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Immigration News - June 2022 update

2022 has already brought in lots of changes. The most significant of late have related to Right to Work and how UKVI have embedded technology in the entire process and removed the ability for employers to manually check Biometric permits.  Please see more details below, we will continue to use these updates to inform you of the immigration news and policy updates that will most impact you as employers or education providers.

We appreciate that this continues to be an exceedingly challenging time for businesses and many of you will have been impacted by the tragic events in Ukraine. Should you need any advice or support with anything, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Working in the UK

Work visa applications from outside the UK

Skilled Worker visa applications are currently taking an average of 6 weeks to process for applications submitted outside of the UK. Normally, such applications would take an average of 3 weeks but there are currently delays due to priory being given to Ukraine Visa Scheme applications. The priority/super priority services remain suspended for those applying from overseas.

Further information about visa processing times can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk

 

Digital identity certification for right to work and right to rent

For those employers that are interested in using certified digital identity service providers (IDSPs) to carry out identity checks in relation to right to work checks, please note that there are now 3 certified IDSPs listed on the GOV.UK website. Their details are as follows:

Name

Address

Email address

Website URL

Yoti and Post Office EasyID

6th Floor

107 Leadenhall St

London EC3A 4AF

support@yoti.com

www.yoti.com

HooYu Limited

Flora

180 Borough High Street

London SE1 1LB

info@hooyu.com

www.hooyu.com

TrustID Limited

9 Greyfriars Road

Reading

RG1 1NU

enquiries@trustid.co.uk

www.trustid.co.uk

The process for uploading identity documentation, costs/fees, and the completion of checks varies, dependant on the company providing the service. Further information can be found on the company websites in the table above – please note many of these offer a trial session.

A bespoke quote will be provided by the IDSP company on request, as the costs/fees depend very much on the size and type of organisation requiring the service.

Further information about the use of IDSPs can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/digital-identity-certification-for-right-to-work-right-to-rent-and-criminal-record-checks

 

Creating and assigning a CoS: SMS guide 8

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated their step-by-step guide to creating and assigning a certificate of sponsorship (CoS). This document should be viewed with the SMS guide 8a. The guidance has been updated in light of the introduction of the Global Business Mobility routes (formerly known as the Intra-Company Transfer route).

You can view the updated SMS guide 8 here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/creating-and-assigning-a-cos-sms-guide-8

 

Applying for a Sponsor Licence | Sponsoring a UK Expansion Worker

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated their guidance (Appendix A) for those applying for a licence in order to sponsor a UK Expansion Worker. The updated Appendix A can be viewed here.

Table 3 of the guidance has been updated to remove references to the provision for organisations on the UK Expansion Worker route to obtain a letter of support (endorsement letter) from a UK government department, as this process is not yet available.

A reminder has also been added that documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-documents-for-sponsor-applications-appendix-a

 

Offshore Wind Workers

In 2017, the Home Secretary introduced a concession to the Immigration Rules to allow the employment of foreign nationals who are joining vessels engaging in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects in UK territorial waters. This concession is time limited and leave to enter under the terms of the concession will not be granted beyond 31 October 2022.

All foreign nationals coming to the UK to work in UK waters, including on a wind farm, will need permission to work in the UK before starting work.

The guidance has been updated to reflect the end date of the concession. The updated guidance can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/offshore-wind-workers-immigration-rules-concession-2017

 

Migrant Journey: 2021 report (Working in the UK)

The Home Office (UKVI) have published their ‘Migrant Journey’ report, which provides statistics on changes in migrants’ visa and leave status within the UK’s immigration system.

The key facts and statistics in relation to working in the UK are as follows:

  • Of the 131,000 people initially granted a ‘Work’ visa in 2016, just over a quarter (27%) still held valid leave or settlement at the end of 2021. However, the propensity to remain varied by route:
    • 73% of those issued High Value work visas still held leave after five years
    • 34% of those issued Skilled worker visas still held leave after five years
    • 11% of those issued Temporary worker visas still held leave after five years (99% had switched to a different route)
  • At the end of 2021, of the people who initially came to the UK in 2016, 14% still remained on a Work visa, 3% had switched to a different visa category, and 10% had been granted settlement. The remaining 73% of people issued Work visas in 2016 had leave which had expired by the end of 2021.
  • Under 18s issued Work visas in 2016 were the age group most likely to hold valid leave or settlement five years later (38%), although 98% of these were dependants accompanying someone else on a Work visa, such as their parents. This may indicate that Work migrants who bring children with them are more likely to stay in the UK in the long term.
  • Skilled worker visas accounted for over half (60%) of Work visas issued in the 2016 cohort. 14% of people on this route had been granted settlement five years later. The proportion of Skilled workers granted settlement within five years remains much lower than the 2009 levels (23%).
  • The proportion of Skilled Workers who had been granted settlement within five years differs by nationality. These differences will be a result of the types of jobs people come to the UK for, the number coming under the previous Intra-company Transfer (ICT) route, which does not have a direct route to settlement, as well as differences in nationalities desire to settle in the UK.
  • Of the top 10 nationalities granted Skilled Worker visas in 2016, Japanese nationals had the highest proportion of ICT visas (88%), along with the lowest proportion of people granted settlement after five years (2%). Pakistan had the lowest proportion of ICT visas (8%) and the highest proportion of granted settlement after five years (50%).
  • Of all those granted settlement in 2021, who had initially entered on a Work visa, the top nationalities were India (29%), Pakistan (8%) and the USA (7%).
  • Just over two-thirds (69%) of those granted settlement in 2021 who had initially entered on a Work visa were aged between 30 and 49 years old when granted settlement.

You can download the full ‘Migrant Journey’ report here. Section 4 of the report specifically relates to those who came to the UK on a Work visa in the 2016 cohort.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/migrant-journey-2021-report

  

Studying in the UK

Student visa applications from outside the UK

Student visa applications are currently taking an average of 4 weeks to process for applicants submitted outside of the UK. Normally, such applications would take an average of 3 weeks but there are currently delays due to priory being given to Ukraine Visa Scheme applications. The priority/super priority services remain suspended for those applying from outside the UK.

Further information about current visa processing times can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk#full-publication-update

 

Worker and Temporary Worker - Post-Licence sponsor changes

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated their guidance for their staff on dealing with post-licence changes related to Worker and Temporary Worker sponsors. The guidance has been updated to remove references to Intra-Company Transfer to reflect the introduction in April 2022 of the Global Business Mobility routes.

The updated guidance can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/points-based-system-sponsor-licensing-maintenance

  

Biometric reuse - guidance for caseworkers updated

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated their staff  guidance on biometric reuse. The latest advice can be viewed here.

The minimum age for biometric reuse when individuals use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app has been lowered to 5 years old. The guidance now also confirms the arrangements for when an individual who only holds an eVisa requires physical evidence of immigration status to travel to the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/biometric-information

 

Coronavirus (Covid-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated their advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents in light of coronavirus (Covid-19). The latest advice can be viewed here.

The expiry date for exceptional assurance has been extended until 30th June 2022.

The guidance has been updated to advise that applications for visit, transit, study, work and family visas are taking longer to process as the UKVI continues to prioritise Ukraine Visa Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

  

UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals

The latest guidance on support available to Ukraine nationals and their family members can be viewed here.

The guidance has been updated to provide information about the Ukraine Extension Scheme. Ukraine nationals and their family members can apply to the scheme if they hold a UK visa, or held one that expired on or after 1st January 2022. The Ukraine Extension Scheme allows the applicant to live, work and study in the UK if they’re a Ukrainian national, or the family member of someone who is Ukrainian. Applicants should consider whether they wish to keep their current visa or switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

This route does not currently lead to settlement – this means that they may not be able to count time spent in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme as part of a future application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Further information about the Ukraine Extension Scheme can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-family-members-of-british-nationals-in-ukraine-and-ukrainian-nationals-in-ukraine-and-the-uk

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-to-stay-in-the-uk-under-the-ukraine-extension-scheme

 

Electronic Visa Waiver Status | Bahrain and Saudi Arabit

The Home Office (UKVI) have announced that Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are to join other Gulf Cooperation Council countries with electronic visa waiver status for UK travel.

From 1st June 2022, nationals of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia can apply to travel to the UK (for tourism, business, study or medical treatment) for up to 6 months with an electronic visa waiver.

An electronic visa waiver allows the holder to travel to the UK without obtaining a visa, provided they complete an online waiver for each visit. A small fee will be applied, and it is quicker to obtain than a visa as there is no need to provide biometric information (photo or fingerprints), attend a visa application centre or hand in their passport in advance of travel.

You can view the full news story here.  You can apply for an electronic visa waver here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bahrain-and-saudi-arabia-get-uk-electronic-visa-waiver-status

 

Citizenship and naturalisation for migrants in the UK (Briefing by The Migration Observatory)

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has published a briefing about citizenship and naturalisation among migrants in the UK. You can view the full briefing here. The key points are as follows:

  • In 2019, 39% of people born abroad reported that they were UK citizens, but his share was higher for non-EU born (54%) than for EU-born (16%) migrants.
  • Migrants from EU countries are less likely to apply for UK citizenship than those from outside the EU, although applications from EU citizens increased after the EU referendum of 2016.
  • An estimated 72% of non-EU migrants with permanent status (ILR) in the UK 10 years after getting their initial visa have become British citizens.
  • Migrants who come to the UK with Family visas become citizens faster than those entering with work or study visas.
  • There is evidence that naturalisation can improve migrant’s economic and social integration, especially amongst those from disadvantaged groups.
  • Non-EU citizens from high-income countries (e.g. US, Canada or Australia) are less likely to become UK citizens than those from lower-income countries.
  • People who moved to the UK as children are more likely to become British citizens, and this trend is particularly clear among the EU born.
  • In 2019, there were an estimated 1.1 million non-UK citizen children living in the UK, of whom approximately 470,000 were born in the UK.
  • Citizenship fees, language and integration requirements may create barriers to applying for citizenship.
  • Around 3% of citizenship applications were refused in 2020, the most common reason being not meeting the ‘good character’ requirement.
  • Non-EU born migrants are more likely to be citizens of the country where they reside in the UK (74%) than in EU-14 countries (58%).

https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/citizenship-and-naturalisation-for-migrants-in-the-uk/

 

Secure English Language Tests

The list of English language test centres has been updated by the Home Office (UKVI).

You can view the latest information about secure English Language tests for visa and citizenship applications and the list of approved English Language test centres here.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prove-your-english-language-abilities-with-a-secure-english-language-test-selt 

     

Veristat Services

Training on IDSPs, the Skilled Worker or Student routes/Right to Work/Forgery

We provide comprehensive training on all aspects of immigration, including; IDSPs, the Student route, the Skilled Worker route, Right to Work and the identification of fraudulent documents.

We can also deliver a session simply focusing on the recent changes being brought about by the new points-based immigration system and how employers and education providers can be prepared moving forwards.

The new routes have brought about significant changes for sponsors and our training outlines these changes and helps prepare employers and education providers for sponsoring employees and students under these routes.

All training can be provided in person on the client’s site or remotely via Microsoft teams/Zoom.

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 call us on 01344 624016 or email us as above.

  

Sponsor licence applications

With the introduction of the 2021 immigration system, employers or education providers wishing to employ EEA/EU nationals or non-EEA nationals who do not have right to work need to apply for a Sponsorship licence.

We provide a comprehensive advice and support package to employers and education providers applying for a licence. This can include preparation for a Home Office (UKVI) visit and training on the new Skilled Worker or Student routes and the SMS system, as well as assistance with applying for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) or Confirmation for Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and a step by step guide for completing the application itself.

Please email us at enquiries@veristat.co.uk or by telephone on 01344 624016 for further details and/or a quote for helping you with your application. 

 

Audits and Inspections

Veristat is hugely experienced in providing compliance audits across all immigration routes. We have worked with hundreds of employers, ranging from small family businesses to multi-nationals, high street retailers and professional sports/football clubs. In the education sector, we have 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. It is  based on sound practical experience of UKVI’s policies, culture and approach.

  • For employers, we offer on-site Skilled Worker or ICT compliance inspections (with staff aware or unaware to simulate an announced or unannounced 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 student route activities, assessing compliance with UKVI requirements and sharing best practice. We also offer targeted inspections covering specific issues, such as BCA, Skilled Worker 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 beneficial to reassure management that recommendations have been implemented.

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

Please note we are also now offering remote audits and inspections- please contact us for more details.

 

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

We offer advice/support packages on either a fixed rate monthly retainer basis or on a fixed-hourly basis, which can include a number of our services, such as: acting as your Level 1 user, issuing of CoS/CAS, immigration audit, etc.  If you do not require ongoing retainer advice/support, we offer either 5 or 10 hour annual support packages 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.

 

To download and print a pdf version of the monthly update, please click here.

 

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