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UK Home Office to close off route to citizenship | Immigration Matters

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Under the latest proposed Immigration Rules changes, the Home Office plan to abolish a rule that gives foreign workers the right to live permanently in Britain after working here for five years, according to a report in the Daily Mail this week.

Critics on the right point out that during the previous Labour Government’s last full year in power, 203,790 immigrants were granted British Citizenship.

It was the highest level since records began in 1962 and meant that more than 1.5million foreign nationals became British citizens under Labour.

To be fair to the previous government, the immigration system has for many years offered a ‘route to permanent residence’ (Indefinite Leave to Remain/ILR) and citizenship which meant that as long as somebody worked or lived here for four or five years and kept out of trouble, they would allowed to settle here permanently.

Towards the end of their administration Labour started to ‘get tough’ on immigration by coming up with the new concept of ‘earned citizenship’, which among other things meant that a migrant would only be able to obtain a British passport, after living legally in the UK for six years, provided they completed 50 hours of community service. If they did not, they had to wait for eight years.

Labour lost the election and the idea was ditched before it was even introduced, but had previously changed the qualification period for ILR from four to five years, introduced the Points Based System and brought in the ‘Life in the UK’ test.

Under the latest plans by the Conservative led coalition, the Home Office may abolish a rule that gives foreign workers the right to live permanently in Britain after working here for five years. Officials will also restrict the right of their family members to join them.

The government will also look at restricting the right of immigrants’ spouses to a British passport if they stay here long enough.

Foreigners will still be able to gain a visa to work in Britain but will no longer be able to stay simply by virtue of remaining legally for five years.

The policy will be based on introducing a new ‘hurdle’ for those who want to remain permanently.

A new test would be applied before a permanent right to remain is granted – based on immigrants’ ability to support themselves and their families, qualifications and whether they are working in professions where there are shortages of trained Britons able to fulfil the role.

Those on high incomes, businessmen and millionaire investors would be exempt because the government believes they create jobs. EU nationals who have a right to live in the UK, such as Polish, Bulgarians or Romanians, would not be affected.

Do the Tories have a realistic chance of cutting net migration – the number of people arriving in the country, versus those leaving?

Despite all the rhetoric, the reality of the task could be likened to attempting to change the direction of a super tanker going full steam ahead down the English channel.

The immediate target – one that will produce the ‘quick fix’ headline figures – will be foreign students on Tier 4 student visas and non-EU Tier 2 workers, which they will slash net migration to around 160,000 or 170,000. See: Students in the UK on temporary Tier 4 visas are not ‘migrants’

Some argue that only by breaking the link between people working here and remaining here permanently, will David Cameron will have any chance of reaching his net migration targets. Source: Daily Mail.

Hardly a week goes by without an announcement of yet another ‘crackdown on immigration’. More often than not, it’s the same re-hashed crackdown! The ‘route to citizenship’ closure has been banded about for the last couple of years.

In reality it will be difficult and unfair to deny residency rights to people already living in the UK for a number of years, especially those with ties such as children born in the UK. The Human Rights Act, which Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said is ‘here to stay’, would have to be torn up for a start.

There are also long stay concessions in place, such as the 10 and 14 year long stay rules, to deal with, not to mention the estimated 500,000-700,000 people living here illegally, which the think tank ippr said it will take 20 years and £5 billion to remove them – assuming they can be found.

In troubled economic times some have historically turned on immigrants as the source of their country’s woes, often with disastrous consequences.

Whilst a it’s easy to blame ‘those foreigners coming over here taking our jobs’ it should be remembered that the vast majority of those on work permits were brought here because the vacancy could not be filled from the ‘resident labour market’.

In other words, businesses, public services and employers needed foreign workers to expand and or maintain public sector services. Even now, with millions of people unemployed, healthcare workers are still needed in the UK.

According to a recent report on Student Visas by a Home Affairs Select Committee, ‘The international student market, estimated to be worth £40 billion to the UK economy is a significant growth market and the UK is the second most popular destination in the world for international students.’

In order to maintain this position the UK needs to start changing the perceived negative message that is going out around the world that ‘foreign students are no longer welcome’.

Whether or not the perception is based on fact, when it is actually relatively easy to obtain a Tier 4 student visa when compared to the US or Canada, is irrelevant.

Student agents are already reporting a downturn in demand and have started sending students to the obvious competitors such as Australia, but also to emerging providers like Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, Malaysia and India.

Meanwhile in the UK, dozens of private colleges are closing their doors every month under a tidal wave of pressure and what they see as unfair legislation. Apart from direct job losses and longer dole queues, ‘UK PLC’ is losing PAYE tax and NI revenue from the employer colleges, 20% VAT on fees, Corporation Tax, visa fees, Leave to Remain fees, CAS fees, registration and compliance fees and more.

In addition to jobs for university and college staff, foreign students also create a positive knock-on effect on secondary employment, for instance for suppliers to the educational industry, accreditation and awarding bodies.

The direct revenue from cash fees paid by international students also generates ‘export’ earnings in foreign exchange, rental income for accommodation, business rent and rates paid by landlords.

