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Proposed fee increase

It looks like the UKBA are yet again increasing the fess for visa application. The proposals were laid in Parliament on the 25th February 2013  and on 14 March, subject to Parliamentary approval, will take effect from 6 April 2013. Immigration Minister, Mark Harper said:

 

‘These increases are mostly in line with inflation and will ensure that the UK continues to welcome the brightest and the best. It is only right that those who use and benefit from the immigration system should contribute more than the UK taxpayer.’

 

It would appear that the Home Office are not satisfied with introducing stricter conditions under the immigration rules as it would appear that they want to make it more difficult for individuals to actually pay the fees in order to make the necessary applications to regularise their stay in the UK. 

 

The proposed fees will introduce application fees for EU nationals.  Currently, EEA applications are free to lodge at the Home Office but it is proposed that the UK border Agency will now charge a fee of £55.00. I am interested to see how this plays out. Nevertheless, it does make you wonder just how much have they increased other categories of visa applications. Example if you wanted to make an FLR(O) application before April 2013, you would be paying £561 for a main applicant and £281 for each dependant.  As of April 2013, the main applicant fees goes up to £578, not too bad right (some would say), but the dependant fees go up to …….. wait for it……… £433 per dependant!!!!! I am shocked to say the least. I mean picture this scenario, a mother with 3 children who has overstayed and isn’t working.  She lives with family and is being supported by them.  She would then be expected to find £1,877.00 to pay for an FLR (O) application (and this doesn’t include legal fees). Unfortunately, this is the reality a lot of people will face but send me an email and we can discuss how best to proceed with your matter.

 

Click below for the detailed list of proposed fees

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/fees-2013.pdf

 

Life in the UK Test

 

Onto something less emotive, an updated Life in the UK test handbook is now available to buy.  It supports the UK Border Agency’s Life In the UK test for migrants that are applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK/naturalisation as a British Citizen.

The UK Border Agency have announced that a new Life in the UK test will be introduced on 25 March 2013, this is 8 weeks after publication of the new handbook.  The aim is to allow candidates time to prepare and unlike the current test which only has questions on selected chapters, the new test will include questions on all sections of the new handbook.  So candidates will be tested on their knowledge of history and the law.

 

NOTE: The booking system will make it clear to candidates whether they are booking the new or old test

 

Changes to the Code of Practice

Changes to the Code of practice for skilled migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area.  The changes will come into effect on the 6th April 2013 and will also affect the timing of the applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship in March and April. These changes follow a review of the codes of practice carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in 2012. 

 

The changes will also affect the timing of the applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship in March 2013 and April 2013.

  • If a Sponsor assigns a certificate of sponsorship that has already been granted before 6 April 2013, the old codes of practice, salary thresholds and advertising criteria will continue to apply;
  • The new codes of practice, salary thresholds and advertising criteria will apply to all applications for certificates of sponsorship made after 6 April 2013;
  • Sponsors who have been allocated restricted certificates of sponsorship prior to 6 April 2013 must assign those prior to the transition date (6th April 2013) otherwise they will be lost.  A new restricted certificate of sponsorship application would then be required, potentially leading to a significant delay in the individual concerned being able to start working in the UK.

 

The changes include:

Changes to the lists of skilled occupations

The current codes of practice use the Standard Occupational Classification 2000 system, so they are updating the skill lists and levels to reflect the new Standard Occupational Classification 2010 system.

Changes to salary requirements

The minimum appropriate rates for skilled workers in each occupation are being simplified and updated to reflect changes in pay for settled workers. In addition, the overall salary thresholds which apply across Tier 2 will be increased in April 2013 , in line with wage inflation. For example,  the current annual salary threshold of £20,000 for all jobs which qualify for tier 2 is being increased to £20,300.

Changes to the way the resident labour market test is conducted

The current lists of specific publications and websites where vacancies can be advertised will be replaced with a set of simple criteria for identifying suitable media. These new criteria will make the resident labour market test more flexible, giving employers more freedom to advertise where they think will be most successful, while ensuring settled workers have the opportunity to apply for jobs.

 

For full details of the changes, please see the UK Border Agency website:  Revisions to the codes of practice for skilled migrant workers

  

Changes to rehabilitation

From 13 December 2012 changes were made to the Nationality Instructions that affect anyone applying for citizenship on or after that date.

The main changes deal with criminality and how it is assessed in terms of the good character requirement in citizenship applications. Some of the main amendments are summarised below:

  • Applications made on or after 13 December 2012 which feature a criminal conviction will no longer be assessed against the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Instead they will be measured against a new set of sentencing limits.
  • Where an application features a sentence of 4 years or more in prison this can never fall outside a sentencing threshold. Such an application for citizenship will likely be refused.
  • Police cautions will be looked at in determining whether someone meets the good character requirement.
  • There will be greater scope to discount some disciplinary military offences when deciding nationality applications from serving and former members of HM Forces.

For full details of the changes, please see the UK Border Agency website:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/nationalityinstructions/nichapter18/ch18annexd?view=Binary

FLR(BID) Applications Scrapped!!!

 

The FLR(BID) application has been withdrawn since the 29th February 2012. So applicants applying under the categories stated below should use form FLR(O).

Also note that from the 29th February 2012, appointments at public enquiry offices for these case types should be booked under the FLR(O) category.

 

Categories that will be affected:

  • an academic visitor;
  • domestic worker in a private household;
  • UK ancestor;
  • visitor for private medical care; and
  • a dependent of a person with limited leave.

For more information please visit the UK Border Agency website.

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