Immigration; Major Changes in 2012

This year has seen some major changes in immigration rules. Why? Because the Government want to exercise stricter control on people wishing to enter or remain in the UK.  We employ expert solicitors in the immigration field who can ease your understanding in the changes and how they will affect you.  We can ensure that your applications are made with the best possible chance of success and your appeals are provided excellent representation.  We are experts in all areas of immigration, Asylum, Human Rights, European applications, students, Skilled workers and Tier points based applications.

Changes in Family Migration on the July 9th 2012 brought the greatest changes in family migration (spouses, partners, children, dependent relatives) for all those who are not from the European Economic Area. If however you already have leave to enter or remain in the UK, on the basis of being the spouse or partner of a settled person before 9th July 2012 the changes will not affect you.

The changes include:

• A sponsor must earn £18,600 per annum to sponsor the settlement of a spouse or partner, or fiancé (e) or proposed civil partner in the UK. The amount increases to  £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;

• Spouses and partners will have to live together for five years instead of two before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

• From October 2013, all applicants will have to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt; and

• Adult and older dependants cannot switch from other categories e.g. a visitor to applying as a dependant relative. They must apply from abroad and they must demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK.

Visitors – 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 application is refused you will only have a limited right of appeal on human rights and race discrimination grounds.

News for over stayers From 1 October 2012 –  if you have overstayed your leave by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be refused. If your leave is refused you can only appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination. The UK Border Agency has withdrawn London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor students from outside the European Union.

In August 2012 The London Metropolitan University is removed from the register of licensed sponsors, and students from outside the European Union are no longer allowed to study at the university. The UKBA states that, “London Metropolitan University students who are already in the UK with a current, valid UK visa do not need to do anything immediately.

A government-led taskforce is being created, which will include the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Universities UK, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the UK Border Agency and the National Union of Students. This will work with London Metropolitan to support those affected and enable appropriately qualified genuine students to find another institution where they can continue their studies in the UK. The taskforce will start work immediately.”

Scam e-mails and websites claiming to be sent and operated by the UKBA – Please be aware of the following scams:

• Foreign criminals advertising fake UK jobs on the internet asking people to apply and then telling them that they have a job and asking for money to pay for visa fees.

• Students at a number of UK universities have received calls from individuals who claim they work for the UK Border Agency, telling them that they have a problem with their visa and must pay to avoid deportation.

• A request for payment of a deposit as proof that you have sufficient funds to support your arrival in the UK until your first salary is received. Do report the matter online to action fraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk) or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

We will keep you posted with more Immigration News ……..

 

Talat Jabin – Solicitor
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