Skilled migrants will only qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as settlement, in the future if they are earning a minimum salary. The Home Secretary has announced the plan as a move towards creating a temporary migrant workforce in the UK.
The new rules will mean that any skilled worker who has been in the UK for five years will now need to earn at least £35,000 per annum in order to qualify for ILR. It is expected that there will be some exceptions to the limit, including a lower earnings threshold for jobs in shortage or at PhD level.
Further details will no doubt be introduced in due course. With the publication of a new Life in the UK Test due in coming weeks as well, however, the government is showing no signs of releasing pressure on the immigration system.
For more information see www.lifeintheuk.net
The Home Secretary has announced the UKBA will be split into two separate new bodies following the publication of the critical report, An investigation into border security checks, by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency John Vine.
The Home Secretary tried to put a positive slant on the report’s findings but the Shadow Home Secretary and Brodie Clark, former head of the UKBA who was forced to resign last year, suggest otherwise.
Further details on this, including the specific recommendations provided in the report, can be found on www.lifeintheuk.net. It will be interesting to see how these recommendations marry up with the Home Secretary’s forthcoming plans.
Hot on the heels of their quiz testing how European you are, the Guardian has asked 100 people across the country - What does being British mean to you?
This year Britain will see the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the Olympics and changes to the citizenship test as well as a vote on Scottish independence on the horizon. So there is perhaps no better time to ask - what does being British mean to you?
The national identity of any country is a hard thing to define but in the UK, where immigration continues to be a divisive issue, there are ever more voices to hear. If you ask people in the UK what they consider their national identity to be it is likely that you will get a different answer for every person you ask. A group of people may all say they are British, but they will also tell you that their family are from Scotland, England, or somewhere outside of the UK. Others may say they are just from one country and don’t feel British.
What do you think though? You are all people hoping to join the British nation so do you agree with the people the Guardian spoke to? Do the 100 people in this article make you proud and happy to be working towards becoming part of the British nation?
With technology and media bringing so much more of the world to our homes every day the national identity of countries will be more and more in peoples’ minds. Do we run the risk of losing it or will it strengthen as the world becomes more closely interlinked? Do migrants bring richness and diversity to the British culture or are they partly responsible for changing it? If things are changing, are they changing for the worse or the better?
If you want to share your thoughts on this then come join the conversation on our Facebook page.
As the woes and troubles of the Eurozone continue to dominate the news around the globe the Guardian newspaper has put together a quiz to ask us how European we feel.
The quiz asks you to pick which statement out of four about Europe you identify most with. Some of them are easy, but some of them are also very difficult. For instance:
I look upon European summits:
I came out as Euro-paean which put me in line with 37% of respondents. Where do you come?
As we start 2012 here at Red Squirrel Publishing we’ve found that you have given us one of the best Christmas presents that we have ever had.
It seems that the new 2012 editions of our Life in the UK Test: Study Guides are selling better than ever so that we are now in the top 250 best-selling books on Amazon!
It seems clear that people value the independent advice and good old fashioned value for money provided by our books and also on www.lifeintheuk.net. This is one of the reasons we offer a free subscription to our online tests with every copy of our books.
This is all great news as it means that we are doing something right and helping people out. We’re going to carry on doing just that as well.
With the new citizenship test on the horizon it’s going to be more important than ever to make sure that you have up-to-date guidance on the test and the best study materials possible. That’s why we will make sure that www.lifeintheuk.net is up-to-date with the latest independent advice on the test.
In a short summary report the independent think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that recent falls in net migration are the result of economic factors and not government policy.
The report, Migration Review 2011/12 identifies changes in migrant numbers over the last year and provides some explanation of the changes. One of the key conclusions reached in the report is that the self-set target of reducing net migration to under 100,000 will be very hard, if not impossible to reach.
The paper also questions the value of net migration as a metric given it is resulting in policies which risk damaging economic growth - at a time when it is greatly needed in the UK:
“Reducing immigration is a legitimate policy goal – but the choice of target brings two risks. The first is that by promising what it cannot deliver, the government, far from achieving its stated aim of taking the heat out of this emotive issue, will instead feed the public’s sense of disillusionment. The second risk is that the target will distort policy choices. This is happening across the board, for example with the proposal to introduce a high salary threshold for those wishing to marry someone from abroad. But the most troubling area, at a time when returning to growth should be the UK’s top priority, are the wide-ranging changes to economic migration.”
In reference to the cap on visa numbers introduced at the start of this government’s term, the report is also critical. It should be noted that the cap was not reached in 2011 due to economic conditions, and the report notes that “IPPR remains concerned that it could be a drag on economic performance in the longer term.
The conclusion adds: “It is slightly odd to see a government making a virtue of their flagship policy not actually having had any effect, but the more serious conclusion is that the experience of the cap so far should not be seen as a vindication of the policy for the future.”
It may not be a path to citizenship, but if you are outside the EU and were lucky enough to get tickets for an Olympic event then you may well need a visitor visa.
Applications open from 1 January so now is a great time to get everything ready for your application. It would, after all, be a shame to miss out because your application isn’t processed in time!
With immigration proving such a hot topic at the moment it can be hard work to make sense of all the conflicting opinions, statistics and numbers. What does it all actually mean? Is the UK going to sink under the weight of so many people or have the numbers been spun for political gain?
Well the lovely people at the Guardian have taken the latest Immigration Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics and created interactive diagrams, charts and tables to break it all down.
This means that you can now see things such as how many people have come and gone from the UK, where they came from, how asylum application patterns have change over the years and how many people are deported.
This incredibly useful summary means that you no longer have to read a news story saying ‘Net migration hits 250,000’ and say to yourself, ‘is that a lot? How much was it five, or ten, years ago?’
If you are concerned about immigration, about the government’s recent changes to the Immigration Rules, or simply want to understand what’s happening in some more detail then this is the perfect place to start.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published a report on the economic factors relating to sponsoring partners or dependents for UK citizenship. The report suggests, based solely on economic factors, that the minimum salary threshold should be raised by anything between 35-88%.
The suggested threshold would be set between £18,600 and £25,700 (before tax) for a sole applicant. For those wishing to bring in a wife and two children, the minimum threshold would be set between £24,800 and £47,600.
The new threshold will apply to any UK resident or citizen who wishes to sponsor a dependent or partner to come to the UK. This includes British-born citizens.
It is estimated that a salary threshold of £18,600 would reduce settlement through the family route by 45 per cent. A minimum of £25,700 would reduce it by 63 per cent.
The new threshold was suggested in response to the government requesting analysis of the economic issues of burdens on the state benefit system.
In the introduction to the report the MAC are clear to state that ’family migration regulations are not determined by economic factors alone. But it is an economic issue – required family income – that we have been asked to address. On this basis, the present income stipulation is too low. The MAC suggests, instead, a minimum gross income figure to support a two-adult family of between £18,600 and £25,700. We estimate that nearly two thirds of sponsors would not have sufficient gross income to meet the higher of these thresholds. But our analysis suggests that, based on only economic criteria, there is a case for such a benchmark.’
The recommendations contained in this report will proved proscriptive for any a very large number of people looking to bring family members and loved ones to the UK. This will clearly prove very useful for the Conservatives, who are faced with the seemingly impossible target of ‘reducing net migration to the tens of thousands’.
It is significant to note that every recent report by the MAC has been welcomed by the UKBA and all associated recommendations have been accepted. This has lead to the Shortage Occupation List being updated with an estimated 40,000 available places being removed.
As such it would be prudent to assume that the recommendations in the report will be approved in due course and that a new threshold, likely towards the higher end of the proposed range, will be brought into effect.
The UK Border Agency have let an unknown number of people into the UK through ports and airports without proper checks of their biometric information, passports and identity over summer 2011.
In what has proved to be a controversial story since it broke, it now seems that Theresa May may be fighting to save her position as Home Secretary. Further details continue to emerge on a daily basis and May today faces an opposition-day debate in the Commons.
The discovery of severe reductions in UK border checks comes ahead of further tightenings of the Immigration Rules from a government supposedly cracking down on immigration and abuses of the immigration system.
With Brodie Clark - who has already resigned in protest at May’s accusations that he is responsible - keen to talk to the Home Affairs Select Committee to offer his version of events it seems that May is fighting a difficult position.
Further details can be found on the link above - it is clear, however, that there is more to come from this controversial story.