UK Immigration News

Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List has been expanded

All UK businesses who recruit individuals from outside the UK will enjoy improved access to the Tier 2 category of skilled workers. Following the Immigration Minister Seema Kennedy’s announcement on 9th September.

The Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List has been expanded to accommodate the following occupations; veterinarians, architects and web designers. Which means UK companies looking to recruit in these sectors will find the process a lot more streamlined, meaning they can access the skills pool quickly rather than undertaking the required Resident Labour Market Test for 30 days prior to selection of the candidate.

The Migration Advisory Committee known as (MAC) has already proposed the UK government exclude the Resident Labour Market Test in any future amendment to the UK Immigration System for Highly Skilled Workers. This change will have a positive affect on businesses.

Immigration Minister Seema Kennedy said:

Giving British based businesses the access to the brightest and best global talent is a key priority for this government.

That is why we have made it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers, such as vets and web designers, that this country needs to flourish.

A new Immigration System may be promulgated from as early as Autumn 2020. The new system will be streamlined and a lot more user friendly for businesses to recruit from overseas, especially those whom have historically depended on EU workers. Largely focused on the working route the new system will be based on the Australian points based system. More detail about the system can be found on the UKVI website.

Sponsor Licence Renewal

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence renewal
In order to protect your existing migrant workforce it is important that you apply to renew your sponsor licence in time before the expiry date of the licence. If, you do not apply to renew your licence, the Home Office will curtail your migrant workforces leave to 60 days. If they haven’t found an alternative sponsor within those 60 days they will be required to leave the country, which is not what anyone wants. You will not be able to access the Sponsorship Management System or Issue Certificates of Sponsorship without a valid licence. In order to avoid administration oversights the Home Office will send out three reminders starting three months in advance of the licence expiry, allowing you time to manage an in-time renewal.

Renew your licence early to avoid the potential harm an out of time application can do to your migrant workforce and business.

Sponsor Licence Renewal Process

  • You must apply to renew your licence using your Sponsor Management System
  • Please ensure you review the most recent guidance on the sponsor licence renewal process to be up to date with any process, legal or compliance changes. For example making sure the information on the licence is up to date with the right Key Personnel and work address
  • If any amendments are required and before you renew the licence please ensure you have the Authorisation Officers authority in writing
  • You must pay a sponsor licence renewal fee. Please ensure you select the right fee for the size of the company as your application may be rejected
  • Once the application for a Sponsor licence renewal has been submitted online, the Home office will conduct further checks and may request supporting documentary evidence
  • If, the Home office is not satisfied you meet the requirements of the licence application, they may conduct a site visit to reassure themselves that you continue to maintain the compliance and administration requirements of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

In order to ensure a smooth transition we advise that you start the renewal process at least 2 months in advance of the expiry date. This will ensure you:

• Have gained consent from the Authorisation Officer
• Maintained all the reporting duties
• Updated your personnel files
• Undertaken an in-house compliance audit

If you are unable to manage the above due to core work commitments, your Immigration Consultant can manage this process for you. If you don’t have one please get in contact with us. Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applications and the management of migrant workers are one of the key areas we specialise in.

EEA Settlement Scheme Update: The Facts and Figures So Far…

EEA Settlement Scheme Update: The Facts and Figures So Far…

Now that we are coming towards the end of ‘public beta phase’, the third instalment of the public service juggernaut, that is the piloting of the EU Settlement Scheme application process, it occurred to me that it was about time we had a roundup of the figures published thus far. We will also focus upon the most recent additions to ‘Appendix EU’, which itself is now firmly entrenched within the UK system – UK HC395: The Immigration Rules, and furthermore reflect on our own experiences, here at The Visa Office, of the system.
The public beta test phase of the scheme began on 21 January 2019 after two previous ‘private beta test phases’ which had very restricted access (the initial private beta test phase was opened on 28 August 2018 and the second private beta phase second phase ran from 1 November to 21 December 2018). This public phase has been open to resident EU citizens with a valid passport, and to their non-EU citizen family members with a valid BRP (biometric residence permit). The other essential requirement is that the applicants have access to an Android device so as to access the identification verification ‘EU: Exit’ app. However, not only is the ability to do this limited to only those who have a device which uses Android as its operating system, it is further limited by the fact that not even all Android devices are compatible either. You will need:

  • Android 6.0 or above (i.e. if you have a phone from the end of 2015 or before you will need to get a new one)
  • NFC (near field communication) i.e. the ability to make contactless payments with your phone
  • at least 135MB of storage space to install the app
  • to be connected to 3G/4G or Wi-Fi

If, the above requirements have not dented your resolve, then now it would appear is definitely the time to make an application due to the fact that the Home Office, within their Statement of Changes – claim that by the end of February 2019, they had received more than 150,000 applications under the scheme, of which 135,000 (nearly 90 per cent) had already been concluded. Of these concluded cases, 71 per cent were granted settled status, with the rest granted pre-settled status and none refused. What is more, 75 per cent of these applicants received their decision within three days and 80 per cent of those who provided feedback found the online application process easy, or fairly easy, to complete.

Once the public beta phase has runs its course on the 29th of March 2019, the Home Office intends to proceed with the full opening of the EU Settlement Scheme for resident EU citizens and their family members from 30 March 2019. A list of notable, but far from exhaustive, recent changes are as follows;

  • Family Permit: provision for a non-EEA/Swiss citizen, who is the family member of an EEA/Swiss citizen with status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme, to apply for an entry clearance i.e. from outside the UK, to join that EEA/Swiss citizen in the UK, or to accompany them here, whether for a short stay or to make an application under the scheme in the UK;
  • Based upon previous residence in the UK, EEA and Swiss citizens and certain family members (non-EEA will need a UK issued BRP) will be able to apply under the scheme from outside the UK, so that they can obtain status, without needing to travel here NB Applications made under Appendix EU from outside the UK shall take effect from 9th April 2019.
  • Provisions to be made in order to facilitate an Administrative Review of a decision under the scheme to be made outside the UK as well as within the UK.
  • The scheme will be open to family members of British citizens who were exercising their free movement rights under EU law before returning to the UK (‘Surinder Singh’cases)and the family members of certain dual British/EU citizens (Lounes cases) i.e. those who have naturalised but wish their European country of origin to be the focus of an application.
  • ‘Derivative right’ applications. These will be made on a paper application forms rather than through the online portal, as the applicant will need to provide additional information NB these will not take effect until 1 May 2019.
  • Residence in the Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man) will be counted as UK residence for the purposes of the scheme, consistent with the wider operation of the Common Travel Area;

Brexit Seminar

Brexit Seminar

Yesterday our Corporate Consultant David Faulkner-Bryant joined the Chamber of Commerce and sat on ‘the Future of Business Post Brexit’ panel  to discuss the current and future approach to ensuring local Somerset employers’ EEA national workforce is protected during these turbulent times, particularly with focus on key manufacturing industries across the South West. It was interesting to gage an understanding of the wider approaches other companies are pushing forwards with, in order to ensure they are able to weather the Brexit storm.

EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps

EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps

Back in May I wrote a blog bemoaning the lack of a definitive process that would enable EEA nationals to cement their rights as individuals here in the UK. It would now appear to be the case that there is something further to report regarding this topic. Discernible, if somewhat tentative, efforts have been made towards implementing a system which would facilitate the switching of those Europeans here from The (EEA) Regulations to The (UK) Immigration Rules; thus regularising their UK immigration status in advance of ‘Brexit’ and subsequently affording them a formal, legalised security to their futures as well as a sense of belonging within a society, a basic human right that surely everybody should be entitled to.

Read more “EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps”

Immigration Health Surcharge set to rise on 18th December 2018

Immigration Health Surcharge 2018

The Immigration Health Surcharge set to rise on 18th December 2018 

The plan was put forward to parliament on 11/10/2018 to raise the Immigration Surcharge on 18th December 2018. Individuals whom hold a UK visa for more than 6 months but not settlement, will be required to pay £400 per year which is an increase of 100%. Students and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Workers who previously paid £150 will be required to pay £300 per year. There are further concessions and exemptions for individuals, you can find more information under the Immigration Health Charge Order.

Read more “Immigration Health Surcharge set to rise on 18th December 2018”

Employing EEA Nationals during and after the Brexit Process

Employing EEA Nationals during and after the Brexit process

As the fight for an ‘appealing’ Brexit continues, the uncertainty for UK businesses grows. A number of EEA Nationals are leaving the UK and there are very little skilled EEA Nationals coming to the UK. UK companies who have enjoyed the wonderful skills pool of the EU job market are beginning to wonder what the impact is going to be on their business, if their key people move back to Europe.

Read more “Employing EEA Nationals during and after the Brexit Process”

Visit Visas – Negotiating the ‘Labyrinth’

Visit Visas

As we are just emerging from the holiday season it occurred to me that it may be an appropriate moment to write about visit visas, both the nature of the beast and ways to go about taming it. This urge was borne to me by way of the recent reported difficulties within the media that internationally renowned musicians have had varying degrees of difficulty when trying to negotiate the UK immigration system, so that they may play at a variety of festivals and concerts.

Read more “Visit Visas – Negotiating the ‘Labyrinth’”

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Team

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Team

entrepreneur team

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is available to an individual applicant or an Entrepreneurial Team who want to come to the UK in order to be actively involved in setting up a business. To run a business or businesses here in the UK. A business can be identified as an enterprise, sole trader, partnership, or a company registered in the United Kingdom.

Read more “Tier 1 Entrepreneur Team”

Genuine Entrepreneur Test – Initial application check list


Genuine entrepreneur test

The Genuine Entrepreneur Test is an entrepreneur visa requirement that must be met in order to fulfil the points requirement for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. In order to pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test, applicants must satisfy the Home Office that they genuinely intend to establish, take over or become a director of a business or businesses within the United Kingdom within a timeframe of 6 months.

Read more “Genuine Entrepreneur Test – Initial application check list”