walker goes on to say that Mr Cameron is “absolutely right to focus on upskilling the domestic workforce, but there’s no quick fix.” It must nonetheless be taken into consideration that withdrawing skilled migrants from the workforce may have detrimental effects on the ever improving economy in the UK.

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance to Be Required For EEA Student Family Members

Currently, EEA students are required to hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) for themselves, but these Regulations do not include family members who are in the UK residing with them.

As of 6th April 2015, amendments were made to EEA Regulations and once implemented, students who have family members residing with them in the UK, will be required to also obtain CSI for each family member.

Due to operational reasons, students are not currently required to obtain CSI for their family members, however, this Regulation will be implemented as of 22nd June 2015.

This means that any application received on or after 22nd June 2015, will require CSI for any family members of students residing in the UK with them. If CSI cannot be evidenced, applications will be refused under Regulation 4.