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Changes to the family migration Immigration Rules come into effect on 9 July 2012

July 10th, 2012

09 July 2012

A number of changes to the Immigration Rules come into effect on 9 July 2012. These changes will affect non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK under the family migration route.

These changes will define the basis on which a person can enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life, unifying consideration under the rules and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

If you already have leave to enter or remain in the UK, on the basis of being the spouse or partner of a settled person, you will need to meet the rules which were in force before 9 July 2012 if you apply for settlement.

The changes include:

introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
publishing, in casework guidance, a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
abolishing immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple have been living together overseas for at least 4 years, and requiring them to complete a 5 year probationary period;
from October 2013, requiring all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt; and
allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, and requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor.
The changes to the Immigration Rules were announced by the Government on 11 June 2012 and they form part of the Government’s programme of reform of the immigration routes. The changes are being introduced following wide consultation and expert advice from the Migration Advisory Committee.

Changes to applications from overstayers

July 3rd, 2012

Changes to applications from overstayers

29 June 2012

From 1 October 2012 if you have overstayed your leave by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be refused. This change in the Immigration Rules will affect applicants applying for further leave under:

the points-based system;
all working and student routes;
visiting routes;
long residency routes;
discharged HM Forces; or
UK ancestry routes.
This change is in line with the new immigration rules coming into effect for the family migration route from 9 July 2012.

If you have limited leave to remain you must ensure you apply to extend your leave, if needed, in time. If you wish to remain in the UK after the 28 day period you should leave the UK and reapply for a visa.

Please monitor this website for further information about the changes.

Leave to remain is permission to stay in the UK, either temporarily (‘limited leave to remain’) or permanently (‘indefinite leave to remain’).

New screening to tackle tuberculosis in the UK

May 22nd, 2012

New screening to tackle tuberculosis in the UK

21 May 2012

A pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening programme will help save lives and save taxpayers more than £40 million over 10 years and, announced Immigration Minister Damian Green today.

The new measures mean migrants wanting to enter the UK for more than 6 months, from 67 countries with a high incidence of TB, will need to be screened before they are granted a visa for the UK.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

‘A third of the world’s population is carrying tuberculosis and it is currently at its highest level in the UK for 30 years. It’s essential that we take action to tackle its continued rise. Pre-entry screening, followed by treatment where necessary, will help to prevent the risk of TB in the UK and will also save lives.

‘Removing screening facilities at airports will save the taxpayer £25 million over ten years and further NHS savings will be made by preventing the importation and spread of TB in the UK.’

The introduction of pre-screening comes as recent figures showed that there were over 9,000 new cases of TB in the UK in 2011, a 5 per cent increase on 2010. The programme is targeted at migrants after research showed non-UK born people accounted for three quarters of all new TB cases diagnosed – 20 times higher than in the UK born population.

The UK Border Agency will build on existing pre-screening undertaken by international partners including the USA, Canada and Australia. The costs of screening and subsequent treatment will be met by those people applying to come into the UK.

Removing full right of appeal for family visitors

May 16th, 2012

A clause in the Crime and Courts Bill, published on 10 May will remove the full right of appeal for those applying to enter the UK as a family visitor. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, this change is expected to come into force by 2014. Refused applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination.
In June 2012 the government will also introduce secondary legislation which will tighten the family and sponsor definitions in family visit visa appeals. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these changes are expected to come into force in July 2012. Those applying to visit a cousin, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew will no longer have access to a full right of appeal, and to use that appeal right, the family member being visited in the UK must have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status.

These changes will only affect applicants who have been refused a visa to visit family members. No changes are being made to the rules governing who can qualify for entry to the UK as a visitor and genuine visitors are welcome.

Failing to plan

May 16th, 2012


Failing to plan
Research by Macmillan Cancer Support has found that more than half of baby-boomers have not yet written a will. Liliana Mahon, of Access Legal from Shoosmiths, comments: “If you die without making a will or without a valid will, you are said to die intestate. This means your money and property will be distributed according to strict intestacy rules, not necessarily how you would wish”.

Changes to UK transit requirements for Libyan, Egyptian and Syrian nationals

April 23rd, 2012

From 3 April, Libyan, Egyptian and Syrian nationals who wish to transit at a UK airport will have to apply for a Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV).

This is an additional visa requirement which permits certain nationals to travel via the UK on their way to another country. Those travelling to the UK on a DATV are not able to pass through UK Immigration Control or collect any luggage on a journey through the UK.

You can find more information on the DATV on the UKBA website.

TV cameras allowed in court

April 11th, 2012

TV cameras allowed in court

Permission has been granted to film a sentencing at the High Court in Scotland for the first time. Cameras will be allowed into court next week when Judge Lord Bracadale sentences David Gilroy for the murder of Edinburgh woman Suzanne Pilley. It follows an application from broadcaster STV. The move was approved by Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Hamilton, the Lord President and Lord Justice General. Filming will commence at the High Court in Edinburgh when the plea in mitigation has concluded. The sentencing is due to take place next Wednesday, 18 April.

