Thursday, 12 December 2013


A lot has been said and written about how immigrants are such a burden on the UK economy that they deserve to be sent back home.  The most recent is the headline in The Mail of December 2013 credited to a high-profile UKIP politician Victoria Ayling.

This woman, a Lincolnshire County Councillor and deputy leader of the local UKIP party, made headlines in March 2013 when she made a very public defection from the Tory part to UKIP. She did this in a dramatic way by ambushing the Prime Minister David Cameron at the Conservative Conference and told him point-blank that she was defecting the UKIP because, according to her, the Tories were no longer the party of aspiration.

According to the report in The Daily Mail, Victoria Ayling allegedly blurted in a video recorded in 2008 by her ex-husband Rob Ayling “I just want to send the lot back but I can’t say that”.

When confronted about her comments supposedly by the Daily Mail before publication, she responded that (though) “it was a throwaway comment that has been taken out of context (but that) it is nothing different from what the Home Secretary is advocating now anyway”. And to drive her point home further, she added that “I stand by what I said”.

What is shocking about her comment is the fact that what she said mirrors what has been spewed by the mainstream parties in recent years.
Some of the mainstream parties (and some tabloids, I hasten to add) started to fan the ember of anti-immigration few years ago with the aim of gathering votes to get into power. The sentiments they started few years ago have now grown into almost an inferno that is now threatening to engulf most of the mainstream parties that started it in the first place.
This anti-immigration sentiment which the UKIP later latched on to by spouting it much louder and has led to it gaining seats at local elections at the expense of those that started fanning the ember of anti-immigration sentiments so much so that the mainstream parties are themselves now running helter-skelter trying to mimic UKIP rhetoric-for-rhetoric for the sole purpose of gaining lost grounds.
When you contrast these anti-immigration sentiments with the recent reports coming out from people in the know about the significant benefits that migrants bring to the UK economy, it makes one to wonder what planet these people live on.
One of such report written by Alan Oakley and titled “Immigration Policy Damaging to UK Economy”.
The main discourse in the report edited by Alan Oakley, a respectable journalist that I admire a great deal, was credited to Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, one of the world’s largest advertising agency valued at $5bn, employing 140,000 people in 2,400 offices in 107 countries.
Sir Martin Sorrell, a Cambridge and Harvard graduate, was quoted to have said that “the UK needs skilled immigrants to provide the staff for many different sectors of the economy including the technology sector”.
He also added that “UK needs an enlightened approach to policy in order to produce talent of its own of the calibre of Sergey Brin, (co-founder of Google), Andy Grove (co-founder of Intel) and Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal and SpaceX)”.
The Cambridge and Harvard graduate says that “UK firms are having trouble in getting visas for the skilled international workers they need”. He said: “Although recruiting from countries within the EU is relatively easy, bringing in highly skilled people from outside the region is not, as we at WPP can testify”.
He went further to say “that the UK and the US are being damaged by their restrictive immigration policies particularly in the IT sector. In his opinion, immigrants bring much needed entrepreneurialism and talent to the sector. He quotes the result of a survey of 34 start-up companies in the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ area of London (where much of the IT sector is concentrated), which found that 25% were founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs”.
The poignancy in that report for me was when Sir Martins was reported to have said “that he also has personal reasons for favouring immigration. His own grandparents arrived in the UK from different countries in Eastern Europe in about 1900. Sir Martin would probably not have been born at all if they had not been able to migrate and meet in the UK. Under today’s points system, they almost certainly wouldn’t have been granted entry to the country”.
The report by Alan Oakley is so moving that I am tempted to share the following salient points from it on this blog:
So I have an instinctive dislike of some of the current rhetoric – both in the UK and elsewhere – about immigration. But my objections go beyond the personal.
“There is much discussion, often emotional, on the overall economic impact of immigration. I’m not going to focus on that, although I think it’s interesting that independent bodies like the Institute for Fiscal Studies say that Central and Eastern European migrants to the UK before the financial crisis delivered a net benefit for the economy, and that the OECD recently concluded that immigration into the world’s leading economies has not proved a drain on public finances.
“What is certain, and all too often lost in the noise of the debate, is that immigrants are a hugely important driver of innovation and entrepreneurialism – traits that spur economic growth.
“Look at the vital technology sector. A survey by Management Today magazine found that, from a sample of 34 companies in the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ area of London, at least a quarter of the founders were foreign-born”.
Another respected columnist, Matthew d’Ancona wrote an article in the Evening Standard of 30 October 2013 titled “Tories must grasp that migrant labour is good for Britain”.
In the article he cited the recently published calculation by the Centre for Economics and Business Research which shows that “government borrowing would be 0.5% higher – no small sum – without EU migrant labour, and that zero net migration would mean a 6.7% fall in GDP (that’s hundreds of billions, by the way).
He also went further in the next paragraph as follows: “Boris Johnson is the politician who addresses this economic reality most robustly – aware though he is that his position on immigration unnerves many Conservative MPs. As a two-term Mayor of London, he knows that the capital depends utterly upon a busy flow of migrant labour, and that the rest of the country depends utterly upon the awesome wealth-creating power of this global city (London). No immigrants, no London powerhouse; no powerhouse, no recovery.
He then went on to add that “These people (immigrants) are not raiders, or invaders or scroungers. They are the foot soldiers of prosperity”.
Even Boris Johnson, the London Mayor Johnson was reported in the Sun of 10 Nov. 2013 when speaking to an audience at mayoral HQ, City Hall that he is “probably about the only politician I know of who is actually willing to stand up and say that he’s pro-immigration”.
Mayor Boris Johnson, who is the great grandson of Turkish journalist and politician Ali Kemal, was reported to have added that “I believe that when talented people have something to offer a society and a community, they should be given the benefit of the doubt”. He also added that he was ‘the descendant of immigrants’.
At the recent Autumn Conference of the Liberal Democrat in Glasgow, Vince Cable, the Business Minister was reported to have told the conference that “it was difficult to make an economically rational case for immigration because we are dealing with an absolutely toxic public opinion”.
As much as I admit that his comments are spot-on, I cannot help but add that the politicians are the same people that forms the public opinion. They are the architect of this anti-immigration sentiment that now permeates the society so much so that any pro-immigration views are often times met with stiff opposition from certain section of the society.
The controversial Go Home or Face Arrest” mobile billboards trialed by the Home Office earlier this year in some Boroughs in London is a testament to the fact that politicians are the architect of this prevalent anti-immigration sentiment.
It is instructive to note that:
(1)  Apart from Mayor Boris Johnson, many of the top leaders in government (those retired and still serving) and notable business leaders in the UK are descendants of Migrants. 
(2)  Many of these leaders performed and are still performing creditably well for this country. 
(3)  Many of the infrastructures in this country were built by Migrants deliberately shipped in from the Caribbean and Asian countries in the 50s and 60s.
That is why this anti-immigration sentiment leaves a foul smell on one’s nostril each time it is being spouted by its proponents.

