Hardly a day goes by when the UK Government announces another “clamp down” on immigration and foreign workers.
The latest measures announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week include further restrictions on highly skilled (Tier 1) and skilled (Tier 2) migrants and their families on coming into Britain.
In a BBC interview last week Jacqui Smith said: “It is right in a downturn to be more selective about the skill levels of those migrants, and to do more to put British workers first”.
Since the expansion of the European Union in 2004, the Labour Government has made life much harder for non-EU migrants and their families, in order to reduce migration from countries like the Philippines, India and China.
The points-based system, UK Borders Act and the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament, which sets out plans to abolish ‘ILR’ and make it harder to obtain British Citizenship.
The UK Border Agency has also become increasingly hostile towards in country students and workers when renewing their visas or ‘Leave to Remain’.
I receive hundreds of calls and emails from distressed migrants who have applied for Dependant Visas, EEA applications or student visa extensions only to be refused – sometimes on the smallest of technicalities. In some cases we can rescue the application immediately, but in others we have gone all the way to a full appeal at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT), like the recent successful human rights case involving a family dependant situation.
Last month in Manila, where applicants are routinely kept waiting up to three months for a UK student visa decision, the British Embassy and processing partner, VFS Global, imposed unfair and arguably unlawful restrictions on NVQ students.
VFS Global announced in February that “NVQ student visa applications would only be accepted with an appointment”, and would be allocated just 10 appointment slots per day. Within hours the insufficient allocation was filled until April, leaving hundreds of students frustrated and unable to submit documents for courses starting prior to the introduction of Tier 4 on 31 March.
This message appears to have since been removed from their website (www.vfs-uk-ph.com) after complaints by Immigration Matters and numerous blogs and articles including those posted on http://www.balitypinoy.net/.
So what advice can we give to overseas workers and in country migrants?
Firstly, when applying, make sure you complete forms carefully and truthfully and keep copies of any documents submitted. Lying on an immigration form could lead to a UK ban.
Secondly, if in any doubt, take legal advice from a specialist OISC registered immigration law practitioner or lawyer. Unless you know exactly what you are doing it is worth investing a little money to secure your future.
Lastly, don’t give up. Persevere with your case and use all available means of appeal or review.
For the latest immigration news visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk
One in 9 living UK born overseas