Firstly, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!
2011 looks like a challenging year for everyone in the UK, but especially for migrant workers and international students facing a raft of immigration rule changes and the interim cap on migration, which means their employers are unable to renew their working visas. For those with less than ‘five years continuous work’ under their belt, this can prove disastrous for their future stay in Britain.
A large number of Senior Care Workers will be soon be eligible to apply for UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and many are not able to satisfy the five year rule for a variety of reasons. Some arrived several months after their work permits were issued or took career breaks, while others were caught up in the 2007 Senior Care Worker work permit rule change debacle which forced hundreds of care workers out of the UK.
If you fall into either of the above categories, you should consider taking advice before submitting an application for ILR, as a mistake could lead to an extremely costly refusal which in most cases will involve a full appeal hearing to prevent you from being removed from the UK.
Evelie Padadac, of Immigration Advisers Bison UK, is receiving a growing number of distressed calls from Senior Carers who do not know how to approach the ‘shortfall’ issue or have been refused by the UK Border Agency and had their visas cancelled. She is offering to give all Work Permit holding Senior Care Workers a free initial consultation to help them with their visa issues.
Prevention is better than cure
The first piece of advice Evelie offers is to ‘take advice from a qualified OISC registered adviser (not a friend or relative) before you apply’. Get the application right from the start is the key. As the old saying goes, preventing a problem is always easier than curing it! Most professional immigration advisers will give you a free initial consultation, and even if you pay a few pounds to get the job done correctly it will be worth it to secure you and your family’s future.
What should you do if you think you are affected?
Firstly, don’t panic! Solutions can often be found even when the situation seems hopeless. The UK Border Agency has put in place transitional arrangements or exemptions for Senior Carers who do not meet the 5 year rule due to the 2007 period when for a time no work permits were being renewed.
Note down your immigration history and where there may be gaps including holidays outside the UK. Establish if you meet the 5-year rule by counting the exact amount of time you have been in the UK. If you are confident that you do meet the qualifying requirements, consult a registered immigration adviser to do the final checks. If you think you do not meet the 5-year qualifying period, wait until you do. If this is not an option, consult an adviser.
Tier 2 changes announced 7 Feb
This week the UK Border Agency announced a major shake-up of the Tier 2 shortage occupations list, with large numbers of ‘level 3 classified jobs’, such as Senior Carers, likely to be disqualified as the government sets to raise the qualification entry level to NQF 4.
The government have asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to adopt a minimum National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 4, instead of the current level 3, and above as the relevant benchmark. This will have the immediate effect of cutting the number of occupations qualifying for Tier 2 working visas from 192 to 121, a reduction of 71, which could include the likes of level 3 rated Chefs and Senior Carers.
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