Page 1

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

05

Domestic Workers Concession Ended

LATEST NEWS

The opportunity for a foreign national to gain entry to the UK as a domestic worker has never sat very comfortably with the UK government. However, thanks mainly to some vociferous support from organisations such as Kalayaan, the government has always resisted the temptation to impose any radical changes to the scheme. That is, until now. As of 6th April 2012, the government introduced significant restrictions on the conditions of entry and leave to remain in the UK for domestic workers. Crucially, only employers coming to the UK for a short visit (up to 6 months), are now able to be accompanied to the UK by their domestic workers. Therefore, any family currently based overseas looking to relocate permanently (or via long term secondment) to the UK can no longer request permission to be accompanied by their live-in nanny or housekeeper. The fact that a particular nanny may have been an integral part of the family unit for years or even generations is of no consequence. Whilst the UK government view is that replacement domestic workers are readily available from within the UK workforce, many overseas families may think twice about transferring to the United Kingdom if it means severing the ties with their associated domestic staff.

What is Curtailment of Leave? The power to curtail a person’s leave is derived from Section 3(3)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971. It may be used when a person has failed to comply with certain requirements of the Rules or has lost his justification for being here. Although a person’s leave to enter or remain (‘visa’) may be curtailed for reasons such as making false representations or being a threat to national security, it is usually enforced when the individual ceases to meet the requirements of the immigration rules under which his leave to enter or remain was granted. The most common example whereby a Tier 2 migrant worker would be subject to a curtailment would be when he/she ceases employment within the UK. From April 2012, the UKBA has stated curtailment on this basis will now be mandatory. All sponsors are required to report changes in circumstance such as a migrant worker’s resignation via the Sponsor Management System. Where such information is received and promptly acted upon by the UKBA, the migrant is informed in writing that they are entitled to a grace period of 60 days to make an application to vary their leave. If the migrant fails to make such application, their leave will expire 60 days after the date of the decision to curtail and they could be subject to an enforcement action to remove them from the country.

New ‘PPE’ Visitor Route Opened Following much lobbying from various organisations within the sports and entertainment sectors, a new short-term visit route has been opened up to allow certain categories of professionals to enter the UK for up to one month and be paid for their work. The new visitor route, called Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE), will come into effect from 6th April 2012. Those to benefit from the new scheme include lecturers, authors, professional artists, entertainers or sportspersons to temporarily carry out an activity relating to their main profession without needing to be ‘sponsored’ via the Points Based System.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

focus

To give clients clear and concise information every quarter we focus on a key issue of UK immigration law. Our focus for this quarter falls upon...

UK:

USA:

Hong Kong:

Smith Stone Walters Ltd Title House 33-39 Elmfield Road Bromley, Kent, BR1 1LT

Smith Stone Walters 111 John Street Suite 800 New York, NY, 10038

Smith Stone Walters Level 21 The Center 99 Queen’s Road Central Central, Hong Kong

Tel: +44 (20) 8461 6660 Fax: +44 (20) 8461 6661 Email: info@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +1 646 378 4406 Fax: +1 646 378 4409 Email: usa@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +852 3478 3757 Fax: +852 3478 3760 Email: hk@ smithstonewalters.com

summer 12

Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

Key April 2012 Changes to the Tier 2 Scheme New immigration rules have recently been laid in parliament to confirm changes to Tier 2 of the Points Based System. In addition to the introduction of a cooling off period (mentioned elsewhere in this edition of Insight), a number of additional alterations have been announced, including: An increase in the minimum skill level required by migrants who wish to work in the UK under Tier 2 will increase. As such, from 14 June 2012 the current graduate occupation list of ‘qualified’ roles will be amended and certain middle-management occupations will no longer be eligible under the Tier 2 scheme.

be exempt from the need to satisfy the Resident Labour Market test. An increase in the level of funds applicants need to present as evidence to meet the UKBA’s maintenance requirements.

Annual Tier 2 Limit 2012/13 Following recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee last year, the government announced that the Tier 2 (General) limit will

Get set for new UK immigration rules

the recruitment needs of sponsors this year too. All of the above-mentioned changes form part of the government’s continuing move to overhaul the immigration system and restrict the ability of lesser skilled workers to enter the country. Additional changes to the immigration system including the Tier 2 scheme and family migration are inevitable. So watch this space!

