Fast-track visa

Fast-track visa rolled out as UK races the EU to lure tech talent

April 16, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

A fast-track visa system has been extended across India by the UK government as it races the EU to lure talent to its shores.

The Super Priority visa service – where applicants can pay to have a visa decision made within 24 hours – has been rolled out across eight new locations in India.

It follows the signing of a trade deal with India by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – with hopes pinned on a full Free Trade deal in the future – following the rollout of a new immigration system which makes it easier for non-EU migrants to enter the UK following Brexit.

Significantly, the move also comes after the EU’s trade commissioner met last month with India’s minister of commerce and industry, Piyush Goyal, who Tweeted that it would ‘prove to be a milestone in the future of India-EU Trade’.

UK visa applications usually take 15 days but under the paid for Super Priority service a decision can be made by the end of the next working day. In addition to Delhi, the service has been widened to areas with booming tech hubs including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (South) and Pune.

And it has been welcomed by top immigration lawyer Mr. Yash Dubal, who says that the UK needs to identify further “hotspots” where this approach could speed up the arrival of world-class talent.

Mr Dubal, director of A Y & J Solicitors, says, “This is yet more good news for the likes of the UK’s tech sector, which will reap the benefits from being able to speed up the process of recruiting the very best personnel. It’s easy to see why UK Visas and Immigration have chosen these new areas in particular as each of them is going through a boom in the skilled technology sector – they are thriving and of course UK industry will want a slice of that.

“But the Super Priority visa service is not cheap. It costs around £800 for a next day decision and, of course, it does not mean that your application has an improved chance of being successful as applicants still need to fulfil all requirements including biometric testing. However, if this is carried out correctly, then it will lead to a much quicker route to starting work in the UK through the Visitor and transit visa, Skilled Worker visa, Temporary worker visa and Student visa routes.

“Personally, I would like to see this service appropriately rolled out to even more locations, especially at this time when the UK needs to rebuild many of its sectors. Many UK businesses are facing a huge shortage of skilled staff and will be looking for overseas talent as the pandemic subsides. Anything that can speed up that process will be welcomed by industry bosses.”

Last month, the Department for International Trade announced the signing of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) with India.

Foreign Secretary Truss also secured investment from Mumbai-based steel and tech firm Tata – which is already one of the UK’s major employers – to create 1,500 skilled technology sector jobs in the UK. She also agreed to relaunch the UK-India CEO Forum.

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

Damning report uncovers embarrassing failings in the migrant sponsor licence system

Damning report uncovers embarrassing failings in the migrant sponsor licence system

April 10, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

A damning report into the way Home Office inspectors monitor business holding sponsor licences to employ migrants reveals a stretched system beset by operational failures that is unable to meet obligations and open to abuse.   

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) investigation into Home Office monitoring and enforcement of licence holders coincides with a new government TV advertising campaign encouraging more businesses to sign up to the sponsor licence registry.

Immigration experts say the findings illustrate that the licence system is not fit for purpose.

Yash Dubal, Director of A Y & J Solicitors, works with UK firms applying for sponsor licences. He said: “The report shines an unflattering light on a shambolic system. The timing is particularly bad because the government is eager to encourage more businesses to register for licences and is advertising the fact on TV. The report will not give businesses much faith in the system. The failings it reveals show that the licence system is open to abuse from unscrupulous licence holders.” 

Businesses and organisations in the UK must be registered sponsor licence holders to employ migrants. To qualify for a licence they must fulfil certain duties such as accurate record keeping of migrant employees. Inspectors from Home Office UK Visa and Immigration assess and monitor licence holders and have powers to penalise non-compliance. Sponsors in breach of conditions are typically given a supervised action plan. Ultimately licences can be revoked.

The ICIBI report covered the period November 2019 to October 2020. It found that the number of visits to assess a would-be sponsor’s suitability have dropped and the department is not staffed enough to visit all licence holders. Even at full strength, the report says, there would not be enough officers to fulfil all the required assessment visits. 

Staff described a system that “doesn’t work that well” and “doesn’t always cover travel time” since some Compliance Officers “cover vast areas”.

