‘Right to rent’ scheme goes live

By | Home Office, immigration | No Comments

From today all private landlords in England and Wales can only let their property to an adult who is legally in the UK.  This, of course, turns private individuals into immigration officials, required to ask every potential tenant for their immigration documents.  Renting a property to someone who isn’t legally in the UK carries a maximum fine of £3,000 – if the new Immigration Bill that is currently going through Parliament becomes law, it will carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

And the position of people who have submitted their application in time and are therefore in the UK legally, but are temporarily without any paperwork to prove their status?  Probably not good, as landlords are likely to worry about the consequences for themselves and so take the safe route of just not renting their property to someone whose visa is about to expire.

Supreme Court dismisses challenge to the English language requirement

By | English language, Home Office | No Comments

20 November 2015

The requirement for a partner to pass an English test before applying for a visa came into effect in 2010, and has caused much grief since. The rule was challenged in the courts, and has gone all the way to the Supreme Court, but unfortunately all five judges hearing the case have held that the requirement is not unlawful.

The only glimmer of hope is that the judges held that the way that the Home Office operate any exceptions to the requirement to pass an English test before applying for a visa may be unlawful.  They seemed to suggest that in places such as remote rural areas, where it is impractical and unaffordable for someone to take the test, they should be excused doing so, though no such concession was suggested for an applicant who is illiterate.

It remains to be seen if the Home Office will change the way they operate this requirement.

More change is on the way

By | Home Office, immigration, nationality | No Comments

This week saw changes announced in both nationality law and the Immigration Rules.

From 12 November EEA nationals and their family members who wish to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen will no longer be able to do so by submitting evidence of having exercised Treaty rights in the UK for the required period of time, but will need a document to show that they have permanent residence, thereby adding one additional step to the process.

Whilst most of the changes to the Immigration Rules are minor and many are of a technical nature, two important changes are the addition of nurses and some digital technology jobs to the Shortage Occupation list, meaning that these posts can be recruited to without conducting a recruitment campaign, and also, from 06 April 2016, the coming into force of plans announced many years ago, whereby people on Tier 2 will only be able to apply for settlement if they are earning £35,000 or more.

New immigration checks

By | Home Office, immigration | No Comments

 

Businessman presenting four British passports at customs or check in area

Continuing with the government’s stated intention to create a ‘hostile environment’ in the UK, landlords will now be forced to act as immigration policemen.

From 01 February 2016 landlords in England and Wales will be required to check passports to make sure that people are in the UK legally before renting out their property.  This scheme, which was introduced by the Immigration Act 2014, has been carried on on a trial basis in the Midlands, but is to be extended across England and Wales.

Failure on the part of a landlord to comply currently carries a fine of up to £3000.  The Immigration Bill going through Parliament will increase the maximum penalty to a five year jail sentence.

 

Good experience with Home Office – shock horror!

By | Home Office, Tier 2 | No Comments

UKVI logoIt’s not often we say it, but we’ve just had a thoroughly good experience with the Home Office and are most impressed with their helpfulness and efficiency!  So it’s only fair to give praise when it’s due.

Briefly, we were acting for a client who came to us after having her Tier 2 application refused for various fairly technical reasons.  We lodged an appeal to keep her legal, and able to work, while things were sorted, and meanwhile we advised her potential employers on what they needed to do to get a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and, once they had done this, how to issue it correctly.  Once they assigned the CoS to our client we lodged a new Tier 2 application for her.

Once the new CoS was issued and the application was ready to submit we had to withdraw the appeal, and she was no longer able to work, so it was vital that the application was dealt with as quickly as possible for the client and her employer.  So, we made her application under the Tier 2 Priority Service, which costs an extra £300 but promises a decision within 10 working days.

And guess what – they delivered just what they promised!

We emailed the Priority Service people at 8:30AM on a Monday morning (they only have 60 places each day for the scheme and it’s first come first served), and got an email back in 2 hours confirming we could apply on the scheme.  We received extremely prompt (and helpful) replies to a couple of emails with queries about submitting the application, and posted it the next day. And sure enough, exactly 10 working days later, we were notified that the application was successful.  Result – one delighted client and employer, and all without the usual waiting, uncertainty and general stress that an immigration application typically involves.

So, well done to the Tier 2 Priority Service, and the rest of the Home Office please take note!

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