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Immigration News - July 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

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 some 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

certified@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

Digital Identity Net UK Limited

29 Wood Street

Stratford upon Avon

CV37 6JG

info@digiidnet.co.uk

www.digiinet.co.uk

Paycasso Verify Ltd (trading as Xydus)

French Railway House

178 – 180 Piccadilly

London W1J 9ER

support@xydus.com

www.xydus.com

Sterling (EMEA) Limited

Ground Floor

Matrix House

Swansea Enterprise Park

Swansea, Wales

SA6 8RE

sales@rightcheck.io

www.rightcheck.io

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

 

Sponsor Licence Applications | Skilled Worker and Tempoary Worker routes - Updated guidance

The Home Office (UKVI) have updated the guidance for their staff about how they decide applications for a sponsor licence for the Worker and Temporary Worker routes of the points-based system.

The guidance has been updated to reflect the new Global Business Mobility and Seasonal Worker routes. References to new IT databases and changes to the caseworker verification processes have also been added. 

Whilst the above amendments have been made, no changes appear to have been made to the actual process of submitting the licence application by prospective sponsors.

You can view the full UKVI guidance for considering licence applications here.

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

 

High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa gives an applicant permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years (3 years, if you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification). To apply, an applicant must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years. UK universities are not eligible.

The HPI visa enables the applicant to work in most jobs, look for work, be self-employed, live in the UK with their partner and children, and do voluntary work.

To be endorsed, an applicant must have a qualification that must be at the same level as a: UK bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate degree, or a UK PhD or doctorate. Applicants must apply to Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) to check if their university is eligible. They cannot work as a professional sportsperson with this visa and they cannot extend the visa, but if they apply before their HPI visa expires, they may be able to switch into a different immigration category if they are eligible to do so.

Applicants already in the UK on a Student visa may be able to apply for a Graduate visa instead.

Further information about the High Potential Individual Visa can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/high-potential-individual-visa

 

Introduction of the Scale-Up Route visa

A new Scale-up Route is also being introduced from 22nd August 2022. A Scale-up business must have ten or more employees and be growing at 20% more in turnover every year and where there is strong international competition. The Scale-Up visa is a type of Worker visa under the Points-Based System, which will benefit high-growth companies. The minimum salary for the Scale-Up route is £33,000. Further information can be viewed here.

Under this route, the company would not need to obtain a sponsor licence, so despite the higher minimum salary requirement it is an option to eligible businesses who do not wish to apply for a licence. The worker must still have a confirmed offer of skilled employment and provide proof of meeting the English Language requirement, but sponsorship is not needed. Certain concessions apply to this route, such as an exemption from paying the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC).

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-plan-for-immigration-legal-migration-and-border-control-strategy

   

Sponsorship - please note ...

New plan for Immigration: legal migration and border control strategy (Sponsorship)

The Home Office (UKVI) have published a statement setting out their ambition for transformational changes to the legal migration and border control strategy. You can view the full strategy statement here.

As outlined in the Sponsorship Roadmap published in August 2021, work is underway to transform the sponsorship system and to introduce reforms up to 2025, including changes to deliver a streamlined, simplified and modern system that meets customer’s needs. The Home Office (UKVI) hopes that the transformation will result in a system that is faster and simpler, with a reduced administrative burden on sponsors.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-plan-for-immigration-legal-migration-and-border-control-strategy

 

Defined Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)

Please note that any enquiries about applications for Defined Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), should be directed to the UKVI Defined CoS Team and not the UKVI Business Helpdesk. The UKVI’s Defined CoS Team can be contacted via the following email address:

DefinedCoS@homeoffice.gov.uk

  

Studying in the UK

Home Office's response to ICIBI's report on immigration and the Higher Education sector

The Home Office (UKVI) have published their response to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s (ICIB’s) report on the immigration system with respect to the higher education sector. The key points made by this response are as follows:

  • ICIBI recommendation 1: By August 2022, the Home Office should conduct a review of the Graduate route

An initial report is to be produced by the Graduate Route operational team by August 2022. The report will be shared with analysts from the Department of Education and wider professional membership bodies to secure feedback, insight and areas to develop. A fully-consolidated report incorporating numerical analysis and insight from representative bodies will be available in October 2022.

