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On 7 December 2017 a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules was published outlining a number of amendments which will (in the main) take effect in the New Year. The full Statement of Changes and Explanatory Memorandum can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc309-7-december-2017. This post looks at some of the more significant amendments and how they will affect applicants.
In 2018 UK Visas and Immigration will begin the move towards electronic entry clearance, replacing the current process of endorsing visa stamps into an applicant’s passport. The new electronic system will be rolled out gradually, and details are not yet confirmed as to where it will begin. This is hopefully a positive step towards a more convenient and efficient application process, perhaps allowing all visa applicants to retain their passports while applications are considered.
The exclusive Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route is being expanded, with the annual number of places available doubled from 1000 to 2000. In another welcome move, an accelerated settlement route is being introduced, mirroring the enhanced options available under other Tier 1 routes for those that excel (in the Exceptional Talent category this will be restricted to established talent applicants as opposed to those under the promise criteria).
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route will see a number of changes, some of them more useful to applicants than others. A positive example is the removal from the rules of the requirement for Real Time Submissions to HMRC to include an employee’s start date; this was often impossible for an applicant to meet and has led to refusals which are wholly unreasonable. However, a less welcome change is the clarification to available funds for new entrepreneur applicants, which will no longer be permitted from a third party who is a ‘close family member’. This new provision is ambiguous, to be decided on a case-by-case basis, and new applicants are therefore encouraged to plan their applications well in advance to ensure their funding is acceptable.
The Tier 2 route is largely unchanged, but one helpful amendment is the removal of the requirement for a former student to have received their qualification before they can benefit from favourable switching provisions. This often worked to the detriment of Master’s students, who have to wait for their graduations and therefore were prevented from switching.
Family members of PBS Migrants
The major change here is the introduction of an absences limit for the partner (but note, not the children) of a PBS Migrant. The new limit will reflect the requirements in PBS routes: a maximum 180 days’ absence permitted in each of the 12-month periods leading to settlement in the UK. Although this new limit will be introduced in January 2018, it will only apply to trips completed after that date, meaning that applicants who have already travelled are not penalised.
Further amendments are applicable to Tier 2 (Sportsperson), Investors, Tier 4, Short-term Students and domestic workers, but these are minor or are clarifications of existing rules. The changes will also introduce new provisions relating to immigration bail.
When will the changes take effect?
Most of the amendments are being introduced in January 2018, but the more significant changes are not intended to apply retrospectively, and may not be applicable at all if an applicant already holds leave in the immigration category concerned.
If you believe you may be affected by the changes to the Immigration Rules, contact Khan Associates for advice. We offer appointments by telephone and Skype, and from our office in Glasgow (+44 141 429 2390).
On 7 December the Government finally reached an agreement with the European Union to move past the initial stages of the Brexit negotiations so that they could focus on the UK’s future trading agreements with the other Member States. There were three areas that had to be agreed on to allow this work to move forward:
- Protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and of UK citizens in the rest of the EU
- The status of the Irish border and regulation in Northern Ireland
- The cost of the financial settlement for departing the EU
Whilst it was the Irish issue that caused the most controversy and drama, there are some key points and principles in the text of the joint report issued on 8 December which provide some very positive principles as to how existing European rights will be enjoyed in the future.
Bringing family members into the UK
As already agreed, there will be a 2-year period following Brexit in which EU nationals will apply to confirm lawful residence. We now know that those nationals will still be allowed to bring in their family members in the same way they do now. This will depend on who you wish to bring in; the categories agreed are:
- Partners and dependents if they were related to the EU national as of the date of Brexit
- Children born or adopted following Brexit where one parent is British, and the other is an EU national (protected by the withdrawal agreement)
- Children born or adopted following Brexit where there is a sole parent who is an EU national (protected by with withdrawal agreement) and it is in the best interests of the child to enter
Any other family members wishing to enter the UK will be governed by standard UK Immigration Rules.
It is significant to note that there is not a fixed time limit on this. These rights will only expire on the passing of the individual EU nationals.
More information was given about those who already hold a right of Permanent Residence under EU law and how this is converted into the new ‘settled’ status. The best news is that, after it initially appearing these applications would cost as much as getting a new passport, it has now been agreed that it will be free of charge.
There will remain suitability and criminality checks, and evidence will need to be provided of ongoing residence in the UK. It has also been agreed that those with Permanent Residence can leave the UK for up to 5 years without losing their rights to continue residing in the UK on return. Previously this had been 2 years. This seems to be reciprocal; UK nationals in other EU states with Permanent Residence there would also be able to leave for 5 years without losing their right to reside.
