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Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg reveals coalition immigration rift | Immigration Matters

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Nick Clegg has risked reopening the Coalition’s row over immigration policy by rejecting David Cameron’s pledge to cut the number of people entering Britain to tens of thousands, the Telegraph reports.

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted that immigration is “not a numbers game” and said: “It is not government policy to pursue a specific numerical target.”

In a major speech on immigration last week, Mr Cameron last week said that Coalition policies including a cap on non-European migration will significantly reduce net migration to Britain.

The Prime Minister said: “That will mean net migration to this country will be in the order of tens of thousands each year, not the hundreds of thousands every year that we have seen over the last decade.”

Mr Cameron’s speech triggered a Coalition row when Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary, denounced it as “very unwise”.

The Prime Minister rejected Mr Cable’s comments and insisted that his speech represented Coalition policy on immigration.

In a BBC interview, Mr Clegg said that Mr Cameron’s words were only an “aspiration” and insisted that it is not the Government’s policy to bring net immigration down to the tens of thousands.

“I don’t think anyone is suggesting that what we should be doing is pursuing fixed numerical targets on immigration. You’ve got to remember on immigration, lots of people come in and out of this country, not least through the European Union, who you can’t just numerically control, so I don’t think it’s a numbers game.

He added: “It is not Government policy to pursue a fixed numerical target.”

Despite Mr Clegg’s words, many Conservative MPs believe that the “tens of thousands” pledge is a matter of Government policy.

In last year’s Queen’s Speech, the Coalition promised to “limit” the number of non-EU economic migrants entering the United Kingdom.

A Government document published as part of the speech programme made a clear statement of intent, declaring: “We will reduce net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands not hundreds of thousands.”

Mr Clegg insisted that Mr Cable had done nothing wrong by advising a businessman on how to mount a legal challenge to the Government’s immigration policy.

Mr Cable advised a constituent who runs a private college that he could seek judicial review of the UK Border Authority’s decision to withdraw licenses to admit non-EU students.

Mr Clegg said: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Vince as an outstanding constituency MP taking up the cause of a local college which has come to him as a constituency MP complaining about what they think is the administrative effect of the behaviour of the UKBA.” Source: Daily Telegraph

STUDENT VISA CHANGES WILL RUIN MANY PRIVATE COLLEGES

The Sunday Times reported that Vince Cable has been helping the ‘Alfred the Great’ private college in London to mount a legal challenge against the UK Border Agency, which he reputedly said had ruined the business.

The UK Border Agency recently published its ‘Statement of Intent and Transitional Measures’ for the student visa changes announced by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, on 22 March. 

The document outlines details of the new guidance, effective 21 April 2011, and dates of implementation of other measures, including the new rules on student working hours. 

The first round of implementation, including interim measures, was started by laying changes to the Immigration Rules before Parliament on 31 March, which will come into effect on 21 April 2011. 

There will be further changes to the Immigration Rules taking effect in summer 2011, in April 2012 and by the end of 2012. 

OVERVIEW OF THE CHANGES 

Changes include a ban on all work for students applying for visas to study at private colleges from this ’summer 2011′, a shake up of accreditation bodies and the right to refuse entry to students who fail to demonstrate a competent level of English upon arrival at UK ports.

During a ‘transitional period’ beginning 21 April 2011, those sponsors who do not meet the new requirements as regards educational accreditation and Highly Trusted Sponsor status will be subject to a limit on their allocation of Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies until such time as they meet those new requirements. 

In summary the measures and timetable are as follows: 

  • Changes from 21 April 2011 
  • New sponsors not already on the Tier 4 register will have to meet the new educational accreditation criteria in order to be issued a Tier 4 licence. 
  • Existing sponsors will be subject to an interim limit on the number of students they can sponsor unless they: 
  • hold Highly Trusted Sponsor status;
  • and meet the new accreditation criteria.

Existing sponsors that do not already meet the new accreditation criteria will be required to apply to the relevant inspection body by a date to be announced, in order to be able to continue to sponsor new students, subject to the interim limit, during the transitional period.  

B rated sponsors will not be able to assign CAS to new students (only to those seeking to complete a course). 

A sponsor who is not subject to the interim limit may sponsor, using his own CAS allocation, students studying at a sponsor who is subject to the interim limit, but must take full responsibility for them (e.g. higher education institutions1 could sponsor students at Pathway providers). 

English Language 

The English language requirements for Tier 4 (General) students will be tightened as follows: 

A B1 Secure English Language Test (SELT) requirement for all courses at NQF 3-5 /QCF 3-5 / SCQF 6-8 (ending the current SELT exemptions on pre-sessionals /pathway /foundation degree courses). 

A B2 SELT requirement for courses at NQF 6 /QCF 6 / SQCF 9 and above, with an exception for higher education institutions who can make their own assessment. 

A student may be refused a visa or entry to the UK if he cannot speak English without assistance. 

The Government will clarify that a CAS may only be issued in respect of a single course, except where the student is attending a pre-sessional course of not more than three months’ duration and has an unconditional offer of a place at a higher education institution or at an independent school starting not more than one month after the end of the pre-sessional course. 

The full document is available on the UKBA website, however, as we have received a number of questions related to working hours allowed for students, we are outlining the Government’s intention below. 

STUDENT AT PRIVATE COLLEGES NOT ALLOWED TO WORK 

For students sponsored by and studying directly with higher education institutions, we will retain the current level of permission to work at 20 hours per week part-time during term-time for students undertaking courses at degree level or above and 10 hours per week part-time during term time for students undertaking courses below degree level.

All students studying directly with higher education institutions will be able to work full-time during vacations. 

For students sponsored by publicly-funded colleges of further education the Government will also retain the current level of permission to work at 10 hours per week part-time during term-time and full-time during vacations. 

From summer 2011 students who are applying for entry clearance or leave to remain and who are not sponsored by a higher education institutions or publicly-funded further education college will not be granted permission to work at any time during their studies.

Universities, such as the University of Bedfordshire, have quietly welcomed the new restrictions, which gives them a clear advantage over the the competition from the private sector. But an adviser at Bison UK said that Universities also benefit from the private sector colleges as many of their students go on to take degree level courses at institutions like the University of Bedfordshire.

See article:

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website 

See article:

 

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website

See also: 

Student visa changes now Law after being laid before Parliament today

UK student visa restrictions announced by Home Secretary

Post Study Work Visa to be abolished April 2012 as part of student visa clampdown

Universities UK welcome student visa action by Home Office

Cross party MPs warn student visa proposals could ‘cripple’ sector, BBC reports

If you would like more information on the University of Bedfordshire email joanna or call 0208 905 1822.

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: 

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

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