IMMIGRATION LAW BLOG

The information provided below is not Legal advice as laws and regulations change frequently. We try to provide legally accurate information on this blog, however, as this is a blog, information could get outdated. If you require legal advice then please contact us or another qualified lawyer directly. This information is not given as legal advice.

Nick Atwal, LL.B, LL.M, B.V.C, Leading UK Immigration Lawyer
Nick Atwal - Immigration Show on TV

Immigration Specialist - Nick Atwal

Spouse Visa Income Limit Set to Increase

21st May 2017

The Conservative party’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election - officially released on 18th May 2017 - has a number of policies that will directly affect the rights of some British citizens. In particular, the document includes a pledge to crackdown on immigration. The challenge of reducing immigration whilst in the European Union has been well documented. However, these latest proposals are not dependent on freedom of movement and are direct ways the government intends to reduce numbers.

The two main groups that are being targeted are spouses of British citizens and foreign students, coming to study in the UK.

The next conservative government would increase the minimum income requirement for spouses it is currently £18,600 - this figure having already been judged by Supreme Court Justices as being “particularly harsh”.

However, there is no specific figure given for the threshold and so how much the increase will be remains unclear.

The existing threshold was introduced by the then-Home Secretary, Theresa May. It has been heavily criticized for causing families to choose between separation and exile.

Courts have seen an increase in appeals against decisions to remove spouses from their family home. This removal has caused up to 15,000 children to grow up as what campaigners describe as “Skype Kids”.

When the existing threshold was introduced, it was estimated that this would exclude 41 per cent of the British working public from bringing their foreign spouse to live in Britain. Due to the gender pay gap, this figure goes up to 55 per cent for women.

It is important to note that the current amount rises to £22,400 if there is one or more non-Eurpean-born child in the family. In addition, the income of the spouse does not count towards the threshold.

Although the existing threshold was ruled to be legal by the Supreme Court in February of this year, it added a clear caveat that it had caused hardship for thousands of couples and families.

The immigration part of the manifesto also gives a clear message that trying to reach the reduced figures as outlined will involve a further tightening of the requirements for foreign students.

If you are in need of any Immigration law advice or are looking for immigration lawyers in Birmingham or Immigration lawyers in London, then please contact us on 0121 448 3996.

04th November 2016                                                                                          New Home Office Changes

The government announced today, 3 November, changes to the Immigration Rules which will affect applications made on or after 24 November unless stated otherwise.

The main changes are outlined below:

 

Tier 2

 

Implement the first of 2 phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee.

  • Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000, with some exemptions
  • Increasing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000
  • Reducing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year
  • Closing the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category

These changes will come into effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after 24 November 2016. The date from which intra company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in due course.

 

Tier 4

 

A number of changes are being made, including amendments to the academic progression rule, maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme and evidence of overseas qualifications, UK qualifications used as evidence, and a series of minor and technical adjustments.

 

English language requirement

 

As announced in January this year, a new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is being introduced for non-EEA partners and parents.

This affects those applying to extend their stay after 2.5 years in the UK on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM (Family Member) of the Immigration Rules. The new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave under the family Immigration Rules is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017.

12th July 2016                                                                                                Government statement on EU citizens in UK

The Goverment has finally issued a statement for EU citizens and their families, if you are confused or need further help then please phone us on Tel: 0121 448 3996, we have offices in London and Birmingham and will be pleased to help you no matter where in the UK you are. We understand how confusing it is at the moment for people from Europe and we are pleased to help:

 

Government statement:

 

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.

 

 

The decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal process of leaving the EU will be for the new Prime Minister. The UK remains a member of the EU throughout this process, and until Article 50 negotiations have concluded.

When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected.

The government recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK.

 

Qu: I have lived in the UK for more than 5 years. What does the vote to leave the EU mean for me?

  • EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 5 years automatically have a permanent right to reside. This means that they have a right to live in the UK permanently, in accordance with EU law. There is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status.
  • EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here.

