A number of changes to the immigration rules in the UK relating to people applying for visas from outside the European Economic Area have been introduced. These include non substantive changes for sponsors and migrants coming to the UK under a number of routes of the points based system including Tier 1 entrepreneurs and investors, Tier 2 skilled workers, Tier 4 students and Tier 5 temporary workers.
There are also changes to the rules affecting criminality, settlement and family and private life and there will be some changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme quotas and Tier 4 loan letters in early 2013. Changes include establishing a more robust and clear criminality framework to assess immigration applications and the introduction of a re-entry ban for some foreign national offenders who have been removed from the UK as part of a conditional caution and additional powers to end a migrant’s visa.
Amendments to clarify the absences from the UK that are allowed during the continuous residence period for Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 and pre-points based system work routes have been made, for example work permits, self employment and business persons. Minor changes have also been made to the child and parent routes to make them as clear and comprehensive as possible and changes to simplify the operation of the income threshold for sponsoring family migrants.
The changes are all part of a plan to make the UK immigration system work in the national interest and reduce the number of people allowed into the country. Two and a half years ago the coalition government made a clear promise to reduce what it called uncontrolled mass immigration. The latest census data shows that between 2001 and 2011, more than half of the growth in the population of England and Wales was accounted for by immigration.
‘Since we came to government, we’ve taken action across the board. We’ve capped economic migration, reformed family visas, and cut out the widespread abuse of the student route into the country,’ said Home Secretary Theresa May. Official statistics, released two weeks ago, show that in the year to March, net immigration to Britain fell by one quarter, some 59,000 people, which was the biggest fall in net migration since 2008.
‘We can expect immigration to continue to fall. Home office visa statistics, which are more recent than the net migration figures, show falls of 4% in work visas, 15% in family visas, and 26% in student visas,’ said May, adding, ‘So our policies are beginning to bite but we are not yet all the way there. With annual net migration still at 183,000 we have a way to go to achieve my ambition to reduce that number to the tens of thousands by the end of the parliament’.
Quote from ExpatForum.com : “Hi I am in need of some help….I am a UK national with a british passport but have a home in UK and Greece. Live mostly in Greece and travel around Europe working. I married some years ago a Georgian NON EU lady. We married in the UK under a fiance Visa and recieved a 2 year Identity card. Sadly as we travelled overseas she was unable to sit an engish test to obtain a leave to remain. Recent we applied via athens a new application to take a new Identity card so we could travel back to my home in the UK and she could study to apply for a leave to remain but as we were doing so the rules changed and she was in need of a test paper saying she had basic english. We were living in place with no test centres or school. So we pulled it at last min to not get a DECLINE in her Georgian passport.”
‘We want to make sure that the immigration system truly works in our national interest, by bringing down net migration to sustainable levels, while still attracting the brightest and the best talent from around the world,’ she added.