Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Immigration Matters: Earn While You Learn with an NVQ QCF Vocational Qu...

Immigration Matters: Earn While You Learn with an NVQ QCF Vocational Qu...: NVQ’s or National Vocational Qualifications are work-related, competence-based qualifications introduced to train people in the workplace. ...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Immigration Matters: Sham marriage crackdown announced by Home Office a...

Immigration Matters: Sham marriage crackdown announced by Home Office a...: The Home Office will implement urgent reforms to designed to clamp down on sham marriages, or bogus weddings - where a non-EU national mar...

Immigration Matters: New Immigration Rules to prevent sham marriages an...

Immigration Matters: New Immigration Rules to prevent sham marriages an...: The Home Office will implement urgent reforms to designed to clamp down on sham marriages, or bogus weddings - where a non-EU national mar...

Sham marriage crackdown by Home Office under New UK Immigration Rules

The Home Office will implement reforms to clamp down on sham marriages or bogus weddings - where a non-EU national marries a British, EU/EEA national in order to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain under UK Immigration Rules. 

The UK Minister for Security and Immigration, Mr James Broken-Shire, recently announced that Part 4 of the Immigration Act 2014 is to be put in place on 2 March 2015, Colin Yeo of the Free Movement blog reports.

The new rules will change the procedure for marriage and civil partnership for both UK citizens and foreign nationals with the current notice periods being almost doubled.

New powers and duties are being created to report suspected sham marriages and to investigate and prevent bogus marriages, which are generally used to extend the UK visa (obtain a spouse visa) or leave to remain of a non-EU national.




According to official estimates the new measures will result in up to 35,000 suspected sham marriages per year being referred to the Home Office for investigation, with 6,000 marriages actually being investigated.

After 2 March next year, anyone who wants to get married in the UK will be subject to the extended 28 day notice period.

Anyone marrying a non EEA national in the Anglican Church will be forced to undertake full civil preliminaries.

The new powers means that any couple involving at least one party who is subject to ‘immigration control’ and not holding settled status in the UK, or permanent residence under EU law, or not exempt from immigration control, could be investigated by the Home Office where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a sham marriage.

The Home Office will use a number of potential ‘risk factors’ (most of them fairly obvious) to help identify possible sham marriage cases requiring further investigation including those where one of the parties:

·        Belongs to a ‘high risk’ nationality with possible involvement in a sham, based on objective information and intelligence held on sham cases.
Has a UK visa type known to be linked based on intelligence to bogus marriages.
Is a visa overstayer with illegally here no immigration status or their leave is about to expire.
Has already had a UK visa or leave to remain application refused by the Home Office.
Previously sponsored another spouse or civil partner to enter or remain in the UK.
Has been or is currently subject to a section 24/24A report.

How these investigations will work in practice largely depends on Home Office workloads where staff are already overstretched and dealing with huge backlogs of hundreds of thousands of immigration applications. However it works, the Home Office are taking sham marriage, increasingly between non-EU nationals and EEA nationals, and immigration crime extremely seriously. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Immigration Matters: Home Office plans to send international students b...

Immigration Matters: Home Office plans to send international students b...: The Sunday Times has leaked Home Office plans to force overseas students – who can spend as much as £50000 in course fees and living costs...

Home Office plans to send international students back home after spending up to £50000 obtaining a UK degree

The Sunday Times has leaked Home Office plans to force overseas students – who can spend as much as £50000 in course fees and living costs completing a UK degree at a minor university - to return to their home country after their courses finish before applying for a visa extension.

The latest Government plan to reduce net migration, reportedly being considered by the Home Secretary Theresa May, will be seen by international students, who bring in billions of pounds to the UK, as another slap in the face.

The news is bound to drive yet more of bright young people to the more student friendly visa regimes of Australia, Canada and other EU countries such as Germany.

Under May’s proposals, students from non-European countries would have to return home and apply for a work visa if they wanted to continue to live in the UK after graduation.




This means that if an employer wanted to sponsor a Tier 4 student visa graduate under a Tier 2 working visa, the candidate would have to travel back home to apply for another visa to re-enter the UK, a process which could take several months.

The report in The Sunday Times said Mrs May wants a future Conservative government to "move towards zero net student migration" by sending home those who come to Britain on student visas. 

A “source” close to the Home Secretary told the newspaper: "Making sure immigrants leave Britain at the end of their visa is as important a part of running a fair and efficient immigration system as controlling who comes here in the first place.

"Theresa is pressing for the next Conservative manifesto to contain a policy that will make sure that anybody coming here on a student visa will have to leave the country in order to apply for a new visa of any kind.

