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UK Immigration routes open early for International students

September 13, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

International students planning to study in the UK next year will be able to apply for visas from next month. The UK government announced that the new Student route and Child Student route will open on October 5th. The application process for both routes has been simplified for applicants and the education institutions that sponsor them. The early introduction of the scheme aims to give students and universities time to get visas in place for January 2021. 

 

It is a UK policy goal to attract “the brightest and the best from around the world” after the country leaves the EU on December 31 this year and international students play a pivotal role in the Government’s plan to upscale the UK’s potential. The country hopes to attract 600,000 international higher education students by 2030. Applications to the new student routes will be made through the new points-based immigration system. 

 

Benefits of the new system include: 

 

  • Equal treatment for all students: Post-Brexit, students from all countries will be treated equally. 
  • Streamlined processes: The Government promotes the point-based system as flexible and simplified. 
  • Opportunities to stay post-study: The government plans to launch the Graduate route in the summer of 2021, which helps retain talent within the country.
  • Offers to stay: Students with a record of compliance who have completed a degree at a UK HE provider will be offered the chance to stay and work at any skill level for two years (three years for PhD graduates). They also have an option to switch into work routes if they find a suitable job.
  • Unlimited visa: There will be no cap on the number of international student visas issued.

Under the points-based system, students will require 70 points to attain a visa. Points are awarded for factors including offers from an approved educational institution, ability to speak English, and the ability to self-support. 

Barbara Wickham, Director of the British Council in India, said the new student routes will pave a way for thousands of Indian students wishing to study in the UK.

Visa applications can be complex and confusing. If you need help, our expert legal advisors are available to offer expertise and guidance.

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

Issue of UK Tier 1 (Investor) plummets during Covid-19 lockdown quarter

September 02, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

For decades, the UK has been one of the attractive markets for foreign investment. Every year, individuals travel to the country to leverage ever-changing investment environments. On that note, the UK government offers a unique combination of investment and immigration opportunities to boost the UK’s economy and promote growth. 

The concept of Tier 1 (investor) is one of the unique combinations by the UK Government which came into effect on 30 June 2008. This is an immigration route to attract foreign investors. However, the novel Coronavirus has severely impacted migrant priorities which are easily reflected in the migration statistics shared by Shard Capital. The data reflects the leftward shift in migration habits of other countries except for America and Asia which contemplate factors like the respective nation’s handling of the virus, and the solidity of the nation’s healthcare systems. 

 

A shift in American Migrants 

Investment migration has declined altogether. But it may come as no surprise to those who are keeping a tab on the inflow and outflow of migrants. More and more Americans are bringing wealth and keeping the UK economy afloat. According to the industry experts, they are optimistic about the inflow of American investors which will be reflected in the period of Q4’20-Q1’21. 

 

More property acquisition by Asian Investors 

Till 2018, billions of pounds were invested in property and businesses by the Asian market. Even in times of crisis, investments by Asian investors are booming and the credit goes to Brexit. The Great British Pounds dropped considerably which has attracted Asian investors to invest more. For the first time, the number of passport holders from Hong Kong SAR surpassed the number of applicants from Mainland China. 

An Asian investor can reap a reward during the transition from the freedom of movement to the points-based system. However, there are several other challenges that one investor needs to consider when the country is actually propelling through the crisis of Coronavirus. 

 

Upcoming Challenges

Undoubtedly the weakening of the pound has encouraged more and more Asian investments in the UK. But profoundly lower interest rates can raise alarm in terms of return on investment. The ongoing economic crisis under COVID-19 can make it harder for investors to yield good profits. It could even take a longer time for the economy to recover if the second wave of Coronavirus hits the nation. Moreover, the economic transition due to Brexit can impact the portfolio. So, it is very important to assess the current economic climate before withdrawing any investment from the UK. 

 

Understanding Tier 1 Visa Requirements 

Come and take advantage of Tier 1 Investor Visa which is primarily designed for high net worth individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who wish to invest £2,000,000 or more by entering and remaining in the UK. The individual must:

  • be 18 or over to apply for the visa, 
  • be able to provide evidence that the money belongs to a spouse, unmarried, or same-sex partner. 
  • have an account at a UK regulated bank.