Other matters of note
UK nationals can continue to receive reciprocal healthcare if they hold an EHIC or other recognized form of insurance that allows for reimbursement.
Existing decisions regarding mutual recognition of professional qualifications will remain in place for both UK nationals working in the EU and for EU nationals in the UK. This may reduce the impact of Brexit in some industries.
The European Court of Justice will continue to be the final authority for deciding how free movement rights are to be interpreted; both those of UK nationals in the member states and of EU nationals here who are covered by the withdrawal agreement. The UK Government will have the right to intervene in these cases, and likewise, the EU Commission will have the right to intervene in matters arising in the UK concerning free movement that has not yet reached the Court of Justice. How rights are to be implemented and applied remains an open question. The UK is to establish a new, independent body to monitor this and to deal with complaints. This is a matter for the next phase of negotiations.
If you would like to discuss your status in the UK and the impact of Brexit, contact Khan Associates for advice. We offer appointments by telephone and Skype.
Due to the increasing demands of our services we are pleased to announce that we are moving to new premises at 4-10 Darnley Street, Pollokshields Glasgow G41 2SE (opposite to United Cash & Carry) from 1st February 2017.
From this date on, if you decided that we will represent you on your immigration matter, your application will be allocated to a named Advisor at Khan Associates who will take Detailed Instructions from you and advise you about the relevant immigration laws and procedures. The named Advisor will be the main point of your contact and will update you from time to time for any update from Home Office or any British Diplomatic High Commission overseas. He will be responsible for your case from the date of your instructions until the closure of your case.
In order for the Office Assistant to divert your call to the right person, please note the following.
For All Points-based system Applications (initial, extension and indefinite leave to remain) namely; Tier 1 Investor, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, all types of Tier 2 Applications, Tier 4 (General and Child), Tier 5, All Sponsor Licenses for Employers and Education Providers in the UK, Please ask for,
Mr. Said Jamil Khan, while for all other applications including Spouse/finance/fiancée, civil/unmarried partners entry, ext. and Indefinite leave to remain, 10 years long residency, adults dependents, visitors and many more, Please contact, Nisar Khan.
For more information, please contact us.
Whe have many inquiries from those sponsors who have been working with the current employer for less than six months but before the current employment he/she has been working previously.
please see the examples below if any of the following fit in your circumstances. Don’t put off and apply!
Case studies – Category B: Less than 6 months with current employer or variable income – person residing in the UK
Example (a) The applicant’s partner works in the UK. She started a new job 3 months prior to the date of application and her gross annual salary is £22,000. She meets part (1) of the calculation for Category B because she is in salaried employment at the date of application and her gross annual salary at the date of application meets the financial requirement. In addition, she must have received in the 12 months prior to the application the level of income required to meet part (2) of the calculation for Category B. Before starting her new job, she worked for another company for 7 months during the last 12 months. Including her current and previous job, the total amount she has earned from employment in the last 12 months is £20,000. The financial requirement is met under Category B because the applicant’s partner is currently in a job paying at least £18,600 a year and has earned more than £18,600 from employment in the last 12 months.
Example (b) The applicant’s partner works in the UK. She started a new job 3 weeks ago. Her gross annual salary is £20,000. She meets part (1) of the calculation for Category B because she is in salaried employment at the date of application and her gross annual salary at the date of application meets the financial requirement. In addition, she must have received in the 12 months prior to the application the level of income required to part (2) of the calculation for Category B. But she has had no other job in the last 12 months as she has been travelling. The financial requirement is met under part (1) of Category B because the applicant’s partner is currently in a job paying at least £18,600, but not under part (2) as she has not earned at least £18,600 from employment in the last 12 months. Therefore the applicant cannot meet the financial requirement using Category B.
Example (c) The applicant’s partner lives in the UK and is a fashion photographer who does short-term contract work for several agencies. He has periods without work and the amount he is paid varies from job to job. Over the last 12 months he has earned a total of £20,000. In the most recent 6 months his gross earnings are as follows: £3500, £0, £0, £2300, £3400, £500. The application is made on the basis of meeting the financial requirement under Category B non-salaried employment. Under part (1) of Category B, the applicant’s partner’s current annual employment income = (gross earnings over the last 6 months, divided by 6) multiplied by 12 Financial = ((3500+0+0+2300+3400+500) ÷ 6) x 12 = (9,700 ÷ 6) x 12 = £19,400 Under part (2) of Category B, the applicant’s partner’s actual employment income over last 12 months = £20,000 So both part (1) and part (2) of Category B are met.
