Thursday, 17 February 2011

UK Unemployment

UK Benefit Reforms Revealed

UK Foreign Worker Visa Policy Update February 2011

Yesterday the New Changes to the UK WORKING VISA SYSTEM and the ANNUAL LIMIT were announced by the Home Office.

UK Employers looking to hire non EU skilled workers will need to apply for a certificate of sponsorship from the UKBA for a specific job rather than receiving a number of certificates to issue each year.

The Govt also confirmed that employers filling a position with a salary of 150,000 GBP or more will not be included in the annual limit of certificates of sponsorship that may be issued.

Foreign NON EU WORKERS looking for work in the UK will have to hold a graduate level job, meet salary and employment requirements and speak an intermediate level of English

Intra Company Transfers to the UK are not part of the annual limit BUT have been changed in 3 areas:

-The job has to be in an occupation on the graduate occupation list

-Foreign Employees paid between 24,000 GBP and 40,000 GBP will only be allowed to stay in the UK for a maximum of 12 months. These people will need to leave at the end of this 12 month period and will not be allowed to re-apply for a further 12 months

-Employees paid 40,000 GBP or more will be able to stay in the UK for more than 1 year. These individuals will be issued a further 3 years with the chance to extend for a further 2 years.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

UK Visas Guide: Visa Application Processing Times-Validity Period

Recently I was approached by a client who had experienced an issue with the commencing dates of his UK Visa.

When he initially applied at his post (outside the UK) he had requested that his Visa begin at a future date- a month after receiving his UK Visa Approval however the Visa Issuing Post ignored or never noticed his request which was clearly marked on the application form and in writing in his cover letter.

According to the UK Visa Guide to Processing Times it is possible to apply within 3 months of your intended travel date. The Visa Issuing Post can post-date visas by 3 months from the date that your UK Visa was decided.

I strongly suggest that if you require a UK visa and need it post dated for a future date that when you submit and drop off the application and supporting evidence that you make the Embassy Official make note of this and confirm that they will have no problem issuing it to you.

My client and I had to resubmit the passport with visa approval inside and the embassy had to send it off to the Visa issuing post for them to reprint the Visa with the correct validity period.

Elderly in the UK and NHS

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Interesting Info on Canadian Immigration

In 2010 it has been reported by the Canadian Govt that Canadian Immigration reached record numbers with more than 280,000 new immigrants.

The last couple of months we have seen the UK close the Tier 1 ( General), reduce the Occupations permitted on the Tier 2 (General) and there are planned further changes to the Tier 4 Student Visa to the UK, all these steps making the UK a more difficult option for many people looking to Immigrate, Study or Work in the UK.

The Canadian Govt announced that they have kept the immigration numbers high as the post-recession economy requires a high level of economic immigration to maintain the strong Economy

The Immigration Department recently highlighted an evaluation that demonstrated the immigrants selected under the Federal Skilled Worker program made an easy transition and confirmed that applicants with a job when they apply were the best off.

The statement also confirmed that Foreign Students Studying In Canada add 6.5 Billion Dollars to the Canadian Economy each year.

I find the difference in policies between the UK and Canada interesting, to say the least, and will keep a close eye on the situation and report back with any findings.

Comments and questions as per usual are welcomed.

Have a productive day out there.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

UK University Fees Update 2011

The UK's Universities will be stopped from charging UK students the highest annual tuition fee of 9,000 GBP if they do not begin to accept more STUDENTS from poorer backgrounds according to Nick Clegg.

Any University looking to charge higher than 6,000 GBP annually are going to have to take part in a National Scholarship Program (NSP) for young STUDENTS from poorer backgrounds.

The program is intended to pay 1 year's fees for tuition of less fortunate STUDENTS and should be available for about 50,000 STUDENTS a year.

UK Banks to lend 190M GBP with new Govt Deal

The UK's major banks have pledged to lend 190 Million GBP in 2011 to small and medium businesses in the UK and also to pay lower bonuses. The four big banks Royal Bank Of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds are meant to confirm this in talks taking place later today:

Monday, 7 February 2011

New Tier 2 Update- Shorter Eligible Occupation List

07.02.2011 The Migration Advisory Committee has suggested that a shorter list of eligible occupations should apply under Tier 2 of the UK Immigration Points Based System.

The shorter list will now cover 39% of the skilled jobs on the UK Job Market instead of the 56% currently.

Civil Engineers, Finance and Investment Analysts,Teachers and Nurses are among those occupations still on the list however occupations like retail managers, salon managers, laboratory technicians and real estate agents are o longer on the list.

Unmarried Couples and Equal Rights

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mad Cow Disease- First Reliable Test

UK Service Sector Silences Recession Fears

10 of the Most Costly UK Benefits


Below is an updated list of the most expensive/costly UK Benefits:

-Tax Credit
-Child Benefit
-Income Support
-Council Tax Benefit
-Carer's Allowance
-Jobseekers Allowance
-Incapacity Benefit
-Housing Benefit
-Statutory Maternity Pay
-Disability Living Allowance

Below is a graph which outlines the cost of each benefit listed above.

The TAX CREDIT BENEFIT is under review and is estimated to cost annually £23.7 Billion. Majority of families living in the UK qualify for child tax credits and a number of people on Low Incomes may be eligible for Tax Credit.

