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.