Tag Archives: immigration

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.

Latin Americans moving to the UK: How did cuts and migration policy reforms affect them?

Latin Americans that moved to the UK from EU countries with high unemployment rates are living in increasingly precarious circumstances – usually under financial hardship and even in debt.

These are the findings from a new report by Leeds University which illustrates the negative impact that cuts and immigration policy reforms have had on Latin American migrants that remigrated to the UK from EU countries.

According to the last census (2011), a third of Latin Americans living in the UK have lived before in another country of the European Union, the majority of them in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and have then remigrated to the UK after gaining EU citizenship.

Despite having EU passport, these newly arrived Latin Americans face a situation of “practical exclusion” from the public services, due to the lack of understanding of how the system works, the language barrier and the reduced number of outreach, interpreting and translating services in the public services after the recent cuts.

Furthermore, the reduction of public funding to the third sector has limited the capability of Latin American organisations to attend and cover the increase in the demand from new migrants.

The report also suggests that the lack of services tailored to the Latin American diaspora – who too often don’t understand the system and aren’t fully competent in the English language – leads to situations where:

The report, published by Leeds University in collaboration with the Latin American Women’s Right Service (LAWRS), also focuses on the impact that new migration policies have had on migrants’ access to public services, mostly by limiting the entitlement of the new arrivals to work benefits and access the healthcare system.

This shortage of resources has lead to vulnerable situations and a reliance on exploitative systems, worsening the financial hardship and the psychological impact that migration has in this particular group of the Latin American community, undermining their chances to secure a stable economic situation and better opportunities for future generations.

Finally, the report highlights how Latin American women suffer these difficulties especially, as they are often the main carers for children and family.


This guest blog post was written by Beatriz Martinez, Deputy Editor and Community Manager for Latin Americans at Migreat.  

Read more on life and experiences of Latin American migrants living in the UK by joining the Migreat Latin American community!

Colombians achieve Schengen Visa exemption, as Peruvians wait and Bolivians start negotiations

Colombians no longer need to apply for a visa to enter the Schengen Area as visitors. The measure went into effect on the 3rd of December and put an end to months of negotiations between the European Union and the Colombian Government.

Colombians “reclaim their dignity” with the visa exemption

After the visa lift went in effect, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that “Colombia’s dignity” has been reclaimed and thanked his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy for having lobbied for the visa exemption.

Colombians will be able to travel to the Schengen Zone as visitors for up to 90 days to 22 of the 28 EU states – except for Ireland and the United Kingdom – and to Non-EU countries within the Schengen area, such as Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland.  

Despite the exemption, Colombians will still be required to meet financial standards and show specific documents to prove that their journey is solely for short visit purposes and that they have no intention to overstay or carry out paid activities during their time in the Schengen Area.

According to the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism (ANATO), the air traffic between Colombia and the EU it’s expected to grow by 15% to 20%, boosting the economy of European countries still in recession – such as Spain or Italy – and promoting the travel industry in Colombia.

Peruvian’s visa exemption stopped due to delays in biometric passports

Although Peruvians started the process alongside Colombians, their visa exemption has been stopped due to administrative issues, mostly related to the Peruvian government fail to issue biometric passports to their citizens on time – a vital requirement to ensure the highest levels of security.

However, the Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, reassured Peruvians that the visa exemption will be a reality for their country soon and that they will get the green light early next year.

Bolivians start promising negotiations with the European Union

Seeing the success of Peru and Colombia in achieving the visa exemption, the government of Evo Morales has started a process of diplomatic negotiations with the European Union to secure a similar agreement.

Although according to Ronald Schäfer, Director of the Department for the Americas of the European External Action Service, the exemption is “on its way”, sources involved in the process admit that it will take time to reach an agreement, considering that it depends on complex administrative procedures.

Applying for a Schengen visa? Get your free checklist of documents to apply online with Migreat

Ask the latino community in Europe for more information on the 7 most common motives of rejection of a schengen visa.

Photo credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Riki Risnandar

The Blue Card: an EU Visa for Software Developers?

The Blue Card is a European visa for highly-skilled people from non-EU countries.

On paper, the Blue Card has been adopted by all EU-member states (excluding the UK, Ireland and Denmark).

In reality, Germany has been its most active supporter, awarding over 85% of the total number of Blue Cards in Europe between 2012 and 2014.

Given the short supply of software developers in Europe, the Blue Card can sometimes be the only option for non-EU devs. Here an infographic by Emma Tracey from Honeypot.io, the Developer-Focused Job Platform


If you still need help on visa for Europe, ask www.migreat.com online visa assistant for guidance.

English Taught Bachelor Degrees Offered in Germany

Here is the list of most exciting and innovative English taught courses available at German Public institutions next year – which means that no tuition fees are required to enrol and no German is required to study them!

