As we welcome the New Year with our hopes and dreams, 2012 will surely be remembered as one of the toughest years for non-EU migrant workers, partners, spouses and students in the UK.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has introduced massive rule changes, clampdowns, crackdowns and shutdowns (of private colleges), all designed to basically get rid of more non-EU immigrants, their partners and students.
In 2012 we have seen the introduction of new ‘minimum £18,600’ income Immigration Rules on spouse visas, the abolition of the Post Study Work Visa along with various appeal rights against visa refusals.
The 14 year illegal long stay concession was also abolished, although the 10 year legal stay route (assuming you can manage to get your leave to remain renewed as a student) remains.
While EU migrants are shown the red carpet with access to housing and benefits, Filipinos and other non-EU citizens are being shown the red card and told in no uncertain terms that they are no longer welcome in the UK.
Hundreds of private colleges have been closed down or have gone out of business as they can no longer compete with government colleges and universities, whose students exclusively still have the right to work 20 hours a week.
Renewing a student visa is becoming a nightmare with colleges and universities scared to issue a CAS for a variety of circumstances sometimes directly caused by the UKBA’s actions.
For instance, one of my clients had been refused further leave as a student six month after submitting his application. The CAS for the government college had been cancelled and by this time his visa had obviously expired. When he tried to reapply his college refused to issue a new CAS, you guessed it, because his visa had expired!
After some intervention by me the college eventually re-issued a CAS and we renewed his visa, however, the UKBA wanted to get rid of him and his £5,000 fee payable to a government college.
Last year the Government introduced a change to the settlement rules for work permit holders, which has hit many migrant workers this year. You must be paid a certain salary in order to qualify for indefinite leave (ILR), as specified in the Tier 2 Codes of Practice, otherwise you could be refused.
Refusals rates for visas and renewals seem to be increasing. We are dealing with a number of appeals for clients who have been wrongly refused or in some cases where they have failed to declare a minor conviction or judgement.
More people are being detained and deported for overstaying their visas and private firms are now harassing people by text message.
The good news is that the appeal tribunals and immigration judges are still here to protect you against unfair decision by the UKBA. We have dealt with a number of appeal cases where independent judges have ruled against the Government.
I would like to take this opportunity wish you all a happy and prosperous new year!
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email:
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