Tuesday, 29 June 2010

UK Migration Cap Updated info

28 June 2010 It was confirmed today that the UK will be setting a new limit/cap on the numbers of foreign workers entering the UK.The idea is try and get migration numbers back to similar levels that were in the 1990's and this cap is one method that the New UK Govt intends to use to achieve this.

The Govt has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to assist in calculating what level the permanent level should be set at taking into account economic and social factors. These findings will then be used to set the changes in the way that non EU workers will enter and working the future in the United Kingdom.

From the 19th July 2010the temporary cap will be used to try and stop a rush of applications before the permanent cap is set in April 2011.

The temporary cap includes setting the cap of applications of Tier 1 Applications at current levels and increasing the number of points needed from 95 to 100 and also limiting the number of certificates of sponsorship that UK employers can issue under Tier 2 to 1,300.

Majority of the questions I received recently are from potential Tier 1 applicants requesting some further clarification on this cap and how it would affect their applications. Again I need to emphasize that if you are a potential candidate and you qualify at present, then I highly recommend submitting your application As Soon As Humanly Possible. I am not certain yet what they mean when they refer to current levels and how they intend to set the limits precisely BUT as soon as there is any other useful information on these limits or any other changes, I will as per usual post the facts and give my opinion.

Monday, 28 June 2010

UK Budget Really?

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the budget and how the UK Govt intends on reducing the large current deficit. This video I found explains the origins of the budget and gives some interesting and sheds a lighter side on the pretty serious subject :)

For a more official look at the UK Budget click HERE

UK Online Visa Application System down

I just received word that the UK online visa application system will be down for maintenance on the 5th July 2010 until 6th July 2010. There will be no way to apply online or edit any current saved application details during this time, so if you have any booking for these 2 days you have to print your form and appointment confirmation before this date.

If you are in the process of filling out an online form I strongly suggest saving the application many times and ensuring that you can retrieve the data in the forms as I have had certain issues recently when trying to retrieve client's information recently.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

More on the UK Immigration Cap

Later today the Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specific details on the temporary Immigration Cap.

It is believed that she will limit the number of workers to 24,100 between now and April Next year (2011). One of the aims of this cap is to limit a potential rush of applications before the permanent cap is introduced next April.

At the same time there will be a consultation process for deciding on how to introduce the levels for the permanent cap.

This cap has been the subject of much debate recently where industry professionals argue that companies need to be able to bring skilled professionals to the UK in order to fulfill roles that require specific training or skills not necessarily found in the UK to the same level.

One source claimed that certain industries will be harder hit than others worry about their ability to hire skilled workers with this new Cap being introduced.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

UK immigrants face temporary cap

26 June 2010
The UK will be introducing a cap on the number of non-EU workers moving to the United Kingdom. This step is the first by the new UK govt and the Home Secretary will be announcing the details on Monday, the move will come into affect quickly while another consultation is undertaken to assess how to reduce net migration permanently.

This cap has been severly criticized by industry and business leaders who fear that these limits will make it harder to recruit the necessary skilled staff needed.

The UK govt has made a promise to reduce migration and although it is not clear at the moment how these changes may affect the UK it is perfectly clear that these caps whether temporary or permanent WILL HAVE an affect on those intending to make the UK their new home.

As soon as new details are made public, I will list and analyse these changes here.

Monday, 21 June 2010

UK National Minimum Wage to be raised

21 June 2010 The Govt has announced an increase to the National Minimum Wage TO 5.93GBP an hour. The new rates are confirmed to begin in October and will also include a 9p increase in the rate for 18-20 year old people. and a 7p rise for 16-17 year old people.

These changes are a welcome change to the current climate in the UK with the budget and deficit especially to those people working within these types of employment.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Language Test for Partners further explained

20 June 2010

On the 9th June 2010 the UKBA announced that any migrant who wants to enter or stay in the UK as the partner of a British Citizen or a person settled in the UK will have to show that they can speak English.

No set date has been given for the introduction of these rules but it has been stated that in Autumn 2010 the rules will be introduced into the UK Immigration Rules.

If you are looking to enter or remain in the UK after Autumn 2010 you will have to show a basic command of English which includes speaking and listening at level A1 of the CEFR. This is a basic level of English and generally people who hold this level can express themselves and get by with everyday use of English. There is no need to show your writing and reading skills.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme Explained

With the UK Tier 4 system there has been a requirement for education providers to make an application to register with the Govt in order to offer courses to foreign nationals. These education institutes then received either an A or B rating.

Now with the Highly Trusted Sponsor category comes a further classification on this sponsor rating system. This Highly Trusted Sponsor is designed for those institutions/sponsors that have the top level of compliance with the rules in place for sponsors and for those individuals/students with the highest level of compliance with the rules in place for students.

The main benefits of being or registering with a Highly Trusted Sponsor are that these sponsors will be allowed to offer Courses at NQF Level 3 and equivalent and courses below degree level with a work placement.