The funds must be held in one or more regulated institutions. The fund must be free to spend in the UK. Those individuals who are already holding a Tier 4 general visa can also apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa. However, they will need to undergo an unconditional agreement with the financial sponsor if their living costs and course fees are paid by the government. 

Please note that visa applications can be complex. So, get in touch with an experienced team of immigration solicitors who can navigate the complexities of the immigration route. Hire A Y & J Solicitors which will be your first step towards your successful Tier 1 (investor) visa application.  

 

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

Coronavirus Pandemic UK Extends Visa

Coronavirus (Covid 19): Updates for Visa Extensions and Other concessions

August 19, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

Please keep a tab on the latest changes to UK immigration News. A Y & J Solicitors is uninterruptedly trying to cover up the latest news that may become rapidly out of date. 

 

  • General Policy 

The Home Office has been continually updating its guidance in relation to visitors who have been in the UK during the pandemic hit and were unable to leave the country before the expiry of the visa. The first version of the Coronavirus concession was initiated on 17 February 2020, which had granted leave to remain until 31 March to Chinese citizens whose visas expired between 24 January and 30 March. It also allowed non-Chinese and non-EEA nationals in the UK who were resident in China to get an extension of leave to remain by email. The coronavirus concession covered all nationalities on 24 March 2020. Migrants who were in the UK with an expiring visa could get it extended to 31 May. 

Later between 24 March and 6 April, the Home Office wanted an application for a UK Visa extension under this policy to be submitted to the CIT i.e. Coronavirus Immigration Help Center, which was later replaced by online form. 

On 22 May 2020, the Home Office confirmed the extension of the coronavirus concession till 31 July 2020.

The Home Office later announced an extra month grace period for migrants whose leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. Later, it was updated for those migrants whose leave or leave expires before 31 August 2020. 

 

  • NHS Workers 

On 31 March 2020, the Home Office confirmed that 2800 doctors, nurses, and paramedics will be eligible for a free one-year extension whose leave to remain will expire by 1 October. Family members are also eligible without any involvement of fees. The department on 29 April 2019 further extended the scheme to cover other frontline workers, which include radiographers, midwives, social workers, and pharmacists with visas expiring before 1 October. Later, on the same date, the Home Affairs Committee confirmed the extension of the professionals who were subjected to immigration control, not just migrants under General Work Visa (Tier 2) or Tier 5-visa. Further details were added on June 8 where it clarified that family members of health workers with indefinite leave to remain will not be eligible to extend their visas for free of cost. Applicants who have applied for an extension can email the UKVI NHS team in order to withdraw the visa application and apply for a refund. Family members of non-EEA NHS workers who have died as a result of COVID-19 will be immediately entitled to indefinite leave to remain free of charge. 

 

  • Spouses and Minimum income 

COVID-19 has caused certain changes in the financial requirements for UK Spouse and partner visas. There was no published concession for spouse visas until 8 June. Later on, a section of the guidance added under the heading of “changes to the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement.” It is clearly stated that the employment income for the period before the loss of income will be considered, providing the requirements being met for at least 6 months up to March 2020. If the applicant is self-employed, loss of income will remain disregarded between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 along with the impact on employment income with the objective of safeguarding future applications.

 

  • Students 

On 20 April, the Home Office released separate guidance that covers several immigration concessions for those Tier 4 and short-term student visas, which will be withdrawn as soon as the situation gets normal. It covers 

  • Distance Learning: This is for the existing and new students, provided they intend to transition from distance learning to face-to-face learning as soon as the circumstances get normal. 
  • Extending an Existing Tier 4 Visa: Students can extend the Tier 4-visa, provided they do so before the expiry of the current leave to remain or if their leave to remain expired between 24 January and 31 August and they are granted an extension till 31 August. If they are issued with exceptional indemnity, an extension can be granted until 1 October 2020. 
  • Graduate Route: Graduate Immigration Route is still scheduled to be launched in Summer 2021. Students can begin their course through distance learning, can switch into it, and can enter the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of the studies in the UK itself. 
  • Police Registration: Students are normally required to do this in case the police force is facilitating it. If not, students can register it once social distancing measures are being lifted.
  • Time Limits: If a student applies for an extension that would direct them over the normal maximum period granted on Tier 4 (General) visa, however, discretion may be applied. 

Short-term students are allowed to switch into Tier 4 on an exceptional basis until 1 October, provided the student arrived in the UK before 31 July. However, students who are arriving on the visit or short-term study route after 31 July will not be permitted to switch into Tier 4.  

 

  • Sponsor Duties 

 

  • The Home Office published a Coronavirus guidance page where it is clearly stated that they will not take enforcement action against sponsors who continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to pandemic. 
  • Sponsors are not required to report any absences of employees or students sponsored under Tier 2, Tier 4, or Tier 5 since these absences are the results of the consequences of COVID-19. 
  • Sponsors need not withdraw sponsorship for the affected students who have been unable to appear for more than 60 days or for employees who have exceeded four weeks of absence without any pay. 
  • Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors need not update the Home Office if workers are working from home, provided they switch to home working due to Coronavirus. 
  • The Home Office had rolled out an update on 3 April where it is clearly stated that employers can go for a salary cut of sponsored employees for up to 80% of salary or £2,500 a month (whichever is lower). The salary drop will encourage sponsorship not to be withdrawn. 
  • There has also been an addition on what happens if a sponsor has issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or Certificate of Sponsorship and the person has not applied for the visa yet. 
  • Another important addition came on 14 April where students can start their studies or employees can start working even if they are awaiting a Tier 2, 4, or 5 applications to be decided. 
  • On April 20, the aforementioned concessions are reiterated in another Home Office guidance document: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students that covered
  1. Educational Oversight can be undertaken remotely “flexible approach to unavoidable delays in the inspection.”
  2. Student absences are not required to be reported if due to Coronavirus. Records of such absences are, however, maintained. 
  3. Distance learning is now permitted for new students. 
  4. As far as attendance monitoring is concerned, sponsors should use online contact points if the students have undergone distance learning, but there will be no such repercussions if not technically possible. 
  5. The guidance also covers basic compliance where students who drop out would not be counted. 
  6. Sponsors can self-assess students by having the B1 Level of English if the test center is not available. However, the latest version of the guidance emphasizes that many test centers have now opened and students must take a test like earlier. 

 

  • Biometrics 

The Home Office is no longer insisting applicants to provide a fresh set of fingerprints that they used to provide every time to extend leave to remain. According to the main guidance page, previous fingerprints can be reused which applicants can send along with photos and other supporting documents. It implies that applicants do not have to attend a  UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) or an SSC Service point to provide biometric information.

 

 

  • Coronavirus Immigration Help Center 

The Home Office has set up a Coronavirus helpline. Email at [email protected] Or call 08006781767 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm) 

 

So, are you concerned about the latest changes in UK immigration opportunities due to Coronavirus? Look no further than A Y & J Solicitors that is a multi-award winning, 10+ years of experience, recommended by Legal 500, a boutique immigration Law firm based in Central London. Our qualified immigration solicitors are specialists in UK employment & immigration law. Get in touch with one of the qualified lawyers to begin preparation well-in-advance. For further information about our immigration service, please email us at [email protected] or Whatsapp us on +44 7448 5656 70. 

 

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

Mr. Yash Dubal nominated for IoD & South Director of the Year Awards

August 17, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

London, August 12: Yash Dubal, Founder and Managing Director of A Y & J Solicitors has been shortlisted for Director of the Year Awards 2020 under the category of “SME up to 5 million “ in the Institute of Directors London and South Director of The Year awards. The finalists were nominated from the hundreds of directors across ten categories.