In short, the destruction of the private education industry will cost the UK billions of pounds and drive hundreds of thousands of international students into the welcoming arms of eager rivals.

See also:

Health care workers needed in UK now

Students in the UK on temporary Tier 4 visas are not ‘migrants’

New Tier 4 sponsor guidance published for Highly Trusted Sponsorship – will your private college qualify?

Pre Tier 4 students in the UK under the Immigration Rules that were in place before 31 March 2009

New Tier 4 student visa rules now in force


Can family dependants of Tier 4 Students work while studying in the UK?

European Commission order to let EU migrants claim benefits as soon as they enter the UK blasted

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals 

Free Movement of EU nationals explained 

BR1 Form for ‘Yellow Card’ Registration revised

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards

14 Year Long Stay Immigration Concession to be closed

For free immigration news updates, please visit  or email: 

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

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12 Responses to “UK Home Office to close off route to citizenship”
Read them below or add one

  1. […] for the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, Jackie has fought to defend … Fetch Here THE DIVIDED LEGAL PROFESSION IN ENGLAND AND WALES-CAN …In an article in The Times of London, June…gin:10px; max-width:25%;" alt="Images of Legal Aid Solicitors In London" title="Images of Legal Aid […]

  2. The person in the 4th comment who has written so many letters over 75 in the first comment seems to be angered or emotional over something. Everybody has a right to live his/her life independently. Why don’t you seek professional help maybe you haven’t taken your medication. Your allegation are weak and repetitive. By abusing women makes you feel more of a man. Get a life.

  3. Dymond says :

    Coming from an old English family myself yet living most of the time in another country myself I find it astounding that so many people are complaining about what they do not get from the British government. With that attitude, they should never have been allowed to stay in the first place.

    I live outside the UK most of the year. I do not ask my adopted country what they can do for me but try and find ways I can contribute and do my best to conduct myself as a good guest to ensure my continued welcome.

    Personally, I think finding and blocking every application where people are concerned about what they cannot get would be a start. I would certainly not limit that to non EU countries either now with EU membership meaning so very little these days.

  4. Dymond says :

    Just not enough. We do need skilled immigration. We do need the integrated immigration of people happy to fit in with british life. We should also do more to encourage students to train here.

    But I dont see us doing enough to avoid economic migrants, illegal immigration and the abuse of a welfare system by those who have yet to contribute.

  5. The short answer is because you are not in the EU.

  6. Why it’s always us migrant workers from asia are the ones affected on every new ruling for residency & citizenship? To think that we don’t get as much as the EU workers get from ur government, i have nothing against them but it should be fair enough that we work hard for us to get this residency & citizenship that we have to be a citizen to get what your local people get unlike those EU that them family are still in their own country but they can get all the benefits equally as those people here in UK without them having the life in the uk test and so fort… We migrant workers & our family here get our health benefit just because were paying taxes the grown up kids work and most are studying… So whatever we have we work for it.. We dont depend on the benefits like everyones thinking about…we are not taking your money or position to work especially in health services its just a matter of give & take we give our services so hopefully the government should give us what is fair and rightfully for us…

  7. mukish dhanbir says :

    i continually read about laws and comments on immigration control and the necessity one must have to remain here, but i am yet to have a clear and precise answer from anyone concerning over 75 letters i have written to have my name cleared by the immigration for accepting excessive lies and false accussations against me by a woman who just wanted to remain here after purchasing fasle documents which was presented to the HO and accepted for a n extension on her student,s visa although she had never been to school. she just wanted to remain here at any cost. she has since accumulated 10 legal aid solicitors with more and more lies whilst i am waiting for an answer from someone.

  8. In front of Immigration Power normal person cannot say anything, However the person like me paying tax of £10k.

    We are really Highly skilled people.

    The loss is for UK Nation to loss someone like me.

    I know that I have earned enough skill & experience that I can get good job anywhere in the world.

    But Immigration people must understand that by taking this action will adverse the econimic situation in UK.


  9. sookie says :

    The government here is so unsupportive of people who work their ass off just to reach their goals and fulfill their dreams. They are totally discriminative. They should be thankful that people want to be part of their country…their culture…It is great sacrifice to leave your homeland and pursue a career in a new country. It is just a shame that most people who decide to migrate here can not enjoy the same resources that this country has back home because, otherwise, I don’t suppose people would want to live here. There’s so much fuss in everything that involves money. All they think about is how to snatch money from people’s pockets, not thinking of the more important contributions that foreigners (especially Asians) share to this country’s economy.

  10. YINKA .A.Odesola says :

    In fact, hope illegal immigrant may have a say about the current gov now because most people cast their vote change if is going to happen , firstly all over from African people believes their great they can do better than labour and some believes they can’t I think united kingdom Is now show a lot of provbes to African s now . In 60 s I was told that no blacks
    No dogs no Irish now they have dogs and a lot of Irish in Mps and areas in Gv this time pls I cast my vote for change . Hope uk now is not control word because we comes for help from african We don’t find it easy to be here for long time with family no help from any one , save our soul

  11. […] Mr Avila is still with his partner and is eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in Britain when his current leave comes up for renewal next year. If granted it paves the way for him to apply for British citizenship. […]

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