“No preference for EU over non-EU workers”

Today, the Migration Advisory Committee (“MAC”), established by the Home Office Secretary, Amber Rudd in July 2017 to examine the impact on the UK labour marker of the UK’s exit from the European Union, issued its final report regarding EEA migration in the UK.

The final MAC’s report made a number of important findings. In particular, attention has been drawn to the fact that according to an official report, EU workers should not have free movement into the UK after Brexit.

The official report states: “If the UK is in a position where it is deciding the main features of its immigration policy our recommendation is that there should be a less restrictive regime for higher-skilled workers than for lower-skilled workers in a system where there is no preference for EEA over non-EEA workers.”

The MAC, however, recommends abolishing the cap on the number of migrants granted Tier 2 (General) visas, which currently apply to skilled workers. In addition, they propose to extend the Tier 2 (General) Scheme to medium-skilled workers in order to avoid potential shortages that might occur after Brexit.

The proposal also includes maintaining existing salary threshold for all migrants in Tier 2, reviewing the Immigration Skills Charge and considering abolishing Resident Labour Market test.

Chan Neill Solicitors stay abreast with all recent news regarding Brexit. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

How Litigation Debt can affect a UK visa application?

On 6 April 2016, a new requirement was added to the already consolidated version of the Immigration Rules, giving the Home Office power to refuse an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of a litigation debt owed to the Home Office.

Litigation Debt is a debt owed to the Home Officer where the court or Tribunal has ordered another party to pay its legal cost.”

According to paragraphs 320(23) or V3.14A of the Immigration Rules, UK entry clearance or leave to enter visa application should normally be refused if there is a litigation debt owed to the Home Office. An application made under Appendix Armed Forces or Appendix FM should normally be considered under paragraph 10A or Part 2 of Appendix Armed Forces or paragraph S-EC.3.1 or S-LTR.4.4 of Appendix FM.

As for leave to remain applications, if there is any outstanding litigation cost owed to the Home Office, under paragraphs 322(13) and V3.14A of the Immigration Rules a UK visa application should normally be refused. This applies to all visa routes except of Appendix Armed Forces, Family and Private Life, where an application should be considered under paragraph 10A or Part 2 of Appendix Armed Forces or paragraph S-LTR.4.4 of Appendix FM.

It is important to note that debts of any size are considered by the Home Office to be a serious matter. Even though an application should not automatically be refused, individual circumstances of each case would be considered. Please also note that the Home Office decides an immigration application based on the evidence provided by the applicant and any information provided by the Litigation Finance Team relating to a litigation debt.

If you have a litigation debt owed to the Home Office and you intend to submit an application for leave to enter or remain in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team for legal advice.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship: the points have finally dropped

Ahead of September 2018 allocation of restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (“CoS”), we would like to share the data regarding August 2018 allocation.

As a brief background, UK businesses seeking to hire non-EU workers from outside of the UK are required to apply for restricted CoS certificates via Sponsorship Management System (“SMS”) system before the 5th day of the month for an allocation on the 11th day of the same month. The annual limit is 20,700 certificates, which are divided into 12 monthly allocations.

Jobs that are on the Shortage Occupation List receive most points, followed by PhD level jobs and graduate roles recruited through a “milkround”.

According to the Home Office Policy Guidance, the application must score a minimum of 21 points to be valid. This was the case in November 2017; however, as of December 2017 for 8 consecutive months, the limit was oversubscribed, whereby the minimum points for restricted CoS allocated hovered around 50.

On 15 June 2018 the Home Office published a new Statement of Changes in which they confirmed that the changes were made to exempt doctors and nurses (who were accounted for 40% of all available places) from the Tier 2 General limit.

This welcomed change has resulted in the minimum points falling as low as to 21 in August 2018. At last, UK based companies have a fair chance of recruiting the brightest and the best talents from outside the UK.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

New agricultural worker visa scheme

On 6 September 2018 the Home Secretary and Environment Secretary announced an introduction of a new agricultural worker visa scheme.

This pilot scheme will allow British fruit and vegetables farmers to employ 2,500 workers from outside the EU, who would allegedly alleviate labour shortages during peak production periods.

The new scheme will commence in spring 2019 and will run until the end of December 2020. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the new scheme “will ensure farmers have access to the seasonal labour they need to remain productive and profitable during busy times of the year”.

According to The Guardian, the new scheme has been criticised by farmers. They welcomed the new scheme as “a step to the right direction”, however, it “barely addresses needs of British summer fruit and vegetable growers, who employ 60,000 workers a year."

Introduction of the new pilot scheme for British farmers shows how the Home Office may deal with labour shortages post Brexit.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa: reasons for refusal and right to administrative review

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is commonly used by individuals, who wish to set up, take over or join and being actively involved in running a UK business or businesses. The purpose for UK Government introducing this visa type was aimed at attracting wealthy individuals to the UK, thereby taking advantage of the related economic benefits and job creation for UK resident workers.

However, abuse of the Entrepreneur route has led to the Home Office toughening the Immigration Rules and, as one of the consequences, a “genuine entrepreneur test” was introduced. As a result, providing a business plan in support of an initial application became a mandatory requirement and an in-person interview nowadays is a common practice. Furthermore, the Home Office has imposed restrictions on students when switching to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route.

With the refusal rate for entry clearance applications or leave to remain applications (when switching from a different visa category within the UK) soared, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants started feeling greater pressure on getting their applications strong enough to succeed. Unfortunately, some applications are still being refused and the most common reasons for refusal are:

  • Failure to provide required documentary evidence in the correct format;

  • Submission of false representations or false documents;

  • Lack of relevant work experience or irrelevant educational background for the chosen business industry;

  • Poor performance during the Home Office interview

In case of a refusal, Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants have right to an administrative review. If it fails, the decision can be challenged by pursuing judicial review via the Upper Tribunal.

If the application is successful, an entry clearance application is usually granted for a period of 3 years and 4 months. Applications for leave to remain, when switching from a different visa category, are granted for 3 years’ period.

Having an initial application being approved is only a start of the journey towards settlement under the Entrepreneur visa route. There are many technical aspects which should be taken into consideration when submitting applications for extension and indefinite leave to remain in the UK. With constantly changing immigration rules, it might be difficult for the Entrepreneur migrants to read and understand the immigration requirements and the Home Office guidance. It is very easy to misread the requirements, which might result in extension application being refused and the only remaining remedy would be a submission of an entry clearance application.

The most common reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension or settlement applications being refused are the failure to create two full time jobs and/or failure to provide required documentary evidence in the correct format.

Alike the initial application, the decision to refuse Entrepreneur extension application can be challenged via administrative review. It allows to raise any permitted case work error and, if an error, in fact, has been made, ask for the decision to be corrected.

The time limit to apply for administrative review is 14 calendar days from the date when the decision on the application is received. If the administrative review fails, the leave might still be protected by Section 3C; whereby, following unsuccessful administrative review, there might be an option of submission of a fresh application or switching to a different visa category.

With many years of experience in assisting Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants, we believe that it is imperative to seek a legal assistance at every stage of the process. Should you require immigration advice regarding your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application or you need assistance with submitting an administrative review or judicial review, please do not hesitate to contact our solicitors and immigration advisers.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.