"She wants to make the colleges and universities that sponsor foreign students responsible for ensuring their departure.

"She wants to be able to fine colleges and universities with low departure rates and deprive the worst of them of their right to sponsor foreign students."

At present under the current Immigration Rules, the majority of graduate students are able to switch to a Tier 2 work visa whilst the UK. They also have options to apply for further leave to remain, for instance by switching to a Tier 1 or Entrepreneur visa.

The latest move will further erode the available options for graduate to remain in the UK. The previous Post Study Work (PSW), which allowed graduates to remain in the UK for up to 2 years in order to find an employer, was abolished along with other attractive features which helped make the UK a leading destination for fee paying students.

The coalition Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, who holds responsibility for universities has previously warned about the anti-immigration message being sent out around the world which is putting off students from countries like India from attending UK universities.

A senior Lib Dem source said her plan made "zero economic sense" and could deprive the UK of highly-skilled graduates.

"Such a blunt instrument would not get our support," the source said.

"The idea that you have people from abroad studying in this country and they become engineers or scientists of huge practical value to the economy, and rather than have them stay here you immediately turf them out makes zero economic sense."

Whilst the proposals have yet to become law, any foreign student currently studying in the UK or considering coming to the UK to study at a British university will be affected by the new visa rules upon graduation. In other words, even if they idea is never followed through the damage has been done and UK universities will have lost international students and much needed fees.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Immigration Matters: Immigration Information for Croatians Coming to th...

Immigration Matters: Immigration Information for Croatians Coming to th...: Under the EU Accession of Croatia Immigration and Worker Authorisiation Rules, the UK Home Office has imposed a 7 year work or full free mov...

Immigration Matters: Immigration Information for Croatians Coming to th...

Immigration Matters: Immigration Information for Croatians Coming to th...: Under the EU Accession of Croatia Immigration and Worker Authorisiation Rules, the UK Home Office has imposed a 7 year work or full free mov...

Immigration Rules for Croatians Coming to the UK to Work, Study or Visit

Under the EU Accession of Croatia Immigration and Worker Authorisiation Rules, the UK Home Office has imposed a 7 year work or full free movement of labour restriction on Croatian nationals coming to live in the UK.


video


Croatian nationals may stay in the UK for up to 90 days before exercise their 'free movement' rights to stay under a number of immigration categories, for instance, as a worker, student or self sufficient person.

Croatians (like Romanians and Bulgarians before them) require Accession Worker Authorisation to work in the UK. Permission to work is can come in various forms such as Work Permits (Purple Registration Cards), Highly Skilled worker cards, Au Pairs and student "Yellow Card", which allow work and study when taking a vocational (work based) training course in the UK.


Purple Cards are a type of work permit issued by the Home Office to workers in jobs at NQF (National Qualifications Framework) level 4 and above. For example, you will get a Purple Card for a qualified nursing job in an NHS hospital, but not as a care worker or HCA. 

The job must also be on the National Shortage Occupations list or meet the Resident Labour Market test - in other words, the employer cannot find a suitable resident worker or EU/EEA national to fill the job vacancy.  

The employer should be licensed under Tier 2 of the points based system and must apply for your Purple Registration Certificate before you come to the UK.

You should be able to demonstrate a level of English language at B1 or above on the Council of Europe's Common European Framework for Language Learning (CEFL), although this requirement would appear to run against EU regulations?

Croatian nationals can come to the UK to set up a business and work on a self-employed basis. You do not need a yellow card to set up a business under the free movement regulations, but you should register the business with the UK tax authority (HMRC) and demonstrate that you are running a genuine business.

Once a Croatian has been living in the UK legally for 12 months they can normally apply for a Blue Registration Card, which gives them rights to remain and work in the UK.

Like Romanians and Bulgarians, many Croatians are choosing to migrate here as a student to study and work in the UK. 

Before applying for a student yellow card, students must register on an approved course (which will normally be chargeable by monthly installments) and take out comprehensive sickness insurance. A European insurance health card 'EHIC' if the stay in temporary.

London based Concept Care Solutions and training provider London Cactus College have combined to offer paid work placements in care and approved vocational courses to Croatian nationals who want to work and study in the UK.

Assistance is also offered with Yellow and Blue Card immigration paperwork, as well as finding accommodation and getting settled in London. 


Further information on the immigration process can be found on the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration website or email me if you would like to work in the UK.

Immigration Matters: UK visa overstayers still here despite £30 million...