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Bachelor of Arts in Agribusiness at Rhine-Waal University
The BA Agribusiness trains you in business economics and management skills that will equip you to successfully manage agricultural and food supply chains in the face of these global challenges.

Admin fees: Approx. 260 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 700EUR per month

561c75806b.jpgInternational Business Management at Berlin School of Economics and Law
The International Business Management programme combines classic business administration content with international and intercultural aspects.
This international focus is similarly evident in the language of instruction, with all lectures and seminars held in English throughout the entire programme. In addition, students have to learn German as a second language parallel to the economics and business modules.

Admin fees: Approx. 280EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 850EUR per month

Students of the BA Ökonomie or Teacher Training International Business Ethics Seminar Winter Term 12:13 .jpg

Bachelor in International Business and Technology at Nuremberg Institute of Technology
An innovative combination of knowledge and experience provided and supported by the faculties of Business Administration, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the faculty of Applied Mathematics, Physics and Humanities.

Admin fees: Approx. 42 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800-1000EUR per month


Business and Engineering at University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt
With this course, you will acquire insight into the three areas of modern biotechnology, i.e. red (medicine), green (agriculture) and white (industry) biotechnology; and gain core competencies in the fields of economics, law, communication and presentation, as well as market analysis and marketing research.
Successful graduates find jobs in different areas of the chemical, pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, in research institutes or governmental agencies, as well as with the food industry, or in agro-technology, environmental or waste management.

Admin fees: Approx. 260 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800EUR approx per month

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Digital Games at Cologne University of Applied Sciences
You love games and are into writing, audio visual design or coding? This Bachelor is for you.
After a general introduction to the creative and technological process of game development and the academic study of digital games in the first and second semesters, students specialise in Game Arts, Game Design or Game Informatics in the following semesters.
Throughout their studies, students of all specialisations are instructed in Media and Game Studies, and they develop games in collaborative projects.
In the fourth semester, students can choose between an exchange semester at a university abroad, an internship or a self-initiated project.

Admin fees: Approx. 250 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800EUR approx per month


Communication and Information Engineering, BSc at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences
In today’s world, data acquisition, transfer and analysis are of increasing significance: temperature, air humidity, sound, air pollution, traffic density, blood sugar level, the location of people – all these data and information can be measured, collected and then transmitted across the world by sensors.
This degree course Communication and Information Engineering aims to give you the skills you need to work anywhere from data acquisition, preprocessing, transmission, distribution and collection up to automatic analysis.
You will develop your expertise in the fields of electrical engineering, signal processing and computer science, and will gain a sound understanding of the basics of business management.

Admin fees: Approx. 250 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 800EUR approx per month


Bachelor of Science Textile and Clothing Management at University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein
This seven-semester Bachelor’s degree programme offers an impressive curriculum of subjects in textile and clothing technology and related fields such as chemistry, design and technical textiles and subjects in management and business administration like controlling, fashion retailing logistics, e-Commerce and marketing.
Under the instruction of internationally renowned professors and scientific and well-educated staff, the course guarantees a scientific education oriented on the demands of industrial branches and international business.

Admin fees: Approx. 280 EUR per semester.
Cost of Living: 600-700EUR approx per month


UK Immigration Rules Changes for October 2015

Recently, we have been reporting on UK Immigration policy changes regarding international students. This time we list the changes in immigration rules that will affect other visa categories (work, highly skilled and family) and requirements for applicants to those categories.

Most of the following changes affect applications made on or after 19 November 2015.


  • EU nationals will not be able to make asylum claims, unless exceptional circumstances apply.
  • Clarifying the circumstances in which refugee status will be withdrawn.


Family/Private Life

  • Child’s application for entry clearance will be refused where the Secretary of State considers that the sponsor or the sponsor’s partner poses a risk to the child.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) of the Points Based System

  • Criteria through which Tech City UK endorses Exceptional Talent applicants has been amended to better reflect the skills and experience of target applicants who are most likely to add value to the UK digital technology sector.

Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System

  • Four jobs in the digital technology sector (product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist) are being added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), alongside nursing
  • Clarification of the charity worker rules for sponsors and applicants.
  • Setting the annual allocation of places available under the Youth Mobility Scheme for 2016.
  • Minor amendments to the list of Government Authorised Exchange Schemes.

For information visit www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-rules-statement-of-changes

If you need to speak to an immigration expert, do connect with Migreat online visa assistant or directly contact us via @Migreat on Twitter.

5 reasons why we need a European Startup Visa now

Despite recent strides, it’s generally accepted that Europe’s entrepreneurs have a long way to go before they can compete on equal footing with Silicon Valley’s founders. However, the US has been gradually losing foreign entrepreneurs to other countries.

