Archive for 'immigration'

Home Office immigration and nationality fees

New Home Office immigration and nationality fees from April 2014

The Home Office has published a document listing new nationality fees from April 2014. These are the latest Immigration and nationality fees for all applications made from outside and within the UK. This document tells you how much it costs to apply for a UK visa from 6 April 2014. It includes fees for all visas including:

visitor
work
student
settlement
naturalisation

This updates the fee change proposals made on the 3rd of February 2014 by the then Minister of State for Immigration (Mark Harper) for immigration and nationality applications made to the Home Office and for services provided by the department.

You can work out the cost of your UK visa application by using the visa fees tool on the Home Office website. There is a useful page there with links to lots of information about Visas and immigration.

‘Knowledge of Language and Life’ requirements

Changes to ‘knowledge of language and life’ requirements and application details

A reminder that from 28th October 2013, unless they are exempt, all applicants for settlement or naturalisation as a British citizen will need to meet the knowledge of language and life requirement by:
• passing the life in the UK test; and
• having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.

Trinity College GESE grade 5 exam is the equivalent to this English language B1 test.

For an application for British citizenship to be considered under the pre 28th October government requirements, the application will need to be received by UK Visas & Immigration by Friday 25th October 2013 (the last working day before the change). Please note they do not receive a postal delivery on Saturday or Sunday so be sure to allow plenty of time to get your application in.

There is more information on the gov.uk website – see announcements about Borders and immigration by UK Visas and Immigration

 

Changes to Immigration Rules

More Changes to the Immigration Rules

There are important changes afoot for immigration rules. Yesterday, Friday 6th September 2013, a written ministerial statement was laid in Parliament outlining a number of changes to those Immigration Rules.

The changes, which are planned to come into effect on 1st October 2013, will mean greater flexibility for businesses and workers and include:

  • removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees;
  • making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2;
  • waiving share ownership restrictions for some senior staff; and
  • allowing some students to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.

Tourist and business visitors will benefit from the following changes:

  • Allowing tourists and business visitors to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit.
  • Expanding the activities a business visitor can do in the UK.
  • Removing the prospective student route.

Further changes include:

  • expanding checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for;
  • introducing powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English;
  • introducing a scheme which allows some locally engaged staff in Afghanistan to relocate to the UK;
  • setting new youth mobility scheme quotas for 2014;
  • enabling those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply under Tier 1;
  • changes to the way we handle settlement applications for refugees who have committed crimes, and adding the power to curtail leave for persistent or serious offenders;
  • introducing temporary Immigration Rules so participants and personnel can come to the UK during the 2014 Commonwealth Games;
  • minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life.

From 28 October there will also be changes to the way applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK. Applicants will need to pass the Life in the UK test and also an English Language Test  at an exam centre. The Trinity college speaking and listening B1 test, GESE grade 5 is an approved exam for this purpose.

Family Migrants Minimum Income Threshold

Minimum income threshold for family migrants

On the 5th July 2013, the High Court handed down its judgment in a Judicial Review of the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.

The Home Office has paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable us to consider the implications of the judgment.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Our family changes were brought in to make sure that spouses coming to live in the UK would not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and would be able to integrate effectively. We’re pleased that this judgment supports the basis of our approach.

‘We are looking closely at the judgment and its likely impact on the minimum income threshold before we decide how to respond. In the meantime, where an applicant does not meet the minimum income threshold and there is no other reason to refuse it, the application will be put on hold.’

However, The Home Office today, 26th July 2013, filed its appeal against a High Court judgment on the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.
The judgment affects non-EEA national spouses/partners and children applying to settle in the UK with someone who is already resident here.

The Home Office will continue to put on hold decisions in some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications until the case is finally determined by the Courts.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Our family changes were brought in to make sure that spouses coming to live in the UK would not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and would be able to integrate effectively. We are pleased that the High Court judgment of 5 July supports the basis of our approach.

‘However, we believe matters of public policy, including the detail of how the minimum income threshold should operate, are for the Government and Parliament to determine, not the Courts. We also believe the detailed requirements of the policy are proportionate to its aims. We are therefore pursuing an appeal against the judgment.

‘We have asked the Court of Appeal to expedite this. In the meantime, where an applicant does not meet the minimum income threshold and there is no other reason to refuse it, the application will be put on hold.’

