PM Sets Out Proposal For EU Citizens Post-Brexit

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The government has published a policy paper outlining the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit.

The 15-page paper sets out the government’s proposal that qualifying EU citizens would have to apply for residence status, granting them settled status under UK law.

To qualify, EU citizens must have been resident in the UK before a ‘specified date’ and have completed five years’ continuous residence in the UK before they apply.

The policy paper states the specified date will be no earlier than 29th March 2017 – the date the UK triggered Article 50 – and no later than the date of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The paper does not make it clear whether settled status would mean identity cards for settled EU nationals, or simply be an entry on a Home Office database.

Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement in which she said she wanted tocompletely reassure people that under these plans, no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU.”

Applications for settled status will be made online, described by Mrs May as a “light touch” system, using existing tax documents.

Dependants

Addressing the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said that EU nationals with settled status would have the same rights as British citizens if they wanted to bring their family members to the UK.

The policy paper confirms that family dependants joining a qualifying EU citizen in the UK before its withdrawal from the EU will be eligible to apply for settled status after five years, irrespective of the specified date.

However, the paper states that those joining after the UK’s exit will be subject to the same rules as those joining British citizens, or alternatively to the post-exit immigration arrangements for EU citizens who arrive after the specified date.

Under current rules, this would mean that EU nationals would not be permitted to bring a spouse to live with them post-Brexit unless the minimum income threshold of £18,600 was met.

But in her speech to MPs, the topic of the minimum income threshold went unmentioned by Mrs May.

Criticism

The proposals have drawn criticism for lack of clarity and detail.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said via Twitter that “more ambition, clarity and guarantees” were needed.

Negotiators for the EU had tabled a four-page proposal in which all rights of all EU citizens impacted by Brexit would be protected for life.

This would mean both UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK would have the same residency rights, rights to work or establish a business, and access to healthcare and pensions from any country in Europe.

However, several of these issues for UK nationals living in the EU have not been guaranteed.

British in Europe, the largest coalition group of Britons living and working in Europe, expressed fears that the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU were being ignored.

Jane Golding, chair of British in Europe, said of the policy paper: “There is very little here about what Theresa May actually wants to achieve for us and how our rights should be protected.”

Read the full policy paper and example case studies here.

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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 detailed information, please get in touch with Dearson Winyard.

 

 

 

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General Election 2017: What Now?

The General Election on 9th June sprung up one or two surprises; not least the Conservatives failing to gain a majority as many predicted they would.

Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to secure the 326 parliamentary seats needed to control Westminster, the UK faced a hung parliament.

Here, we look at the fallout and address questions on many voters lips.blokes

What is a hung parliament?

In order to form a government in the UK, a political party has to do sufficiently well in a general election to win an ‘overall majority’ of seats in the House of Commons.

An overall majority is half the 650 MPs in the House of Commons plus one, i.e., 326.

A hung parliament describes a state of a parliament where no single political party has an absolute majority of seats.

So, what happens next?

The present Conservative government will remain in office until it is decided with which party it will attempt to form a new government.

Since the election results filtered in, Theresa May has approached the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who won ten seats, to form an alliance.

Indeed, a Downing Street statement said a “confidence and supply” agreement had been reached with the DUP and would be put to the cabinet.

However, the DUP contradicted that announcement, confirming the talks were ongoing, not finalised.

Theresa May will meet DUP leader Arlene Foster this week.

Who are the DUP?

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was formed in 1971 by Ian Paisley at the height of the Northern Ireland conflict. It is the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The DUP traditionally has links to protestant churches. It is historically strongly linked to the Protestant Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, which Ian Paisley founded.

And what is their political standpoint?

Evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party, the DUP favours Ulster unionism, meaning that they oppose a united Ireland and are supporters of Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK.

The DUP was the only party in the Northern Ireland Assembly to back ‘Leave’ during the Brexit campaign, but will not accept any deal re-instating a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

Anything controversial?

Well, yes.

The DUP opposes same-sex marriage and has fought to prevent it becoming legal in Northern Ireland, despite it being legal in the other countries of the UK.

Additionally, the party has campaigned against the legalisation of homosexual acts in Northern Ireland.

The DUP has campaigned strongly against abortion rights in Northern Ireland; leader Arlene Foster last year vowed to prevent pregnancy terminations being made available in the country.

