Latest Immigration Rules changes:
Anyone who has been keeping an eye on UK immigration law will have now become accustomed to the regular Immigration Rules changes, which seem to always bear bad news for migrants.
The Immigration Rules are published by the Home Office. The last statement of change is from the New Immigration Rules Change, and is no exception to the general tradition. It brings some changes which mainly affect Tier 2 work permit holders.
One of the changes affects asylum, generally refusing EU nationals from claiming asylum in the UK unless they can demonstrate that any of the exceptional circumstances enumerated in Rule 326F apply in their particular case.
It also makes it easy for the Secretary of the State to revoke refugee status when there is evidence that the refugee status was obtained by deception, the refugee has committed a criminal offence or where protection is no longer needed.
Let’s see an example:
A Syrian is granted status as a refugee in the UK, but the situation in Syria changes within the 5 years of leave to remain. Now the Secretary of the State can ask him to go back.
Family and private life
One of the main changes is that the Secretary of State will be able to refuse entry clearance where a spouse or partner is deemed to pose a risk to the child.
Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system
- Tier 2 shortage occupation list/nurses:
One of the key positive sides of this rule change is that the government seems to have added nurses to the shortage occupation list. This is in line with what Scotland has already done. This means that the NHS would now be able to fill positions by hiring non-EEA nationals, without having to meet the labour market test (advertising for 28 days), and hence, should hopefully make it easier for faster and quicker recruitment of such nurses.
- Tier 2 Workers settlement:
One of the main changes of the rules is that from the 6th of April 2016, some skilled non-EEA workers with Tier 2 visas will only be eligible to stay in the UK permanently if they are earning at least £35,000.
This an additional measure for migrant workers, who have already sacrificed to contribute to the UK and have perhaps left stable jobs in their home countries, to come and settle with their family in the UK. Unfortunately, this means that some migrants who are already here and looking for settlement in the UK, will, as a result of this Bill, have their family and private life desrupted. This long time effect will make it less attractive for Tier 2 workers to come to the UK.
Who does it apply to?
The rules will generally apply to any non-EEA national who has come to the UK since April 2011. Please note that the actual threshold could be even above £35.000, depending on occupation
e.g. for IT specialist managers the current entry level salary, according to the Home Office Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers, is £25.000. However, for the same IT specialist manager applying for a visa in a few years’ time – after having acquired more experience – she/he would be required to show £40.000.
If you are a tier 2 migrant, you would be best advised to consult a UK Immigration Solicitor.
Who does it not affect?
Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to the rule; The income treshold requirement for settlement will not apply to :
- people who came to the UK before April 2011,
- people doing a job on the shortage occupation list, [see list – but warning! this changes every couple of weeks] or doing a specified PhD level job in science or research.
- People who have a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa or a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa.
The new immigration rule changes further constrain migrant workers and follows the line of the government’s policy of reducing immigration in general, regardless of the long time effect. One can only sit and hope that this new move of giving on one hand (putting nurses on the shortage list) and taking on the other (preventing them from settling here) will still enable the UK to attract the much needed skills in various sectors of the labour market.
Please feel free to share and comment to raie awareness of these issues. Also, if you have been affected by any of these immigration rule changes and need a quick chat with a UK Immigration Solicitor do not hesitate to contact Tito Mbariti for a free one-off, no obligation general immigration advice consultation via either phone, facetime, Skype or Face to Face.
Tito Mbariti is a solicitor specialising in UK immigration and Human Rights law at Johl and Company Solicitor in Leicester, he has been practising immigration law for several years with clients from various parts of the globe. He is a strong advocate of Human Rights for all, passionate about voicing important issues affecting migrants and their families in the UK. Tito is the founder and editor of Cross Border Legal, a UK Immigration and Human Right law blog.