Speaking about his nomination Yash Dubal, says “I am delighted to be recognised amongst such a prestigious group of entrepreneurs and directors. Since its inception, A Y & J Solicitors has thrived to become “The UK’s leading immigration law firm helping UK firms” to secure and retain skilled workers from overseas and hundreds of individuals to create or continue their lives in the UK.”

The expert-judging panel will now convene to decide the deserving winner be announced at the virtual awards ceremony on September 11, 2020, hosted by Guest Speaker Dame Esther

Rantzen DBE.

Visit https://www.iod.com/events-community/regions/south/doya to find the full list of finalists and details on how to attend the event.

The winners from each of the ten categories will be automatically nominated into the UK finals of the IoD Director of the Year Awards, providing the finalists with additional exposure and profile on The National stage as the ‘best of the best’ in British business.

Ends

 

Yash Dubal

Yash Dubal is the Founder of A Y & J Solicitors. He is living proof that a person can also become successful and prosperous while living in a foreign land. Yash came to the UK in the year 2003 with only £1500. He founded A Y & J  Solicitors on the principles of honesty, professionalism, reliability, helpfulness, and approachability. The firm is now a Legal 500 law firm and won the ‘Best Immigration Law Firm’ in 2018. A Y & J Solicitors is a leading expert in UK immigration law advising both individuals and corporate clients. Giving back to the community is one of Yash’s passions. He has accomplished the London Marathon for Pratham, which works to tackle education gaps in India. He has also completed a multi-terrain run to raise money for the British Red Cross. He acts as a mentor for many SMEs regarding obtaining and keeping a UK Sponsor Licence and recruiting the right skilled employees. Furthermore, he regularly speaks at technology events and also an avid reader.

IOD

The Institute of Directors is a non party political organisation founded in 1903, with approximately 30,000 members. Members include directors across the business spectrum – right from media to manufacturing, professional services to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of startup companies.

The IoD was granted a Royal Charter in 1906 representing the interests of members right from the business community to government and in the public arena, and to encourage and foster an ecosystem favourable to entrepreneurial activity and wealth creation. 

The Royal Charter also supports the Institute with “promoting the public benefit of high levels of skill, knowledge, professional competence, and integrity on behalf of directors,” which the IoD seeks to achieve through its training courses and publications on corporate governance.

For further information, visit our website: www.iod.com

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

ayj solicitors

Good News for Migrants Falsely Accused of English Language Test Cheating

August 12, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

The Home Office has finally agreed that any TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) appellants who succeed in the appeal of Article 8 grounds, shall be granted 2.5 years leave to remain. Undoubtedly a significant victory attained by Bindmans that brought a judicial review on behalf of a TOEIC client, MM, who has been fighting false accusations against him for the last six years. 

Back in 2014, MM was kicked out of his university after being accused of cheating on a TOEIC English Language Test by the Home Office. Consequently, the Home Office curtailed his Tier 4 leave to remain and he no longer had a sponsor. This incident compelled him to bring two claims for judicial review and two further pre-action letters in order to gain a right to appeal against the Home Office’s allegation. 

His appeal was finally heard in the year 2019 and the Tribunal discovered that the Home Office’s allegation against him was baseless. This case managed to shed light on the TOEIC scandal and several lives of students that got impacted following the scandal. His appeal, however, awarded him just 60 days’ leave to remain in the UK. The firm called it “an insult to the years that he has spent fighting to clear his name,” but managed to get the department to change its mind. 

Following further judicial review proceedings, the Home Office has accepted 2.5 years of leave to remain for MM and other successful TOEIC appellants. 

More about TOEIC Scandal

In 2014, ETS had informed the Home Office that more than 56,000 migrants had cheated in the TOEIC English language test. However, the pieces of evidence which were employed to accuse thousands of international students were later defined as “confused, misleading, and incomplete.” The Home Office took actions on a mass scale against the accused students. In the majority of cases, the accused students either had no right to appeal or were required to return to the home countries in order to bring appeal right from there. After years of litigation, several accused students were finally allowed to bring an appeal from within the territory (UK). 