01 02

03

05

The introduction of a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 (or higher if required to meet appropriate rate for job) for most Tier 2 General migrants seeking to qualify for settlement from April 2016. The introduction of an upper 6 year limit to the amount of temporary leave that may be granted to any Tier 2 skilled migrant who entered the UK after April 2011. An easing of the Resident Labour Market Test when employers are recruiting for vacancies attracting salaries over £70,000* and for PHD-level occupations. From 14 June, for these roles the sponsor will no longer be required to advertise on Job Centre Plus but will still be required to advertise in a suitable medium, i.e. a national newspaper or appropriate Internet job search site. *Roles attracting a salary of £150,000 or more will continue to

IN THIS ISSUE

04

remain at its current level of 20,700 for the next 2 years until April 2014. The limit has been divided into twelve equal monthly allocations of 1,725 which can be requested by Tier 2 General licence holders via the normal application route. Since the number of Tier 2 General certificates requested last year did not exceed monthly quotas, it is envisaged that the published 2012/13 monthly allocation will be sufficient to meet

Contact Smith Stone Walters today for further information on our UK immigration Services

This publication is not meant to be used as a substitute for proper professional advice based on the facts of a particular transaction as it is not intended to be a complete coverage of the subject. Smith Stone Walters Limited accepts no liability for any action taken based on the contents of this publication.

04

editorial:

The Tier 2 ‘Cooling Off’ Hangover latest news:

Smith Stone Walters – Highly Commended! Smith Stone Walters India Paying to Reduce the Border Queues UKBA Public Enquiry Office Croydon Sponsorship Licence Renewal Looming – Employers Take Note! latest news:

Domestic Workers Concession Ended What is Curtailment of Leave? New ‘PPE’ Visitor Route Opened focus on:

Key April 2012 Changes to the Tier 2 Scheme


summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

02

The government’s latest raft of changes in immigration rules effective from April 6th 2012 have been summarised in this edition of Insight. Whilst change is sometimes difficult to take on board or accept, the introduction of a Tier 2 ‘cooling off’ period has confounded many and left UK businesses with huge headaches when it comes to planning for the future engagement and retention of migrant staff.

In 2008 the government extolled the virtues of a simplistic and transparent immigration Points Based System. Less than 5 years later, the manifestation of a perplexing and unwieldy system leaves not only their customers scratching their heads, but also UKBA staff. The introduction of the cooling off period is a prime example of this. Given the introduction of such a restrictive measure, the UKBA must be able to effectively manage the measurement of the 12 month ‘ban’. A migrant worker affected by such exclusion should be able to readily gain confirmation as to when the 12 month period has concluded. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Even when a migrant worker’s employer notifies the UKBA of the employee’s premature departure from the UK, there is no guarantee that the notification will be acted upon and the 12 month ‘cooling off’ period initiated. As such, UKBA management are currently at a loose end when it comes to explaining how a migrant worker can gain simple clarification as to when their 12 month employment prohibition begins or ends. Migrant workers must therefore currently rely on guesswork or default to the ‘worse-case’ scenario i.e. 12 months after the expiry date of the previous work visa – regardless of whether they left the UK early or not. Such a weakness in the system cannot be allowed to continue. It creates severe uncertainty for any employer seeking to post a migrant worker on a second UK-based assignment and must be rectified immediately. Smith Stone Walters shall continue to make representation to the senior management within the UKBA with a view to securing a logical approach to this issue.

Summer of Chaos With passport queues of up to two-and-a-half hours having been already noted this year, and a huge influx of Olympic tourists expected to enter the UK over the summer, it is not surprising to hear that some of the hundreds of UKBA staff recently made redundant have been approached and offered lucrative incentives to return to the frontline in order to help the Agency get through the next few difficult months.

Well done, guys! Keep up the hard work!

LATEST news

editorial

Following the much-publicised congestion at UK Border control in recent weeks, which led to the mayor of London Boris Johnson stating that long queues were “damaging the UK’s reputation”, the government is now considering the option of raising extra funds in this area by introducing higher airline landing charges. Unfortunately, according to some carriers, including British Airways, any increase in landing charges would lead to higher ticket prices for passengers.

Having been shortlisted in the Excellence in Employee & Family Support category, the judges praised Smith Stone Walters’s emphasis on teamwork and the continuous improvement initiatives we have implemented.

A Tier 2 ‘cooling off’ requirement means a Tier 2 migrant now needs to wait 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa to re-enter the UK for employment purposes. Whilst common sense would suggest that such an imposition should be introduced for all new Tier 2 applications from a particular date, the government has decided to backdate their introduction of the 12 month cooling off period and thus make all recent Tier 2 workers subject to the new restriction.

SMITH STONE WALTERS INDIA Smith Stone Walters is pleased to announce the imminent opening of our new Mumbai office. Our latest office shall be based within The Capital building, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) which is Mumbai’s newest financial centre and on the door step of the British High Commission. In replicating our existing New York and Hong Kong-based centres, the Mumbai office will be manned by UK immigration experts dedicated to supporting and facilitating the submission of UK visa applications within the region.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters today about our dedicated UK visa management services from Hong Kong, New York & Mumbai.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

PAYING TO REDUCE THE BORDER QUEUES

The team at Smith Stone Walters were delighted to be Highly Commended during the recent Re:locate Awards 2011/12 in London’s Pall Mall.

A numbers game

Guesswork

03

Smith Stone Walters – Highly Commended!

The Tier 2 ‘Cooling Off’ Hangover

In their haste to reach their aim of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015, the government either overlooked or ignored the impact now felt by those hundreds of overseas nationals issued with a Tier 2 visa in the past year (for example, graduate interns) who always had an intention to return to the UK for employment purposes within the immediate 12 month period. One illjudged decision left untold numbers of migrant workers and recent graduates effectively ‘banned’ from working in the UK until they have cooled off for 12 months. Fortunately, following representation by Smith Stone Walters and others, the UKBA has woken up to this blunder and recently introduced a ‘fix’ for those interns who were offered employment contracts upon graduation this year but find themselves unable to fulfil the offer due to this new prohibition. Whilst these interns are the lucky few, other migrants affected by this change wait to hear if the UKBA will introduce additional concessions.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

LATEST news

01

UKBA PUBLIC ENQUIRY OFFICE CROYDON Last month saw the Public Enquiry Office (“PEO”) in Croydon finally admit that their systems are unable to cope with the increased number of biometric-based applications received for premium consideration. Constant IT system failures have led to many customers having their biometric appointments cancelled or rearranged whilst others have been waiting weeks rather than days for their application to be concluded despite paying for a premium service. Whilst the UKBA has advised that measures to rectify the situation are now being put in place, Smith Stone Walters shall continue to monitor service standards on behalf of our clients.

SPONSORSHIP LICENCE RENEWAL LOOMING – EMPLOYERS TAKE NOTE! The UK’s immigration sponsor licence system was introduced on 27th November 2008. As all issued licences were valid for 4 years, many employers will therefore need to arrange to renewal of their licence within the coming months. The earliest date any existing licence will expire is 27th November 2012. An application to renew can be filed up to 3 months ahead of the actual expiry day and is made online via the Sponsor Management System. Whilst the UK Border Agency has promised to notify licence holders by way of email reminder, we recommend that all employers make a diary note to action this. Further advice and guidance in regards to the process and its timings is available from your Smith Stone Walters Account Manager.


summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

02

The government’s latest raft of changes in immigration rules effective from April 6th 2012 have been summarised in this edition of Insight. Whilst change is sometimes difficult to take on board or accept, the introduction of a Tier 2 ‘cooling off’ period has confounded many and left UK businesses with huge headaches when it comes to planning for the future engagement and retention of migrant staff.

In 2008 the government extolled the virtues of a simplistic and transparent immigration Points Based System. Less than 5 years later, the manifestation of a perplexing and unwieldy system leaves not only their customers scratching their heads, but also UKBA staff. The introduction of the cooling off period is a prime example of this. Given the introduction of such a restrictive measure, the UKBA must be able to effectively manage the measurement of the 12 month ‘ban’. A migrant worker affected by such exclusion should be able to readily gain confirmation as to when the 12 month period has concluded. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Even when a migrant worker’s employer notifies the UKBA of the employee’s premature departure from the UK, there is no guarantee that the notification will be acted upon and the 12 month ‘cooling off’ period initiated. As such, UKBA management are currently at a loose end when it comes to explaining how a migrant worker can gain simple clarification as to when their 12 month employment prohibition begins or ends. Migrant workers must therefore currently rely on guesswork or default to the ‘worse-case’ scenario i.e. 12 months after the expiry date of the previous work visa – regardless of whether they left the UK early or not. Such a weakness in the system cannot be allowed to continue. It creates severe uncertainty for any employer seeking to post a migrant worker on a second UK-based assignment and must be rectified immediately. Smith Stone Walters shall continue to make representation to the senior management within the UKBA with a view to securing a logical approach to this issue.

Summer of Chaos With passport queues of up to two-and-a-half hours having been already noted this year, and a huge influx of Olympic tourists expected to enter the UK over the summer, it is not surprising to hear that some of the hundreds of UKBA staff recently made redundant have been approached and offered lucrative incentives to return to the frontline in order to help the Agency get through the next few difficult months.

Well done, guys! Keep up the hard work!

LATEST news

editorial

Following the much-publicised congestion at UK Border control in recent weeks, which led to the mayor of London Boris Johnson stating that long queues were “damaging the UK’s reputation”, the government is now considering the option of raising extra funds in this area by introducing higher airline landing charges. Unfortunately, according to some carriers, including British Airways, any increase in landing charges would lead to higher ticket prices for passengers.

Having been shortlisted in the Excellence in Employee & Family Support category, the judges praised Smith Stone Walters’s emphasis on teamwork and the continuous improvement initiatives we have implemented.

A Tier 2 ‘cooling off’ requirement means a Tier 2 migrant now needs to wait 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa to re-enter the UK for employment purposes. Whilst common sense would suggest that such an imposition should be introduced for all new Tier 2 applications from a particular date, the government has decided to backdate their introduction of the 12 month cooling off period and thus make all recent Tier 2 workers subject to the new restriction.

SMITH STONE WALTERS INDIA Smith Stone Walters is pleased to announce the imminent opening of our new Mumbai office. Our latest office shall be based within The Capital building, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) which is Mumbai’s newest financial centre and on the door step of the British High Commission. In replicating our existing New York and Hong Kong-based centres, the Mumbai office will be manned by UK immigration experts dedicated to supporting and facilitating the submission of UK visa applications within the region.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters today about our dedicated UK visa management services from Hong Kong, New York & Mumbai.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

PAYING TO REDUCE THE BORDER QUEUES

The team at Smith Stone Walters were delighted to be Highly Commended during the recent Re:locate Awards 2011/12 in London’s Pall Mall.

A numbers game

Guesswork

03

Smith Stone Walters – Highly Commended!

The Tier 2 ‘Cooling Off’ Hangover

In their haste to reach their aim of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015, the government either overlooked or ignored the impact now felt by those hundreds of overseas nationals issued with a Tier 2 visa in the past year (for example, graduate interns) who always had an intention to return to the UK for employment purposes within the immediate 12 month period. One illjudged decision left untold numbers of migrant workers and recent graduates effectively ‘banned’ from working in the UK until they have cooled off for 12 months. Fortunately, following representation by Smith Stone Walters and others, the UKBA has woken up to this blunder and recently introduced a ‘fix’ for those interns who were offered employment contracts upon graduation this year but find themselves unable to fulfil the offer due to this new prohibition. Whilst these interns are the lucky few, other migrants affected by this change wait to hear if the UKBA will introduce additional concessions.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

LATEST news

01

UKBA PUBLIC ENQUIRY OFFICE CROYDON Last month saw the Public Enquiry Office (“PEO”) in Croydon finally admit that their systems are unable to cope with the increased number of biometric-based applications received for premium consideration. Constant IT system failures have led to many customers having their biometric appointments cancelled or rearranged whilst others have been waiting weeks rather than days for their application to be concluded despite paying for a premium service. Whilst the UKBA has advised that measures to rectify the situation are now being put in place, Smith Stone Walters shall continue to monitor service standards on behalf of our clients.

SPONSORSHIP LICENCE RENEWAL LOOMING – EMPLOYERS TAKE NOTE! The UK’s immigration sponsor licence system was introduced on 27th November 2008. As all issued licences were valid for 4 years, many employers will therefore need to arrange to renewal of their licence within the coming months. The earliest date any existing licence will expire is 27th November 2012. An application to renew can be filed up to 3 months ahead of the actual expiry day and is made online via the Sponsor Management System. Whilst the UK Border Agency has promised to notify licence holders by way of email reminder, we recommend that all employers make a diary note to action this. Further advice and guidance in regards to the process and its timings is available from your Smith Stone Walters Account Manager.


summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

02

The government’s latest raft of changes in immigration rules effective from April 6th 2012 have been summarised in this edition of Insight. Whilst change is sometimes difficult to take on board or accept, the introduction of a Tier 2 ‘cooling off’ period has confounded many and left UK businesses with huge headaches when it comes to planning for the future engagement and retention of migrant staff.

In 2008 the government extolled the virtues of a simplistic and transparent immigration Points Based System. Less than 5 years later, the manifestation of a perplexing and unwieldy system leaves not only their customers scratching their heads, but also UKBA staff. The introduction of the cooling off period is a prime example of this. Given the introduction of such a restrictive measure, the UKBA must be able to effectively manage the measurement of the 12 month ‘ban’. A migrant worker affected by such exclusion should be able to readily gain confirmation as to when the 12 month period has concluded. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Even when a migrant worker’s employer notifies the UKBA of the employee’s premature departure from the UK, there is no guarantee that the notification will be acted upon and the 12 month ‘cooling off’ period initiated. As such, UKBA management are currently at a loose end when it comes to explaining how a migrant worker can gain simple clarification as to when their 12 month employment prohibition begins or ends. Migrant workers must therefore currently rely on guesswork or default to the ‘worse-case’ scenario i.e. 12 months after the expiry date of the previous work visa – regardless of whether they left the UK early or not. Such a weakness in the system cannot be allowed to continue. It creates severe uncertainty for any employer seeking to post a migrant worker on a second UK-based assignment and must be rectified immediately. Smith Stone Walters shall continue to make representation to the senior management within the UKBA with a view to securing a logical approach to this issue.

Summer of Chaos With passport queues of up to two-and-a-half hours having been already noted this year, and a huge influx of Olympic tourists expected to enter the UK over the summer, it is not surprising to hear that some of the hundreds of UKBA staff recently made redundant have been approached and offered lucrative incentives to return to the frontline in order to help the Agency get through the next few difficult months.

Well done, guys! Keep up the hard work!

LATEST news

editorial

Following the much-publicised congestion at UK Border control in recent weeks, which led to the mayor of London Boris Johnson stating that long queues were “damaging the UK’s reputation”, the government is now considering the option of raising extra funds in this area by introducing higher airline landing charges. Unfortunately, according to some carriers, including British Airways, any increase in landing charges would lead to higher ticket prices for passengers.

Having been shortlisted in the Excellence in Employee & Family Support category, the judges praised Smith Stone Walters’s emphasis on teamwork and the continuous improvement initiatives we have implemented.

A Tier 2 ‘cooling off’ requirement means a Tier 2 migrant now needs to wait 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa to re-enter the UK for employment purposes. Whilst common sense would suggest that such an imposition should be introduced for all new Tier 2 applications from a particular date, the government has decided to backdate their introduction of the 12 month cooling off period and thus make all recent Tier 2 workers subject to the new restriction.

SMITH STONE WALTERS INDIA Smith Stone Walters is pleased to announce the imminent opening of our new Mumbai office. Our latest office shall be based within The Capital building, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) which is Mumbai’s newest financial centre and on the door step of the British High Commission. In replicating our existing New York and Hong Kong-based centres, the Mumbai office will be manned by UK immigration experts dedicated to supporting and facilitating the submission of UK visa applications within the region.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters today about our dedicated UK visa management services from Hong Kong, New York & Mumbai.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

PAYING TO REDUCE THE BORDER QUEUES

The team at Smith Stone Walters were delighted to be Highly Commended during the recent Re:locate Awards 2011/12 in London’s Pall Mall.

A numbers game

Guesswork

03

Smith Stone Walters – Highly Commended!

The Tier 2 ‘Cooling Off’ Hangover

In their haste to reach their aim of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015, the government either overlooked or ignored the impact now felt by those hundreds of overseas nationals issued with a Tier 2 visa in the past year (for example, graduate interns) who always had an intention to return to the UK for employment purposes within the immediate 12 month period. One illjudged decision left untold numbers of migrant workers and recent graduates effectively ‘banned’ from working in the UK until they have cooled off for 12 months. Fortunately, following representation by Smith Stone Walters and others, the UKBA has woken up to this blunder and recently introduced a ‘fix’ for those interns who were offered employment contracts upon graduation this year but find themselves unable to fulfil the offer due to this new prohibition. Whilst these interns are the lucky few, other migrants affected by this change wait to hear if the UKBA will introduce additional concessions.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

LATEST news

01

UKBA PUBLIC ENQUIRY OFFICE CROYDON Last month saw the Public Enquiry Office (“PEO”) in Croydon finally admit that their systems are unable to cope with the increased number of biometric-based applications received for premium consideration. Constant IT system failures have led to many customers having their biometric appointments cancelled or rearranged whilst others have been waiting weeks rather than days for their application to be concluded despite paying for a premium service. Whilst the UKBA has advised that measures to rectify the situation are now being put in place, Smith Stone Walters shall continue to monitor service standards on behalf of our clients.

SPONSORSHIP LICENCE RENEWAL LOOMING – EMPLOYERS TAKE NOTE! The UK’s immigration sponsor licence system was introduced on 27th November 2008. As all issued licences were valid for 4 years, many employers will therefore need to arrange to renewal of their licence within the coming months. The earliest date any existing licence will expire is 27th November 2012. An application to renew can be filed up to 3 months ahead of the actual expiry day and is made online via the Sponsor Management System. Whilst the UK Border Agency has promised to notify licence holders by way of email reminder, we recommend that all employers make a diary note to action this. Further advice and guidance in regards to the process and its timings is available from your Smith Stone Walters Account Manager.


summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

05

Domestic Workers Concession Ended

LATEST NEWS

The opportunity for a foreign national to gain entry to the UK as a domestic worker has never sat very comfortably with the UK government. However, thanks mainly to some vociferous support from organisations such as Kalayaan, the government has always resisted the temptation to impose any radical changes to the scheme. That is, until now. As of 6th April 2012, the government introduced significant restrictions on the conditions of entry and leave to remain in the UK for domestic workers. Crucially, only employers coming to the UK for a short visit (up to 6 months), are now able to be accompanied to the UK by their domestic workers. Therefore, any family currently based overseas looking to relocate permanently (or via long term secondment) to the UK can no longer request permission to be accompanied by their live-in nanny or housekeeper. The fact that a particular nanny may have been an integral part of the family unit for years or even generations is of no consequence. Whilst the UK government view is that replacement domestic workers are readily available from within the UK workforce, many overseas families may think twice about transferring to the United Kingdom if it means severing the ties with their associated domestic staff.

What is Curtailment of Leave? The power to curtail a person’s leave is derived from Section 3(3)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971. It may be used when a person has failed to comply with certain requirements of the Rules or has lost his justification for being here. Although a person’s leave to enter or remain (‘visa’) may be curtailed for reasons such as making false representations or being a threat to national security, it is usually enforced when the individual ceases to meet the requirements of the immigration rules under which his leave to enter or remain was granted. The most common example whereby a Tier 2 migrant worker would be subject to a curtailment would be when he/she ceases employment within the UK. From April 2012, the UKBA has stated curtailment on this basis will now be mandatory. All sponsors are required to report changes in circumstance such as a migrant worker’s resignation via the Sponsor Management System. Where such information is received and promptly acted upon by the UKBA, the migrant is informed in writing that they are entitled to a grace period of 60 days to make an application to vary their leave. If the migrant fails to make such application, their leave will expire 60 days after the date of the decision to curtail and they could be subject to an enforcement action to remove them from the country.

New ‘PPE’ Visitor Route Opened Following much lobbying from various organisations within the sports and entertainment sectors, a new short-term visit route has been opened up to allow certain categories of professionals to enter the UK for up to one month and be paid for their work. The new visitor route, called Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE), will come into effect from 6th April 2012. Those to benefit from the new scheme include lecturers, authors, professional artists, entertainers or sportspersons to temporarily carry out an activity relating to their main profession without needing to be ‘sponsored’ via the Points Based System.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

focus

To give clients clear and concise information every quarter we focus on a key issue of UK immigration law. Our focus for this quarter falls upon...

UK:

USA:

Hong Kong:

Smith Stone Walters Ltd Title House 33-39 Elmfield Road Bromley, Kent, BR1 1LT

Smith Stone Walters 111 John Street Suite 800 New York, NY, 10038

Smith Stone Walters Level 21 The Center 99 Queen’s Road Central Central, Hong Kong

Tel: +44 (20) 8461 6660 Fax: +44 (20) 8461 6661 Email: info@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +1 646 378 4406 Fax: +1 646 378 4409 Email: usa@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +852 3478 3757 Fax: +852 3478 3760 Email: hk@ smithstonewalters.com

summer 12

Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

Key April 2012 Changes to the Tier 2 Scheme New immigration rules have recently been laid in parliament to confirm changes to Tier 2 of the Points Based System. In addition to the introduction of a cooling off period (mentioned elsewhere in this edition of Insight), a number of additional alterations have been announced, including: An increase in the minimum skill level required by migrants who wish to work in the UK under Tier 2 will increase. As such, from 14 June 2012 the current graduate occupation list of ‘qualified’ roles will be amended and certain middle-management occupations will no longer be eligible under the Tier 2 scheme.

be exempt from the need to satisfy the Resident Labour Market test. An increase in the level of funds applicants need to present as evidence to meet the UKBA’s maintenance requirements.

Annual Tier 2 Limit 2012/13 Following recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee last year, the government announced that the Tier 2 (General) limit will

Get set for new UK immigration rules

the recruitment needs of sponsors this year too. All of the above-mentioned changes form part of the government’s continuing move to overhaul the immigration system and restrict the ability of lesser skilled workers to enter the country. Additional changes to the immigration system including the Tier 2 scheme and family migration are inevitable. So watch this space!

01 02

03

05

The introduction of a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 (or higher if required to meet appropriate rate for job) for most Tier 2 General migrants seeking to qualify for settlement from April 2016. The introduction of an upper 6 year limit to the amount of temporary leave that may be granted to any Tier 2 skilled migrant who entered the UK after April 2011. An easing of the Resident Labour Market Test when employers are recruiting for vacancies attracting salaries over £70,000* and for PHD-level occupations. From 14 June, for these roles the sponsor will no longer be required to advertise on Job Centre Plus but will still be required to advertise in a suitable medium, i.e. a national newspaper or appropriate Internet job search site. *Roles attracting a salary of £150,000 or more will continue to

IN THIS ISSUE

04

remain at its current level of 20,700 for the next 2 years until April 2014. The limit has been divided into twelve equal monthly allocations of 1,725 which can be requested by Tier 2 General licence holders via the normal application route. Since the number of Tier 2 General certificates requested last year did not exceed monthly quotas, it is envisaged that the published 2012/13 monthly allocation will be sufficient to meet

Contact Smith Stone Walters today for further information on our UK immigration Services

This publication is not meant to be used as a substitute for proper professional advice based on the facts of a particular transaction as it is not intended to be a complete coverage of the subject. Smith Stone Walters Limited accepts no liability for any action taken based on the contents of this publication.

04

editorial:

The Tier 2 ‘Cooling Off’ Hangover latest news:

Smith Stone Walters – Highly Commended! Smith Stone Walters India Paying to Reduce the Border Queues UKBA Public Enquiry Office Croydon Sponsorship Licence Renewal Looming – Employers Take Note! latest news:

Domestic Workers Concession Ended What is Curtailment of Leave? New ‘PPE’ Visitor Route Opened focus on:

Key April 2012 Changes to the Tier 2 Scheme


summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

05

Domestic Workers Concession Ended

LATEST NEWS

The opportunity for a foreign national to gain entry to the UK as a domestic worker has never sat very comfortably with the UK government. However, thanks mainly to some vociferous support from organisations such as Kalayaan, the government has always resisted the temptation to impose any radical changes to the scheme. That is, until now. As of 6th April 2012, the government introduced significant restrictions on the conditions of entry and leave to remain in the UK for domestic workers. Crucially, only employers coming to the UK for a short visit (up to 6 months), are now able to be accompanied to the UK by their domestic workers. Therefore, any family currently based overseas looking to relocate permanently (or via long term secondment) to the UK can no longer request permission to be accompanied by their live-in nanny or housekeeper. The fact that a particular nanny may have been an integral part of the family unit for years or even generations is of no consequence. Whilst the UK government view is that replacement domestic workers are readily available from within the UK workforce, many overseas families may think twice about transferring to the United Kingdom if it means severing the ties with their associated domestic staff.

What is Curtailment of Leave? The power to curtail a person’s leave is derived from Section 3(3)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971. It may be used when a person has failed to comply with certain requirements of the Rules or has lost his justification for being here. Although a person’s leave to enter or remain (‘visa’) may be curtailed for reasons such as making false representations or being a threat to national security, it is usually enforced when the individual ceases to meet the requirements of the immigration rules under which his leave to enter or remain was granted. The most common example whereby a Tier 2 migrant worker would be subject to a curtailment would be when he/she ceases employment within the UK. From April 2012, the UKBA has stated curtailment on this basis will now be mandatory. All sponsors are required to report changes in circumstance such as a migrant worker’s resignation via the Sponsor Management System. Where such information is received and promptly acted upon by the UKBA, the migrant is informed in writing that they are entitled to a grace period of 60 days to make an application to vary their leave. If the migrant fails to make such application, their leave will expire 60 days after the date of the decision to curtail and they could be subject to an enforcement action to remove them from the country.

New ‘PPE’ Visitor Route Opened Following much lobbying from various organisations within the sports and entertainment sectors, a new short-term visit route has been opened up to allow certain categories of professionals to enter the UK for up to one month and be paid for their work. The new visitor route, called Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE), will come into effect from 6th April 2012. Those to benefit from the new scheme include lecturers, authors, professional artists, entertainers or sportspersons to temporarily carry out an activity relating to their main profession without needing to be ‘sponsored’ via the Points Based System.

summer 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

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Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

Key April 2012 Changes to the Tier 2 Scheme New immigration rules have recently been laid in parliament to confirm changes to Tier 2 of the Points Based System. In addition to the introduction of a cooling off period (mentioned elsewhere in this edition of Insight), a number of additional alterations have been announced, including: An increase in the minimum skill level required by migrants who wish to work in the UK under Tier 2 will increase. As such, from 14 June 2012 the current graduate occupation list of ‘qualified’ roles will be amended and certain middle-management occupations will no longer be eligible under the Tier 2 scheme.

be exempt from the need to satisfy the Resident Labour Market test. An increase in the level of funds applicants need to present as evidence to meet the UKBA’s maintenance requirements.

Annual Tier 2 Limit 2012/13 Following recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee last year, the government announced that the Tier 2 (General) limit will

Get set for new UK immigration rules

the recruitment needs of sponsors this year too. All of the above-mentioned changes form part of the government’s continuing move to overhaul the immigration system and restrict the ability of lesser skilled workers to enter the country. Additional changes to the immigration system including the Tier 2 scheme and family migration are inevitable. So watch this space!

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The introduction of a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 (or higher if required to meet appropriate rate for job) for most Tier 2 General migrants seeking to qualify for settlement from April 2016. The introduction of an upper 6 year limit to the amount of temporary leave that may be granted to any Tier 2 skilled migrant who entered the UK after April 2011. An easing of the Resident Labour Market Test when employers are recruiting for vacancies attracting salaries over £70,000* and for PHD-level occupations. From 14 June, for these roles the sponsor will no longer be required to advertise on Job Centre Plus but will still be required to advertise in a suitable medium, i.e. a national newspaper or appropriate Internet job search site. *Roles attracting a salary of £150,000 or more will continue to

IN THIS ISSUE

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remain at its current level of 20,700 for the next 2 years until April 2014. The limit has been divided into twelve equal monthly allocations of 1,725 which can be requested by Tier 2 General licence holders via the normal application route. Since the number of Tier 2 General certificates requested last year did not exceed monthly quotas, it is envisaged that the published 2012/13 monthly allocation will be sufficient to meet

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editorial:

The Tier 2 ‘Cooling Off’ Hangover latest news:

Smith Stone Walters – Highly Commended! Smith Stone Walters India Paying to Reduce the Border Queues UKBA Public Enquiry Office Croydon Sponsorship Licence Renewal Looming – Employers Take Note! latest news:

Domestic Workers Concession Ended What is Curtailment of Leave? New ‘PPE’ Visitor Route Opened focus on:

Key April 2012 Changes to the Tier 2 Scheme

INSIGHT SUMMER 2012  

INSIGHT SUMMER 2012