This charade by a section of the population is fast making UK that was hitherto known for its accommodation to be seen as migrant haters both within and outside the EU. A tag that borders on racism is not well suited to this country and it’s about time something is done to address this anomaly that is fast eating deep into the fabrics of this society.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Changes to the Immigration Rules from 1st October 2013

Another Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules was presented to Parliament on the 6th September 2013.

The changes to the rules will take effect from 1st October 2013 and affects Migrants and their dependents in the following area:

·         Business Visitors

·         Points Based System Application

·         Application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Changes to “Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK” Requirements

The Home Office recently announced changes to Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK Test requirements which will come into effect from 28 October 2013.

All applicants applying for settlement or naturalisation as a British citizen, unless they are exempt, will need to meet the knowledge of language and life requirement by:

  1. Passing the life in the UK test; and
  2. Having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.

For an application for citizenship to be considered under the pre 28 October requirements, the application will need to be received by UK Visas & Immigration by Friday 25 October 2013.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

£1,000 fine for housing illegal immigrants under fire

I saw this write up in the African Voice concerning the Immigration Bill announced recently in the Queens speech and thought of sharing it with you.
“The government has said landlords who let accommodation to individuals who are not legally allowed to live in the UK will have to pay at least £1,000 in penalties.
The announcement was made during consultation around the controversial Immigration Bill, which will make it illegal for landlords to let to many individuals without first checking their immigration status.
The Bill was first made public as part of last month’s Queen’s Speech, causing anger among thousands of homeowners who have tenants and among landlord associations. Now the penalties for landlords and letting agents who let to so-called ‘illegal immigrants’ have been announced as running run to £1,000 per tenant for the first offence, and £3,000 per tenant thereafter. Licences for homes in multiple occupation could also be revoked.
Initially, the intent was that all landlords had to conform, but changes now suggest this law will only be applied in ‘problem areas’ around England. Representatives of BME and other immigrant homeowners have criticised the change as likely to disproportionately target their communities.
The Bill has also come in for criticism from other quarters. Landlords are concerned as to how tenants might react to being subjected to the types of security questions and checks normally imposed only by enforcement officers. Politicians have also entered the fray. During the debate that followed the Queen’s Speech, Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart said: “I am not sure how a landlord is supposed to be able to prove to their own satisfaction whether someone is qualified [to live in the UK] or not. In order to operate the proposal sensibly, it will probably require a register of landlords.”
Commenting on an increase in bureaucracy that is at odds with the Government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ pledges, Residential Landlords Association chairman Alan Ward said: “The private rented sector is already creaking under the weight of red tape, so it is little wonder that landlords are so clearly opposed to this flagship government measure.
        “For a government committed to reducing the burden of regulation, it is ironic that they are now seeking to           impose a significant extra burden on landlords.”
According to the Residential Landlords Association, there are currently over 100 rules and regulations governing private sector letting. While they accept some of the continuing changes are good news; they say others will simply end up adding more regulation that good landlords and letting agents will abide by and rogues will ignore. As few local authorities have the resources to monitor rogue landlords, fine them and take them to court, in practice extra regulation will do little to curb their activity.
There had been speculation that the proposals may be watered down or scrapped altogether, but this week’s announcement suggests that the Bill’s provisions are likely to be implemented. If so, there are several vital things that landlords should keep in the forefront of their minds. The first is the importance of proper tenant referencing. By ensuring that tenants’ credit history, previous landlords, and employment status are checked, landlords can minimise the risk of non-payment and other problems.
 Secondly, as Cooper and Mactaggart pointed out, the prospect of a nationwide register of landlords remains a real one. Registers have already been introduced in parts of the UK, and landlords should be prepared for a national list in the future”.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Read an article in the Metro Newspaper a couple of weeks ago with the title above and ever since I read it, it kept on resonating in my mind so much so that I couldn't resist anymore the urge of sharing it with you.

The article read as follows:

Male workers born overseas have found jobs easier to come by than their British-bred counterparts since the financial crisis began, a think-tank revealed yesterday. Although employment has fallen during the recession, immigrants have had a resurgence, the OECD statistics show.

Campaign group Migrants’ Rights Network said the figures illustrated that ‘migration is a dynamic and positive feature of modern economies’.”

A lot has been written about the benefits Migrants bring to the UK economy. This report only goes to prove it further.


Sunday, 7 July 2013

High Court judgment on minimum income threshold for family migrants

Here is the Home Office’s response to the recent decision of the High Court concerning the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route. It is culled from the UKBA website.

“On 5 July 2013 the High Court delivered its judgment on a legal challenge to the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.

The Home Office has paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable us to consider the implications of the judgment.

The pause applies to applications made under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules where the application would be refused solely because the rules relating to the minimum income threshold are not met, including where relevant the evidence requirements in Appendix FM-SE.

The same approach is being applied to a small number of adoption cases which would be refused on this ground alone.

Applications which meet the Rules or which fall to be refused on other grounds, such as requirements for English language or a genuine and subsisting relationship will continue to be processed and decided as normal.

A further announcement will be made in due course.

Can I still submit a spouse/partner or child application under Appendix FM?


