DWI – Leaders In Information Security Management

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Dearson Winyard International is the first and only organisation in the UK immigration sector to be awarded the coveted ISO 27001, the International Standard for Information Security Management (ISMS).

Information is critical to the success of our business. Unless that information is secure and reliable, we cannot service our clients’ needs, nor work effectively as a team.

Increasingly, ISO 27001 is a question asked of businesses as part of their legal and regulatory obligations, particularly by national and local government and professional governing bodies.

By proactively adopting the standard, Dearson Winyard is creating a platform for improvement and underpinning our core values of customer satisfaction and continual service evaluation; enhancing service delivery through our dedicated specialist team; and applying the key principles of accountability and integrity.

Our team takes information security very seriously. We place great emphasis on:

  • Confidentiality: protecting sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure or intelligible interception
  • Integrity: safeguarding the accuracy and completeness of information and software
  • Availability: ensuring that information and vital services are available to users when required

Public concern over security issues and potential breaches has increased over the last few years and Dearson Winyard places very high importance on the impact that a security incident may have, not only on our business, but that of our clients.

Our ISO 27001 certification cements the dependability of our information security management systems, and reinforces our focus on quality, clients, teamwork and results.

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

 

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Brexit – What Will This Mean For UK Immigration?

Final Call

Following the result of the UK’s EU referendum, which the Leave campaign won with 52% of the vote, there are many questions and uncertainty about the future UK immigration landscape.

The landmark result, which saw more than 30 million people vote, the highest turnout since 1992, has raised a number of concerns for EU nationals living and working in the UK.

Dearson Winyard is confident that any outstanding or ongoing immigration applications presently with the Home Office for consideration will be unaffected.

Based on our extensive experience of UK immigration laws, it is unlikely that legislative changes will be implemented retrospectively. Under normal circumstances, the government would implement a transitional period; however, given the uncharted territory in which the UK now finds itself, such an event cannot be guaranteed.

The BBC reports that, moving forward, the ability of EU nationals who want to work in the UK depends on whether the UK government decides to introduce a system of applying for work permission, similar to Tier 2 of the points-based system that applies to non-EU citizens.

Dearson Winyard is disappointed by the EU referendum result. Yet, like everyone else, including those in government, we simply do not know what is next for UK immigration policy.

What we do know is that, in theory, the minimum period for the UK to leave the EU will be two years. In practice it may take longer, depending on negotiations around new trade relationships with the EU.

During the ‘leaving’ period, the UK will continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not participate in any EU decision-making.

The referendum result has led to the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who will step down by October.

As always, Dearson Winyard will keep you informed with news and updates as developments occur over the coming weeks and months.

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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.

 

 

UK Immigration – Do You Speak The Lingo?

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UK immigration law is a complex field of rules and regulations which can be difficult to interpret.

Equally as difficult to interpret are the acronyms and terminology used when dealing with UK immigration departments, representatives or application forms.

This handy glossary will help you to decipher your entry clearance from your leave to remain, and your PBS from your ILR.

Biometric Residence Permit

The Biometric Residence Permit, or BRP, is credit card-sized card which holds details of a migrant’s name, date and place of birth plus a facial image and fingerprints. The BRP is proof of the holder’s right to stay, work or study in the UK, and shows their immigration status and entitlements whilst they are in the UK.

Certificate of Sponsorship

To be eligible to apply for a visa under Tier 2 of the points-based system, a migrant must have a Certificate of Sponsorship, or CoS. The CoS is not an actual certificate – it is a reference number which holds information about the job and the migrant’s personal details.

Entry Clearance

Entry clearance is the procedure of obtaining a visa to travel to the UK, used by Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) at British missions overseas. All non-EEA nationals must obtain a visa before they travel to the UK if they want to stay for longer than 6 months. Sometimes, nationals of certain countries are permitted to visit the UK for 6 months or less without a visa; they are known as ‘non-visa nationals’.

European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA was formed on 1st January 1994, amalgamating the 25 independent states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

All non-EEA migrants applying for visas to come to the UK for longer than 6 months are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The payment goes directly to the National Health Service (NHS), entitling applicants to receive the same NHS treatment as a permanent UK resident (with some exceptions).

