In Detail….. Changes to the UK Immigration Rules – Nov 2016

Basic RGBThe government recently announced changes to the Immigration Rules, following a review and recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

As a reminder, the changes listed below have taken effect from 24th November 2016.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) caters for applicants coming to the UK to set up, take over, or be involved in the running of a business in the UK. The following minor technical changes are being made:

  • Applicants supplying third party evidence do not need their bank statements to cover a consecutive 90-day period of time.
  • Applicants who are also accountants cannot sign off their own accounts and/or funding evidence.
  • Applicants with funding from an endorsed Seed Funding Competition will be permitted to provide a letter from an authorised official of the fund as confirmation that money is being made available for investment (rather than a letter from an accountant as at present).
  • The company’s register of members must come from Companies House.
  • Minor clarifications to existing Immigration Rules around job creation and evidence to demonstrate Pay As You Earn (PAYE) reporting to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

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Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category is for talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology to work in the UK without needing to be sponsored.

The following minor technical changes are being made to this category:

  • It has been agreed with the Isle of Man Government that the UK Designated Competent Bodies will consider endorsement applications for this category on the Isle of Man.
  • The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) limit of 1,000 places includes applicants who successfully apply under the equivalent Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route on the Isle of Man.
  • Evidence originating from the Isle of Man will be acceptable for the purposes of obtaining an endorsement from a Designated Competent Body.
  • The list of acceptable awards within the film, television, animation, postproduction and visual effects industry, for endorsement under the Arts Council England criteria, has been updated.

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Tier 2 (General)

The following changes are being made:

  • The salary threshold for experienced workers has been increased to £25,000 for the majority of new applicants. An exemption applies to nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers of maths, physics, chemistry, computer science, and Mandarin. The exemption will end in July 2019.
  • The £25,000 threshold will not apply to workers sponsored under Tier 2 (General) before 24th November 2016, if they apply to extend their stay in the category. The Government intends to increase the threshold to £30,000 in April 2017; there will be no such transitional arrangement for workers sponsored in Tier 2 (General) between 24th November 2016 and April 2017 – they will need to satisfy the £30,000 threshold in any future application.
  • Applicants sponsored in graduate training programmes will be permitted to change occupation within, or at the end of, the programme without their sponsor needing to carry out a further Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) or for them to make a new application.
  • Nurses are being retained on the Shortage Occupation List. However, an RLMT must have been carried out before a nurse is assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
  • Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 will not be permitted where the applicant is relying on a qualification obtained via supplementary study. An applicant switching from Tier 4 must have studied their course at a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution.

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Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT))

The changes include:

  • The salary for short term ICT applicants has been increased to £30,000 for new applicants. A transitional arrangement applies for those already in the UK under the short term route. Those applicants who obtained their CoS before 24th November 2016 will be subject to the previous salary requirements
  • The closure of the Skills Transfer sub-category to new applicants from 24th November 2016.
  • salary threshold for the Graduate Trainee subcategory has been reduced from £24,800 to £23,000.
  • The number of places a Graduate Trainee sponsor can use increases from five to 20 per year.

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Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker)

The following changes are being made in Tier 5:

  • The Immigration Rules are amended to specify new allocations of places to participating countries for 2017 in the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) category.
  • The Rules are amended to provide for the operation of arrangements to manage the allocation of places under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) allocation for Japan, where demand is expected to significantly exceed supply.
  • Deemed sponsorship status is conferred upon Taiwan.
  • In line with Tier 2, A-Rated Tier 5 sponsors will be permitted to certify maintenance in respect of a Tier 5 migrant, and their dependents, by confirming that that they will maintain and accommodate the migrant for the first month of their stay.

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Changes to the periods within which applications for further leave can be made by overstayers

The 28-day grace period for those who overstay their visa is to be abolished for applications made on or after 24th November 2016. However, an out of time application will not be refused on the basis that the applicant has overstayed where the Secretary of State considers that there is a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative, given in or with the application, why an in time application could not be made, provided the application is made within 14 days of the expiry of leave.

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This overview is not exhaustive and does not substitute for actual advice based on specific circumstances. Different employer and individual circumstances will require bespoke advice.  Readers are reminded that immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment’s notice without any warning.