The Times, Page: 5

Divorce tourism

April 10th, 2012

Research by the Times has found that London is the global capital for “divorce tourism”. The paper also claims that the UK’s legal system is witnessing a surge in disputes between the international super-rich over business deals, contracts, children and money. The rising volume of litigation with a foreign dimension has been welcomed by judges and lawyers, however, they also acknowledge that courts are increasingly a resource for the international rich, or for those who can obtain public funding, rather than for the ordinary British taxpayer. Withers’ Mark Harper comments: “there is a real concern among those doing domestic family work that if the time of judges is increasingly taken up with international wealthy litigation and three to four-week trials, then it means delay for other cases”. The Law Society’s Desmond Hudson picks up on the irony in the MoJ promoting the UK’s divorce services to wealthy foreigners while pushing for further mediation for divorces involving UK citizens. Manches’ James Stewart discusses the growing trend among potential divorcées of moving to England with ambitions to satisfy our jurisdictional requirements for divorce. Mr Stewart’s firm is noted as being one handful of firms which dominate the “glamour end” of divorce market. The Times describes the fact that so many foreigners want to settle their disputes in the UK as a credit to our courts and lawyers.

The Times, Page: 1

Support for victims of domestic violence extended

April 3rd, 2012

02 April 2012
Help for migrants forced to flee their relationships, as a result of domestic violence is being made permanently available from 1 April 2012.
Eligible spouses and partners will be granted a limited period of exceptional leave by the UK Border Agency. This will give access to public funds and support services, allowing victims to leave an abusive relationship and apply for residence in the UK.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘Domestic violence is a terrible crime affecting people of all ages and backgrounds and this government is determined to tackle it.
‘No one should be forced to stay in an abusive relationship and this scheme helps victims in genuine need escape violence and harm and seek the support they deserve.’
The scheme will assist foreign national spouses and partners who are victims of domestic violence. It will provide victims who would otherwise be destitute or have no access to public funds with an avenue to escape abuse and access vital support services.
The government has estimated the scheme will help 500 people to escape from abusive relationships across the UK.
The announcement follows a successful pilot, which has helped 1,522 individuals, including 738 women with children, escape from violent and dangerous situations since November 2009. In many cases the victims were afraid to seek help as they had no access to financial support and feared removal from the UK if their relationship broke up.

Changes to the Immigration Rules

March 20th, 2012

15 March 2012
A written ministerial statement has been laid in Parliament outlining a number of changes to the Immigration Rules.
Most of the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. Some of the changes to Tier 2 will affect those who were granted leave after 6 April 2011.
The changes include:
Migrants under the points-based system
Tier 1 – high-value migrants
• Closing the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route.
• Introducing the new Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route.
• Introducing new provisions for switching from Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-study work) into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
• Renewing the 1000 place limit for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) for each of the next 2 years.
Tier 2 – skilled workers
• Limiting the total amount of temporary leave that may be granted to a Tier 2 migrant to 6 years (which applies to those who entered after 6 April 2011).
• Introducing a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 or the appropriate rate for the job, for Tier 2 general and sportsperson migrants who wish to settle here from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).
• Introducing a ‘cooling-off period’ across all the Tier 2 routes. Tier 2 migrants will need to wait for 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa.
• Introducing new post-study arrangements for graduates switching into Tier 2.
Tier 4 – students
Implementing the final set of changes to the student visa system that were announced in March 2011, including:
• Extending the interim limit for sponsors that have applied for educational oversight and Highly Trusted Sponsor status and have not yet been assessed.
• Introducing limits on the time that can be spent studying at degree level.
• Tightening work placement restrictions.
Tier 5 – temporary workers
• Limiting the length of time temporary workers can stay in the UK, under certain Government Authorised Exchange schemes, to a maximum of 12 months. The schemes affected are intern, work experience and youth exchange type programmes.
• Allowing sportspersons who enter under the Tier 5 creative and sporting sub-category to undertake some guest sports broadcasting work where they are not filling a permanent position.
Changes in all tiers of the points-based system
• Making curtailment mandatory where a migrant under Tiers 2, 4, or 5 of the points-based system has failed to start, or has ceased, their work or study with their sponsor. This includes cases where a sponsor notifies us, via the sponsor management system (SMS), that a migrant is no longer pursuing the purpose of their visa. The Rules will also set out the limited exceptions to mandatory curtailment.
• Reducing the curtailment threshold (the level of leave you have left which means that we will not normally pursue curtailment) from 6 months to 60 days.
• Increasing the funds applicants will need to provide evidence of, in order to meet the maintenance requirements for all routes in the points-based system. For Tier 4 and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. For Tier 1, Tier 2 and temporary workers under Tier 5 the changes will come into effect on 14 June 2012.

• The new visitor route will allow a small group of professionals, artists, entertainers and sportspersons who are invited to come to the UK to undertake short-term permitted fee paid engagements for up to 1 month.
Overseas domestic workers
• Restricting all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join.
• Removing the right for all migrants under the ODW category to apply for settlement.
• Strengthening the requirement for the employer of an ODW to provide evidence of an existing employer relationship, and introducing a requirement for agreed, written terms and conditions of employment to be produced, as part of the application for entry clearance.
• Permitting all ODWs who have applied for leave to enter or remain on or before 5 April 2012, to continue to be treated under Immigration Rules in place on that date.
• Restricting ODWs in private households to work for an employer who is a visitor to the UK. Permission to stay in the UK will be limited to a maximum of 6 months or the period of the employer’s stay whichever is shorter. Removing the current provision for ODWs to be accompanied by dependants.
• Permitting ODWs in diplomatic households to apply to extend their stay for 12 months at a time up to a maximum of 5 years, or the length of the diplomat’s posting, whichever is shorter.