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

ILR, or ‘permanent residency’ or ‘settlement’, is the immigration status granted to someone who is not bound by any time limits on the period they can stay in the UK and who is free to take up employment or study without restriction.

Leave to Remain

This is the name for permission to stay in the UK, granted from within the UK, to enable an overseas national to remain for a further period additional to their original permission.

Points-based System

The points-based system, or PBS, is the main immigration route for non-EEA migrants to come to the UK to work or train, study, or invest. The system is divided into five ‘tiers’, although Tier 3 is unused.

     Tier 1 – aimed at highly skilled individuals, this Tier caters for Entrepreneurs, Graduate Entrepreneurs and Investors. A fourth sub-category caters for those with Exceptional Talent

     Tier 2 – taking in two sub-categories, General and Intra-Company Transfer, this tier covers skilled workers with a job offer from a UK-based employer

     Tier 4 – students

     Tier 5 – caters for the Youth Mobility Scheme and five sub-categories of temporary worker, which are International Agreement, Charity Worker, Creative and Sporting, Religious Worker, and Government Authorised Exchange

Sponsor Licence

All UK businesses must apply for a sponsor licence to enable them to employ overseas workers under Tier 2 of the points-based system. Similarly, education providers that offer full-time study in the UK must have a Tier 4 sponsor licence in order to enrol students from outside the EEA.

UK Visas and Immigration

A department of the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration, or UKVI, deals with immigration applications from migrants looking to visit or work in the UK. The department considers applications from businesses and educational institutions applying to sponsor overseas nationals, and deals with applications for UK citizenship.

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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.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer

 

austinTier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) is a UK immigration route that allows multi-national companies to transfer employees to a job at a UK branch of the organisation.

Tier 2 (ICT) carries four sub-categories – Long Term StaffShort Term Staff; Graduate Trainee;  and Skills Transfer.

Note that from Autumn 2016, Tier 2 (ICT) is being simplified – simplifications in red below:

  • Long Term Staff – caters for skilled employees with a minimum of 12 months service to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for more than 12 months to fill a post that cannot be filled by a settled worker. Migrants filling a post under the long term staff sub-category must be paid a minimum of £41,500 per annum. The maximum duration of a Tier 2 (ICT) Long Term visa is five years, unless they are paid in excess of £155,300 per annum, in which case stay can be extended to up to nine years.

From April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for intra-company transferees working in the UK for between five and nine years will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000. The requirement for applicants to have 12 months experience where they are being paid over £73,900 will be removed.

  • Short Term Staff – this temporary visa route caters for skilled employees to be transferred for up to 12 months, to perform a skilled role that cannot be filled by settled workers. The employee must have been working for the overseas organisation for at least 12 months directly prior to transfer. Migrants filling a post under the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term sub-category must be paid a minimum of £24,800 per annum.

From Autumn 2016, the minimum salary threshold for the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category will be increased to £30,000. From April 2017, the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category will be closed to new applications.

  • Graduate Trainee – for recent graduates with at least three months experience with the overseas employer. The maximum duration of stay on a Graduate Trainee visa is 12 months. Migrants filling a post under the long term staff sub-category must be paid a minimum of £24,800 per annum.

From April 2017, the salary threshold will be reduced from £24,800 to £23,000, The number of trainees that an employer may bring to the UK will increase from 5 to 20.

  • Skills Transfer – this route allows new and graduate employees to be transferred to the UK base of an overseas company in order to gain skills and knowledge or to train others in the UK. There is no minimum amount of time for which the visa holder must have been with their employer. The maximum duration of stay is six months.

This route will close to new applicants from Autumn 2016.

For all Tier 2 (ICT) sub-categories, the UK employer must have a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and the employee must have been issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The position to be filled must meet NQF level 6 or above.

All Tier 2 (ICT) sub-categories carry a ‘cooling off period’, that is, if the migrant worker wishes to return to work in the UK, they must wait at least twelve months after leaving before they are permitted to make an application to come back and work in the UK.