The report concludes: “From the data provided, compliance visits have been steadily declining, with half the number of pre-licence visits in 2019 that there were in 2015.”

Compliance Managers said that they were under-resourced and “struggling to keep up”. One commented that they “could do with double the staff”.

Officers were also let down by IT systems and had to go to offices to file reports between visits because they were unable to scan or draft reports remotely.

The report reveals that around 70-80% of sponsors visited by inspectors did not meet required standards. Caseworkers responsible for reviewing visit reports and deciding what action to take, made “inconsistent” decisions that lacked common sense. Teams were described as disconnected and there was a lack of intelligence sharing about non-compliant sponsors from Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS).

The report also said lack of contact points for sponsors was ‘problematic’. A UKVI business ‘Helpdesk’ only offers email assistance while a ‘Sponsorship, employer and education helpline’ provides only general advice. In order to have premium level service with a dedicated account manager firms have to pay between £25,000 and £8,000 a year.

Mr Dubal said the end of free movement will add to the woes.

“The investigation shows that the system struggled to cope before Brexit,” he explained. “Now free movement has ended there is even more demand for sponsor licences. We are seeing an increase in inquiries. The government has promised to simplify the visa system, but there will still be requirements that licence holders must fulfil so compliance will continue to be an issue, consequently the pressures on those tasked with enforcing compliance will likely increase.”

The ICIBI reports that the failings leave the system open to abuse.

It states: “By narrowly focusing on the sectors perceived to be “high risk”, and with compliance visits reducing, there is a danger that some employers will believe that they are effectively free from scrutiny, a concern ICIBI has already raised in its 2019 Illegal Working inspection report regarding ICE team illegal working visits.”

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

Decreasing immigration a cause for worry

Decreasing immigration a cause for worry

April 05, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

During the pandemic, there was a decrease in the immigration applications from South Africa. The recent data published by the UK’s national statistics office showed that there are many immigrants living in the country. 

A survey was conducted to see that the number of immigrants that were living in the UK, belongs to which country. The result of the survey shows South African’s rank on number 9.  About 2,29,000 people currently live in the UK. 

During the pandemic, drops have been seen in the number of immigrants across the globe and not only in the UK. The new points-based immigration system was introduced on 1st January 2021. 

There has been a decline in the number of immigrants during the year 2020. The drop has been more considerable ever, especially in the UK, due to two significant reasons: the pandemic and the Post-Brexit transition period. 

 Since World War II, foreign workers are leaving Britain at the fastest pace, presenting a challenge to an economy already roiled by Brexit and the coronavirus.

London alone has lost 700,000 people over the last year, recent research suggests. The implications are profound for the Treasury, landlords and the chances for a recovery from the worst slump in three centuries.

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

Health and Care Sector needs to be assessed and added to SOL

Health and Care Sector needs to be assessed and added to SOL

April 01, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

Rishi Sunak’s new budget, released on 3 March 2021, brought forth a long list of changes that are being implemented in the coming months. The budget is majorly focused on improving the previous items in the list of the things not working well. 

One such change that was announced was the inclusion of 8 new professions from the Health and care sector to the SOL that is the Shortage Occupation List. 

The professions that have been added to the list are senior care workers, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, nursing assistants and a few more. This is an attempt to allow individuals working in this field of health and care to obtain a Skilled Worker Visa in their chosen profession.

The list may soon also include some other professions like health directors, managers, day and domiciliary managers, and other unclassified professions like hygiene therapists and audiologists. More details can be found on the government’s website about the professions that have been included or may soon be included. 

This has been a bold and required move. The shortage of health and care workers was a concern of the National Health Services, especially during the pandemic. 

Commenting on the expansion of the SOL, the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said: “Every year we welcome healthcare workers from across the world to our the United Kingdom, with many having played a key role on the frontline of the NHS during the recent pandemic.” (Source: workpermit.com)

“This latest set of changes, combined with our Health and Care Visa, will ensure they can easily get the immigration status they deserve,” Mr Foster added.