Example (d) The applicant (with permission to work) and his partner are both in employment in the UK at the date of application. The applicant earns £12,000 a year and has been earning that level of income with the same employer for 17 months. The applicant’s partner has recently moved to a new job earning £10,000 a year and has only been in her current employment for 3 months. However, she has received £12,000 in employment income in the 12 months prior to the date of application. If the applicant’s partner had been in her current job at that level of annual earnings for at least 6 months, the applicant could have combined their current levels of annual earnings under Category A: £12,000 + £10,000 = £22,000. Instead, the applicant must use Category B: under part (1) their combined level of current earnings is £22,000; under part (2) their combined income from employment over the last 12 months is £12,000 + £12,000 = £24,000. So both part (1) and part (2) of Category B are met.
if you have other sources of income or cash savings or you have worked overseas and wish to return along with your spouse/partner/fiance/fiancee, please contact your consultants at Khan Associates for more guidance.
The Supreme Court judgment in MM (Lebanon) & Others was handed down on 22 February 2017. The Secretary of State has placed a temporary hold on decision making in respect of applications falling for refusal under the Immigration Rules found in Appendix FM. These are applications which fail to meet the minimum income requirement for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner or child under Appendix FM or which otherwise fall for refusal under Appendix FM and involve a child under the age of 18 years. As of 30 June 2017, there were around 5,000 such applications on hold. The Secretary of State considers that the changes set out in this statement will enable her to decide those and future applications consistently with the findings of the Supreme Court judgment. Those applications which are refused will normally have a right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) against that decision.
In the statement of changes announced will take effect on the 10th August 2017, the changes set out are intended to give effect to those findings. In particular, they insert new general provisions in Appendix FM (paragraphs GEN.3.1. to 3.3.) which require the decision maker, in the specified circumstances, to consider whether the minimum income requirement is met if the other sources of income, financial support or funds set out in the new paragraph 21A of Appendix FM SE are taken into account. The specified circumstances are that, firstly, the minimum income requirement is not otherwise met and secondly, it is evident from the information provided by the applicant that there are exceptional circumstances which could render refusal of the application a breach of Article 8 because it could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a child under the age of 18 years who it is evident would be affected by a decision to refuse the application.
Refer to the new paragraph 21A of Appendix FM SE, inserted by these changes which make provision as to the other sources of income, financial support or funds which the decision maker will take into account in such cases. These are a credible guarantee of sustainable financial support from a third party; credible prospective earnings from the sustainable employment or self-employment of the applicant or their partner; or any other credible and reliable source of income or funds available to the couple. Paragraph 21A also makes provision for particular factors which the decision maker will consider in determining the genuineness, credibility, and reliability of such other source of income, financial support or funds;
Require the decision maker, where an application for entry clearance or leave to remain made or considered under Appendix FM does not otherwise meet the relevant requirements of the Immigration Rules, to go on to consider, on the basis of the information provided by the applicant, whether there are exceptional circumstances which would render refusal of the application a breach of Article 8 because it would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant or their family.
Home Office publishes second report on statistics collected under exit checks programme. As part of legislation introduced through the Immigration Act 2014, carriers and port operators in the aviation, maritime and international rail industries were given the power to carry out embarkation checks. Since 8 April 2015 departure data has been collected on all scheduled commercial services departing the UK from air and sea ports and from international rail stations except those services not within the scope of the exit checks programme.
The analysis in the report focuses on individuals who had both valid leave and were identified as having entered the UK after April 2015, when the exit checks programme was introduced.
Brandon Lewis, Immigration Minister, said:
The Home Office introduced exit checks in 2015 to provide more comprehensive information on travel movements across the UK border.
This information has already been invaluable to the police and security services who have used it to help track known criminals and terrorists, supporting wider work taking place across government and law enforcement.
The report found that among the 1.34 million visas granted to non-EEA nationals which expired in 2016/17, 96.3 per cent departed in time.
Home Visit Services
Khan Associates also offer you to visit your home if you are unable to attend our office. We will arrange to visit you at your home or place of work to advise and assist you with your immigration, nationality matter or any application for your family or relative for entry clearance into the UK.
If you are applying to extend your stay or to settle in the UK you may be faced with time constraints, yet it can often take several weeks or months for the Home Office to process an immigration application. Using our same-day fast-track service we will enable you to avoid these long delays.
Our premium service allows you to attend an appointment at one of 7 public enquiry offices located across the UK where we will present your application in person. A public enquiry office (PEO) is a processing office for the Home Office where your application will be presented should you wish to have a decision on your case on the same day or within 24 hours. If you opt for this package you will receive a detailed consultation with your advisor who will also help you to prepare an application and collate the necessary documentation to present at your appointment.