Friday, 2 October 2015

Immigration News: October 2015

Working in the UK

Immigration Bill 2015-16

The Immigration Bill 2015-16 was laid before Parliament on 17th September 2015.

The key proposals in relation to working in the UK are as follows:
  • The appointment of a new Director to oversee the relevant enforcement agencies to provide a coherent enforcement strategy for non-compliance in the labour market, including serious exploitation of workers.
  • It will be made a criminal offence to work illegally, with a sanction of a fine and/or a custodial sentence.
  • Wages of illegal working will be seized as the proceeds of crime.
  • The closure of businesses that continue to use illegal labour.
  • Ensure that licenses are held for the sale of alcohol and late night refreshments.
  • Introduction of a code of practice for public sector employees, such as the NHS, the police and state-funded schools, setting out minimum standards of English for staff.
  • Introduction of an immigration skills charge, which intends to help address current and projected skills needs in the UK economy and contribute to reducing net migration.
Further information about the new proposals for the Immigration Bill, as well as factsheets on labour market enforcement and illegal working can be viewed here.

A factsheet on the proposed language requirements for public sector workers can be viewed here.

Review of Tier 2 by Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) - submission by London First

The business membership organisation, London First, has made a submission to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in response to its review of Tier 2.

Their response states that during the summer of 2015, the cap directly prevented businesses from recruiting skilled migrants, as the demand exceeded the supply for the first time. This meant that many companies in the financial and professional services sector were unable to secure visas for new graduate intake putting at risk whole UK based graduate programmes.

They also concluded that whilst narrowing the salary banding for the points-based system would improve matters, it would only have a marginal impact and therefore they recommended that the cap be abolished.

The full submission can be viewed here.

Landlords: residential tenancies

Proposals have also been made in the Immigration Bill 2015-16 laid before Parliament on 17th September 2015 concerning landlords.

The key proposals are as follows:
  • make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrants
  • create a new criminal offence for rogue landlords and agents who repeatedly fail to carry out 'right to rent' checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal migrants from their property.
A factsheet on the proposals to be introduced in relation to residential tenancies can be viewed here.

Tier 1: criminal record certificates

From 1st September 2015, mandatory overseas criminal record certificates are required for applications made under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Investor) categories of the points-based system.

Certificate will only be considered valid if issued within 6 months of the visa application or within the expressed validity period of the document, whichever is shorter.

UKVI has subsequently updated the following guidance:
Applicants failing to provide certificates or an acceptable explanation may be refused under para. 320 (2A) of the General Grounds of Refusal, part 9 of the Immigration Rules.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): application to competent body

UKVI has published revised forms for those applying to competent bodies for endorsement to support an application for initial visa or to extend (switch) under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category of the points-based system.

The updated forms can be downloaded here.

Tier 2 (General) limit

UKVI is proposing to change the operation of the Tier 2 (General) limit to maximise the number of places, which can be allocated each month, within the overall annual limit of 20,700.

At present, if the limit is oversubscribed, as it has been in the past three months, applications for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) are prioritised according to a points table. The available RCoS are allocated based on the highest points scored. Points are awarded based on whether the job is in a shortage occupation, a PhD-level occupation, and the salary on offer.

UKVI are increasing the number of salary bands in the points table to try and improve flexibility and increase the number of RCoS allocated to non-shortage occupations. However, the priority will remain with shortage occupations and PhD-level occupations.

The new points table is provisional but UKVI intends to apply the new bands to the RCoS allocation meeting on 12 October.

UKVI has subsequently updated the Tier 2 and 5 Policy guidance for sponsors and the revised guidance can be viewed here.

Restricted certificate allocations (September 2015)

The restricted certificates allocation for September 2015 published by UKVI can be viewed here. The figures show that all valid applications for restricted CoS which score the minimum 39 points were granted with carry-overs from the previous month(s).

Biometric residence permits: applicant and sponsor information

UKVI have updated the information provided to applicants and sponsors on how to apply for a biometric residence permit or learn whether prospective staff can work in the UK.