 Rishi Sunak’s budget has also planned to transform the currently failing Global Talent Visa and hopes to see a rise in applications over the next couple of years

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

A new visa system introduced to make immigration easier for highly educated individuals

A new visa system introduced to make immigration easier for highly educated individuals

March 27, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the new visa system’s introduction. This visa system is particularly applicable to highly educated individuals who work in science, research, technology and finance. 

A new fintech visa announced a couple of weeks back, and this new system is an extension to the same. This new system aims to attract more talented and highly skilled individuals in the field of science and technology to the UK, which would make the UK a lucrative market for tech and science giants. 

The announcement was made on the same day the budget was released, which is on the 3rd of March 2021. The announcement was worded as follows, “new unsponsored points-based visa to attract the best and most promising international talent in science, research and tech, new, improved visa processes for scale-ups and entrepreneurs, and radically simplified bureaucracy for high-skilled visa applications.”

Even though the individuals applying under this new visa system would not require sponsors, they would still have to fulfil the required number of points requested. However, the new visa category has been criticised and has been described as luxurious. 

The people have blamed Sunak for not explaining what the 65 billion euros allocated to deal with the ramifications of covid19 will be used for. They believe that new visa schemes ignore the fact that the average men who is also skilled may be required to help the UK out of the dark phase that covid has pushed them into. They believe there should have been a bit more focus on the businesses flailing in the country. 

More information can be expected on the same by July 2021, and further changes will be seen in the immigration laws in the coming year. 

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

Immigration Haul

Immigration Haul

March 22, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

The U.K. government has been working for quite a while to create a system in which people cannot take advantage of where the last-minute claims by offenders and asylum seekers are concerned. 

The government has often been quoted saying that the number of last-minute pledges by immigration offenders has become a business. People are taking advantage of a system created to help the vulnerable. 

Commenting on the analysis, Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice, Chris Philp, said:

“We know that our asylum system is open to abuse by those who have no right to remain in the U.K, and these stark figures demonstrate the difficulties we face when seeking to remove people. These last-minute claims waste the time of judges and our courts and delaying the process of assessing claims from the most vulnerable. This is why we will comprehensively overhaul our asylum system and build one which is fair but firm. This will allow us to better protect and support those genuinely in need but remove more easily from the U.K. those with no right to be here.” (Source: hstoday.com)

Around 80% of cases registered for late claims by immigration offenders, those living in the U.K. illegally, are bogus and keep the actual cases away from the government’s eyes. 

The government is working on creating a system that will allow the neediest people to access the support they should get faster. The system will be one that immigration offenders cannot easily abuse.

Until now, too, every application is carefully observed and researched before a decision is made, but that leads to the delay of years for those who need help. Hence, we believe that this idea to reform the system is a necessary one.

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

Visa change will create ‘huge rise’ in overseas students flocking to the UK after the pandemic

Visa change will create a ‘huge rise’ in overseas students flocking to the UK after the pandemic

March 18, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

A new-look student visa route seems to be having a marked effect after it was revealed that the UK has taken second place in a list of preferred destinations for international undergraduates.

It follows a move by the government to make the student visa process more streamlined following the UK’s exit from the EU – the new Graduate Immigration visa route also offers the chance to work in the UK for two years after completion of studies.

And in a survey of almost 3,000 international students, educations.com reports that the UK is currently ranked the world’s number one destination for access to higher quality teaching.

It’s welcome news given the issues that have faced UK universities during the coronavirus pandemic. Many international students – whose fees are uncapped and often twice the amount paid by their British counterparts – are reported to feel cheated at the lack of live teaching and time spent in specialist facilities, as well as missing out on cultural activities and social life. 

Despite this – and the UK’s severe coronavirus infection rate before the recent vaccination program – there is still strong overseas interest in higher education from countries such as India, which is believed to be partly down to reduced applications for formerly top-ranking American institutions, likely due to a combination of Covid-19 and ex-President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.

But the new-look British student visa – which lets international students stay to work in the UK for two years after their studies and easily switch to a skilled worker visa if they find a permanent job role – is believed to be a big help.