A Y & J Solicitors is uninterruptedly working for the individuals who have been severely affected by the TOEIC Scandal. So, do you need any expert opinion or help? Get in touch with our exceptionally qualified solicitors at A Y & J Solicitors, which is a multi-award winning, 10+years of experienced recommended by Legal 500, a boutique immigration Law Firm based in Central London. Please email us at [email protected] or Whatsapp us on +44 7448 5656 70. 

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

UK Visa applicants

Breaking news for UK Visa applicants and temporary UK residents

August 06, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

The Home office has recently announced an extra month grace period for migrants whose leave to remain in the UK expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This further provision is mentioned in the Home Office guidance page: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK Visa applicants and temporary UK Residents. The update provides much sought-after information about the migrants who have been unable to leave the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Previous guidance had clearly confirmed the extension till 31 July 2020 whose leave to remain expired after 21 January 2020 and could not return. However, the latest guidance is in response to the travel restrictions being lifted up globally where migrants will no longer be able to extend their leave to remain in the UK automatically. Therefore, all migrants are expected to take reasonable steps to leave the UK or make a valid application in order to remain in the UK. 

Grace Period

The guidance referred to this period as a “grace period” whose leave to remain expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This grace period will last until 31 August 2020. During this period, migrants will make necessary arrangements to leave the UK. As per The Home Office Guidance, the conditions associated with the expired leave will remain the same during the grace period. For instance, if the migrants are permitted to work, study, or rent accommodations, they can continue to do so until 31 August 2020. 

The Guidance further states that the migrants who are planning to leave the UK during the grace period up until 31 August do not need to contact the Home Office.

Exceptional Indemnity

If the migrants intend to leave the UK but unable to do so by 31 August 2020, they can seek “exceptional indemnity” i.e. additional time to remain in the UK by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT). This indemnity does not grant the migrant a valid “leave to remain” in the UK but will act as short-term protection against the consequences of remaining in the UK after 31 August 2020.

Please note that the migrants need to provide valid reasons and evidence to confirm their inability to leave the UK by 31 August 2020. The solution will be provided to those qualifying migrants who do intend to leave the UK as soon as things get practicable.

Migrants intending to stay in the UK

The guidance has confirmed that the migrants need to identify appropriate routes to apply for the necessary leave to remain if they decide to stay in the UK. The Home Office concession allows migrants to make the applications within the UK where they would usually need to apply for a visa right from their respective home countries. The requirements of the immigration route must be met and the application fee must be paid. The migrants can take advantage of this concession before 31 August 2020.

Overstayers

Migrants whose leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 will suffer no future immigration consequences if they haven’t made any application to regularise their stay. However, they must need to regularise their stay by 31 August 2020 or make reasonable arrangements to leave the UK.

Health Workers

Please note that the health workers and their families will be eligible to get a 1-year extension to visa for free because of coronavirus. This concession is only available to those migrants whose visa will expire between 31 March and 1 October 2020. They must be in an eligible profession working for the NHS or an independent healthcare provider.

Do you fall within one of the aforementioned categories and require expert advice regarding your visa condition or immigration route? Please discuss your circumstances in further detail with our team of experienced immigration solicitors. A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, a boutique UK Immigration Law Firm based in Central London. 

Last updated: 4 August 2020

3 August 2020: 

Most of the UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) have resumed their services. 

30 July 2020:

The latest information for those whose visa or leave to remain expires before 31 August 2020. 

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

launch a health and care Visa

UK sets out to launch a health and care Visa on 4th August

June 25, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

The Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care have taken a remarkable decision to start a new fast-track visa route for foreign medical workers. 

The new Health and Care Visa will open for applications on 4th August 2020. This post-Brexit Immigration Plan is not a new route as such, but inclusion in Tier 2 (General) Visa– newly added to the Tier 2 Policy guidance on 14th July.

Applicants will only be eligible for this new visa if their roles in the UK fall under the exhaustive list of eligible occupations which include:
Biological Scientists and Biochemists (2112), Physical Scientists (2113), Medical Practitioners (2211), Physiologists (2213), Ophthalmic Opticians (2214), Dental Practitioners (2215), Medical Radiographers (2217), Podiatrists (2218), Health Professionals not elsewhere classified (2219), Physiotherapists (2221), Occupational Therapists (2222), Speech and Language Therapists (2223), Therapy Professionals not elsewhere classified (2229), Nurses (2231), Midwives (2232), Social Workers (2442), and Paramedics (3213). 

Under the new scheme, the applicant must also satisfy all the customary Tier 2 (General) criteria. On that account, applicants still need a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer holding a Tier 2 Sponsor licence. The sponsoring employers must be with an NHS Trust, NHS-commissioned service providers, or other eligible occupations in the Social Care Sector.  

This new Health and Care Visa will levy a reduced visa application fee along with an exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge. Creating this fast-track visa route will also be processed within three weeks. This initiative will undoubtedly welcome the best overseas health and care professionals. 

Do you want to know more about UK immigration opportunities in the healthcare sector? Get in touch with our team of specialists at A Y & J Solicitors. A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, a boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. You can contact us on +02036662811, email us at  [email protected] or use our live chat. 

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.

Changing UK Immigration Laws-Why now is the best time to get ahead of the curve and plan your finances

Changing UK Immigration Laws: Why now is the best time to get ahead of the curve and plan your finances.

June 08, 2020 | Post by A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors’ Yash Dubal provides insight on what the business owners need to know regarding the future of immigration – why this is the best time to get ahead of the curve and plan your finances.

UK immigration is about to undergo a fundamental change, heralded by the new law which introduces a post-Brexit immigration system. MPs gave their initial approval to the changes earlier this month (19 May). The House of Commons approved the general principles of the law by 351 votes to 252. It will now go on to receive further scrutiny.

Under the new regime, freedom of movement into the UK by EU citizens will be rescinded and replaced by a points-based system applicable to everyone from overseas who plans to work and live in Britain. In essence, the legislation puts EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens on an equal footing to immigrants from outside the bloc. The government hopes the new rules will create a “high skill” economy.

Reaction has been mixed. Many Brexiteers welcome the changes, while others argue they will affect the ability of care workers and other migrants to come to the UK, leading to key shortages. The corona virus pandemic has also added a layer of complexity. International travel is still largely at a standstill and no one knows when that will change or what restrictions will remain. The government has announced some transitional arrangements, such as visa extensions for those who cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions. Some frontline health workers and their families will also get automatic visa extensions.

Start the financial planning now to hire overseas workers

Despite the uncertainty however, businesses who employ workers from the EU and beyond, or who plan to do so in the future, would do well to start planning now. Figures show that less than 30,000 of the UK’s employers are approved to employ foreign workers. With 1.4m British businesses employing people in 2019, this means only a tiny percentage are geared up to take advantage of the global personnel market.

Understandably, energies are currently directed towards responding to the pandemic, and will be focussed on recovery afterwards. Yet year-end will come soon enough and with it the end of free movement, which could leave those who are unprepared struggling to find workers, or on the wrong side of new immigration rules that require employers to become approved sponsors before they can employ overseas workers.

What is certain is that migrants will still be needed to fill positions in the UK and they will still benefit employers in many ways. I have been helping businesses secure visas for migrant workers for over a decade and clients report that migrants are generally more reliable, more productive and more focused on the job. The vast majority of those who come to the UK to work have a desire and a need to make a better life for themselves and their families, particularly when they come from less well off backgrounds and/or travel many miles from their home country to the UK.

Immigration and visa rules and regulations

From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to the UK to work will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor, that the job offer meets the required £25,600 salary threshold at the required skill level (generally A Level and equivalent) and that they speak English. The salary threshold can drop to a minimum of £20,480 if the job offer is in a specific shortage occupation or the applicant has a PhD relevant to the job. There is no cap on the number of people who can come to the UK through this ‘skilled worker route’, which is designed to attract a wide pool of skilled workers from anywhere in the world.