The sum paid will depend mostly on the amount that is earned from employment and other personal circumstances like number of children and amount paid to childcare if any.

There were changes announced in June last year which are meant to come into affect in April 2011, The current benefit situation is as follows, a family with children and a yearly income of up to 50,000 GBP receive 545 GBP per year.

As income levels increase to over 50,000 GBP the benefit payments are reduced accordingly.

From April 2011 the 50K GBP limit will be reduced to 40k GBP and the payment rate will be considerably increased.

The CHILD BENEFIT costs £11.2 Billion annually and all parents are currently elegible for this tax-free payment which is about 20.30 GBP paid per week for the oldest child and 13.40 GBP per other child.

This payment is valid up to the age of 19 for full-time students in the UK and currently it is estimated that 7.7 Million families receive this annually.

It has been announced that this Benefit will be scrapped from 2013for Higher Rate Taxpayers in the UK and should save around 1 Billion GBP.

The INCOME SUPPORT BENEFIT costs around £7.5 Billion annually and is currently under review. This benefit is paid to individuals on low incomes who do not have to register as unemployed. Eligibility requirements for this benefit states that people aged 16-59 that work less than 16 hours per week, have a low income, with not more than 16,000 savings.

The weekly allowance for people aged 16-24 is 50.95 GBP and 64.30 GBP for people aged 25 and over.

COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT is for people on low incomes and intended to help pay for council tax (local property tax in the UK) The annual cost is £2.5 billion.

You do not have to be working in order to receive this and in general people with over 16,000 GBP in savings, Asylum Seekers and people sponsored in the UK.

CARERS ALLOWANCE is currently under review and costs annually £1.5 billion. This type of benefit is meant for people who look after/care for a disabled person. There is no requirement to be related or live with the disabled person BUT there is an age requirement of 16 years and older and a minimum of 35 hours per week in order to receive the 53.90 GBP weekly rate.

JOBSEEKERS ALLOWANCE is currently under review and costs £3.7 billion annually. This benefit was initially introduced in 1996 and is intended for people that are out of work or that work less than 16 hours per week.

In order to receive this benefit people have to register at their local job-center every two weeks.

INCAPACITY BENEFIT is currently under review and costs £6.2 Billion.
This is a weekly payment for people that cannot work due to illness or disability and who are under the pension age.

Incapacity Benefit was replaced by EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE (ESA)and is for people that were ill or disabaled after 27 October 2008 and will be phased out by 2014.

HOUSING BENEFIT is currently under review and costs £21.5 Billion annually. This benefit is aimed at people who are on lower incomes and need help paying for the rent.

There are a number of limitations which include people with over 16,000 GBP savings, people living in the home of a relative or full time students and asylum seekers.

In June 2010 The UK Govt capped the weekly payments at 280 GBP for a flat and 400 GBP for those people living in a house.

STATUTORY MATERNITY PAY is under review and cost £1.8 Billion annually.

This benefit is for women that need to take time off work before and after their baby is born. Women in the UK are entitled to a year off with the 1st six week period on a 90% pay rate, which is then followed by 33 weeks on STATUTORY MATERNITY PAY of approximately 125 GBP per week. The remaining period is left unpaid.

In order to claim this benefit it is essential that you have been employed by the same employer for a continuous 26 week period and people applying have to earn at least 97 GBP per week so that National Insurance contributions apply.

DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE benefit is paid to disabled people who require someone to look after them or who have difficulties with walking, Blind people and people with other mental or physical disabilities may be eligible.

There have been reports that there are no plans set to reduce the DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE but a newer harsher medical assessment is set to be introduced from 2013.

Errors to avoid when applying for a Tier 4 General Student UK Visa

The difference between Student Visitors and Student Visas for Americans ...

The role of biometrics in the Student Visa application for UK

Who to contact for information on Tier 4 General Student UK Visas

How to renew your Tier 4 Student Visa - Part 1 of 4

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

UK Tier 4 Student Visa Consultation Closed

The National Consultation on Tier 4 has closed on the 31 January 2011. The results of the consultation will be used by the UKBA to strengthen the Tier 4 Student Visa System. Any International/foreign Student looking to study in the United Kingdom needs to apply under the Tier 4 of the points based system.

The consultation lasted 8 weeks and they have reported to received about 30,000 responses and public views on some methods and suggestions to help reduce the numbers of foreign students coming to the UK.

Some of the suggestions are:

-cutting down the number of Students studying in the UK below Degree level
-harder or increased English Language Level requirements for Students
-confirmed educational progression with Current UK Students looking to extend their studies inside the UK
-looking at stopping or placing limits on the Students in the UK rights to work and ability to bring dependents

The full speech of the Immigration Minister can be found HERE

The results of the Tier 4 Consultation should be announced within the next few weeks, keep checking back to see what changes the UK Govt will enforce.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

City of London: Highest Office Space Take Up figures for 5 years

Cushman and Wakefield (Commercial Real Estate Brokers) have reported that in 2010 there has been record numbers of office space take up in the City of London and the Docklands. These figures are the highest in the past 5 years and gives welcome encouragement to UK businesses and Developers given the global current financial climate and in particular the UK.

General feeling in the property industry in Central London is positive with JP Morgan and Bloomberg taking up large space recently.

UK Prime Minister: "UK Will not tear up cuts plans"