Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Immigration News: January 2016





Working in the UK



Immigration cap on skilled workers (Working in the UK)

The Home Affairs Committee has published its report on Immigration: skilled shortages, concluding that the immigration cap on skilled workers has had no effect on reducing net migration and is not "fit for purpose".

The key conclusions and recommendations were as follows:
  • Whilst the cap has served a purpose in discouraging recruitment from non-EU countries, it has had a displacement effect in stimulating recruitment from EU countries.
  • There has been a significant rise in people using the Intra Company Transfer route (Tier 2(ICT)) to come to the UK.
  • The Tier 2 cap of 20,700 has a very limited role in attempts to restrict net migration.
  • The initiative to put unused Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) back into the system is considered the correct approach.
  • They would support a decision for nurses to remain on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • Raising the minimum salary requirements for Tier 2 visas may ease pressure on the cap but it would not meet the needs of those employers who want to bring in particular skills but are unable to pay the higher salary required.
  • It recommends maintaining the policy that priority is given to PhD level posts in securing Certificates of Sponsorship.
  • The Government needs to provide more clarity on its plans for an Apprenticeship Levy and an Immigration Skills Charge.
  • In agreement with the Migration Advisory Committee, they recommend that the Government should exempt Certificates of Sponsorship for graduate training schemes from the cap.
  • The review process of the audit decision needs to be publicly available, and subject to a clear timetable, for it to gain confidence from sponsors.
  • The period of time allowed for an organisation to give further information in the event of a suspension or revocation of a licence is not long enough, and they recommend it be increased to at least 40 working days.
  • They also recommend that the Home Office introduce the right to appeal a decision to suspend or revoke a sponsor's licence rather than requiring sponsors to resort to costly and time-consuming judicial review claims.
The full report can be viewed here.




Inspection of how the Home Office tackles illegal working

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has published his report on an inspection of how the Home Office tackles illegal working.

The key findings and recommendations were as follows:
  • In 2014, the emphasis shifted from 'enforcement visits' to 'educational visits' to encourage employers to comply with their obligations. It was difficult to assess the comparative effectiveness of this 'new' approach.
  • The Home Office interim evaluation of an operation in the areas with the highest known number of illegal workers had indicated that it had increased voluntary departures.
  • The Home Office had identified and implemented, or had begun to implement, a number of improvements in related processes, for example: widening the allocation of biometric residence permits to make it easier for employers to check employees' status; reviewing operation guidance and making it more accessible; enhancing local assurance regimes.
  • Weaknesses and inconsistencies were found in operational training and practice. Mentoring after initial training was not supported centrally, and therefore varied in content and quality.
  • Detailed examination of 293 official notebooks and other records identified poor record keeping and failures to comply with guidance, and instances, with legislation.
The full report can be viewed here.

The Home Office's response to this report can also be viewed here.




Immigration Bill 2015/16: part 1 - labour market and illegal working

UKVI have updated the factsheets on illegal working and labour market enforcement, published as part of the continuing measures being introduced as part of the Immigration Bill 2015/16.

The revised factsheets can be downloaded here.


Right to Rent

UKVI have published a draft 'Right to Rent' code of practice for landlords - intended to come into force on 1 February 2016. You can view the draft code of practice here.

A 3-step guide for making a right to rent check for new tenants has also been published by UKVI. This guide can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485837/53041_Draft_unnum_with_watermark_Accessible.pdf





Immigration Bill 2015/16: Taxi Licensing Impact Assessment

UKVI has published an impact assessment on the government's plans to introduce policies to make it more difficult for people who are unlawfully in the UK, and/or do not have the right to work, to obtain and continue to hold private hire vehicles, and taxi driver and operator licences.

The impact assessment can be viewed here.





Restricted certificate allocations (December 2015)

The restricted certificates allocation for December 2015 published by UKVI can be viewed here. The figures show that all valid applications for restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) which scored at least 21 points were granted with carry-overs from the previous month(s) indicating that more applications with lower salary levels had been successful than in recent months.




Approved English language tests (Working in the UK)

UKVI have published a revised list of tests and test centres approved by them to show that applicants have the required level of English for their visa.

The updated list can be viewed here.





Education


Administrative Review

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have made changes to their modernised guidance for how they consider applications for an administrative review.

The changes are as follows:
  • Clarification of when someone's leave is extended under section 3C
  • Clarification of when a Tier 4 case must be referred back to the original decision-making team, following sponsor licence revocation
  • Minor changes to circumstances in which evidence can be requested
The updated modernised guidance can be viewed here.



Immigration cap on skilled workers (International Students)

The Home Affairs Committee has published a report on Immigration: skill shortages.

The key conclusions and recommendations of this report in relation to international students were as follows:
  • It recommends maintaining the policy of giving priority to PhD level posts in securing Certificates of Sponsorship.
  • Many witnesses were concerned that the current time period for switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 was too short, so recommends that the Government review this timetable.
  • It also recommends that the Government reviews the value of international students to the UK and consider how it might devise policies that reduce the barriers for international students to stay in the UK and take up high skilled employment.
The full report can be read here



Approved English language tests (Studying in the UK)

UKVI have published a revised list of tests and test centres approved by them to show that applicants have the required level of English for their visa.

The updated list can be viewed here.




General Immigration Matters


Visit Guidance

UKVI have published revised guidance about the different categories for visiting the UK and how they consider such applications.

The following changes have been made:
  • Inclusion of country factors in genuine visitor consideration (pages 10 and 11)
  • Clarification of types of volunteering that are permitted (page 15)
  • Clarification of study that is permitted (page 21)
The updated guidance can be viewed here.





Application to register as a British citizen

UKVI have made revisions to their guidance on registering as a British Citizen by a British Overseas citizen, British subject, British protected person or British National (Overseas) who has no other citizenship or nationality. The updated Form B(OS) can be downloaded here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-to-register-as-a-british-citizen-form-bos




Application to naturalise as a British citizen (form AN)

The guidance used by those applying for citizenship by naturalisation for those living in the UK has been updated by UKVI.

The revised guidance can be viewed here.




Applications to register child under 18 as British citizen (form MN1)

The guidance used by those applying to register a child under 18 as a British citizen has been updated by UKVI.

The revised guidance can be viewed here.



Approved English language tests (Other)

UKVI have published a revised list of tests and test centres approved by them to show that applicants have the required level of English for their visa.

The updated list can be viewed here.

HR Immigration Services



Audits and Inspections


HR Immigration has been providing audits/inspections of compliance for Tier 2/5 during the past 6 years. We have 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.

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
E: enquiries@hrimmigration.co.uk
W: www.hrimmigration.co.uk


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 enquiries@hrimmigration.co.uk


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 http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=6537658


Support for migrant projects


We are supporting MIGFUNDER, a crowdfunding platform dedicated solely to migration, refugee and human rights projects worldwode. Please see www.migfunder.com and share with your colleagues and networks.