The party once appointed climate change denier Sammy Wilson as its environment minister. Mr Wilson said it was a “con” to suggest humans had changed weather patterns.

Several of the DUP’s senior members are creationists, that is, they hold the religious belief that the universe originated “from specific acts of divine creation,” rejecting the scientific conclusion that it happened via natural processes such as evolution.

Where does the DUP stand on immigration policy?

Little mention is made of immigration in the party’s 2017 Westminster manifesto.

As part of what the DUP describes as ‘Getting the Best Deal for Northern Ireland from the UK leaving the EU’, the manifesto lists a number of priorities and objectives the DUP would like to see as part of the Brexit negotiations.

‘Effective immigration policy which meets the skills, labour and security needs of the UK’ is listed as one of those priorities.

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DWI Announces Merger

Nc2Dearson Winyard International is delighted to announce its merger with Newland Chase.

Newland Chase offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of immigration, working with worldwide organisations and individuals alike to manage their global mobility needs, regardless of where they live or where they must migrate.

As part of Newland Chase, our support is now truly global.

The Newland Chase footprint spans across 50+ offices across 15 countries including various countries in Europe, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Australia, UAE and the USA.

In each country, Newland Chase immigration specialists have a deep understanding of the challenges of managing a mobile workforce.

Newland Chase’s extended international presence will allow us to better meet our clients’ immigration needs around the world with a single local point of contact.

DWI will continue to provide our usual high standards of UK immigration support and assistance from the staff in London.

We are truly excited about this next stage of our continuing journey in providing excellence in UK immigration.

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Will Tories Uphold ‘Tens Of Thousands’ Net Migration Pledge?

The Prime Minister has strongly indicated that the Conservatives will once again set a ‘tens of thousands’ target on net migration in their election manifesto.

austinSpeaking in Harrow on Monday, Theresa May told journalists that the government is committed to bringing net migration down to ‘sustainable levels’, adding: “We believe that is the tens of thousands.”

The comments came just a day after Home Secretary Amber Rudd seemed to suggest that the target could be dropped. Asked on BBC Radio 5 Live whether the Conservative manifesto would include the target, Ms Rudd said: “It’s not going to be identical to the last one.”

Net migration – the difference between the number of people moving to the UK for more than a year and the number of people leaving the UK for more than a year – stood at 273,000 in the year to September 2016.

The ‘tens of thousands’ target was a commitment repeated by the Conservatives in 2015, despite being repeatedly missed since it was included in their 2010 manifesto.

The Conservatives have been widely criticised over the target. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Tories hadn’t got “anywhere near it on any occasion at all”, whilst Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said it was a product of political manoeuvring and “meant very little”.

The Independent recently reported that a poll of 1,000 people taken by Ipsos MORI found that only 18% thought the Government will achieve its goal of cutting net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’.

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Brexit – What Now For EEA & Swiss Nationals In The UK?

Final Call

The Current Position

There has been no change to the rights and status of EEA / Swiss nationals and their family members residing in the UK as a result of the EU referendum last June.

The UK remains a Member State of the EU and free movement laws continue to apply.

Prime Minister Theresa May will invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which is the start of the process of the UK leaving the EU, on 29th March 2017.

It is anticipated that negotiations between the EU and the UK around the Brexit process will take two years to complete, and the UK remains a member of the EU throughout this process.

Free Movement?

The EU Single Market seeks to guarantee ‘four freedoms’ – the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – among the EU’s 28 member states.

However, the Prime Minister confirmed in a speech in January that the UK would not seek membership of the single market after leaving the EU. Instead, the UK will push for a new free trade agreement, giving it “the greatest possible access” to the single market.

How this will affect free movement of people is as yet unclear, although there has been some indication from the government that “the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states will be properly protected.”

There are likely to be transitional provisions protecting the rights of EEA/Swiss nationals already living and working in the UK at the time of withdrawal.

The government has previously indicated that there would be restrictions on migration from the EU once the Brexit process has been concluded, but precisely what form this would take has not been confirmed.

What does Brexit mean for me?