Immigration Matters: UK visa overstayers still here despite £30 million...: A new immigration report has slammed the Government and Home Office for failing to find and deport thousands of foreign nationals overstayi...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Diary of an Immigration Adviser: Free Apprenticeship Courses To Fill UK Job Vacanci...

Diary of an Immigration Adviser: Free Apprenticeship Courses To Fill UK Job Vacanci...: Cynthia Barker writes...Non-stop with immigration work here at Concept Care! Last week was our busiest week ever for visa appeal cases as th...

Diary of an Immigration Adviser: Don't Give Up and Leave The UK, Appeal For Your Hu...

Diary of an Immigration Adviser: Don't Give Up and Leave The UK, Appeal For Your Hu...: Cynthia Barker writes...another mad day, cases to finish and deadlines to meet before Home Office changes or fee hikes! Following my recen...

Immigration Matters: No more Family Permit visas for non-EU family memb...

Immigration Matters: No more Family Permit visas for non-EU family memb...: European Union judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have ruled the UK Home Office cannot prevent non-EU family members entering th...

Immigration Matters: UK visa overstayers still here despite £30 million...

Immigration Matters: UK visa overstayers still here despite £30 million...: A new report has slammed the Government and Home Office for failing to find and deport thousands of foreign nationals overstaying and livin...

UK visa overstayers still here despite £30 million Home Office illegal immigration crackdown

A new immigration report has slammed the Government and Home Office for failing to find and deport thousands of foreign nationals overstaying and living illegally in the UK.

The Home Office has been criticised for failing to crack down on the number of foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas in the UK.

The inspector of borders and immigration John Vine said the Government had failed to reduce the number of 'overstayers' despite a flagship Home Office scheme costing millions of pounds designed to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the UK.

Mr Vine said the ‘immigration refusal pool’, or the numberof foreign nationals refused leave to remain in the UK after 2008, was 174,057 in June 2012.

That visa refusal figure was relatively unchanged in the same period this year and remained at 173,562.




Mr Vine said:

"Any failure to take action against foreign nationals who overstay their permission to be in the UK has the potential to undermine public confidence in immigration control."

The Home Office awarded a multi-million pound contract to outsourcing firm Capita in 2012 to review and, where possible, close the records of foreign nationals in the migration refusal pool.

But according to Mr Vine, Capita has not only failed to deliver on the Government's ambition to crack down on illegal 'overstayers' it has also overstated its successes.

The report highlights a sample of 57 migrant records closed by Capita after stating that the overstayer had left the country. Inspectors found that 16 – around one quarter - had been ‘closed in error’.

This would amount to 1,140 records in 2013/14, 25% of the 4,080 people Capita reported to have left the UK that year, may still be illegally staying in the country. 

"I was disappointed to find a high level of inaccuracy in the classification of MRP records, with more than a quarter of departures in my sample being incorrectly recorded," Mr Vine added.

"Considerable improvements in the Home Office's capability to monitor, progress, and prioritise the immigration enforcement caseload will be needed to deliver its strategy for reducing the level of irregular migration."

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire defended the Home Office:

"We inherited an immigration system in complete disarray, which turned a blind eye to hundreds of thousands of people with no right to be here, and made no attempt to remove them or even to properly identify the scale of the problem.

"Under the UK Border Agency there was no systematic plan to deal with illegal migrants other than failed asylum seekers and foreign criminals. We scrapped the failing UK Border Agency and brought its work back under the control of ministers partly in order to sort out that mess."

The Government has introduced a new Immigration Act, which cuts the number of human rights type visa appeals blocking the deportation of an illegal immigrant from 17 to 4 

Immigration specialist Cynthia Barker said that the problem of visa overstayers will take years to solve:

"The UK still has no proper system to count people in and out of its borders, so nobody really knows how many overstayers and illegal immigrants there are in the UK. 

"Research by the think tank ippr, suggests that the illegal immigration figure is at least 500,000, which it estimates would take £5 billion and 20 years to deport and remove all of the overstayers.

"The longer an illegal migrants stays in the UK the more chance they have of staying, for instance due to right to a family life under article 8 or through a long stay concession or amnesty."

The failure of the campaign to remove overstaying migrants and students included the ‘go home’ vans and Capita’s bungled 40,000 text messages to so-called illegal immigrants and visa overstayers, asking them to leave the UK. Many of the messages were sent in error to British citizens.

Immigration Matters: No more Family Permit visas for non-EU family memb...

Immigration Matters: No more Family Permit visas for non-EU family memb...: European Union judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have ruled the UK Home Office cannot prevent non-EU family members entering th...