Highly Trusted Sponsors also receive top level account management which comprises an account manager service with annual visits, a specific dedicated email address and phone line.

Tier 4 Dependent Student Issues

Recently I have tried to submit a Tier 4 Dependent for an unmarried couple that have been living together for over 5 years. This couple had more than sufficient evidence of their relationship going back 5 years. On their date of submission the embassy worker did not allow them to submit claiming that this option for an unmarried couple does not exist, even though I had received numerous applications of this type in the past year.

I contacted Worldbrige the organization that works in partnership with the UKBA around the word at British Diplomatic Posts, providing assistance to people applying for UK Visas. They confirmed that this option IS still available.

Yesterday I arranged a meeting with the Head Consul at the embassy and he confirmed that there seems to be some discrepancy in the legislation. He went on to comment that if same sex couples are entitled to this visa option surely then heterosexual couples living together for more than the two year period required SHOULD be entitled to this option too.

In my experience there has been a shift in the way the Embassies are considering applications and anyone thinking of submitting a Visa for the UK needs to be as confident as possible and needs to use the facilities available to the public (Guidance, Immigration Rules) and if you encounter any problems to consult a professional with experience.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

UK Votes yes to further sanctions on Iran.

Yesterday the UK and 11 other UN Security Council Members voted in favour of imposing further sanctions on Iran.

The sanctions are linked to Iran's Nuclear stance and also includes regular arms and missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This vote was the 6th UN Security Council Resolution on Iran since 2006 and the fourth time instituting sanctions.

Brazil and Turkey voted against the sanctions while Lebanon abstained from the vote.

You can read the full statement of Sir Mark Lyall-Grant's by clicking here.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

New English Language Rule for Migrants marrying UK citizens

08 June 2010 The UK Govt announced that all non-European migrants joining their UK settled partner will need to undergo and pass an approved compulsory English test to confirm their level of English.

This rule is set to start in Autumn 2010 and the idea behind this is to confirm that all migrants and their partners will have an acceptable level of English which will allow them to deal with everyday life in the United Kingdom. The level of English needed to secure the visa approval is English A1 which is the same as applicants of the Tier 2 Skilled worker category of the points based system.

The new rules shall apply to applicants under the Husband, Wife, Unmarried partner, Civil Partner, Fiance or same sex partner and Both applicants from overseas and within the country will need to prove their level of English.

Whichever way you look at it this is another clear example of how the New UK Govt is trying to tighten the immigration process and reduce the number of immigrants entering the UK.

UK Drivers License Guide

If you want to drive in the UK you need to 1st apply for provisional license. You may apply for your provisional license on the Driver and Licensing Agency's (known as DVLA) online service. You can also apply in person or by post by completing the D1 application form available from the DVLA form ordering service or Post Office. The DVLA should deliver your license within 3 weeks of receipt of your application and supporting required documents. You have to wait for the license to arrive before you start driving.


1st provisional license for car, motorcycle or moped costs 50 GBP
1st provisional license for bus/lorry is free
1st full UK license when exchenging EU or other foreign license costs 50 GBP

Provisional to full license for car, motorcycle or moped is free
Replace ment lost or stolen license costs 20 GBP
Change of name and or address after exchanging your current license is free

Saturday, 5 June 2010

UK Customs- What can you bring into the UK?

As most people know certain items are completely restricted from entering the UK, even if returning from the European Union. Banned Items include firearms, certain types of plants and food products, all endangered species and weapons of any kind.

There are also restrictions on alcohol and cigarettes:

If you are entering from a non EU destination:

Tobacco: you can bring in either 200 cigarettes/100 cigarillos/50 cigars/250 grams of tobacco/or a combination of these

Alcohol: 1 litre of spirits or strong liquers over 22%
2 litres of wine/sparkling wine or other alcoholic drink les than 22% or a combination of these
additionally you may bring 16 litres of beer and 4 litres of still wine

You may also bring in other goods with a value of up to 390GBP without having to pay duty or tax.

Entering from EU country:

Generally when coming from a EU country there are no restrictions BUT you do need to meet some conditions:

That you have transported the goods yourself.
These items are for personal use or as a gift
That Tax and duties have been paid in the EU country of origin

If any of the above are not met the items will be confiscated.

Although there are no limits on the amount of alcohol and cigarettes you can bring UK customs officials are likely to question if you have more than:

3200 cigarettes
200 cigars
400 cigarillos
3 kg of tobacco
10 litres of spirits
90 litres of wine
110 litres of beer
30 litres of fortified wine (port or sherry for example)

For full information on customs click here for the UKBA guidance on travelling to the UK.

Tier 2 guidance update skilled workers

02 June 2010

The UK border agency published updated policy in the guidance for the Tier 2 of the points based syste. This policy guidance explains further the duration of the permission to stay in the UK issued to all Tier 2 applicants besides for those making applications under the Graduate trainees and Skills transfer categories of the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers).

To see the guidance with updated info click here and pay attention to the addendum on the front page of the document.