Immigration expert and director of A Y & J Solicitors, Mr Yash Dubal, says that it will continue to make the UK a big draw for foreign students, especially once worries over the pandemic ease.

He says, “There used to be a concern among international students on what happens after the completion of their degrees due to the complicated process and requirements under the previous immigration system. Quite often, international students would only have three months to complete the entire process from job-hunting to preparing for the sponsor licence application before they could submit their visa application and we understand that a lot of companies were reluctant to take on the responsibilities to be a Home Office licensed sponsor which was a difficult hurdle in itself.

“However, the government has announced a new Graduate Immigration route that would allow international students who have completed their education at degree level or above to apply for further leave to remain for another two years. This route will allow them the right to work without the need of sponsorship or meeting the minimum salary requirement under the Skilled Worker route which makes it much simpler for international students to seek employment after their study – this also means that they can take on jobs that are otherwise considered as lower skilled before they are able find a more permanent job role.

“Those who previously studied in the UK will remember that this is almost identical to the former Post-Study Work visa which was scrapped by the government in 2012. At the time, a lot of international students who were already in the UK and hoping to apply for further leave under this route were left disappointed and in a limbo as the Post-Study Work visa route was a significant deciding factor when comparing higher education in the UK with other countries such as Australia and the United States. 

“The new visa route makes good sense as we need to make sure these bright, talented individuals stay and find employment here to contribute to the success of the UK economy – especially at a time when there is so much to be done to kickstart the recovery following Brexit and the pandemic. I suspect that as the things get back to normal following the easing of pandemic restrictions we’ll see a big rise in interest from students around the world.”

There is no cap on the amount of overseas students taking this route and the government hopes to increase the number to 600,000 per year – up from the current amount of around 485,000 – by 2030. 

Mr Dubal adds, “Ironically, although Covid has caused huge disruption for our universities, it has also been an incredible shop front for what they have to offer. You only have to look at the world-beating research that has helped develop not just one, but several Covid-19 vaccinations, to realise that, on the world stage, the reputation of British universities is second to none.” 

Ends.

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A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

ONS Q4 Visa

ONS Q4 Visa

March 13, 2021 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

The number of visas granted to people wishing to visit the UK and to work and study here in 2020 dropped by 69%, according to a new Office for National Statistics figures.

There were just under one million visas granted throughout the year, of which 51 percent were for visitors, 23 percent were for students and 13 percent were for work reasons.

The figures give the first indication of the effect the pandemic has had on migration and show a sharp decline in the number of foreign workers coming to the UK. Indeed the 125,176 work-related visas granted last year represent a 35% drop year-on-year.

The ONS reports that the main reason for the decline in work-related visas was a 63 percent drop in the number of Tier 2 – Intra-company transfer visas (down 31,988 to 19,178). These visas allow employees of international organisations to transfer to entities in the UK to work and relate to long term staff and graduate trainees. While the decline is largely due to the pandemic, it does follow a pattern that had started to emerge in 2019. 

Visa expert Yash Dubal, director or A Y & J Solicitors said: “The drop in visa numbers is expected given the restrictions on international travel. Many businesses in the UK closed down for the duration of the lockdowns and employees have been encouraged to work from home so it no surprise that international work-related movement has slowed.”

He predicts a surge in visa applications from summer 2021 into 2022.

He explained. “According to the statistics there were 32 percent fewer skilled work visas granted in 2020. This represents pent up demand. Many businesses, particularly in the IT and service sectors, have survived the pandemic intact and, in some cases, have benefited from it but have been unable to expand because of restrictions in movement. In my consultancy we have seen a five-fold increase in inquiries from both businesses and people overseas who want to apply for UK visas.”

The number of Tier 2 – General visas for skilled workers also fell (by 17 percent), but due to the larger decline in Intra-company transfer visas is now the largest skilled worker route into the UK for the first time.

The final quarter of 2020 also saw a 40 percent decrease in the number of Tier 1 – Investor visas granted, with the majority going to nationals from China and Hong Kong.  This visa route, designed to attract wealthy migrants with over £2m to invest in the UK, had a higher than normal refusal rate in the three-month period with 12 refusals, half of which from potential investors from India.