No more Family Permit visas for non-EU family members, European Court Judges rule against UK Home Office

European Union judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have ruled the UK Home Office cannot prevent non-EU family members entering the country without a travel permit as long as they are settled in another EU country.

The Luxembourg based ECJ ruling means that EU citizens or EEA nationals will be able to bring their non-EU national family members into the UK without applying for a Family Permit visa.

The UK government has effectively been ordered by European judges to change its own Immigration Rules by European Union judges following the ECJ decision on a controversial case allowing Britons to enter the UK with their foreign relatives.

The controversial case involves a Spain-based dual British and Irish national Sean McCarthy and his Colombian wife. The couple argued she should be able to travel to the UK to see her British family without applying for a visa or travel permit.

McCarthy, lives and works in Spain with his Colombian wife Patricia McCarthy Rodriguez, lodged a legal action against the Home Office. The couple argued that Rodriguez should be free to travel to the UK with her British family without having to obtain a UK visa on the basis that she holds an EU residence card issued by the Spanish government.

The Home Office had forced her to obtain a "family permit" visa every six months if she wanted to enter UK borders.

But the ECJ ruled in the McCarthys' favour stating that freedom of movement rules do not allow measures which prevent family members from entering a member state without a visa.

The court ruling stated: "Where a family member of an EU citizen who has exercised his right of freedom of movement is in a situation such as that of Ms McCarthy Rodriguez, that family member is not subject to the requirement to obtain a visa or an equivalent requirement in order to be able to enter the territory of that EU citizen’s member state of origin."

The McCarthy’s two young children are both British citizens, yet their mother had to travel from the family's home in Marbella to the British Embassy in Madrid to be fingerprinted and complete detailed application forms every time she wanted to travel to the UK. Her lawyers claimed that the expensive and cumbersome process took several weeks to complete.

The Home Office had brought in its own visa regime due to concerns that other EU member states' residence cards fell short of international security standards and could lead to an abuse of EU freedom of movement rules.

A UK Government spokesman said: "The UK is disappointed with the judgment in this case.
"It is right to tackle fraud and the abuse of free movement rights.

"As the case is still to return to the UK's High Court for a final judgment, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Free movement rules have been at loggerheads with UK Immigration laws since the EU expansion into Eastern Europe when millions of Poles, Romanians and Lithuanians have settled in the UK.

However, Britain has imposed 7 year restrictions on newest EU member citizens of Croatia from working in the UK without a work permit or yellow card.

In a recent speech, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, said he would introduce tough new laws to restrict the wave of EU citizens entering Britain, as well as ending EU migrants right to claim welfare benefits for the first four years after arriving in the country.

There are other anomalies in the UK and EEA rules which work to the disadvantage British citizens wishing to bring their spouse or unmarried partner into the UK. Unlike EEA nationals or Britons living within the EEA their partners must pass the Home Office tests on English language and minimum income requirements, which often force families to live apart. 

The right wing UKIP party condemned the latest snub to Britain saying: "The ECJ, like every other EU institution, is determined that Britain will never take back control of its borders."
MEP and spokesman on immigration Steven Woolfe said:

"Britain will be forced to recognise residence permits issued by any EU member state, even though the system of permits is wide open to abuse and fraud.

"This ruling extends the so-called 'right to free movement' to millions of people from anywhere in the world who don't have citizenship of any country of the EU.

"This is yet more proof that Britain can never take back control of its borders as long as it remains in the European Union.”



Speaking to the BBC, Mr McCarthy said he was "overjoyed" by the ruling:

"As a British national I had expected my country to play by the rules, and now the court has finally forced the UK to respect British and European citizens' free movement rights."

There are many non-EU nationals, such as Filipino care workers and domestics, who have been living in EU countries like Spain, Italy and Greece for over 10 years as residents, but are unfairly denied full citizenship.

In another case this month the court ruled that gay and lesbian asylum seekers must not be asked to prove they are homosexual in order to stay in Britain.

Judges ruled that asking refugees detailed questions about their sexual habits in order to establish whether they are at risk of persecution at home is a breach of their fundamental human right to a private life.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Immigration Matters: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage blames immigration on mot...

Immigration Matters: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage blames immigration on mot...: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage blamed UK immigrants for a traffic jam, which resulted in him being unable to attend a party event in Wales on Fri...

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage blames immigration on motorway traffic jam

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage blamed UK immigrants for a traffic jam, which resulted in him being unable to attend a party event in Wales on Friday.

His astonishing statement was made to BBC Wales after he missed a UKIP convention in Port Talbot, which he said was due to Britain’s high levels of immigration causing congestion on the M4 motorway.