Yes. You can continue to apply, but you should take into account the fact that if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, the Home Office will pause consideration of your application pending further consideration of the High Court judgment.

Can I still submit my application in person at a public enquiry office in the UK?


Yes, but you should take into account the fact that if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, the Home Office will pause consideration of your application pending further consideration of the High Court judgment.


What happens if my case is on hold and I want to withdraw my application or get my passport returned because I need to travel?


If you have already applied and now wish to withdraw your application, you may do so. The Home Office will not refund your application fee.
If you are seeking the return of your passport to travel, you may do so but the Home Office will treat your application as withdrawn. The Home Office will not refund your application fee.

How long will cases be paused?


We will provide further information in due course.

What happens if I meet the income threshold requirement?


If we assess that you meet all the rules which apply to your case, including the income threshold requirement where this applies, your application will be granted.

Am I still required to meet the income threshold requirement or can I apply knowing that I do not meet it?


You can apply, but if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, the Home Office will pause consideration of your application pending further consideration of the High Court judgment.

Does this pause affect all adoption cases?


No. This only applies to applications required to meet the minimum income threshold under paragraph 314(i)(a), 314(i)(d), 316A(i)(d) or 316A(i)(e) of Part 8 of the Immigration Rules made on or after 9 July 2012. Adoption applications which do not have to meet the minimum income threshold are unaffected.

Does this pause on decisions affect other categories like adult dependent relatives or spouses on the two-year probationary period?


No. This pause has no effect on applications which do not need to meet the income threshold requirement. Those cases will continue to be assessed against the rules which apply to them”.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Amnesty for Immigrants ?

There is another call for a one-off amnesty for illegal immigrants in the UK.

Mayor Boris Johnson made this call this week challenging the Coalition Government's opposition to the idea.

Another prominent Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi made this suggestion much earlier stressing that the move would help improve relations with ethnic minority voters.

When senior politicians are drumming up support for an amnesty and, with another election looming in the horizon, there is every likelihood that the Coalition government will cave in and agree to a one-off amnesty for immigrants - if only to get their votes at the next election.

When that happens, the amnesty will only be granted to people with application at the Home Office.

This is why it is very important that all illegal immigrants in the UK should start thinking of submitting an application to the Home Office NOW!!!

That is the only way to ensure that they have a chance of being considered for amnesty when it is allowed to go ahead.

Tomorrow may be too late.  

But first, please consult a legal representative for advice before submitting your application.

JK & Co Legal Consult is offering Free Immigration Advice Surgery every Wednesdays from 2pm - 5pm.

It is strictly by appointment and we have only 6 slots per Surgery.

To book your appointment, call Joseph on 07943749001 today. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Employer duties under the Croatia Accession Regulations 2013

Following the accession of Croatia to the EU on 1 July 2013, a Croatian national who wishes to work in the UK will need permission to do so, unless they are exempt from this requirement.

You should undertake the necessary checks when employing Croatian nationals to ensure they have, or are exempt from requiring, permission to work.


Saturday, 8 June 2013

The New Immigration Bill - Its Impact on Migrants

In the Queen’s speech on 8 May 2013 marking the beginning of the new parliamentary session, the UK Coalition Government laid out the key pieces of legislation that it intends to create over the next year.

One of the key legislation announced in the Queen’s speech is the Immigration Bill.
The new Immigration Bill is meant to stop foreigners coming to the UK from benefitting from the NHS and other public services.

The Coalition Government disclosed that the Bill will:
a.      Regulate migrants’ access to the NHS
b.      Require landlords to carry out “Right to Occupy” checks on tenants to ensure they are legal migrants
c.      Introduce tighter checks on people obtaining UK Drivers Licence.

Another aspect of the Bill is geared towards making it easier to remove or deport foreigners from the UK through limiting their Rights of Appeal as well as their rights under the Human Rights Act. 

Regulating Migrants’ Access to the NHS

This is meant to stop foreigners coming to the UK benefitting from free access to the NHS.

One of the proposals put forward to regulate Migrants’ access to the NHS is to make foreigners pay medical insurance.

