Changes to the Immigration Rules
On Thursday 15 March 2012, a written ministerial statement was laid before Parliament outlining a number of new proposed changes to the Immigration Rules.
Most of the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. Some of the changes to Tier 2 will affect those who were granted leave after 6 April 2011.
The changes will now include the following:
Migrants under the points-based system
Tier 1 – high-value migrants
- Closing the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route.
- Introducing the new Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route.
- Introducing new provisions for switching from Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-study work) into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
- Renewing the 1000 place limit for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) for each of the next 2 years.
Tier 2 – skilled workers
- Limiting the total amount of temporary leave that may be granted to a Tier 2 migrant to 6 years (which applies to those who entered after 6 April 2011).
- Introducing a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 or the appropriate rate for the job, for Tier 2 general and sportsperson migrants who wish to settle here from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).
- Introducing a ‘cooling-off period’ across all the Tier 2 routes. Tier 2 migrants will need to wait for 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa.
- Introducing new post-study arrangements for graduates switching into Tier 2.
Tier 4 – students
Implementing the final set of changes to the student visa system that were announced in March 2011, including:
- Extending the interim limit for sponsors that have applied for educational oversight and Highly Trusted Sponsor status and have not yet been assessed.
- Introducing limits on the time that can be spent studying at degree level.
- Tightening work placement restrictions.
Tier 5 – temporary workers
- Limiting the length of time temporary workers can stay in the UK, under certain Government Authorised Exchange schemes, to a maximum of 12 months. The schemes affected are intern, work experience and youth exchange type programmes.
- Allowing sportspersons who enter under the Tier 5 creative and sporting sub-category to undertake some guest sports broadcasting work where they are not filling a permanent position.
Changes in all tiers of the points-based system
- Making curtailment mandatory where a migrant under Tiers 2, 4, or 5 of the points-based system has failed to start, or has ceased, their work or study with their sponsor. This includes cases where a sponsor notifies us, via the sponsor management system (SMS), that a migrant is no longer pursuing the purpose of their visa. The Rules will also set out the limited exceptions to mandatory curtailment.
- Reducing the curtailment threshold (the level of leave you have left which means that we will not normally pursue curtailment) from 6 months to 60 days.
- Increasing the funds applicants will need to provide evidence of, in order to meet the maintenance requirements for all routes in the points-based system. For Tier 4 and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. For Tier 1, Tier 2 and temporary workers under Tier 5 the changes will come into effect on 14 June 2012.
- The new visitor route will allow a small group of professionals, artists, entertainers and sportspersons who are invited to come to the UK to undertake short-term permitted fee paid engagements for up to 1 month.
Overseas domestic workers
- Restricting all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join.
- Removing the right for all migrants under the ODW category to apply for settlement.
- Strengthening the requirement for the employer of an ODW to provide evidence of an existing employer relationship, and introducing a requirement for agreed, written terms and conditions of employment to be produced, as part of the application for entry clearance.
- Permitting all ODWs who have applied for leave to enter or remain on or before 5 April 2012, to continue to be treated under Immigration Rules in place on that date.
- Restricting ODWs in private households to work for an employer who is a visitor to the UK. Permission to stay in the UK will be limited to a maximum of 6 months or the period of the employer’s stay whichever is shorter. Removing the current provision for ODWs to be accompanied by dependants.
- Permitting ODWs in diplomatic households to apply to extend their stay for 12 months at a time up to a maximum of 5 years, or the length of the diplomat’s posting, whichever is shorter.
- Introducing a Premium Customer Service for those A-rated sponsors in Tiers 2 and 5 who wish to apply and pay for a range of benefits. We will publish the full range of service benefits in due course. The service will launch in the 2012-13 financial year.
In addition to these changes, the government is also making amendments to the extension of leave to remain.
The Home Office also published 2 financial impact assessments: one on settlement and another on Tier 5 and overseas domestic workers, as well as a policy equality statement.
The written ministerial statement, impact assessments and the policy equality statement can be found on the Home Office website.
Chinese man faces deportation for running brothel network
A Chinese man faces deportation after being found guilty and sentenced to over 3.5 years for running a network of brothels across the south and east of England.
Kun Yi He, aged 39, of Hunters Road in Chessington, though formerly of Totteridge Road in High Wycombe, was arrested during a series of raids by our officers on suspected brothels and addresses linked to them in June 2011.
