29-11-16 – Home Office reversed their decision to increase fees for appeals

Home Office have reversed their controversial decision to dramatically increase fees for appeals heard before the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal. This means that if you receive a decision from the Home Office and if your decision letter is dated 10 October 2016 it would have cost for your appeal to be heard: £490 without a hearing (previously £80) £800 with a hearing (previously £140) The court fees will now  be charged at the old rates (£80 without a hearing and £140 with a hearing) and those who have paid the higher fees in the last few weeks will have their p...

23-11-16 – Philip Hammond has delivered his first Autumn Statement as chancellor.

These are the key points. Public borrowing/deficit/spending: Government finances forecast to be £122bn worse off  in the period until 2021 than forecast in March's Budget; Debt will rise from 84.2% of GDP last year to 87.3% this year, peaking at 90.2% in 2017-18; Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts borrowing of £68.2bn this year, then £59bn in 2017-18, £46.5bn in 2018-19, £21.9bn in 2019-20 and £20.7bn in 2020-21. The state of the economy: OBR growth forecast upgraded to 2.1% in 2016 - from 2.0% - then downgraded to 1.4% in 2017, from 2.2%; Forecast growth of 1.7% in...

14-11-16 – 28 day ‘grace period’ abolished

In 2012 a 28 day grace period was introduced into the immigration rules, whereby applicants were allowed to submit applications from within the UK up to 28 days after their visa had expired: ‘The applicant must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded.’ While it is always advisable to submit an application in-time before a visa expires, the 28 day ‘grace period’ was a welcome addition to the immigration rules and allowed flexibility when needed in submitting applications. This has now been abolished...

03-11-16 – Changes to the Immigration Rules

On the 3 November 2016 government announced changes to the Immigration Rules. The main changes are the following: Tier 2 The salary threshold for experienced workers has been increased to £25,000. The salary threshold for new entrants has been held at £20,800. An exemption will apply for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and Mandarin until July 2019. As a transitional arrangement, the £25,000 threshold will not apply to workers sponsored in Tier 2 (General) before 24 November 2016, if they apply to exte...

12-10-16 – UK & China – increase in flights announced to boost tourism and trade opportunities for the UK

Following successful negotiations in London today, the UK and China have agreed to more than double the number of flights allowed to operate between the 2 countries. This will lead to an increase from the current maximum of 40 flights per week to up to 100. The plan is to boost tourism and trade opportunities for the UK. There will also be no limit on the number of all-cargo services in order to create new opportunities for UK trade and business. Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: ‘I am delighted that talks between the UK and China have concluded successfully as a result of which flight limits...

10-10-16 – Immigration Tribunal – Appeal Fees Increased

From today the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal have significantly increased their appeal fees. This means that if you receive a decision from the Home Office and if your decision letter is dated on or after 10 October 2016 it now costs for your appeal to be heard: £490 without a hearing (previously £80) £800 with a hearing (previously £140) These fees apply to refusals for all immigration applications, including those under the EEA Regulations, and all asylum claims. There are very limited exemptions to these fees, for instance you may not have to pay a fee if yo...

05-10-16 – Conservative Party Conference: Immigration Proposals

The Conservative Party Conference took place this week in Birmingham, where the party gathered to debate on policies and to hear their leaders speak. As expected there was much discussion on immigration and proposals to reduce this. This can be summarised as follows: Home Secretary Amber Rudd: Forcing businesses to disclose what percentage of their workforce is non-British as a way to encourage businesses to hire more local British nationals; Making the current Resident Labour Market Test, used when employing non-EEA nationals under the Tier 2 work scheme, tougher, by businesses having to...

21-09-16 – European passport return service

From 01 October 2016 the European passport return service is available for EEA and Swiss nationals applying using the EEA(QP) or EEA(PR) forms. An authorised local agency can photocopy a passport and send the photocopy to the Home Office. The service is available by appointment only and should be used within 5 working days of submitting the form. Using this service does not guarantee that the form has been correctly completed and correct supporting documents submitted, as well as a success of the application.  

05-09-16 – EEA Nationals – Home Office testing new fast track online application

The Home Office is currently testing a new fast track online application system for a two week trial period. The fast track application is for EEA nationals who apply for permanent residence after five years of continuously exercising treaty rights in the UK. At present the trial period is not publicly available and is to test the system, and present a faster and easier alternative to making applications other than the current lengthy six-month postal application. It is also thought to be the Home Office’s response to the surge in EEA applications after the UK voted to leave the EU in the refe...

04-08-16 – UK interest rate cut

The Bank of England has taken radical action to prevent the UK from falling into recession, cutting interest rates to 0.25% - the lowest level in the institution’s 322-year history - and pumping billions of pounds of newly created money into the economy. The Bank cut its forecasts for the growth of the UK economy by the biggest single amount since it starting producing regular forecasts in 1993, slashing its GDP projection next year from 2.2% to 0.8% and predicting a rise in unemployment from 5% to 5.4%. Not only did the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee cut interest rates by a quarter-percenta...