In order to benefit from the global skills pool, businesses need a Home Office licence. There are several requirements and considerations. Employers also need to consider what type of worker they want to sponsor. There are two main categories of visa for skilled workers: Tier 2 for long-term job offers, and Tier 5 for skilled temporary workers.

Applications for a licence can be made through the Home Office website. However, the process is cumbersome, and many employers prefer to let legal experts prepare the application for them.

In order to get a sponsor licence, businesses must demonstrate they have:

  • The necessary systems in place to comply with Sponsor Licence duties and responsibilities.
  • No past convictions or breaches in immigration or any other area of law.
  • No history of breaches of UK Visas and Immigration’s (UKVI) sponsorship duties.

Applicants for Tier 2 sponsor licences can expect a visit from a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) compliance officer to check there is a genuine need for a licence and to ensure correct systems are in place to manage sponsored workers. The officer also checks that the application details are accurate.

If successful, businesses are then obliged to maintain an ongoing compliance system which involves:

  • Updating the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). This is an online system provided by UKVI.
  • Keeping records of checks undertaken. These include verifying foreign workers have the necessary skills, qualifications, and professional accreditations.
  • Conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) to ensure no settled worker can fulfil the role.
  • Ongoing monitoring of sponsored employees, including attendance and changes in contact details.
  • Advising UKVI of any non-compliance by sponsored workers.

Sponsor licence holders are also required to appoint individuals to key roles. They need an authorising officer, a key contact and someone to undertake day-to-day management of the SMS.

Costs for visas and hiring overseas

There are several financial implications to becoming an approved sponsor, which need to be weighed up against the advantages of hiring staff from overseas. As at May 2020, licence fees for small businesses and charities cost £536 per year, rising to £1,476 for medium and large sponsors (small businesses are classes as those with an annual turnover is £10.2 million or less with 50 employees or fewer).

There are some exceptions to some of the fees (for example, those who are switching between Tiers and Tier 4 students) but these are the main ones that will apply to most workers.

Once approved, sponsors can issue a certificate of sponsorship, or CoS, to workers they wish to hire. The worker then uses the CoS to apply for their visa. The cost of issuing each certificate is £199.

There is also an Immigration Skills Charge which is essentially a tax levied on businesses for employing foreign workers. For a small or charitable sponsor, the Immigration Skills Charge is £364 for the first year and £182 for each additional six months. For a medium or large sponsor, the charge is £1,000 for the first year and £500 for each additional six months.

Fees are also levied on migrants. Visas up to three years in a non-shortage occupation are £610 and £1220 over three years. Visas up to three years in a shortage occupation are £464 and £928 for more than three years. There is also a controversial Immigration Health Surcharge on top of the application fee of £400 a year. Family members accompanying migrants are also required to pay the outlined fees. Before sponsorship goes ahead, I would always urge employers to check with the individual whether they have family and to reach an agreement as to who will bear the relevant costs. The sponsor can, for example, agree that the worker will pay their own application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge. Sponsors cannot however, lawfully pass the Immigration Skill Charge on to individuals. The licence fee must also be paid by the sponsor.

Overseas recruitment, the main points

As you can see, there are many considerations to bear in mind and the situation can be complex. The benefits to business of using overseas workers however, are well-established and with a change in regulations, complicated by the corona virus, it makes good business sense to start planning now.

5 key considerations:

  1.  Recruitment consultant’s fees
  2. Shortage of skillset in the UK
  3. Company policy around paying visa fees for the overseas worker and their family
  4.  Cost of visa application fees
  5. Timeline to recruit the right staff

Click here to read the article on the Global Banking and Finance.

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a UK immigration law firm with their main office in central London. The experienced team at A Y & J Solicitors is known for client focused service, honesty and their ‘In It To Win It’ approach. They consistently deliver results that exceed clients’ expectations by providing expert advice, regular communication with each client, and optimal, individualised results. For every area of individual and business immigration needs, A Y & J Solicitors has a proven track record of satisfied clients.