Tuesday, February 08, 2005

UK Immigration - Five Year Strategy on Immigration & Nationality. How will it affect You.

UK Immigration – 5 year strategy on Immigration & Asylum. How will it affect you?

UK Home Secretary Mr. Charles Clarke announced UK’s 5 year plan on Immigration & Asylum titled 'Controlling our borders: making migration work for Britain' which includes following major reforms to UK’s Immigration policies:

  • The emphasis is to ensure that only those who benefit Britain can come to the UK to work or study
  • To start a Points based system similar to HSMP for Work Permits and Student Visas
  • To make Employers responsible for reporting if the Work Permit holder leaves the job
  • To make Educational Institutes and Colleges responsible if the Student does not report for studies or leaves before completing the course
  • To phase out the low skills scheme like sector based scheme and seasonal agricultural workers schemes in view of inclusion of 10 more countries in the EU since the citizens of these countries have complete freedom to come to the UK to seek work.
  • Highly Skilled individuals like Doctors, IT Professionals and Finance Professionals will be welcome to come to the UK even when they do not have a job in hand and they would be free to find jobs on arrival.
  • Permanent Resident status will be allowed after 5 years in place of current 4 years and that too after test of English and knowledge about UK.
  • To restrict the sponsorship of family dependents
  • Stricter Fines for Employers employing illegal workers

These new changes will come into effect over next few months but it is worth noting the recent changes to various UK immigration / visa schemes:

  • From 1st October 2004 there have been some changes to the rules regarding in-country applications and switching status from one visa category to another. Students can not now switch to Work Permit or HSMP unless they have completed the Graduate or Masters Degree for which they were granted initial student visa.
  • From 8th February 2005 Working Holidaymaker visa scheme is changed and employment incidental to holidays is only to be allowed with maximum 12 months cap to employment under this visa.
  • There have been changes to rules related to getting married in the UK to stop sham marriages

If you are already in the UK under HSMP, Work Permits, Working Holidaymaker or Student visa or if you are planning to apply under any of the above schemes these changes may affect you. We at HSMP Services Limited will update the site content regularly to include these changes from time to time and you should visit the site at regular intervals. If you would like to ask questions related to your personal circumstances you can visit ‘contact us’ page on www.hsmp-services.co.uk and submit your question and we will try to provide you the answers.

Changes to Working Holidaymaker Scheme

Working Holidaymaker Changes from 08-February-2005

The Visa will now allow employment incidental to the Holiday and person can not engage in Business or provide services as Professional Sportsperson. The employment should not be more than 12 months in any event.

Person under Working Holidaymaker visa may switch into employment only in the following categories: Innovators, Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or Work Permit employment, if the occupation is on the list of designated shortage occupations maintained by Work Permits (UK).

The changes will affect all applications, including those made before 8 February which have not yet been decided. Those who applied before 8 February and have not received a decision will be allowed to choose to have their application decided under the new requirements, or to withdraw their application and receive a refund of the application fee.