The revised guidance can be viewed here.


London School of Business and Finance: sponsor licence removed

UKVI have issued guidance explaining the recent removal of the London School of Business and Finance as a licensed sponsor and its effect on international students and workers.

The guidance can be viewed here.

UK student visa policy: research by the Higher Education Policy Institute

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has undertaken research, which has identified that 50 current World leaders were educated at UK universities. The Think Tank concludes that the UK's current student visa policy may deter future leaders from studying in the UK.

Further information about this research can be viewed here.

General Immigration Matters

Immigration Bill 2015-16

The Immigration Bill 2015-15 was laid before Parliament on 17th September 2015.

Other key proposals were as follows:

  • require banks and building societies to do regular checks on the immigration status of current account holders
  • ensure banks and building societies take action where existing account holders are known to be unlawfully present in the UK
  • extend the "deport first, appeal later" powers to enable it to be applied in all cases if removal pending appeal would not cause serious irreversible harm, or otherwise breach human rights
  • prevent illegal migrants from retaining a UK driving licence
  • introduce a new criminal offence of driving whilst illegally present in the UK
  • introduce new powers to seize the vehicles of illegal migrants
  • restrict the support given to people whose claims for asylum have been found unsubstantiated, to those who are destitute and face a genuine obstacle to leaving the UK.
  • Immigration officers to be equipped with enhanced search and seizure powers to collect evidence that will help to secure more civil penalties and removals

Rights of Appeal

UKVI have updated their guidance on when there is a right of appeal against decisions in immigration cases to add a new section 'Human rights applications where the person has immediate leave'.

The revised guidance can be downloaded here.

Refusal of British citizenship

UKVI have updated their information that explains if British citizens can pass on their citizenship to their children born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983.

The revised guidance can be viewed here.

HR Immigration Services

Audits and Inspections

HR Immigration has been providing audits/inspections of compliance for Tier 2/5 and Tier 4 for the past 6 years. In the education sector, we have worked with schools, colleges and over 20 universities; we have also worked with numerous employers, including well-known brands, on Tier 2/5 and "right to work" requirements. We are now also operating in association with John Vine, formerly the first Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

Our audit/inspection service is fully flexible and can be tailored to individual requirements. And our approach is based on sound practical experience of the reality of the UKVI system.

- For education providers our service ranges from a "lite" health-check to a comprehensive review of Tier 4 activities, identifying compliance - or otherwise - with UKVI requirements, as well as any omissions or areas which can be improved. Alternatively, it can comprise inspection of a specific issue, such as visa refusals, or relationships with partner institutions.
- For employers, we offer inspections of Tier 2 compliance in whatever level of detail is required, as well as on-site inspections (which can be announced or unannounced to simulate a UKVI visit) of compliance with "right to work" checks and requirements.

Our audit/inspection service is fully flexible and can be tailored to individual requirements. And our approach is based on sound practical experience of the reality of the UKVI system.

On completion, we provide a comprehensive, evidence-based report together with an assessment of how well the institution or business is prepared to withstand scrutiny by UK Visas and Immigration. We will support the introduction of change if required and offer a 'spot check' follow up service at a later date to reassure management that recommendations have been implemented.

Contact us today to talk over any issues or concerns you have, confidentially and without obligation.
T: 0844 335 1619

Training for employers

We are increasingly being asked to provide training on Right to Work and/or Tier 2 sponsor duties. These are normally half day courses conducted on your premises for a standard charge of under £600 regardless of the number of people attending so that the charge per person will generally be less than £100 without them having to spend the day away from the office.

We also offer an online review of employer right to work checks with a self-assessment.

If you think your organisation would benefit from training in any of these areas, please contact us for a no commitment discussion of your requirements at

LinkedIn 'HR Immigration' Group

We have set up a 'HR Immigration' group on LinkedIn, which aims to provide a networking space for UK employers and HR/recruitment professionals to share and discuss news and best practice about current UK immigration issues.

To join this group please go to