 Qu: What if I have lived in the UK for less than 5 years?

  • EU nationals continue to have a right to reside in the UK in accordance with EU law. EU nationals do not need to register for any documentation in order to enjoy their free movement rights and responsibilities. For those that decide to apply for a registration certificate, there has been no change to government policy or processes. Applications will continue to be processed as usual.
  • Non-EU family members of EU nationals must continue to apply for a family permit if they wish to enter the UK under EU law, and they do not have a residence card issued by a member state. There has been no change to government policy or processes, and applications will continue to be processed as usual.
  • Extended family members of EU nationals must continue to apply for a registration certificate (if they are an EU national) or residence card (if they are a non-EU national) if they wish to reside in the UK. There has been no change to government policy or processes, and applications will continue to be processed as usual.
  • Irish nationals enjoy separate rights, under various pieces of legislation, which allow Irish nationals residing in the UK to be treated in the same way as British nationals in most circumstances. There is no change to this position.
  • Croatian nationals might continue to need to apply for a registration certificate to be allowed to work in the UK under the transitional arrangements that were put in place when Croatia joined the EU in 2013. The type of registration certificate that they might need will depend on whether they need permission to work in the UK, and what they will be doing. There has been no change to government policy or processes, and applications will continue to be processed as usual.

 Qu: Does the government plan to remove EU nationals from the UK?

There has been no change to the right of EU nationals to reside in the UK and therefore no change to the circumstances in which someone could be removed from the UK.

As was the case before the referendum, EU nationals can only be removed from the UK if they are considered to pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to the public, if they are not lawfully resident or are abusing their free movement rights.

 

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26th June 2016                                                                                                       Eu Referendum and Immigration Laws                                                                                                       

Hi

 

As we've all experienced this week, things can change very quickly (EU Referendum in case you've been hiding under a rock!). I can imagine many of you are worried about inevitable upcoming changes to immigration laws and how they will affect you. 

 

With the laws relating to EU residents changing, this will also mean changes to general Immigration laws too. This will affect most people going through the Immigration process. EU residents should not worry too much at this time as the statements made so far have been favourable. Also, you might be elegible to qualify for permanent residence before these changes take place.

 

I will be keeping you all updated on what the changes will be so keep an eye on this blog and also on my Facebook page. I'll provide all the details and information on anything that you need to look out for and advice on how to best get your work permit or residence in the UK.

 

Nick :)

29th January 2016                                                                                       Landlord Immigration Checks from 1st February 16

Unfortunately new legislation coming in next week will put a further burden on landlords and those offering lodging. I will go through some of the basics for you below:

 

From the 1st February the 'right to rent' legislation will come into force. This means that landlords and families that are taking lodgers have to make sure the person has a right to be in the UK. This has been a topic of great controversy as it is seen as landlords doing the job of authorities and receiving fines if they fail to do so.

 

The fines can be considerable too. A civil penalty of up to £3000 if an illegal immigrant is found living in your property. This will not apply if you can show you have made the appropriate checks. A first time offender will be fined £1000, however, this will go up to £3000 for subsequent offences. For lodgers, the penalty is £80 going up to £500 for subsequent offences. There is however, a bill going through at the moment that is suggesting a jail sentence of up to 5 years, this is still pending.

 

  • This new requirement will apply to new tenancies and you have 28 days in which to carry out the checks.

  • If their right to rent runs out, you need to inform the Home Office

  • You need to check original ID documents and retain copies

  • You will need to make checks if their visa or right to be in the UK expires. The Government website offers this service if landlords are unsure.

  • If you have been shown (well) forged documents, the government will not penalise you.

  • For full details on the requirements and details, please check https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents

 

I am hoping you will not be overly burdened by this, I know its extra work and just adds to busy schedules. Try and keep a separate diary or folder for your tenants and keep those records in a safe place. I have seen forged documents before and they can be hard to distinguish. Follow the rules and you will be ok. If you require any help with any legal service then please contact my firm. We will be pleased to help you. Keep any eye on this blog for further legal updates on different areas of law. You can follow our UK Legal Zone Facebook page for general legal news and our UK Immigration Law/tier 2 & 5 updates Facebook pages, for immigration news.