For further information, please get in touch with Dearson Winyard.

 

 

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Spotlight On An Immigration Advisor….

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Julian Dearson, DWI Operations Director

Until 1988, Julian Dearson was an employee of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office, and in 1991 founded Dearson Winyard International with Mike Winyard.

In 1992, Julian was instrumental in DWI becoming the first immigration consultancy to secure registration with the British Standards Council. Julian also played a major role in DWI’s achievement of the coveted ISO 27001, the International Standard for Information Security Management.

Here, Julian talks to us about his 30-year career in UK immigration.

“Nowadays, the criteria is no more restrictive that it was when I first started in immigration,” Julian says. “The documentation and the process around securing permission to work in the UK has, however, become more complex.”

He explains: “Prior to the introduction of the points-based system, under the former Work Permit scheme, consideration of a work permit application was made using a person’s judgement, meaning that more subjectivity and flexibility could be applied. Now, it’s just not so.”

So, what does Julian think about the UK’s points-based immigration system?

“I don’t think it’s very well thought out,” he says. “Points introduce a level of complexity to the application process that just isn’t needed.”

‘Open for Business’?

The Home Office service standard has decreased over the years, which Julian feels plays a part in making the UK less attractive to overseas students and workers.

“The ‘brightest and best’ are attracted to many different places,” Julian says, “and the media-fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in the UK, plus the increase in racially motivated incidents, sends a message to the rest of the world.”

“There is a real danger that the UK is becoming more insular,” Julian laments. “There are massive concerns within the EU and in the US about the anti-immigration rhetoric.”

Julian feels that now, more than ever, the subject of immigration has become overly politicised. “Everyone’s got an opinion, strong or otherwise,” he says, “and it seems there’s just no room for a rational debate.”

Individual immigration

Julian singles out the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route, the category for those wishing to set up or take over a business in the UK. Applicants must have over £200,000 of funds in order to apply.

Toward the end of last year, the refusal rate for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications stood at approximately 70%.

A Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa application, including a business plan, is assessed by an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) who must be convinced that an applicant will meet the investment requirements and is genuinely able to start a business in the UK.

“The Home Office made it compulsory for applicants to provide evidence of the source of funds in an effort to reduce what they described as fraudulent applications,” says Julian.

“£200,000 is not an insignificant amount of money. The notion that people such as entrepreneurs will do anything to come to the UK is foolish.”

Julian queries whether immigration officers are best placed to evaluate a plan of investment made by an entrepreneur.

“There is a lack of empathy and understanding from immigration officers as to what drives an entrepreneur, how they think, and how their businesses would work. Immigration officers are not business people – asking them to evaluate an entrepreneur’s business plan is asking too much.”

Today, Julian is still actively involved in DWI although he advises far less frequently than he used to. Nowadays, he is responsible for many of DWI’s functional areas, including finance, IT, administration and human resources.

Julian’s mission for DWI is the same now as 25 years ago – to deliver service excellence at every opportunity through an uncompromising commitment to quality.

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For dependable advice, guidance and support on UK immigration and visas, contact DWI today.

Connect with Julian on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DWI Immigration Workshop In Partnership With Consilium Recruit

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Dearson Winyard International has joined forces with specialist technical recruitment firm Consilium Recruit to deliver a UK immigration workshop on Thursday 17th November 2016.

The complimentary workshop aims to help manufacturing and engineering companies of all sizes to better understand the UK immigration process and the benefits of sponsoring non-EU nationals.

The current skills shortage within the manufacturing industry is something that Consilium director Russell Tuck considers one of the biggest threats to the growth and success of the sector.

Russell says: “Put simply, there’s not enough people with the experience and skills required to do some of the more complex roles, particularly within the aerospace and automotive industry sectors.”

DWI Director Darren Faife agrees. He says: “It’s an uphill struggle for many specialist firms to recruit the talent they need to help their businesses grow. We hope this workshop will help to demystify the UK immigration process and provide solutions to the issues that employers face.”

The two-hour workshop is open to hiring managers and directors and will be held at Consilium’s Stratford-upon-Avon office at 2pm on 17th November.

To register your attendance, sign up at the Consilium website or contact Jess Skinner on 01789 201 040.