In this regard, I argue in an article for Tech.eu today that Europe would set itself apart by implementing a Europe-wide Startup Visa scheme for founders.

An overarching European Startup Visa scheme would create the necessary synergies to make up for the fragmentation found between competing national schemes and could propel Europe forward as the new Mecca for global entrepreneurs.

Now is the time and here are the five reasons why we believe there is much more to be gained than to lose. Learn and read more on Tech.eu.


UK Investor visa: a golden immigration route for criminals?

At Migreat, we keep an eye on immigration news, government announcements and the hard data backing these information up.

This week, we came across an interesting report from Transparency International UK that tell us what we at Migreat have argued for a while now: the UK immigration system favours wealthy immigrants – and it does it at a high costs for society.

Websites advertising the investor visa before the change of rules in April 2015
Websites advertising the investor visa before the change of rules in April 2015

Red Carpet for Investors
The UK immigration rules are tough for low-skilled migrants and international students but when it comes to investors, rules are much more relaxed.

In its latest report Gold rush: Investment visas and corrupt capital flows into the UK  Transparency International UK reveals how the UK’s Tier 1 Investor visa scheme is likely to have been used for money laundering practices.

The UK Investor Visa
Since 2008, the UK investor visa allows non-EU wealthy nationals to live and work in the UK if the bring an investment of at least £2 million in a UK bank account. This visa is the only UK Visa for which applicants do not have to prove to be able to speak appropriate English to be granted the right to come live in the UK.

Furthermore, the more money is brought to the UK, the faster and easier it is for the investor and its family to be granted leave to remain and apply for a British Passport. If an applicant shows £5 million, he/she can get the right to apply for permanent resident after 3 years in the country. If the applicant shows to be bringing £10 million then the time to apply for permanent residence is reduced to 2 years.

Corrupt Wealth getting unchecked
According to Transparency International UK,  £1.88bn of Chinese and Russian private investment has been channelled into the UK through this golden investor visa scheme since 2008 and this was done without adequate and essential money laundering checks on these investments. 

The report details how due diligence was not operated due to “blind faith”.

  • Before April 2015, the visa was granted before the money was transferred in the UK – meaning that the source of the money was NOT checked by UK banks prior the granting of the Visa. UK banks used the fact that the individual were granted a UK investor visa as a qualifying evidence to overcome due diligence concerns when assessing the individual’s legitimacy.
  • Before September 2015, no criminal background checks was done by the Government against applicants under the scheme
  • Since the implementation of a check for criminal record and the obligation for the money to be transferred to the UK (and so checked by banks following strict due diligence work) the amount of applicants have sharply dropped. (see below)
UK Gov National Statistics
UK Gov National Statistics

So no only, corrupt individuals have been attracted to an investor visa in order to achieve residency in the UK but, it has been also an attractive tool to help circumvent a bank’s due diligence checks.


We, at Migreat, can only be saddened that immigration rules can be so easily used by criminals meanwhile we receive everyday requests from foreign entrepreneurs having difficulties stay legally in the country because the UK Entrepreneur visa route is not accessible to them. We will continue advocating in the press for a fair and healthy immigration policy are that favours talented people, bright minds and job creators.

Read our guides on how to apply for a UK Entrepreneur Visa, Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa or a UK Work Visa.

UK Immigration Bill 2015: Everything you need to know

The Immigration Bill 2015 being proposed by Government and presented to Parliament is now available to view.

It lays out the expansion of powers to a large number of immigration officials and makes it easier to remove people. It includes a crackdown on illegal immigration, removing protections of migrant workers and affects UK bank accounts, driving licences and rental accommodations.

There is a a second reading of the bill scheduled for the 13th of October where it will be debated in the House of Commons. Here are the main ways in which the bill may affect you:

Charges on Tier 2 Sponsorship
This would allow the Home Office to impose an immigration skills charge on sponsors of Tier 2 non-EEA nationals. This visa levy on businesses using foreign labour is being considered during the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) review of Tier 2 visas. Until the MAC has fully advised government, the amount of the charge is not known, however it is believed a charge will be added in some form.

Language Requirements
Public sector workers will be required to speak, read and write fluent English or will be barred from public sector jobs. This includes migrant workers that have roles in local authorities, health and education. Details of how these skills will be tested are currently unknown, but a code of practice for employers will also be published.

Deport First Appeal Later
The ‘deport first, appeal later’ provision will be extended to all immigration appeals and judicial reviews. This means not only non-human rights cases, but human rights cases as well.

Bank Accounts
The bill forces banks to check current accounts against migrant databases. Banks will have to notify the Home Office if checks confirm the account holder no longer has permission to remain in the UK. This could lead to the freezing or closure of accounts. This is particularly worrying as many cannot produce satisfactory evidence of their right to remain in the UK which could lead to many being closed mistakenly.

Residency and Renting
The immigration bill introduces a criminal charge of imprisonment for up to five years and a fine for landlords letting out property to a migrant without a ‘right to rent’. This policy can sometimes encourage discrimination for those with foreign sounding names or appearance.

Driving Licences
Under the bill, it will be a criminal offence to ‘drive whilst an illegal immigrant’. This includes a criminal sentence of up to 51 weeks and/or a fine. When investigating illegal migration, police are able to seize driving licences. This means it is even more likely, as an ethnic minority, that you will be stopped by the police whilst driving.

Illegal Workers and Employment
Immigration officials can close down businesses, seize earnings and have right to enter and search properties and seize them too. The focus would be on small businesses such as the ability to close off-licences and takeaways. These small businesses and employers are often unable to keep abreast of changes to complex immigration rules and processes. If found to be employing illegal migrants, employers can receive a maximum criminal penalty which will be changed from two to five years. Illegal migrants could get a sentence of up to 51 weeks including a fine.

For the latest immigration, visa and migration news, follow @migreat on twitter.

This article was first published on Migreat South Asian Community in the UK.

UK Visa Changes Affecting International Students

A lot of misleading information is being shared on the internet about the new UK immigration rules and how they affect the rights of international students.

At Migreat, as much as we want to keep up to date with the news, we also want to ensure we provide the most reliable and clearest information. Hence, we cannot publish immigration news as it is shared. We wait to hear from several trusted sources to confirm any new information. If Migreat isn’t the fastest to react and write about changes to student visa rules – rest assured that it is because the news hasn’t been verified yet.

Migreat will update our readers with the most up-to-date information and connect you with experts who are abreast of the latest changes and can answer your visa questions.

We recently received a surge of questions from students about the proposed changes and we wanted to take the chance to reply to the most common questions. For each question, we will link to a trusted source for more detailed information The rules are changing only for some international students. It depends on where you are studying. Hence, this is why we are splitting this article into two parts: those at UK universities and those at UK Colleges.

International students at UK universities

How much savings do I need to prove to apply for a student visa? [Starting 12th November 2015]
Starting in November, first time international students and students extending their time will have to prove they have access to significantly more savings than before.

Depending on the length of your course and the location of your university the amount will vary. International students studying in London will have to prove that they have more savings than international students studying outside London. Students will also need to show that they can financially support themselves for up to nine months or the full length of the course, whichever is shorter.

Example: A student studying in London that needs to stay for a nine month course will have to demonstrate that they have at least £11,385 in the bank (that is £1,265 per month). For a student outside of London to study for nine months, the amount needed in the bank is £9,135 (£1,015 per month).


Can I extend my stay on my student visa at the same level? [Starting 3rd August 2015]
If you are extending your stay on a student visa, the new rules state that you will have to show you are moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework. If you want to extend your studies at the same level you will only be able to do so if the proposed course is linked to the previous one or if it supports your career aspirations (the later if approved and validated by your university).

Can I work after graduation?

Yes, and there are a few work/business long term visas that you can apply for depending on the type of work and the role you have been offered and/or salary you will be paid. You should know that the government is reviewing tier 2 visa minimum salary requirements – and is likely to raise them by at least £10,000.

If you are looking to stay after graduation to work on a tier 2 general visa, it is likely that your company will have to pay more than the current £20,800 minimum annually in order to sponsor you. Verify if you may be eligible for one of the visas via Migreat’s UK visa assistant.

I am the spouse or dependent of an International Student here. Can I work? [Date yet to be confirmed]
A proposal yet to be finalized suggests that spouse and dependants of student visa holders will only be allowed to work in skilled/Highly-skilled full time jobs . This has yet to be confirmed and implemented.

International students at Further Education Colleges

Am I allowed to work part-time while studying? [Starting 3rd August 2015]
No. Students at publicly funded colleges will no longer be allowed to work 10 hours a week after August 2015. Note that this new rule will apply to international students who apply for their tier 4 visa on or after 3 August, but won’t apply retrospectively to students already here.

Can I extend my student visa or switch to a Work visa from within the UK? [Starting November 2015]
No, you will have to apply from outside the UK to make an extension or to apply for a work visa.

Can I extend my studies with any education provider? [Starting 12th November 2015]
You will not be able to extend your studies in the UK unless they are registered at an institution with a formal link to a university.

How Many years maximum can I be granted if I apply for a student visa for a FE college? [Starting 12th November 2015]
Study visas at Further Education level will be cut from three years to two.

Do you have questions about your UK student visa applications and you rights as an international student in the UK? Ask @migreat for answers.