Thursday, 13 March 2014

Re: Immigration: Businesses will benefit from help to recruit internationally

The Home Office has today published changes to the Immigration Rules which is designed to help UK Businesses looking to recruit skilled international workers in the UK digital technology sector.
The changes published today is designed to, in addition to  helping UK Business also meant to support the government’s long-term plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and well as improve links with China.
The changes are as follows:
From today (Thursday 13 March) the changes include:
  • opening up the Exceptional Talent visa route to world-leading individuals in the digital technology sector by enabling Tech City UK to endorse visa applications
  • a new category for government sponsored language teachers, which will create closer relationships with China
  • longer periods of leave for skilled workers to increase flexibility
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said:
These changes today will ensure that the UK remains competitive in attracting global talent to work for British businesses, so that we can succeed in the global race.
We are building an immigration system that works in the national interest as part of our long term economic plan. One that is fair to hard-working British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who break the rules or flout the law.
Tech City UK
Expanding the exceptional talent route was announced by the Prime Minister last December and will allow Tech City UK to endorse top innovators and professionals in their field so that they can then come to the UK without the need for a sponsoring employer. This will make the UK more attractive to top digital tech specialists and allows our digital technology industry to attract the best global talent in the world.
Gerard Grech, Tech City UK CEO, said:
Digital technology companies across the UK are engines for growth; creating jobs and attracting investment. Essential to a digital entrepreneur or CEO as they grow their business is the ability to attract global tech talent. I am pleased that Tech City UK is able to play a role in advising the Home Office on what exceptional talent in digital technology constitutes.
Steve Orr, Director, NISP CONNECT at Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT, said:
When scaling a digital technology company, the ability to attract the best and brightest talent at the required moment to stay on that growth path is essential. Tech City UK has collaborated with government and colleagues from across the tech community to develop immigration criteria that will help open the UK to exceptional tech talent. This is good news for digital business builders and good news for the UK economy.
Creating a new category for overseas government sponsored language teachers will enable teachers to share knowledge and awareness of foreign languages and cultures in the UK. The first of these schemes will support a Mandarin teaching scheme designed to foster good cultural relations between the UK and China.
Skilled workers
Offering 5-year grants of leave to skilled workers, instead of 3, so that skilled workers have more flexibility and do not need to re-apply after 3 years. It will also benefit businesses allowing them to send employees on business trips overseas around the time when they would otherwise have needed to make their extension applications.
Other rules changes include:
  • Introducing a visa regime for all visitors from Venezuela. We keep the visa system under regular review to make sure we have the right regimes in the right places. The new regime will be implemented from the 5th May 2014.
  • Increasing the threshold for maintenance funds for student, worker and family migrants, in line with the costs of living in the UK. These changes will affect all applications made from 1st July 2014. As applicants need to have held the funds for 28 or 90 days, anyone planning to apply from July is advised to take note of these changes now.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Re: Immigration Team Raids St. Neots Takeaway v The Minister Resigns.

I read a report in the Hunts Post24 online today about a raid on a takeaway restaurant named Hot Pizza on a High Street in St. Neots by a team of the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officials supposedly through a tip-off.

During the raid a 21 year old Turkish national was apprehended and questioned for working in the kitchen which is against the conditions of his leave.

The report which was posted by Hywel Barrett states that “checks revealed that the man was working in breach of his visa and must now comply with bail conditions while the Home Office works to return him to Turkey”.

The report ended with the statement that “Officers are now considering whether Hot Spot Pizza will face any action”.

On reading this article and with the statement at the end of the report in mind, my mind quickly went back to another recent report about how a Home Office Minister had to resign because he employed an “illegal Immigrant” to work as a cleaner in his house.

I suddenly remembered I wrote and abandoned (an action I now admit I regret) because of other exigencies that reared its (I dare say ugly) head at the time and quickly fished it out to share with you.

The reason I want to share the article with you now is simply because of today’s report mentioned above and the fact that the Home Office is considering whether Hot Spot Pizza will face any action and yet no consideration of such was ever suggested by the same Home Office officials when the report about the Home Office Minister broke out.

Here’s the Article.

There is an adage in my language that says that “When you are digging a grave for your enemies, be careful not to dig it too deep just in case you mistakenly fall into it yourself”.

The import of this adage played out recently when the news broke that the Honourable Immigration Minister Mark Harper MP has resigned from his Cabinet post because his cleaner (Ms Isabella Acevedo) does not have the right to work in the UK. 

A lot has been said and written about this matter. Some insisting that the Immigration Minister has broken the law and pontificating on what sanctions (if any) he could or should face given his role in pushing through Parliament the constant changes to Immigration Rules and Legislation. Another reason adduced by those with this school of thought is the fact that Mr. Harper is part of those that formulated the policy that imposes penalty fine of £5000 - £10000 (per employee) on employers found to employ migrants without the right to work in the UK.  

The Immigration Minister on the other hand is denying any illegality on his part. He based part of his defence on the fact that he took careful steps to ensure that Ms Acevedo would be considered ‘self-employed’.

I don’t wish to dwell too much on illegality or otherwise of this matter other than to use the adage mentioned above as a food of thought for those in charge of formulating policies on Immigration Rules to always bear in mind that whatever changes they are bringing into the Rules must have human face - just in case the same Rules catches them with their hands in the cookie jar.

I’m sure that Mr. Harper and others in position of authority never thought when making those incessant changes to the Immigration Rules that they will ever be at the receiving end of the same laws they were promulgating.

A word, they say, is enough for the wise.