From April 2017, all Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees will be required to qualify under a single visa category with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500.

There will be a transitional period until April 2017 to allow those affected to plan for the changes.

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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.

 

 

UK Immigration Rule Changes – April 2016

sydneyThe Home Office has published a Statement of Changes to the UK Immigration Rules, the majority of which will take effect from 6th April 2016.

It is worth noting that these rule changes do not include any reforms resulting from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)’s recent reviews of Tier 1 or Tier 2. The Government has not yet announced its response to those reports, but we will bring you further news as we have it.

The main changes from 6th April are:

  • Domestic workers will be permitted to change employer within their six month visa. Furthermore, domestic workers with a conclusive grounds decision that they are trafficked or enslaved will be allowed to apply for leave to remain for up to two years
  • Time spent in the UK with leave under Tier 4 (General) under the age of 18 will count toward calculation of the maximum period an individual can spend in the UK under Tier 4 (General)
  • A new discretionary power is to be introduced to refuse applications on the basis of any outstanding litigation debt owed to the Home Office by applicants. The new rule will encourage applicants to pay litigation debts that they owe and assist the Home Office in recovering the costs incurred in dealing with the unsuccessful litigation
  • The same power will also apply to:
    • Appendix V, which contains ‘suitability requirements’ for applicants under the visitor route; and
    • the ‘suitability requirements’ in Appendix FM and Appendix Armed Forces so that applications made under those Appendices may also be refused on the basis of litigation debt

In summary, in the Tier 1 category:

  • Across Tier 1, there are changes to allow for accounts and supporting letters from certain sources of funds, or from UK Trade and Investment, to be used in support of an application instead of a third party declaration
  • The evidential requirements for applicants applying under Tier 1 and using funding from venture capital firms are being expanded
  • There are some clarifications to the rules for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs seeking an accelerated route to settlement, plus further clarifications on creation of jobs under the same route
  • There are some changes to endorsement letters for applicants under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Some minor amendments have been introduced to the criteria used by Tech City UK for endorsing applicants under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Under the Tier 2 route:

  • To better reflect seasonal demand for places across the year, based on recent trends, there are changes to redistribute the monthly allocations of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) under the annual limit
  • An annual uplift is being applied to the earnings threshold for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) settlement application; the uplifted threshold will apply to settlement applications made from 6th April 2021
  • Previously only seen in Home Office guidance, the requirement that an application cannot be made earlier than three months before the start date given by the sponsor will be moved to the Immigration Rules for Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

In other changes, the “points based calculator” will no longer exist after 5th April 2016, replaced by UK NARIC VisasAndNationality. See this DWI news update for more details.

A further change will allow Masters degrees and PhDs taught in English to be used to satisfy the English language requirement for Representatives of Overseas Businesses.

For details on the recent Statement of Changes, please visit the Rule Changes section at www.immigrationuk.co.uk

Please contact one of DWI’s specialist #ukimmigration advisors if you have any queries.

 

 

 

UK Immigration – Sponsors & Compliance

Our #ukimmigration blog continues with this look at Sponsors and ensuring your organisation fulfils its UK immigration obligations.

The Sponsor Licence

All UK employers who want to employ overseas workers under Tier 2 General need a Sponsor Licence, authorised by the UK immigration authorities. If the licence application is approved, employers are given either an A-rating or B-rating depending on their level of compliance or risk factor.

The Government places a significant amount of responsibility on employers and sponsors are required to continually meet specific obligations.

A sponsor failing to comply with the duties laid out in the Home Office guidelines faces severe penalties:

  • The Home Office may suspend or downgrade your licence if they believe you are not complying with your duties as a sponsor.
  • Alternatively, the Home Office may revoke your sponsor licence entirely. This will mean all migrants with Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 status will have to leave the UK voluntarily or face enforced removal.
  • Further penalties for employing illegal workers may also include a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

Home Office Compliance

In late 2015, the Home Office stated that the number of Compliance Audits will be increased in all industry sectors, and that many of these will be unannounced.