  • ICIBI recommendation 2: By October 2022, undertake a comprehensive review of the Premium Customer Service Teams for Work and Study…

The Home Office has commenced a full and comprehensive review of Premium Service offerings, including direct engagement with existing Premium subscribers and umbrella education sector bodies to ensure their needs and suggestions are taken into account in designing the new service. A report reflecting the needs of the sector and identifying a range of potential options for the new service is expected by October 2022. 

  • ICIBI recommendation 3: Develop and apply mechanisms to measure the compliance of the higher education sector (as opposed to the Basic Compliance Assessment process, which applies to individual institutions) in Study routes by March 2023

The Home Office will continue to engage with the sector to agree how they can best make further changes to the sponsorship of students and further improve compliance through better data-sharing with sponsors, combined with easier-to-view information to measure compliance and act where required. Working conjunction with education providers, they will explore how they can deliver reforms to the strategic design of student sponsorship. The Home Office are transitioning to a service delivery model which includes provision of service managers by September 2022. Part of their role will be to look at compliance data from the sector as a whole.

You can view the Home Office’s response here. The original ICIBI’s report can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-report-on-immigration-and-the-higher-education-sector

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/an-inspection-of-the-immigration-system-as-it-relates-to-the-higher-education-sector-october-2021-march-2022

 

Other Immigration News

Changes to Naturalisation Applications | The Nationality and Borders Act 2022

The Home Office (UK) have updated the naturalisation guidance following changes introduced by the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 on 28th June.

Under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, applicants will normally meet this requirement where they have been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK. This means that, in most cases, they will only need to demonstrate that they hold indefinite leave in the UK on order to satisfy the lawful residence requirement. As such, applicants would not normally need to provide evidence of their immigration status during the 5- or 3- year period.

Please note EEA or Swiss applicants (or their family members) can no longer apply for citizenship based on their permanent residence status and are advised to submit an EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) application before submitting a naturalisation application. The deadline for applying to the EUSS was 30th June 2021, but late applications can be submitted in certain circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to do so.

Form AN Naturalisation Booklet has been updated to reflect these changes, including a step-by-step guide to naturalising as a British citizen (page 5), which outlines the application process.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-an-guidance

  

Registration as British Overseas Territory Children (BOTC)

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

 

Expansion of Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme

The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family to come to the UK where they have an approved sponsor who has agreed to provide accommodation. The original scheme did not allow children to apply unless they were applying with or joining their parent or legal guardian in the UK.

The Home Office (UKVI) announced on 22nd June 2022 that it is expanding the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to allow children who are not applying with or joining a parent or legal guarding in the UK, to be granted a visa where the requirements are met.

The child’s sponsor will need to have been pre-approved by their Local Authority before the child makes their visa application. As part of this process, the child’s parent will need to provide notarised parental consent. Sponsors will be asked to commit to hosting the child for up to three years, in recognition of the need to give these children greater security.

A Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules has been laid before Parliament with respect to this. You can view the full Statement of Changes here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc511-20-july-2022

 

New Plan for Immigration: legal migration and border control strategy (Other)

The Home Office (UKVI) have published a statement setting out their ambition for transformational changes to the legal migration and border control strategy.

During the rest of 2022 and into 2023, the Home Office (UKVI) plans to further simplify the family, private life and settlement routes. A more streamlined application process will be introduced with consistent evidence requirements. There are plans to launch settlement routes on the Innovator route and the ten-year family and private life routes later this year.

The full strategy statement can be viewed here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-plan-for-immigration-legal-migration-and-border-control-strategy

 

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

Applicants who intend to leave the UK to return to a country or territory but have not been able to so and have a visa, leave or ‘exceptional assurance’ that expires before 30th September 2022 may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

To submit a request for ‘exceptional assurance’, applicants should email the cihassuranceteam@homeoffice.gov.uk as outlined in the latest guidance, which 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

     

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.

 

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