Immigrant Health Surcharge to double in December

The annual fee that migrants pay for access to the UK National Health Service will be doubled from December 2018 (exact date to be determined). The government have announced that the Immigrant Health Surcharge (IHS) will be increased from £200 to £400 per annum.

The IHS was first introduced in 2015 and is paid by all non EU migrants coming to the UK for more than 6 months. It is paid in advance at the point of visa application.

So, for example an applicant for a 5 year Ancestry visa would have previously paid £1,000. Now this is increased to £2,000.

And if that Ancestry visa applicant has a spouse and children then the fee is increased further – £2,000 per applicant !

We anticipate that many applicants will look to submit their visa applications before the increased IHS fee is introduced. The new fee will apply to first time applicants overseas and those seeking to extend their visas in the UK.

Those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain do not need to pay the IHS fee.

Australia – migration updates

The Pass Mark for Skilled Migration to Australia has recently been increased from 60 to 65 points. This new requirement relates to those applying in the following visa subclasses;

Subclass 189 Skilled Independent

Subclass 190 Skilled Sponsored

Subclass 489 Skilled Regional Sponsored

Meanwhile the Australian government have decided that the number of places available for Parent visas in the 2018-2019 year shall remain the same. This relates to those applying under the Contributory Parent and non Contributory Parent subclasses.

 

UK citizenship – how do absences from the UK affect an application ?

We seem to get asked this question a lot !

Example – I have been living in the UK since 2009 but my absences exceed 450 days in the last 5 years, can I apply for citizenship ?

The Home Office does frequently exercise discretion to disregard absences above the normal thresholds. If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen then the normal level of days you can be outside the UK comes to 270 days in the preceding 3 years and up to 90 days in the last 1 year.

If you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen then the relevant thresholds are up to 450 days in the previous 5 years and up to 90 days in the last 1 year.

But you can certainly ask for discretion if you exceed these amounts.

The Home Office considers a variety of factors in deciding whether to exercise discretion such as;

How much you are exceeding the normal thresholds by ?

How long have you lived in the UK in total ?

What strong ties do you have to the UK – such as employment, family, home ?

What were the reasons for the excess absences – were they employment / business related or for compassionate reasons ?

Is it your intention to make the UK your main home ?

A carefully prepared application with the correct supporting documents can allow you to secure citizenship, even if you exceed the normal permitted level of absences.

We can help you with such an application. Please contact us so we can see if this is achievable in your case.

 

Australia – skilled occupation lists

For those looking to migrate to Australia, the various skilled occupation lists can often be quite baffling in trying to comprehend what occupations are on what list. There are several different occupation lists such as;

Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL),
Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
Regional Occupation List (ROL)

Each list relates to specific visa subclasses such as the Skilled Independent visa or the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa. Now all relevant occupations have been collated and included in one list. This also provides the relevant visa subclasses and assessing authorities for each occupation.

The list can be viewed here;

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/work/skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/combined-stsol-mltssl

If you are interested in migrating to Australia please contact us for an eligibility assessment.