The raids were part of 1 of the biggest operations of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, involving around 150 of our officers and 8 different police forces targeting 13 addresses.
Investigations by our south east region criminal and financial investigation team identified Kun Yi He as the head of a network of 10 brothels across the south and east of England.
They included 5 addresses in Cambridge, 4 in Berkshire (2 in Maidenhead and 1 each in Slough and Wokingham) and 1 in Surrey (Godalming). All the brothels identified have since been closed.
Kun Yi He was found guilty of conspiracy to manage brothels on Monday 19 March following a 2 week trial at Reading Crown court.
Anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who is sentenced to 12 months years or more is automatically eligible for deportation on completion of their sentence.
Two other people charged in connection with the same conspiracy had already pleaded guilty to the same charges. Ai Ju Su, aged 35, of Abbey Barn Road in High Wycombe, and Manjit Singh, aged 35, of Knowl Hill, Maidenhead, will be sentenced at a later date.
Today’s Budget announcement has important practical implications for business owners.
With the British economy in a dangerous state, the government was under pressure to deliver a programme for growth.
Here is our quick guide to help you assess what this Budget mean for you:
• The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expects the British economy to avoid recession. It now expects growth of 0.8 per cent during 2012, 2 per cent in 2013, and 2.7 per cent in 2014, and 3 per cent in 2015 and 2016.
• The OBR still expects unemployment to peak at 8.7 per cent this year, with 1 million more jobs created during the next five years.
• The OBR expects inflation to fall to 1.9 per cent in 2013.
• The OBR expects the eurozone to contract by 0.3 per cent in the next two years.
• The headline rate of corporation tax will fall to 24 per cent from April, and then to 22 per cent from 2014.
• The smallest firms will get a simplified tax reporting system, in line with an EU directive.
• The government will “remove loopholes and exemptions” on VAT – meaning that more products will be subject to the tax.
• Tax incentives will be offered to the video game and filmmaking industries.
• The income tax threshold will rise to £9,205 from April 2013. The threshold is already scheduled to rise to £8,105 from next month.
• The top rate of income tax will be cut to 45 pence from 50 pence, from April next year.
• Taxpayers will receive a personal tax statement.
• There will be a new cap on income tax relief for those claiming more than £50,000 in reliefs.
Lending and finance
• Prior to the Budget the government announced a new National Loan Guarantee Scheme that it says will help small firms secure cheap credit. Loans will be available under the scheme at 1 per cent cheaper than those outside it.
• The Finance Partnership and Enterprise Finance Guarantee will be expanded.
• ‘Enterprise loans’ will be provided to young entrepreneurs on a similar basis to student loans.
• Private firms will be asked to invest in infrastructure, with parts of the road network potentially being privatised.
• Network Rail will improve rail lines in the north of England.
• New plans for airport expansion will be announced later this summer.
• Enhanced capital allowances will be offered to businesses in the new Scottish Enterprise Zones, and in one London Zone.
• The government will fund ultrafast broadband in ten cities across the country, with a further £50 million for smaller cities.
A Hertfordshire man has been sentenced to 2 years and 8 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to 37 charges of possessing and importing indecent images of children. It follows a joint investigation by our officers and Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Graham Benjamin Phillips, of Railway Terrace, Kings Langley, had been stopped by our officers at Dover’s Eastern Docks on 26 June 2011. When questioned he said he was an accountant and had been to Lille for 4 days to get away from the stresses of work.
Officers searched the vehicle he was driving and found a laptop, 2 mobile phones and memory sticks and cards. When asked to unlock the laptop to allow officers to check the material stored on it, Phillips refused saying it contained confidential work material.
The laptop, phones and memory sticks and cards were detained pending further investigation by us. The laptop was found to contain a large number of indecent images of children up to the level 5 on the COPINE scale.
On September 8, 2011, our officers and Hertfordshire Constabulary carried out an arrest enquiry at an address in Kings Langley. Phillips was not at the address and was subsequently listed as wanted by Hertfordshire Constabulary and an appeal to trace him placed on Crimewatch.
Officers in Hertfordshire received information on his whereabouts and arrested Graham Phillips at a football match in the county on 5 November.
Following his arrest, Hertfordshire Constabulary identified other possible offences and investigated these. He was subsequently charged with 37 offences in total.
UKBA Press Release