UNITED KINGDOM – IMMIGRATION UPDATE

There have been several recent developments in UK immigration law as follows;

* An increase in the level of maintenance funds required for applicants and dependants in Points Based applications such as Tier 1 and Tier 2.

* The government deciding to close the Tier 1 General extension category in 2015 and close Indefinite Leave to Remain for Tier 1 General applicants in 2018.

* Tier 2 visas will be able to be issued for up to 5 years

* New visa application centres are being introduced outside the UK to facilitate those applying for UK visas. These new centres are being introduced in the following countries; Australia, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Canada and Fiji.

* The Court of Appeal has been hearing the MM case on the legality of the UK spouse minimum income rules. This important case will have a huge bearing on UK family migration applications. However, judgement is not expected for up to 3 months.

* Our free Online Assessment Form

UK – British citizens using EEA law

Recent cases held in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have reaffirmed the rights of British citizens to use EEA law to bring a family member back to the UK.

This type of application is commonly referred to a “Surinder Singh” application, after the case that established this. The recent ECJ cases have stated clearly that this route is open where the British citizen moves to another EU member state to exercise their EU Treaty Rights.

The key development in these recent cases is that this can include any exercise of EU Treaty Rights and is not limited to working or being self-employed. So, studying and being a self-sufficient person would also fall under this ruling.

We will wait to see if the UK government amend their regulations to reflect this new ruling.

If you wish to make any type of EEA application, then please complete Our free Online Assessment Form;

This should give us all the information we need to give you the correct advice.

We can then review in full and get back to you.

UK visa categories 2013

So far in 2013, we have seen changes in UK immigration reflecting the current government’s policy of reducing migration. The following is an up to date summary of some of the key UK visa categories that may be relevant to actuaries;

Tier 2 (General)
This is the main category for UK employers to recruit overseas employees.

The employer will need to demonstrate that they have carried out a standard recruitment search or “Resident Labour Market Test” before offering the position to an overseas employee. In 2012 certain actuarial occupations (especially in life assurance, general insurance, and health and care sectors) were exempt from this “Resident Labour Market Test” being seen as acute shortage occupations. However, in April 2013 the UK Border Agency removed these actuarial occupations from the shortage list.

Actuarial employers have a variety of different options open to them to advertise in meeting the “Resident Labour Market Test”. This can include using a recruitment agency, advertising on their company website or through external job-boards.

UK employers who do not have a sponsorship licence cannot look to recruit employees to work for them on Tier 2 (General) visas.
Employers who possess a sponsorship licence can request an increased allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship. This is especially important if the employer has already allocated all available Certificates of Sponsorship and still wishes to recruit further employees.

Tier 1 – Post Study Work visas
This visa category was closed to new applicants in April 2012.

Those who possess existing Post Study Work visas can still remain and work in the UK throughout the validity of their visa (up to 2 years in most cases)

Tier 1 (General) / HSMP visas
These visa categories are now closed to new applicants. Those currently in the UK on these visas can extend their stay and later apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Both extension applications and ILR applicants are points tested based on age, qualifications, earnings etc. This points test would be the same as that in operation when the applicant first applied – to ensure that the points for earnings have not diminished.

Tier 1 General and HSMP visa holders possess the freedom to work on a self-employed or employed basis.

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)
Citizens of the following countries are eligible for this 2 year visa; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Monaco and Taiwan. South Korea has now been added to this list. Applicants must be between 18 and 30 (i.e. not have reached their 31st birthday) when they apply.

It is not possible to switch from this visa to another work visa category while in the UK. The applicant would need to return to their home country to submit a fresh application.


Ancestral visas
If you have a UK-born grandparent and you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country such as Australia or Canada, then this visa can allow you to work in the UK and later to obtain settlement. The visa is issued for 5 years. A sponsoring employer is not required and the visa holder has freedom to work on a self-employed or employed basis.


EEA Nationals and Spouses
Although EEA nationals do not require a visa to work in the UK, their non EEA spouses do.

If you are married or in a civil partner / unmarried partner relationship with an EEA national, then contact us regarding moving to the UK.


Business Entry
The UK permits business visitors to enter the UK for up to 6 months.
Permitted business activities would include attending meetings, selling goods or services, agreeing contracts etc. However, this is very different from permission to work in the UK

Our UK Visa Application Service:
At this stage, we just need you to complete this quick registration form on our website;

http://www.commonwealthimmigration.com/assesment_form.html

This should give us all the information we need to give you the correct advice.

We can then review in full and get back to you.


Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date on UK immigration changes

We are sending a newsletter on a periodic basis to update you on new developments and changes in all matters relating to migration.

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or by email at info@commonwealthimmigration.com 

UNITED KINGDOM – SPOUSES AND PARTNERS “FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS”

It is now nearly 12 months since comprehensive changes were introduced by the UK government to the criteria for spouses and partners of UK citizens and of those settled in the UK.

These changes introduced on 9 July 2012 affect husbands, wives, unmarried partners, civil partners and fiancés.

As well as extending the probationary period for settlement from 2 to 5 years, the new rules introduced stringent new financial maintenance requirements.

12 months on, and many applicants are struggling to meet the requirements and many families have been separated as a result. A recent report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration condemned the “anguish” caused by the new rules.

However, the new rules seem set to remain in one shape or another. An immediate reduction in family visas of 16% is the first indication that these rules will help the government to meets its target of reducing net migration.

So, how does one meet the financial requirement? Currently, this can be met through income or savings (or a combination of the two).

In short – an annual income of GBP 18,600 is needed by the UK sponsor or total savings of GBP 62,500 (held either by the UK sponsor or applicant). These amounts are increased if children are to be included.

But the new rules are incredibly complicated and the documentary evidence to support an application needs to be almost perfect – case officers are rejecting applications without asking for clarification.

Income can be met through employment, self-employment, pension, investment, property rental.

Savings can be met through “cash funds” held in a bank account or similar.

The following are some of the main issues that arise;

* What sources of income and savings can be combined together? For instance employment and pension income can be combined but self-employment and savings cannot be combined.

* The rules have introduced a new formula for using savings to top up an income shortfall.

* The rules differ greatly depending on whether the applicant and / or sponsor are in the UK or outside the UK

* Applicants outside the UK can only rely on the employed income of the UK sponsor but pension income can be from either party.

* Applicants employed outside the UK must have an offer of employment in the UK. Self-employed applicants must show an intention to continue self-employment.

* Only savings held in cash funds can be counted – property equity, shares and stocks are all irrelevant. Savings must be held for 6 months.

* The specified evidence for self-employment and employment is very difficult to meet and many applicants (especially outside the UK) struggle to satisfy the requirements.

We are seeing many applicants coming to us who have been refused and are trying to submit an appeal. The reality is that an appeal is difficult unless you can show that the case officer made a basic error (which does happen of course).

It really is vital to prepare an application thoroughly and well in advance. We advise applicants to contact us early in their plans to move to the UK.

These new rules are complex and applications need to fit in exactly with one of the permitted categories for financial maintenance. The new approach is very different from the previous more flexible system that was in place before July 2012.

If you need assistance on any aspect of UK migration, then please feel free to contact us through our website;

* Our free Online Assessment Form

* United Kingdom info page with the migration news

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