Mr Dubal continued: “As applications continue to rise, the higher than normal refusal rate illustrated in the figures for Investor visas shows the importance of getting the right visa advice.”

There is already evidence that the flow of international workers will pick up as the pandemic subsides. The ONS data shows that, in the final quarter of 2020, the overall number of Work visa applications was 21% higher than the same period in 2019, largely due to the increase in applications for Turkish ECAA Businessperson visas.  

Indeed, the statistics also provide a glimpse into the potential make up of post-Brexit migration. The top five nationalities granted Skilled Work visas were India, Philippines, United States, Nigeria and Egypt respectively. 

Other declines were recorded in Tier 5 (temporary work) visas (down 39%), Youth mobility and temporary workers (down 48%) and Domestic workers in private households (down 70%). The number of Tier 5 – Seasonal Worker visas tripled however, up by 4,743 to 7,236 due to an increase in quotas. Almost 90 percent of seasonal workers granted these visas were Ukrainian.

The number of visas granted to people wishing to visit the UK and to work and study here in 2020 dropped by 69%, according to a new Office for National Statistics figures.

There were just under one million visas granted throughout the year, of which 51 percent were for visitors, 23 percent were for students and 13 percent were for work reasons.

The figures give the first indication of the effect the pandemic has had on migration and show a sharp decline in the number of foreign workers coming to the UK. Indeed the 125,176 work-related visas granted last year represent a 35% drop year-on-year.

The ONS reports that the main reason for the decline in work-related visas was a 63 percent drop in the number of Tier 2 – Intra-company transfer visas (down 31,988 to 19,178). These visas allow employees of international organisations to transfer to entities in the UK to work and relate to long term staff and graduate trainees. While the decline is largely due to the pandemic, it does follow a pattern that had started to emerge in 2019. 

Visa expert Yash Dubal, director or A Y & J Solicitors said: “The drop in visa numbers is expected given the restrictions on international travel. Many businesses in the UK closed down for the duration of the lockdowns and employees have been encouraged to work from home so it no surprise that international work-related movement has slowed.”

He predicts a surge in visa applications from summer 2021 into 2022.

He explained. “According to the statistics there were 32 percent fewer skilled work visas granted in 2020. This represents pent up demand. Many businesses, particularly in the IT and service sectors, have survived the pandemic intact and, in some cases, have benefited from it but have been unable to expand because of restrictions in movement. In my consultancy we have seen a five-fold increase in inquiries from both businesses and people overseas who want to apply for UK visas.”

The number of Tier 2 – General visas for skilled workers also fell (by 17 percent), but due to the larger decline in Intra-company transfer visas is now the largest skilled worker route into the UK for the first time.

The final quarter of 2020 also saw a 40 percent decrease in the number of Tier 1 – Investor visas granted, with the majority going to nationals from China and Hong Kong.  This visa route, designed to attract wealthy migrants with over £2m to invest in the UK, had a higher than normal refusal rate in the three-month period with 12 refusals, half of which from potential investors from India.

Mr Dubal continued: “As applications continue to rise, the higher than normal refusal rate illustrated in the figures for Investor visas shows the importance of getting the right visa advice.”

There is already evidence that the flow of international workers will pick up as the pandemic subsides. The ONS data shows that, in the final quarter of 2020, the overall number of Work visa applications was 21% higher than the same period in 2019, largely due to the increase in applications for Turkish ECAA Businessperson visas.  

Indeed, the statistics also provide a glimpse into the potential make up of post-Brexit migration. The top five nationalities granted Skilled Work visas were India, Philippines, United States, Nigeria and Egypt respectively. 

Other declines were recorded in Tier 5 (temporary work) visas (down 39%), Youth mobility and temporary workers (down 48%) and Domestic workers in private households (down 70%). The number of Tier 5 – Seasonal Worker visas tripled however, up by 4,743 to 7,236 due to an increase in quotas. Almost 90 percent of seasonal workers granted these visas were Ukrainian.

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 4000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

10+ years, Legal 500 recommended with over 5000+ positive reviews