EuroFilipino Journal Jan-March 2007
UK Immigration Update
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by Mike Higgs, Equalisers Ltd, Registered Immigration Law Practitioners

There have been many recent and forthcoming changes in UK Immigration Law & Policy which affect practically all of us.  In this ground-breaking article, Mike Higgs, a Level 1, 2 & 3 OISC-registered Immigration Adviser provides a helpful survey and updates in the areas of change.  If you need any more detailed information or advice, you may wish to contact Mike at Equalisers, or email us at eurofilipinouk@aol.com and we will take up your matter with him. (Editor)

 

CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION LAW & POLICY.

In recent years there have been a number of Immigration changes, some being the nearest thing to an “amnesty” that there will ever be in the UK, and many applicants have benefited from these with specialist advice and guidance.

 

DOMESTIC WORKER CONCESSION

The DOMESTIC WORKER CONCESSION announced on 23/7/1998 was incorporated into the Immigration Rules on 18/9/2002, and for those who entered the UK after 23/7/98 these rules and the (Dec/02) IMMIGRATION DIRECTORATES’ INSTRUCTIONS, CHAPTER 5 SECTION 12 DOMESTIC WORKERS IN PRIVATE HOUSEHOLDS applies. Applications for Further Leave to Remain should be made before the applicant’s leave (permission) expires, and the applicant must be working in a PRIVATE HOUSEHOLD (i.e. NOT in commercial premises such as restaurants, care homes, hospitals, cleaning companies, etc.). The applications are made on a yearly basis, and at the moment can eventually lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), subject of course to any future changes there may be. The spouse and minor children (children under 18 years old) of a Domestic Worker may be admitted into the UK and given leave in line with the Domestic Worker. The dependants will not be subject to employment restrictions, unless the employer is a visitor.

 

CHILDREN LIVING IN THE UK FOR MORE THAN 7 YEARS.

Application for ILR can be made for the family.

 

THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998.

On 2/10/2000 the European Convention on Human Rights became incorporated into UK Domestic Law. Depending upon your circumstances you could benefit from this. Many ECHR issues are won on Appeal.

 

WORK PERMIT, BUSINESS, COMMONWEALTH WORKING HOLIDAY MAKERS & OTHER CATEGORY APPLICATIONS.

There have been a number of recent changes. On 1/5/2004, ten additional countries joined the EU, and on 1/1/2007, two more additional countries joined. Therefore Work Permit Applications have become more difficult because employers have to advertise any vacancies in a publication covering at least the EU (now a total of 27 Countries), and have to consider EU applicants first. Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Applications have also become more difficult. Generally, Visa National Visitors (Tourists) cannot change/”switch” to any other category (even upon marriage), except in very exceptional and rare circumstances, and should leave the UK to make any other category applications through an Entry Clearance Officer at a British Embassy/High Commission. We can assist with Entry Clearance applications. Extensive changes were made to British Citizenship applications on 1/11/2005, and of course we can also assist with these.

TOUGH NEW ASYLUM MEASURES & PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL WORKING NOW IN FORCE.

Prior to the introduction of these new measures there was an “AMNESTY” in all but name for families who sought asylum in the UK before the 2nd October, 2000, with financially dependant children of the family born before 24/10/2003, and have not been removed, or have been refused but limited leave has been granted. On1/5/2004 new  rules on prevention of illegal working came into force.

 

ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION (TREATMENT OF CLAIMANTS) ACT 2004.

The new measures are now being phased in, including those relating to marriage by foreign nationals to persons entitled to be in the UK (including EEA Nationals).

 

EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENS (OTHER THAN BRITISH CITIZENS).

If you are an EEA National, European Union Law applies to you and your family, and not UK Immigration Law. EU Law is much more flexible than UK Immigration Law, and you and your family may benefit from EU Law.

 

GENERALLY.

Due to the vast number of applications of all types, and the Home Office’s many re-organisations, long delays on complicated cases are inevitable, although the Home Office say that they are doing their best to reduce delays. In many such cases, especially  OUT OF TIME, OUTSIDE THE RULES or COMPLICATED CASES, it can take well over a year for the Home Office to make a decision - NO SOLICITORS OR REPRESENTATIVES HAVE ANY CONTROL OR INFLUENCE OVER THE LENGTH OF TIME THE HOME OFFICE TAKE. As from 3/4/2006:- Domestic Workers must now complete 5 years lawful continuous employment as a domestic worker in a private household before becoming eligible for ILR, and also Work Permit holders and some other categories must now complete 5 years lawful continuous residency/employment before becoming eligible for ILR. As from the 2nd April, 2007, all applicants who would normally become eligible for ILR (including Spouses and Dependants between the ages of 18 to 65 years) must take and pass the “Life in the UK” Test before ILR will be granted, otherwise they will only be granted Further Leave to Remain.  

 

If you are an Equalisers client, you must for your own sake keep in touch with us on a regular basis. If you change your job, address, or ‘phone number, you must let us know immediately in writing. The Home Office time limits for applications and other matters are very strict. If you do not keep in contact, we cannot help you, and you will miss out if applications are not made in time. Some have already missed out by not keeping in touch with us, because they have moved address without telling us.

 
If you want to find out more, make an appointment to come and see us at one of our surgeries.
 
Equalisers Ltd, 3 Penta Court, Station Road, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1SL, Tel 020 8953 2000, email mikehiggs@btconnect.com
OISC Registration F200100141

EuroFilipino Journal
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