 

Offices in London and Birmingham Tel: 0121 448 3996

 

​21st Jan 2016

Scotland Wants a Reintroduction of the PSW Visa for Students

 

Scotland wants a re-introduction of the PSW.

 

The UK government has confirmed there will not be a re-introduction of the Tier 1 PSW visa. This has come as a great disappointment to the Scottish government. The Scottish government have been trying to persuade Parliament to re-introduce it.

 

Scotland has suffered from a 'brain drain' in recent years and that has effected it's economy and its research and development sector. Many students leave Scotland for other places once they become qualified. A return of the PSW visa would ensure that Scotland has workers to fill positions that will help with economic development in the future.

 

The PSW visa was scrapped in 2012. It had a huge effect on students coming to the UK, especially from places like India. This had a major effect on Universities across the UK, taking millions out of the economy.

 

Scotland's minister for Europe is spear heading a group to try and re-install the visa. If he can build momentum then this could influence Westminster to change direction.

 

I encounter many clients that are students on a daily basis who are looking for opportunities to use their qualifications and skills in this country. However, due to the laws at the moment, they do not have that opportunity via the PSW. However, the tier 2, 5 or Entrepreneur visa are their alternative options. There is a huge demand in certain areas and industries for newly qualified students with appropriate skills. Maybe a compromise should be introduced to see if some of these demands can be satisfied and in turn helping the economy thrive. Scotland is certainly in need of some kind of change.

 

If you are a student and looking for help to remain in the UK then please contact us on 0121 448 3996. We have offices in London and Birmingham.

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NEW PLANS FOR EU WORKERS & BENEFITS

Controversial new plans are set to be considered by the European Commission in March 2016, this will follow a European Summit in February. The plans will mean that EU migrant workers would only be able to claim benefits from their home countries for the first 12 months after arriving in an EU country.

 

Although countries like the UK are looking to reduce Immigration, this could actually have the opposite effect as workers would be able to go abroad to find work whilst still receiving benefits. This could increase immigration and therefore counteract the government pledge of decreasing immigration.

 

Prime Minister Cameron is looking to renegotiate terms of the membership deal Britain has with the EU. He is hoping that early in 2016 there will be new terms set in place. However, his proposal of a ban on tax credits for EU workers for 4 years is set to be defeated in a vote by EU members. This could create more momentum for a Brexit (Britain leaving the EU).

 

A referendum is set to take place in the summer of 2016. Britain needs workers for it's economy to maintain its strength. However, with the all the hype surrounding immigration there is always a danger of a Brexit. This will obviously effect many EU workers that are looking to move to and live in the UK.

 

Keep an eye on our blog for more news regarding EU reform. If you are looking to apply for an EU residence card, Registration card or Permanent residence then please contact us on 0121 448 3996. We have offices in London and Birmingham, however, we help clients from all over the UK.

 

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PM CAMERON LOOKING TO SIGNIFICANTLY RAISE THE £20,800 MINIMUM SALARY LIMIT FOR TIER 2

 

PM Cameron is looking to raise the minimum salary threshold for bringing in workers on a Tier 2 visa. PM Cameron is looking to bring down net migration which is currently approximately 300,000. Mr Cameron also wants to stop British workers getting undercut by foreign staff.

 

The Migration Advisory Committee looked at a potential increase of £31,000 to £39,000. This is obviously a significiant increase and would make it increasingly difficult for workers to secure a Tier 2 visa. The Migration Advisory Committee warned that such an increase could cause problems in the areas of Health and Education. They also warned that such an increase would be strongly opposed by employers.

 

Big businesses have also warned might need to expand their businesses overseas if it gets tougher to hire skilled staff in the UK. Number 10 is now set to make a decision on whether they will continue with the plan.

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