  • If you have lived in the UK for fewer than 5 years exercising free rights, you are eligible to apply for a Residence Permit
  • If you have lived in the UK for 5 years exercising free rights you may qualify for Permanent Residence
  • If you have lived in the UK for 6 years exercising free rights, and have Permanent Residence, you may qualify for UK Citizenship
  • If you are a Croatian national you are subject to worker authorisation for your first 12 months of employment in the UK and will need to obtain an Accession Worker Authorisation document

What does Brexit mean for my family?

  • If your family members are also members of the EEA, they will have the same rights as you
  • If your family are non-EEA nationals, but in the UK as your family members, they will be able to continue to remain in the UK and qualify for Permanent Residence or UK Citizenship in line with your eligibility at this time. It is as yet unknown whether this will continue to be the case post-Brexit
  • If your family are non-EEA nationals currently residing outside of the UK, you may wish to consider applying for a Family Permit so they may join you as dependents

What should I do now?

You will need to consider whether you and your family members may meet the criteria to qualify for Permanent Residency (PR) or UK Citizenship, before the UK leaves the EU.

If you do not currently qualify, the option is to apply for a Residence Card/document to confirm your rights in the UK.

Where necessary, your family members are advised to apply for a Family Permit/residence document to confirm their rights in the UK.

It is not a compulsory requirement for EEA nationals to obtain a document from the Home Office; however, this will document your status and rights in the UK prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Contact Dearson Winyard International today to discuss your options.

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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.

 

 

 

Brexit – The 12-Point Plan

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Theresa May has laid out a 12-point plan for the UK’s departure from the European Union.

In January’s much anticipated speech, the Prime Minister revealed for the first time some key details about the UK’s approach to negotiations with the EU:

Single market

Mrs May confirmed the UK would not seek membership of the single market after leaving the EU.

Instead, the UK will push for a new free trade agreement, giving it “the greatest possible access” to the single market.

She also indicated the UK’s relationship with the customs union would change.

Under the customs union, EU countries do not impose tariffs on each other’s goods, while all imposing the same tariff on goods imported from outside the EU.

But the PM said she did not want the country to be “bound” by the shared external tariffs.

Instead, the UK would be “striking our own comprehensive trade agreements with other countries”.

Immigration

The PM referred to her six year tenure as Home Secretary, stating that immigration cannot be controlled overall “when there is free movement to Britain from Europe.”

The government has previously indicated that there would be restrictions on migration from the EU following the Brexit process, but precisely what form this would take has not been confirmed.

Mrs May pointed out that the UK will continue “to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain” but in a reference to a ‘clear message’ from the public before and during the referendum campaign, said that “Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said consideration is being given to the requirement that migrants must have a work permit before coming to work in the UK, with ministers able to prioritise different sectors.

Expats

Mrs May said she wanted to “guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states”, as early as possible.

But she indicated that while most EU leaders favour an agreement that gives people the certainty they want straight away, some do not, a challenge to which the PM called for a resolution as soon as possible.

EU Legislation

The Prime Minister confirmed that the UK will “take back control of our laws”, thus bringing an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain, saying that “we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws.”

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Reaction to the speech

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn argued that the PM still needed to “be clearer” about her long-term objectives, and that she wanted to “have her cake and eat it” over the single market.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief negotiator, took to Twitter to welcome the Prime Minister’s “clarity”, but warned that “the days of UK cherry-picking and Europe a la carte are over.”

Germany’s Die Welt newspaper accused Mrs May of “leading Great Britain into isolation” with her plan for a ‘hard’ Brexit.

Mrs May faced opposition from SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon over the UK’s withdrawal from the single market. Ms Sturgeon told the BBC that a second Scottish independence referendum was now “undoubtedly” closer, with some sources saying that another referendum was “all but inevitable”.

Many business leaders welcomed Mrs May’s clarity and the degree of certainty on some areas of the 12-point plan, but pointed out that other areas remained vague.

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairburn said that ruling out membership of the single market “has reduced options for maintaining a barrier-free trading relationship between the UK and the EU”, but added that businesses will “welcome the greater clarity and the ambition to create a more prosperous, open and global Britain, with the freest possible trade between the UK and the EU”.

Adam Marshall, Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said it was vital that Brexit “must not become all-consuming”, urging the government to focus on “having the right skills, infrastructure and business environment across the UK”.

The PM revealed that the final Brexit deal reached between the UK and the EU will be put to a vote in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

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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.