Monday, 3 June 2013

Immigration Update: June 2013

Working in the UK

MAC Report on Migrant Seasonal Workers

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published a report examining the impact on the horticulture and food processing sectors of closing the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) and the Sectors Based Scheme.

At the end of 2013, the transitional restrictions on access to the UK labour market for Bulgarian and Romanian workers will be lifted and these schemes will close.

The MAC investigated whether a replacement SAWS should be introduced and concluded that whilst closure of the scheme might have little impact in the short term, there will be a lack of available seasonal migrant labour in the medium term, which could lead to a rise in labour costs and a 10-15% increase in supermarket prices.  The MAC also suggested that the Government should consider bringing in workers from outside the EU but this seems unlikely given the political concerns about the growth in popularity of UKIP.

The full report can be viewed here.


Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, May 2013

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, May 2013.

The latest provisional data shows a net flow of 153,000 migrants to the UK in the year ending September 2012, a significant decrease from the previous year.

These figures also show that in the year to March 2013, 206,814 student visas were issued (excluding visitors) - a decrease of 9% compared with the previous 12 months.

Total sponsored student visa applications also fell by 10% in the year ending March 2013 with a significant reduction of 46%, 46%, and 7% respectively for further education, English language schools and independent schools.  However. there was a 5% increase for the university sector.

The full quarterly report can be read here.

Additional information can also be viewed on the Home Office: Inside Government webpage here.

Checking the Immigration status of pupils

The Guardian reported that a proposal requiring schools to check their pupil's immigration status has been shelved by schools minister, David Laws.

The proposal was being considered as part of the work of a ministerial committee, chaired by the Immigration Minister, Mark Harper.

The Guardian also reported that Laws had asked officials earlier in the year to carry out a "cost-benefit analysis" of carrying out these checks as part of school admissions.  However, Laws has vetoed the proposal following warnings from officials that Britain may be in breach of the UN convention on the rights of the child.

Recruitment of overseas students to the UK

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has warned that the debate about immigration is having a negative impact on the recruitment of overseas students to the UK.

At the Global University Summit in London, Mr Cable confirmed there was no cap on international students and said that it was "absurd" to see a cut in student numbers as a triumph.

In his address, Mr Cable stressed that higher education was an important driver of economic recovery.

He also told the summit that highly skilled overseas staff working in the UK might face stringent visa regulations due to the public panic over immigration.

Pre-departure briefings for Chinese students

The Home Office has announced that the British Council China will deliver 10 pre-departure sessions in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Jinan and Shenzhen in May and June 2013.

These briefing sessions are open to all students in China who will depart for the UK for autumn enrolment in 2013.

The briefings will provide detailed information about the visa application process, study, accommodation, financial arrangements, food and diet, transportation, telecommunication and key cultural differences to both students and their parents.

General Immigration Matters

Detention of torture victims in UK Immigration Centres

The High Court has ordered that the Home Office compensates four asylum seekers who they found had been unlawfully detained, as previous victims of torture.

It is estimated that a further 100 asylum seekers, who were similarly detained and were previous victims of torture, would make similar compensation claims following the test case ruling.

Balance of competences review - calls for evidence

The Government is undertaking a review of the balance of competences between the EU and the UK.  This review will look at what the EU does and how it affects the UK.

The review is being carried out over four semesters between Autumn 2012 and Autumn 2014.

The Home Office is leading on two reports in the second semester (Spring to Winter 2013) in the following areas:
  • Asylum and Immigration; and
  • Free Movement of Persons
The Free Movement of Persons report were launched on 15 May 2013 giving individuals and interested groups an opportunity to contribute.  The closing date for evidence is midday on 5 August 2013.

Further information on how to submit evidence can be viewed here.

Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games will be taking place from 23 July to 3 August 2014.

Individuals who need a visa to prepare for the Commonwealth Games can apply for a Commonwealth Games visit visa via the online application system from 27 May 2013.

The visa will allow multiple entries to the UK, with a maximum stay of 6 months for a single visit.  The visa will be valid from 3 September 2014.

Independent Chief Inspector's report into the establishment of the Performance and Compliance Unit

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, has published a report on the establishment of UK Border Agency's Performance and Compliance Unit (PCU).

In general, the Chief Inspector was satisfied that the PCU had the potential to deliver an effective audit mechanism of the immigration functions and the correct level of assurance for Ministers, the Home Office Board and the Permanent Secretary on its performance. However, there were a number of areas he considered that additional steps should be taken to help the PCU deliver its objectives.

The Chief Inspector recommends that the Home Office:
  1. Produces a comprehensive plan, setting out the PCU's strategic aims, objectives and outcomes with timescales for their deliver;
  2. Ensure all staff are clear about the outcomes that they are seeking to achieve and the role it expects them to play in supporting the new unit; 
  3. Ensures that high quality data on immigration-related functions is correctly and consistently reported across the organisation.
  4. Distinguishes the roles of the PCU, the Operational Assurance Team and the Internal Audit Unit, and communicates this to staff.
The full report and the Home Office's response can be downloaded here.

HR Immigration Services

Audits and Compliance

Veristat provides a wide range of services to employers and education providers through compliance audits, advice packages, assessment of intent and recruitment.

Please contact us for a no commitment discussion if you think you would benefit from any of these services by emailing us at


We are increasingly being asked to provide training on right to work and sponsor duties.  If you think your organisation would benefit from training in either of these areas, please contact us for a no commitment discussion of your requirements  at

Free Student Engagement Webinar

Our sister company, Veristat, will be contributing to a free webinar to be held by BQu on Wednesday 19th June at 12:30 - 13:00 on attendance monitoring with a demonstration of the BQu Student Attendance Monitoring.  Click on the following link to register for the free webinar: