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Immigration News - January 2020 update


Brexit update

Brexit - UK set to leave EU on 31st January 2020

The UK is set to leave the EU at 23:00 GMT on 31stJanuary 2020.

As there will be a transition (‘implementation’) period until 31stDecember 2020, there are unlikely to be any significant changes until the end of this period.

We will be working closely with clients to ensure they are well-informed and prepared for the introduction of the new immigration system, as well as preparing a post-Brexit training package.


EU Settlement Scheme: current estimated processing times for applications

At present, it taking around 5 working days to complete applications under the EU Settlement Scheme, unless further information is required.

Further information can be viewed here.



Working in the UK

Preparing for Brexit: Employers (Working in the UK)

There are unlikely to be significant changes for employers in relation to the employment of European (EU, EEA and Swiss) workers until the end of the transition (‘implementation’) period, but it may be helpful for employers to note the following:

  • There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 30 June 2021.
  • Current ‘right to work’ checks (e.g. passport and/or national identity card) apply until the end of 2020. EU citizens can also evidence their right to work using the online right to work service, however they are under no obligation to demonstrate their right to work in this way.
  • Employers will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU employees when the UK transitions to the future skills-based immigration system.
  • There is no legal obligation for employers to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme, however, you may wish to signpost the information that the Government is providing.
  • Employers should not interpret information provided by the Government and you must be careful not to provide immigration advice, unless you are qualified to do so. Please feel free to pass on our contact details to any of your staff who require immigration advice.
  • Employers have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer. Employers cannot make an offer of employment or continue employment, dependant on an individual having made an application under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

Further information can be found in the Home Office’s Employer Toolkit, which can be viewed here.



New immigration system - Tier 2 (General)

On 28 January 2020, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its report to the Home Secretary on the new points-based immigration system. The government is currently considering the report’s recommendations before setting out further details on the UK’s future immigration system.

The report submitted by the MAC can be viewed here.

The key findings and recommendations in respect to Tier 2 (General) were as follows:

  • The MAC recommends retaining the existing framework for Tier 2 (General).
  • In the future immigration system, Tier 2 (General) is envisaged to apply to both EEA and non-EEA citizens and to be expanded to medium-skill jobs with the cap and Resident Labour Market Test abolished and a simplified process introduced.
  • The appropriate salary threshold should continue to be the higher of the occupation specific and general threshold.
  • National pay scales should be used as the relevant salary thresholds in 24 occupations in health and education instead of both the occupation specific and general thresholds.
  • There should be more adequate monitoring of how migrants are faring in the UK labour market after entry and ongoing review of the impacts of the recommendations on levels of salary thresholds.
  • There should be a separate pilot visa for ‘remote’ areas of the UK, part of which could be lower salary thresholds for migrants into those areas. This should only be done with a full evaluation to understand its effectiveness and impacts.
  • No evidence was found that the Tier 2 (General) system discriminates against women, though there could be more flexibility for existing visa holders to switch to part-time work after becoming a parent. The MAC recommends that salary thresholds should not be pro-rated to allow for part-time work.
  • Occupations on the Shortage Occupation List should not have lower salary thresholds for entry.
  • The definition of a new entrant should be widened to include those who are working towards a recognised professional qualifications and those who are moving directly into postdoctoral positions.
  • The new entrant rate should apply for five years, an extension from the current three-year entitlement. Any time spent on the new post-study work route should count towards the five years of new entrant threshold eligibility.
  • The MAC recommends a review of whether the Shortage Occupation List is needed after the new immigration system has been fully introduced.
  • The MAC recommends a pause in planned changes to increase the settlement threshold pending a review of the paths to settlement in relation to indefinite leave to remain on the basis of Tier 2 (General).
  • The MAC recommends a review of the requirements for settlement on the basis of Tier 2 (General) to establish a clearer picture of how it is currently working and possible changes that could be made.

Further information can be viewed here.




New immigration system - Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

On 28 January 2020, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its report to the Home Secretary on the new points-based immigration system. The government is currently considering the report’s recommendations before setting out further details on the UK’s future immigration system.

The report submitted by the MAC can be viewed here.

The key findings in respect to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route were as follows:

  • The current work visa route for those without a job offer, Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), does not work effectively and the MAC believes the skills bar for entry is set far too high, targeted at those at the very top of their field and is too risk adverse.
  • There is currently a visa cap of 2,000 visas under this route, but only 600 main applicants were admitted in the last complete year.
  • They recommend that the route should operate on an expression of interest basis creating a pool of migrants interested in coming to the UK.
  • There should be a monthly draw from this pool with those selected invited to submit a full application.
  • The selection of those invited to apply should be based on those who have the highest number of points in the pool using a points-based system with tradeable points.
  • Points should be given for characteristics that the Government wants to attract through this route and for whom other routes are not suitable.

Further information can be viewed here.




Accelerated endorsement of visas for scientists

The Home Secretary has announced that the number of eligible fellowships which can offer accelerated endorsement for visas for scientists wanting to conduct research in the UK is to double from 62 to over 120.

Individuals who receive a fellowship will only need to provide a letter from the relevant funding organisation, which will see them fast-tracked to the Home Office (UKVI) visa application stage where immigration checks will be carried out.

Further information can be viewed here.



Studying in the UK

Preparing for Brexit Education Providers (Studying in the UK)

In light of the UK’s planned exit from the European Union (EU) on 31stJanuary 2020, education providers may wish to note the following:

  • You should continue to offer school places to citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who are in the UK after Brexit.
  • Schools should continue to use the existing system to check for sanctions on teachers imposed by the EEA (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This procedure will not change until 31 December 2020.
  • Schools must continue to carry out the same safer recruitment checks on all applicants, including those who have lived or worked outside the UK.
  • There will be no change to arrangements for teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland that apply for Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) during the implementation period.
  • You should continue delivering any Erasmus+ or ESC projects that are already contracted. Erasmus+ placements will continue to 2020.
  • Irish students will still be able to access higher education courses in England and get home fee status and student support if they meet the relevant criteria.
  • Students from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland (and their family members) will be eligible for home fee status and financial support for the duration of their course if:
    • they’re on a course that’s already started
    • they’re on a course that will start in the 2020 to 2021 academic year
    • they meet the relevant requirements
  • There will be no change for staff whose professional qualifications were recognised before Brexit.

Further information can be viewed here. The Home Office have also published guidance on preparing your higher education provider for Brexit, which can be viewed here.




Other Immigration News

Knowledge of langauge and life in the UK

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated their guidance for immigration staff on the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement. This has been updated to reflect changes to the Immigration Rules and Nationality Regulations on 17 December 2019.

The updated guidance can be viewed here.





Veristat Service


Training for employers and education providers

We provide bespoke training on all aspects of immigration matters, including Right to Work, Tier 2 sponsorship, Tier 4 sponsorship, and identification of fraudulent documents.

These training sessions are conducted on the client’s premises for a standard half-day rate for up to 12 persons per session.

If you think your organisation would benefit from training in any of these areas, please contact us for a quote by emailing us at enquiries@veristat.co.uk. If you would like to discuss the contents of our training packages or require a bespoke training package to be delivered please contact us by telephone on 01344 624016 or email us as above.


Audits and Inspections

Veristat is hugely experienced at providing compliance audits across all immigration tiers. We have worked with hundreds of employers, ranging from small family businesses to multi-nationals, high street retailers and professional sports clubs. In the education sector, we have also worked with over 30 universities and a significant number of colleges and schools.

Our audit/inspection service is fully flexible and can be tailored to individual requirements, and is based on sound practical experience of UKVI’s policies, culture and approach.

  • For employers, we offer on-site Tier 2 compliance inspections (with staff aware or unaware to simulate a surprise UKVI visit). We also offer right to work compliance visits.
  • For education providers, our service ranges from a “lite” health-check to a comprehensive review of Tier 4 activities, assessing compliance with UKVI requirements and sharing best practice. We also offer targeted inspections covering specific issues, such as BCA, Tier 2 compliance, policies, student unions, relationships with partner institutions, etc.

On completion, we provide a comprehensive, evidence-based report, together with an assessment of how compliant the business or institution is with UKVI’s requirements. We will support the introduction of change if required and offer a ‘spot check’ follow up service at a later date if required to reassure management that recommendations have been implemented.

If you’re interested in booking an audit/inspection, please call us on 01344 624016 or email us at enquiries@veristat.co.uk.


File Inspection Days

If you’re unsure whether you require a full compliance audit or specific training but would like an independent check of your files to ensure they are fully compliant with Home Office requirements, we can provide a UKVI file compliance inspection of either your staff or student files.

Depending on the number of employees/students you have, we would either check all files or an agreed sample. After the inspection has taken place, we would provide a written report outlining any risks, feedback and recommendations.

For further information or a quote for our file inspection days, please call us on 01344 624016 or email us at enquiries@veristat.co.uk.


Advice/Support packages

These packages can either be on a fixed rate monthly retainer basis, which can include a number of services, such as: acting as your Level 1 user, issuing of CoS/CAS, immigration audit, etc.  Alternatively, you can purchase an annual package of either 5, 10, 15 or 20 hours’ advice/support per year at reduced rates.

If you are interested in discussing our retainer or hourly advice/support packages further, then please contact us on 01344 624016 or email us at enquiries@veristat.co.uk.





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