Along with other top immigration solicitors in London, OTS Solicitors were delighted to learn that doctors and nurses are to be removed from the Tier 2 skilled worker cap, meaning the NHS will be free to recruit from overseas and fill critical vacancies. The change also means other sectors will no longer be competing with the NHS within the Tier 2 skilled worker cap. The changes were announced along with a series of other updates to the immigration rules laid before Parliament on Friday 15th June. Here’s a look at some of the key changes.
New form of leave for children
The treatment of children under the immigration rules in recent years has led to some harsh consequences. All London immigration solicitors will welcome the news that a new form of leave is to be introduced for children who don’t qualify for asylum or humanitarian protection under the UK’s existing Immigration regime. This new form of leave will be introduced under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 – the so called ‘Dubs amendment’ after Lord Dubs who campaigned for a change in the law to help unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who did not qualify to come to the UK under Dublin III because they did not have family here. The government came under criticism at the end of 2017 for halting the initial scheme after only 350 children had been brought to the UK – Lord Dubs and supporters had hoped that the UK could help some 3,000 children.
The new form of leave will allow children to study, work, access public funds and healthcare. They will be able to apply for settlement after 5 years – without paying a fee.
Certainty for Afghan interpreters and their families
Another matter that has long concerned the best immigration lawyers – and which has received a significant amount of publicity – has been the treatment of Afghan translators who worked with the British Armed Forces during the conflict in Afghanistan. A Defence Select Committee report, Lost in Translation? Afghan Interpreters and Other Locally Employed Civilians, published on 26th May 2018, criticised the Government for failing to protect Afghans who had worked for the British Army and risked reprisals from the Taliban and Islamic State. The changes to the immigration rules mean that Afghan interpreters and their family members who have relocated to the UK can apply for settlement after 5 years’ residence. It is estimated that this will benefit 1,100 people. Up to an additional 40 Afghan interpreters and their family members will also be able to benefit from an extension to the ex gratia redundancy scheme to those made redundant before December 2012 who will now be eligible to relocate to the UK.
More changes to Visa routes
As we’ve already mentioned, the headline story was the change to the Tier 2 skilled worker cap in respect of doctors and nurses. The changes to the immigration rules include other changes to the Visa routes, and all immigration lawyers need to make sure they are up to date with the changes.
- The exceptional talent visa will be extended. Leading fashion designers and a wider pool of TV and film applicants will be able to apply under the exceptional talent visa. The British Fashion Council will assess applications from fashion designers under the endorsement remit of Arts Council England. The list of eligible industry awards, and conditions relating to nomination and winning has changed, benefitting TV and film applicants.
- Conditions for students eased The streamlined Tier 4 visa application process will be extended to 11 more countries, including China. Students from these countries benefit from only having to produce reduced levels of documentation in support of their Tier 4 visa. UK Visas and Immigration are keen to stress that there has been no change to the requirements of the Tier 4 visa, and will carry out randomised checks where they will require an applicant to produce a full version of the documentation required.
New settlement category for Turkish business people, workers and their families
This follows up a change that was first announced back in March when a decision of the Upper Tribunal meant that the previous route for settlement had to close. Turkish business people and workers in the UK under the EU-Turkey European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA) will be able to settle in the UK after 5 years, either as an ECAA Business Person or ECAA Worker (or an equivalent is under the points-based system routes), as long as their most recent period of leave was under the ECAA.
Digital Electronic Visa Waiver
Electronic Visa Waivers (EVW) can be presented in a digital format for the first time. Holders will be able to present their EVW in electronic or print format on departure and also on arrival to Border Force staff and will allow for smoother journeys for EVW holders.
All these changes to the immigration rules come into effect on 6th July 2018. There’s a lot to digest, as usual, and top immigration solicitors across the UK will be taking time to fully understand the changes.
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Posted on: Tuesday, 19 June, 2018