Over 100 UKIP members had coughed up £25 each to attend the event featuring their charismatic leader. But Farage failed to arrive in time, telling BBC's Sunday Politics Wales, "It took me six hours and 15 minutes to get here - it should have taken three-and-a-half to four.

"That is nothing to do with professionalism, what it does have to do with is a population that is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration and the fact that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be."

Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said his remarks were "absurd".

“Remarks like these are what makes Farage so dangerous.

"It is clearly absurd to suggest heavy traffic on the M4 is caused by immigration, but through the laughter at his silly comments you can hear UKIP's dog-whistle politics of division."

UKIP has gained popularity with voters in recent years, largely built on anti-immigration and anti-EU rhetoric. Farage has called for strict controls on immigration, especially from the EU, which would effectively mean Britain pulling out of the European Union. Some in the party have even suggested sending home EU nationals!

We have heard of politicians blaming immigrants for a country’s economic woes, for instance Adolph Hitler, but never for a traffic jam on a busy motorway.

Let's not forget that our NHS (National Health Service) would not be able to run without foreign Doctors, Nurses and Care Workers, which is why hospitals are now recruiting Nurses in Spain, Ireland, Croatia and The Philippines for UK job vacancies.

The MEP (Member of European Parliament) also forgets that Irish immigrants helped build Britain's motorways!

Anyway, who were these so-called immigrants clogging up the M4 road to Wales? Maybe English people emigrating to Wales? 

If he wanted to be sure of getting there on time he could have taken the train? Politicians are always trying to force us to use over crowded public transport, while they use taxis and chauffeur driven cars.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Immigration Matters: NMC Test of Competence for International Nurses wh...

Immigration Matters: NMC Test of Competence for International Nurses wh...: Good news for international nurses who want to work in the UK as a nurse or midwife. The University of Northampton's School of Health h...

NMC Test of Competence for International Nurses who want to work in the UK starts at University of Northampton

Good news for international nurses who want to work in the UK as a nurse or midwife. The University of Northampton's School of Health has successfully started delivery the new 'Test of Competence' on 17 November, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed.

The new competency test for non-EU nurses and midwives replaces the old Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) and will fast-track the process for internationally trained nurses and midwives seeking to work in the UK as well as ensuring candidates are assessed robustly in a standardised way.

The new assessment process is formed of two parts starting with a test in the candidates own country:

  1.  multiple choice computer-based exam, which candidates sit at test centres around the world
  2. practical clinical examination delivered at the University of Northampton in the UK

The NMC, the official professional body which regulates nursing in the UK, said they “want to ensure that all people joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council's register are meeting the UK standards”.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Each year, hundreds of nurses and midwives who trained outside Europe apply to practise in the UK. 

"As a responsible regulator, we need to make sure that they are able to demonstrate clinical and theoretical knowledge as well as the professional values that will ensure patient-centred, compassionate care.

"This test will put candidates through scenarios that they may find in the UK’s health services."

Although we have not seen the results of the changes, the competence-based testing system for international nurses should be more straightforward than the previous cumbersome and expensive ONP, which often hindered hospitals and care homes from recruiting overseas nurses. The simple two-part process will do away with the subjective 3-6 months of adaptation and supervision and help hospital Trusts employers fill thousands of UK NHS nurse job vacancies they are unable to fill within the UK or EU.

Nurses union RCN said there are around 20,000 nursing job vacancies in the UK. With NHS hospitals unable to recruit enough nurses in Spain and Portugal, they are once again offering Tier 2 working visa sponsorship for non-EU overseas nurses and those who are on Tier 4 students in the UK. Student Visa holders are allowed to switch to Tier 2 work permits whilst in the UK.

Going through the initial NMC registration process and obtaining a PRN letter can take several weeks, if not months, so if you are serious about coming to work in the UK you should get started as soon as possible. NHS hospital employers going out to countries like India or the Philippines will not want to wait around for 3-6 months while you sit an IELTS test and apply for the your NMC if they have candidates who are already in process. English tests are required for most of the English speaking countries - Australia, NZ, Canada - likely to need more nurses, so get studying!

Non-EU nurses and midwives still have to pass an IELTS English test at an overall band score of 7.00 in order to register with the NMC - and have at least 1 year's clinical experience in a hospital (private nursing or 'company' nurse will normally not be sufficient for the NMC). For full details on the new registration process and working in the UK for non-EU trained nurses or midwives, visit the NMC website or email me your CV if you are interested in migrating to and working in the UK as a nurse.