  • 1792 sponsor licence applications were made in Q2 2015
  • Of these, 791 received a HO visit, some 44%
  • Of those receiving a visit, 57% were unannounced

Approximately 4000 sponsor licence applications were received in 2015; around 25% of those have been audited. The refusal rate is currently almost 1 in 3 (over 30%).

In an effort to rationalise the number of sponsors on the register in 2016, renewal applications will be approached with increased scrutiny and issues including further visits.

Dearson Winyard’s Compliance Audit

Dearson Winyard (DWI) can help your organisation maintain its compliance in case of a Home Office audit.

As part of our Compliance Audit, DWI will undertake a full audit of your organisation’s HR systems as regards its migrant workforce. This will cover six areas:

  1. Prevention of illegal employment and how this is integrated into the hiring process – how document checking procedures are integrated into the recruitment process and how migrants are identified and tracked
  2. Maintaining migrant contact details – which processes are in place to ensure HR records are kept up to date with staff personal contact details
  3. Record keeping – quality of HR file-keeping and how this corresponds to best practice
  4. Migrant tracking and monitoring – how the company monitors, tracks and reports its migrant population
  5. General sponsor duties – compliance with sponsorship duties, including management of the Sponsorship Management System (SMS)
  6. Ongoing sponsorship compliance – reporting changes to employee details (contacts, job roles etc.) and employee absence as well as company changes and updating the SMS

Following this, DWI will provide a full report of our findings and make recommendations on areas that need focus to ensure your maximum compliance. We will also give guidance on the presentation of evidence during the audit and the procedure of the audit itself.

Please contact Sarah Jackson, DWI Client Services Manager, at sarah.jackson@dwiglobal.com or 07884 549109 to discuss these services further.

Tier 2 General

carolinaAs our series of UK immigration blogs continues, we turn our attention to Tier 2 of the points-based system.

Tier 2 is an important entry route into the UK for non-EEA skilled workers with an offer of employment and includes: Tier 2 General, Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT), Tier 2 Sportsperson and Tier 2 Minister of Religion.

Here, we focus on Tier 2 General.

UK employers may find that they are unable to fill their vacancy with a UK settled worker. When an employer considers recruiting from further afield, there are certain criteria they must fulfil.

The Sponsor Licence

All UK employers who want to employ overseas workers under Tier 2 General need a Sponsor Licence, authorised by the UK immigration authorities. If the licence application is approved, employers are given either an A-rating or B-rating depending on their level of compliance or risk factor.

Sponsors are required to continually meet specific obligations focusing on record keeping, reporting, compliance and co-operating with the UK immigration authorities.  The Government places a significant amount of responsibility on employers; any sponsors failing to comply with the duties laid out in the Home Office guidelines faces severe penalties, including suspension or a licence downgrade, or even complete revocation.

We will bring you detailed information on how Dearson Winyard can help your organisation fulfil its UK immigration obligations in future blogs. Or, if you would like further information, please contact our Client Services Manager, Sarah Jackson at sarah.jackson@dwiglobal.com or 07884 549109.

The Job

The job on offer must meet the required skill level and rate of pay as per the Home Office Codes of Practice, which detail the jobs that are suitable under Tier 2. They list:

  • the skill level for jobs in each occupation
  • the minimum salary rates for new starters and for experienced staff

Unless the job is on the shortage occupation list, employers will need to conduct a resident labour market test to demonstrate there are no resident workers suitable for the job. Once these criteria have been fulfilled an employer can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The CoS is a unique reference number, which holds information about the job and the migrant worker’s details.

The Overseas Worker

Having a CoS alone does not mean an overseas worker will be successful in applying to come to or stay in the UK; they must meet the necessary immigration requirements.

In order to come to or remain in the UK as a skilled worker under Tier 2 General, an overseas worker must score a total of 70 points. 50 points are awarded for ‘attributes’, i.e., having a CoS and for being paid an appropriate salary. Additionally, 10 points are awarded for English language skills and maintenance (funds).  Providing these criteria, plus any others applicable under the Immigration Rules, are met, the overseas worker may apply for the necessary UK visa.

We look forward to bringing you information on Tier 2 ICT in the next blog.

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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.