Following yesterday’s announcement by the UK Immigration Minister, Damian Green, that under new proposals migrants seeking permanent settlement, or Indefinite Leave to Remain, will be required to earn between £31,000 and £49,000 per annum, Immigration Matters has been inundated with questions from worried work permit holders such as Senior Care Workers, Nurses and Domestic Workers.
Mr Green also announced that he wanted to break the link between temporary and permanent migration and look at the way courts interpret the human right to family life, which he said has led to a “ridiculous and damaging situation” and risks a “dangerous” stand off between parliament and judges.
The government is also proposing to set a minimum income level for any sponsor seeking to bring in a foreign spouse – and said the recommended level was between £18,600 and £25,700.
The news will be of grave concern to the thousands of skilled workers on Work Permits and Tier 2 Working Visas who are earning less than £31,000.
Whilst the UK has never guaranteed working migrants permanent residency under the terms of their work permits, most were expecting to one day qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after working in Britain for 5 years.
The Minister has not announced any transitional arrangements for those already here. But if the new rules are applied to all existing migrants, the minimum threshold would not be reached by most nurses, senior carers, chefs, care managers and many other occupations where the basic pay rate is less than £31,000.
Some of the questions being asked are:
- Will the new earnings test apply to all existing work permit holders or new entrants after a certain point?
- Does my dependant husband’s income count towards the minimum salary requirement?
- How long do I have to be earning £31,000 for or is it my current salary level that counts?
- If I cannot qualify for ILR will I be able to extend my work permit after 5 years?
- If I have children born in the UK do I have a right to stay under Article 8?
The answer to most of these questions are only known to ministers and Home Office officials at this stage because full details of the reforms have not yet been revealed.
The government is committed to reducing net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ by 2015 and major reforms to the immigration points based system will be needed to reach these targets.
The changes do not affect EU migrants from Eastern European countries such as Poland and Slovakia, or Bulgarians and Romanians exercising Treaty Rights to obtain Yellow Cards.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk