Category Archives: Work Visas

Information and news on visas available for employees and migrant looking to work in the UK and Italy.

5 major UK Immigration news for 2016

In 2016, the UK will is rolling out important major change in the immigration system that will affect workers, businesses, family life and study for migrants.

Here we have compiled a useful guide of our 5 major picks from the new law that will be put in place as well as what to look out for in immigration news being discussed by government in 2016

1. The Immigration Bill

The Immigration Bill has reached the committee stage in the House of Lords and will likely become law this year. It includes a range of policy changes, particularly targeting illegal workers and businesses.

Those found working illegally in England and Wales could face up to six months in jail with wages being seized as ‘proceeds of crime’ and employers could face a maximum criminal penalty which has changed from 2 to 5 years. Additionally, with new laws allowing banks, police, DVLA and landlords to be given new powers to check immigration status, families could easily find various aspects of their daily life surveilled.

Employers under Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsors employing recent graduates and Non-EEA migrants will have to follow a new immigration skills charge (visa levy) to businesses who preferentially employ skilled migrants from abroad which is currently being assessed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The visa levy on businesses was created to further enforce the Labour Resident Market Test and the extent of the charge is not currently known.

Find out more about what the Immigration Bill is and how it will affect you with our guides.

2. Residence in the UK

Migrants with UK work visas will have to earn at least £35,000 or more to be able to apply to stay in the UK as permanent resident (apply for indefinite leave to remain) after April 6, 2016.

Read more about the changes to permanent residency for Tier 2 general holders.

3. Right to Rent

From the 1st of February 2016, the ‘right to rent’ scheme is being rolled out UK wide. Private landlords will be compelled by law to check the immigration status of all their tenants.

Landlords will need to take copies of all adult passports or residence permits. Failure to do so could result in them being fined up to £3000 per tenant, for each tenant who has no right to rent in the UK, including undocumented migrants.

Research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has found that the scheme can be discriminatory towards ethnic minorities, including Asians.

Read how the Right to Rent law may affect you.

4. An Online Visa Application System

The government will invest more than £250 million to overhaul the passport and immigration system. This investment was made to enable migrants to apply and pay for their passport and visa applications entirely online.

This online visa system is aimed to improve information, convenience and flexibility. Though it is not currently known when it will be implemented, it may be news worth looking out for.

You can read more about what was discussed in immigration in the spending review on the Gov.UK website.

5. Increased Fees

The UK government are introducing and looking into a few new fee changes this coming year:

The government recently announced that fees for settlement, residence and nationality will increase by 25% in 2016–17 and visit, study and work visa fees will increase by around 2%. There will also be targeted increases to premium services, such as the priority visa service. The specific fee changes for 2016–17 will apply after further legislation is laid in Parliament by April this year.

You can read more on the new fees on the Gov.UK website.

The government have also indicated that they are looking to extend charges for Non-EU overseas visitors and migrants to access various departments of the NHS. They are looking to extend beyond the health surcharge to Accidents and Emergency (A&E), ambulance care as well as some general practitioner (GP) services such as blood tests, lung function tests, prescriptions, dental treatment and physiotherapy.

They seek relevant views on these proposals to further extend these charges. It closes on Sunday 6 March 2016 and can be accessed on the Gov.UK website.

Jobs for international students in the UK: the myth debunked?

Rumor has it that the government is constantly tightening visa policies – which in turn deters UK employers from hiring foreign nationals and graduates. There is no doubt that bureaucracy deters employers when it comes to hiring foreign graduates, and therefore there are now fewer organisations looking for international recruits.

Rohan Harris, Director at Inter-CV, takes the stand that this is a somewhat misleading outlook, and if anyone actually looks at the statistics they may think differently.

The Impact of the Removal of the Post-Study-Work Visa
While it is true that the removal of the post study work visa has made the search for a job more complicated for international students, employers are still looking and need this talent.

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Difficult times for International graduates?

From the annual Graduate Market study by Highflyers – a review of graduate vacancies and starting salaries from the UK’s top 100 employers, top employers are looking to recruit more graduates and are experiencing a shortage:

  • Recruitment targets revised in January 2014 – 18,264
  • Recruitment targets revised again in July 2014 – 18,753
  • Actual confirmed graduates recruited in December 2014 – 18,129 recruited (743 unfilled vacancies)

Furthermore, 3 out of 5 employers said that they were working to achieve diversity targets for their graduate recruitment, such as the number of women and/or ethnic minority applicants.

  • A quarter of the country’s leading employers have increased their graduate recruitment budget from the previous year
  • The largest growth in graduate vacancies is expected in public sector organisations, armed forces, retailers, banking and finance, accounting and professional services firms.
  • The research showed that 61% of the top graduate employers said that one of their challenges is achieving their diversity targets. This is ranked 2nd in their overall list of challenges for 2015

If you are an International Student looking for a job, this is good news and tells you to look for and knock on the doors of companies with visible diversity targets – they may see you as a way to meet their targets.

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Migreat is hosting an immigration event in London next week to help foreign engineering graduates navigate the UK immigration system and meet employers of tech companies recruiting. Grab your ticket now – seats are limited. 

For more information on the topic of job vacancies in the UK, go check Rohan Harris’ profile and newest articles on our Migreat UK Community website.

UK Work Visa Rule change: migrant worker must earn £35,000 or more by next April 2016

Migrants with UK work visas will have to earn at least £35,000 or more to be able to apply to stay in the UK as permanent resident after April 6, 2016.

UK Visa Application

Immigrants with Tier 2 work visas will only be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (also called permanent residence) if they meet the threshold of the £35,000 annual salary.

Who

The new rules targets migrants under the Tier 2 (General) visa category and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa categories having stayed five years in the UK, and applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The £35,000 earning requirement will not apply to anyone in an occupation that is on the shortage occupation list or to scientists and researchers in PhD level occupations.

What

Migrants who do not meet the new minimum income threshold now have less than 12 months until the new immigration rules come into force to find a solution if they want to continue to work in the UK. Tier 2 migrants paid below £35,000 applying for ILR after April 2016 will need to either find another visa with which to stay in the UK.

Workers who are not earning enough to apply for settlement will be allowed to stay in the UK for six years in total. They will then be required to leave the UK. They won’t be able to apply for another Tier 2 visa until they have competed a 12 month ‘cooling off’ period outside the UK.  Source: UK Parliament Research Briefings.

Sectors that will suffer most from the new rule are education and healthcare. It is expected that the number of non-European Union/EEA nationals and their dependants granted permanent residence each year will be reduced from 60,000 to 20,000 with this new measure ; and that around 16% of Tier 2 migrants would no longer qualify for permanent settlement due to the salary threshold.

The Royal College of Nursing has warned that up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK may have to leave the UK due to the salary requirement.

This measure will not apply to

  • People who have/had a Tier 2 (General) visa to do a job on the shortage occupation list, or to do specified PhD level jobs in science or research.
  • People who have a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or (Intra-Company Transfer) visa.

If you are on a Tier 2 visa and would like assistance applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), Migreat can connect you with a solicitor/lawyer who is an expert on immigration by visiting this migreat.com page dedicated to ILR applications.

What you can and cannot do with a Tier 2 UK Work Visa

Here is a quick summary of what you can and can’t do under a Tier 2 visa to make sure you are not breaching any of the laws applying to you as a Tier 2 visa holder.

The Tier 2 UK work visa will allow you:

  • to work for a UK company in the job described on the certificate of sponsorship issued by your employer;
  • to work in another job either in the same sector and at same level; or in the job in shortage list for a maximum of 20 hours a week along your main current job;
  • to work as a volunteer;
  • to study as long as it does not interfere with your job;
  • to bring family members in the UK on your visa as partners or dependents.

However, there are strict restrictions under this UK work visa that you need to consider before applying. You will not be able to

  • own more than 10% shares of the company that is sponsoring you (unless you earn more than £155,300 a year); if you own more than 10% and earn less than £155,300 a year, you might consider the tier 1 category visas (investor, entrepreneur, graduate entrepreneur)
  • access public funds or benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support usually. This means you will have to be able to sustain yourself in the country without any government scheme or help. For example, the following popular benefits will not be available to you:
    • income-based jobseeker’s allowance;
    • housing benefit
    • council tax benefit

Know that years spend in the UK under the tier 2 general visa category are counted as years making you eligible to apply to ILR Indefinite Leave to Remain unlike visas under the tier 4 and 5 category.

However, a new regulation coming next April 2016 will make it compulsory to be paid an annual salary of £35K to apply to ILR under the tier 2 category.

If you have any general UK work visa questions, Migreat experts are online ready to help the best way possible.

Applying to a sponsorship Licence in the UK: Migreat Guidelines

A simple step-by-step guide to help you handle the sponsorship application for employers applying to the Tier 2 sponsorship licence.

What does it take?

To apply to the sponsorship licence, it will take you a bit of time to read and understand the rules (1), a bit of hassle to gather the right documents and having them certified (2), a bit of internet connection to fill out the online form by UKBA (3), and a lot of patience (count two months) to wait for the sponsorship to be approved (4)

Documents

1 – Read the guidance
It is not just an advice; it is necessary: read the whole sponsorship guidance and know it by heart. It will save you a lot of time paradoxically.

What’s in the Guidance? You will find information on

  • why the sponsorship licence is a tedious process. UKVI is outsourcing to your employer the authority and responsibility to play the Border Control Officer. Hence why forms are so specific, checks systematics and why officers are likely to come to your office to check them.
  • what you will need to apply: you will need documents that are specific to your organisation legal status (startup or ltd or charity) + information on fees + and will learn about responsibilities of your HR.
  • What kind of sponsorship you can have and want. There are two different kind of sponsorship that defines the type of migrant worker the company is allowed to hire. Tier 2 is for full-time work and generally for managers or senior workers. Tier 5 is for temporary workers, young people and has stricter rules on the time the worker can legally stay in the UK. You will also have to signal if you want unrestricted or restricted COS (if you are looking to hire foreigners already in the UK or living outside the UK)
  • what is a valid job position: not all jobs on the job market are accessible to foreigners. The job must correspond to a job description, SOC code and a minimum salary listed in the appendix.

Once you have read the guidelines, I would advise you to put down all the questions you have left to be answered by a solicitor or on www.migreat.com to clarify any doubts you have. You really don’t want to end up two months later after having applied and paid with a refusal later for a schoolboy error. Like asking for an unrestricted CoS or having a 3 pages document signed certified but without the number of pages indicated as certified. Documents
2 – Gather the documents
In the guidelines, it is written that only 4 documents needs to be sent (all A rated docs compulsory and B rated documents that are relevant and C rated to complete). From immigration solicitors experience, Migreat advises to have more documents ready and sent for a simple fact: if the case-worker find a document they don’t recognise as valid they can swap it for another one that is valid.

How do you like it? Original or copycat?

Take extra care in having them certified the right way, by the right person, and in the way described in the guidelines. If your certifier is certifying a document of 10 pages, make sure he/she includes the exact number of pages that are certified and that the document is bundle properly.

Pick the Right Office Guy

Assign who is going to play chief border control at the office (authorising Officer and Key contact) – if you have an HR that is usually the person that it will end up being in charge.

The Home Office might pop at your office for an interview of the Authorising officer. If you are that person you want to make sure you are ready to answer their question, have the guidelines in mind and documents at hand.
3 – Fill the online application
You can start the online application as soon as you want and save it to complete later. Migreat advises to start the application as soon as you are finished reading the guidelines for two reason:

– At the end of the form, you will be provided with a list of documents you will need to include in your application. That is again a nice and useful reminder.

– The online application also questions the specifics of your application. It will help you double-check your understanding of the guidelines.

Pretty much like an exam, it is a good exercise to realise how much you rock at knowing the rules by heart.

4 – And when ready: Pay & Wait
If there is one thing that has been made fairly easy and straighfoward, it is probably that.money

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The decision on your sponsorship licence will come in 6 to 8 weeks after applying. If helped by a solicitor, you can get it much faster returned.

Being pro-active about your application is one main criteria of success: emailing, phoning and having other documents ready to be sent will significantly increase your chances to get your application processed faster and be successful.

Nevertheless, there is nothing simple and automatic with application to the UKVI, each case is considered individually.

If you have technical questions, Migreat can help refer you to immigration  experts or you can visit Migreat visa and immigration forum. People have various experiences with the UKVI, and you can never think that your situation is exactly like the one of your friend.

(This blog post follows a previous blog post on what jobs and companies qualify for the sponsorship licence for foreign workers in the UK)

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Do I really need to hire a solicitor for my UK Visa?

When it comes to applying for a visa, there is much information to collect, paperwork to get done and questions to be answered. You may feel confused by all of the application forms and official guidelines.

Rightly so: applications are personal, differ from one case to another, and the information available is frequently not up to date and too general. This is why, in some case, it might be a good idea to enlist the services of an immigration expert to assist you in applying for a visa.

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Here are the 5 reasons why Migreat would advise you to call and pay for an immigration solicitor.

  1. Save time

If your case is fairly straightforward, you will probably be able to manage things on your own. However, in most cases, people hire the services of an immigration lawyer because it saves a lot of time. On average, It will take you two to four weeks to pull together your first visa application with the correct (original) documents if it is not your only job.

A solicitor can help you reduce this time to about a week – and even faster if you have all documentation at hand.

  1. Avoid clerical errors

By hiring an immigration lawyer, you are significantly lowering the risks of having your application refused due to a mistake on a form.

Regulated immigration solicitors know the paperwork, appeal processes and where to find the most up to date rules. What’s more, an experienced immigration solicitor will be familiar with the usual mistakes and pay greater attention to details that they know are important to case-workers reviewing applications. They will be able to avoid common ‘schoolboy’ errors and even decrease back and forth by asking for more documents that help support your application while at the same time double checking the latest rules and updates from fellow experts.

  1. Support with communications to UKVI and speeding the process

You might be asked for more documents and evidence from the UKVI. Often, these requests needs to be answered in seven days. Or you might be visited by the UKVI at your office for more information and a general formal interview if you are an employer. In these cases, immigration solicitors are your most useful resource.

An immigration expert will be able to draft your communication letters to the UKVI, or even speak on your behalf. If you are applying for an entrepreneur visa or a sponsorship licence, an immigration solicitor will prepare you for the interview with the UKVI. Finally, if the process takes longer than expected, a good immigration solicitor will be able to expedite your application and facilitate the process if she/he has reasonable grounds to think the process is being delayed.

  1. They have a feel for what is best for you NOW.

Immigration rules are officially changed twice per year in the UK – Once in April and once in October. However, sometimes minor changes happen in between due to abuse or imminent security risks. Changes like these are never easy to handle concretely, and sometimes the new rule leave room for confusion and do not address all particular cases in a straightforward fashion.

Immigration solicitors are expert at interpreting these changes and digging for more information. Better yet, experienced solicitors have a network to rely on to gather more informal information and a gut feel that will help navigate the new rules and advise you on what it means for your application.

  1. An investment for the future

Hiring a solicitor is a worthy investment if you are serious about moving to the UK on a long term basis. Once you have worked with an immigration solicitor, you can rely on them to be there for you in the future. Either for the renewal of your visa or for the immigration of your family members, you have someone you trust that you can call. Moreover, by working with you on your first application, they have enough information to help you better and at a faster pace next time.

The benefits for you are mutual: you now know prices and how the solicitor can assist you best. They know your immigration history from the start and will be able to keep you informed about changes within your category that affect your rights, daily life or future in the UK.

British Passport in the pocket

These are the five main reasons you might want to consider hiring an immigration solicitor in the UK. It has been said that a good lawyer can be worth his or her weight in gold and a poor one will add to your problems. So choose wisely and pick someone you trust to handle your case or ask Migreat for help choosing an immigration expert that fits your needs, budget and situation – this is what Migreat does best.

No More UK Work Visa Available this June

All UK general work visas available for June have been allocated for the first time.

Credits. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/Guardian
Credits. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/Guardian

This week, the Home Office announced it reached the limit of Tier 2 work visas available monthly. This means that there will be no more application accepted and so no other Tier 2 work visa granted for the month of June to non-EU nationals – this only applies to visa applications made under “restricted CoS”. Non-EU nationals already employed via the tier 2 general visa route and renewing it are not affected by this cap.

From BBC sources and immigration experts contacted by Migreat, applications have been refused even though they were meeting the requirements because of the cap. The applications that were refused include applications from non-EU skilled nurses and doctors as well as skilled workers paid below 48k. However, it seems no applications from skilled migrants working in jobs in shortages (for which the UK is lacking a local pool of talent) were refused. Applications from skilled workers paid more than 150,000 pds annually are exempted from the cap.

Davina Fernandes solicitor at Magrath LLP contacted on the topic suggested that refused applications should consider applying again next month. This is because “they [the Home Office] is likely to receive the same volume and those whose salaries are in the lower threshold are likely to have the same problems next month. It goes shortage occupation, PhD codes, salaries. The lower down you are salary wise, the more likely it will be refused if they are oversubscribed next month too.”

The home office has yet to communicate officially on this – on how it selects which applications are refused. It is the first time the cap is reached, four years after being implemented. Will the UK immigration system start following a similar pattern as of the US immigration system for which the ones sending their application early and lucky enough to be treated first improve their chances to be granted a work visa? From Recruiter sources, the Home Office has confirmed rejecting specific applications.

At Migreat, we strive to help migrants with clear and simple information on visa opportunities and immigration rules via our . If you are currently considering applying for a work visa to stay and work in the UK, our Migreat webplatform is available for you to use:

– Use of Migreat visa tool to check if you may be eligible to a work visa or other UK visas.

– Ask your general visa questions directly to registered immigration experts; or simply

– Ask Migreat to find you the best and most relevant immigration expert that will help your visa application process.

Why should I consider an internship in the UK after graduation?

In 2013, the OECD’s Better Life Index described the UK as one of the best countries to live and work in. The UK’s rich history, vibrant culture and worldwide reputation for academic and professional excellence are why many international students from all over the world want to live and work here.

However, with the lack of post-study work opportunities and the current restrictions around work visas, how does one gain this valuable work experience?

The simple answer is to use the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Visa scheme to stay in the UK for a year or two.

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The internship visa

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa scheme offers a smart alternative for trainee professionals who wish to come to the UK to share knowledge, best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life – without the bureaucracy and tight rules of Tier 2 work visas.

It allows UK employers to offer work experience programmes to skilled non-EEA graduate recruits who wish to undertake practical work experiences in the UK. It provides an excellent opportunity for both employers and migrant workers to assess their compatibility before both sides commit to a permanent position under alternative visa routes.

Helping international talent stay and gain work experience in the UK: Case study

Kate Andrews, Communications Manager and American Correspondent for Adam Smith Institute, is staying in the UK on this visa scheme.

When I finished my studies at University of St. Andrews, I took some time to figure out what my real interests were, where my skill-set lay, and what I would be most happy doing. The easy part was knowing that I wanted to work in the UK for a think tank in a role that I care deeply about, but the hard part was finding a think tank that had a Tier 2 sponsorship license and would also be willing to sponsor me for a work visa.

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Working abroad in a job I was really passionate about wasn’t going to be an option, if it hadn’t been for the Tier 5 GAE Visa scheme. It seemed too simple.

How it works

The Tier 5 sponsor organisation, Access Tier 5 promised to:

  1. a) Fully sponsor me for a 12 months visa;
  2. b) Offer their services for a fraction of what it would cost a company or organization to get a Tier 2 license;
  3. c) Support me every step of the way, from securing my visa to any work or visa related issues that came up throughout the year.

Once I had an official offer from my employer, Access Tier 5 conducted an assessment to ensure that I was eligible for the Tier 5 visa. Once my eligibility was confirmed, every worry was taken off my hands and it was simply a matter of filling in the visa application form, sending my documents to UK Home Office and waiting for the visa to arrive; the whole process took less than 3 weeks.

What you get from it

Tier 5 GAE visa helped me realise my dream placement with the Adam Smith Institute, which has now opened more doors for me than I ever had back over in the States.

Not only can I now say I worked abroad (all employers love to hear that), but I’ve had the opportunity to plan events in Westminster, get quoted in daily newspapers, do TV and radio appearances to advocate for the Institute’s policies, and speak at national conferences as a spokesperson for the Institute.

Every recent graduate has ambitions and skills to offer. New graduates, especially, need to be able to move freely and access all kinds of experiences and resources, and it’s organisations like Access Tier 5 that make all doors open and all opportunities possible.”

Two indian professionals

You never know where an internship might take you. If you want to work in the UK but believe the immigration rules are against you, don’t despair. Although it may appear daunting, Tier 5 GAE visa provides a perfect solution for genuine skilled candidates like Kate who want to stay in the UK to gain work experience.

So, if you are an international student and in a similar case to Kate, get in touch with migreat.com to find out your visa options to stay work in the UK, or if you already have an internship offer, get in touch with member of our team at Access Tier 5 via migreat.com forum to see if we can sponsor you under this route.

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 zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.

Looking for a job in Spain? Start by the job in shortage list

If you are looking to move to Spain for work from outside the EU, and are unsure where to look for jobs – the one place you might start looking at, is the national jobs in shortage list.

Every three months, Spain’s Public Employment Agency is publishing a list of jobs for which employers in Spain are having difficulties recruiting local workers. From naval engineers to doctors, this list contains a dozen of job titles that corresponds to skill and competences currently missing in the country, and desperately sought after. The list is very detailed and precise with a link to a geographical area where those skills are wanted. These jobs are regardless much of qualification levels – low-skilled and highly skilled jobs can be found on it.

SEPE spanish website for jobs in shortage

As a non-EU national looking for a job in Spain, this list is gold. It not only indicates which employees and skills are sought after by employers in Spain; it also provides a list of jobs for which recruitment and obtention of a work visa is made specifically easier. Indeed, for each job title listed on it, the visa process to get a work visa does not require the 28 usual days of advertisement of the job by employers. This means that a foreigner can get hired and prepare visa papers right away once the job offer is made and accepted.

A few more non-EU nationals are exempt of the need for the job to be advertised for 28 days. Those cases are listed on migreat.com section dedicated to Spain immigration.

If you are looking for support with your Spanish visa application, get our virtual assistant to provide you with a personalised to-do list of documents.

Germany is looking to attract, train and recruit Indian workers

German companies are now eagerly looking to recruit Indian skilled workers.

Two indian professionals

Germany has made changes to immigration legal framework to allow people from developing countries join its workforce and has launched an online campaign to inform Indian workers about work opportunities in Germany.

Germany was already partnering with India to improve skills development and creating new skills development institutions.

This time, Germany has signed training agreements between German companies and its Indian counterparts to identify Indian trainees willing to move to Germany and make them skilled for the current large vacancies available; ranging from doctors, engineers, scientists, robotics, and IT experts to low skilled workers.

Sector Skill Councils, the German Rhine-Main Chamber of Crafts and Trades, Indian counterpart (ILF&S) and other institutes will focus on training Indian workers in skills needed by German companies.

A few German companies have already started training Indian workers in India to meet their demand for skilled labour. In Pune, Volkswagen has started an academy with their first batch of apprentices in Delhi factory.The Indian students are trained, learning by doing and getting paid at the same time.

It is the second good news for migrants interested in living in Germany: earlier this month Germany announced the end of university tuition fees for all International Students. University in Germany is now free!

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Need help with German visa procedure? Click the link to be helped and supported throughout the application process.