You will find the latest information on the Home Office Website

 

 

Leave to Remain – Family and Private Life Basis

Extending Visas

Apply for leave to remain under one of the family of partner routes on the basis of family or private life

The UKBA states that since 9th July 2012 if you wish to remain in the UK on the basis of your family or private life you must apply under one of the family or partner routes. We will not consider any application made on the basis

of your family or private life under any other categories, including:

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional talent);
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur);
  • Tier 1 (Investor);
  • Tier 1 (General);
  • Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur);
  • Ter 2 (General);
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion);
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson);
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer);
  • Tier 4 (General);
  • Tier 4 (Child);
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker – creative and sporting);
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker – charity workers);
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker – religious workers);
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker – government authorised exchange);
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker – international agreement); or
  • Tier 5 (Youth mobility scheme).

If you wish UKBA to consider an application on this basis you must apply under the correct route, using the appropriate application form:

  • FLR(M) for the 5-year partner or parent route;
  • FLR(O) for the 10-year partner or parent route; and
  • FLR(O) for the 10-year private life route.

A request for leave to remain on the basis of family or private life will be considered under Appendix FM and paragraph 276ADE of the Immigration Rules.

Family Visit Visa Appeals Change

Immigration Appeals (Family Visitor) Regulations

Regulations 2012 come into force today (9th July 2012). The regulations set out who qualifies for a full right of appeal against a visa refusal to visit family in the UK.

This change was originally announced by the government on 18th June 2012, the Immigration Appeals (Family Visitor)

These regulations change the appeal rights of family visit visa applicants. If you are applying to visit your uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin, or a relative who does not have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK, and your visa application is refused, you will not have a full right of appeal. A limited right of appeal will remain on human rights and race discrimination grounds.

New interviews for student visas

This summer, 2012,  UK border agency officers will be given new powers to interview international students and refuse visas if they are not satisfied the applicant is genuine, immigration minister Damian Green announced today. The targeted interview system will be introduced ahead of the summer surge in student applications. Officers will concentrate on uncovering abuse in countries where it has been most prevalent.

Across the globe high-risk applicants will be identified and asked a number of questions about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. During the next year it is expected the agency will carry out up to 14,000 student applicant interviews.

Following a successful pilot, UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has announced that a targeted interview system for students will be introduced this summer and will concentrate on high-risk applicants.

If you are a student, you may be interviewed and asked a number of questions about your immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. We expect to interview up to 14,000 students in the next 12 months. We will refuse visas if we are not satisfied that you are a genuine student.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘With more interviews and greater powers to refuse bogus students we will weed out abuse and protect the UK from those looking to play the system.

‘Under the current system UK Border Agency officers are unable to refuse some applications even if they have serious concerns over the credibility of the student – we are toughening up the system to ensure genuine students benefit from our country’s excellent education sector.

‘Britain is open for business to the brightest and the best migrants but the message is clear – if you lie on your application form or try to hide your true motivation for coming to the UK then you will be found out and refused a visa.’

Today’s announcement follows an interviewing pilot carried out by the agency last year to tackle concerns about the legitimacy of some applicants. More than 2,300 student visa applicants were interviewed in 13 overseas posts with the aim of testing how effective face-to-face interviews would be – in addition to existing strict application processes that consider fraud and other factors.

Under a pilot system carried out by the Home Office late last year, around a fifth of the applicants were refused entry to the UK based on their interview. The Home Office concluded that one of the main issues was the inability of interviewees to display the required level of English. Some were unable to answer basic questions in English without the aid of an interpreter – despite stating on their application forms that they had the necessary language qualifications to study at higher and further education standards in the UK.

Other government .  Over 450 colleges are no longer able to bring in students from overseas. In addition the number of student visas issued has fallen by 21 per cent over the last year. The new powers will come into force on 30 July 2012.

Applications from Overstayers UKBA Update

Changes to applications from over-stayers

This UK Home Office warning to overstayers, includes students.

From 1st October 2012 if you have overstayed your leave by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be refused. This change in the Immigration Rules will affect applicants applying for further leave under:

  • the points-based system;
  • all working and student routes;
  • visiting routes;
  • long residency routes;
  • discharged HM Forces; or
  • UK ancestry routes.

If you have obtained limited leave to remain you must ensure you apply to extend your leave, if needed, in good time. If you wish to remain in the UK after the 28 day period you should therefore leave the UK and reapply for a visa. This change is in line with the new immigration rules coming into effect for the family migration route from 9th July 2012.

Family Migration Changes announced by UKBA

On 11th June 2012 the Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route.

The new Immigration Rules will also unify consideration under the rules and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, by defining the basis on which a person can enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life.

Most of these changes will apply to new applicants from 9 July 2012.