“Right to Occupy” Checks by Landlords

This “Right to Occupy” checks will require landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, to ensure that tenants occupying their property are not living in the UK illegally. It is meant to stop illegal immigrants from being able to rent accommodation in the UK. In order words, the Coalition Government does not want illegal immigrants to have a place of shelter.

How this legislation will operate is not yet spelt out but, if we have to go by antecedents, I have a feeling that it is likely to run parallel to the “Right to Work” checks placed upon employers to undertake prior to engaging new staff or the regular checks employed to further ascertain the continuous immigration status of employees.

Apart from the uncertainty on how the legislation will operate, another point of note here is what enforcement measure will be put in place by the Coalition Government to police the new legislation?

We know that presently there are penalties against Employers who employ illegal immigrants without carrying out the required document checks prior to the offer of employment to such illegal immigrants.
Such penalties range from heavy fines (up to £10,000 for each illegal immigrants found employed by them), criminal charges and ultimately, prison sentence. The question now is will the same penalties be meted out to Landlords found to rent their property to illegal immigrants?

This legislation, even though it is yet to become operational, it is already creating waves as some landlords, in their quest to safeguard themselves from the likely consequence of a breach of this legislation, have started asking their tenants for their immigration status documents.

I have clients whose landlords have demanded for their status documents and are now faced with the prospect of losing their accommodation in the event that the UKBA does not decide on their pending application on time.    

Only time will tell how this piece of legislation will impact on both landlords and tenants alike. A piece of advice for landlords is to be on the look out for further announcement on this piece of legislation to ensure they are not caught out when it finally becomes operational.

The other aspect of the Bill will involve the introduction of stringent measures which will make it virtually impossible for illegal migrants to obtain UK Drivers Licence.

Another aspect of the Bill also involves limiting the rights of appeal against removal or deportation by introducing an “extraordinary circumstances” threshold for foreigners convicted of serious crimes in the UK.  This is about making it easier to remove or deport illegal immigrants from the UK, especially those with serious criminal conviction.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Good Character and Application for Naturalisation

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) recently announced a change to the way it assesses assess the ‘good character’ requirement for naturalisation applications.
Listed hereunder are few of the considerations the UKBA will take into account when assessing the ‘Good Character’ requirement in naturalisation applications to become a British citizen:

Criminal Convictions

No longer will criminal convictions be considered ‘spent’ but instead they will be evaluated according to a ‘sentence based threshold’ as follows:

  • Sentence of 4 years or more imprisonment - your application will be refused, regardless of when the conviction occurred;
  • Between 12 months and 4 years imprisonment - your application will be refused unless 15 years have passed since the end of the sentence;
  • Up to 12 months imprisonment in the last 7 years - your application will be refused unless 7 years have passed since the end of the sentence;
  • A non-custodial offence - applications will be refused if the conviction occurred in the last 3 years.
Unpaid fines and notices

If it has been referred to a court due to non-payment where the court orders the fine to be paid are treated as a conviction and will be assessed by the UKBA against the sentencing threshold for a non-custodial offence. For example, where an individual has been ordered to pay a court fine of £100, they will have to wait for 3 years from the date of the conviction to be able to make an application for naturalisation as a British citizen. This includes unpaid TV licence fines etc.
A police caution

This will be assessed against the non-custodial sentencing threshold.

Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)

The breach of an ASBO is considered as a criminal offence.

Fixed penalty notices

Depending on how many you have and how recently you have received them, the UKBA might view them as an indication that you are not in fact of good character.

Finances and dealings with HMRC

The UKBA can make checks to ascertain that all of your financial liabilities are up to date and are current. Particularly if you are self-employed, the UKBA will want to see evidence that you are paying your taxes! If you are behind on your payments, or have not made any payments at all, the UKBA can view this as an indication that you are not of ‘Good Character’.

Council Tax

The UKBA will make checks to ensure that your Council Tax is up to date and whether you have kept your Council informed of the number of people living in your property and that you are paying the correct amount of Council Tax.

If you are in doubt of your circumstance or how this changes will affect you consult a Legal Representative today for further information on how to avoid falling foul of these new changes.