Category Archives: Uncategorized

New “Start-Up Visas” for Entrepreneurs Expected by Spring 2019

The UK government has announced today that new “start-up visas” will be launched in spring 2019 for people who want to found their own business in the UK.

The scheme is designed by Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee and tech industry professionals. The “start-up visa” promises a faster process for entrepreneurs coming to the UK.

Unlike the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa currently in place, the new visa route promises to appeal to a larger audience and therefore a wider variety of talent. Applicants can either be endorsed by their university or by a business sponsor, including accelerators. The move comes as a deplorably low number of candidates were approved for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa in the year ending March 2018. While the visa cap currently sits at 2,000, only 839 candidates were successful.

The new “start-up visa” promises more flexibility and a higher acceptance rate for the exceptionally talented and business-savvy. It also directly addresses the potential skills shortage the technology sector faces in the plight of Brexit.

Sajid Javid said in The Independent: “The UK can be proud that we are a leading nation when it comes to tech and innovation, but we want to do more to attract businesses to the UK and our migration system plays a key part in that.

“That’s why I am pleased to announce a new visa for people wanting to start a business in the UK. This will help to ensure we continue to attract the best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs.”

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New Legal Aid grants for the Immigration Advice Service

The Immigration Advice Service has been awarded new Legal Aid grants in Newcastle, Derby and Bristol, as well as in every detention and removal centre across the UK. All previous contracts have been renewed, these include Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, London and Birmingham.

Legal Aid is a provision in which the government funds the legal fees for those who are destitute or unable to pay. Before an overhaul by the coalition government in 2012, this covered a range of immigration issues, including:

  • Deportation appeals
  • Asylum applications and support (e.g. housing)
  • Applications of leave for victims of trafficking
  • Support for victims of domestic abuse

Now, the only cases which qualify for Legal Aid are asylum applications.

Following this review and a drastic reduction in Legal Aid grants, the Immigration Advisory Service went into administration and was formed into the Immigration Advice Service. This was due to a loss of funding for legal aid cases, meaning the company had to move towards private and corporate immigration consultation and focus less on charity work.

IAS has consistently maintained its relationship to its charity beginnings, taking on Legal Aid asylum cases, as well as assisting with detention and removal appeals. These new cases will allow us to continue this work and may also signal a change in the views of the government towards those most in need of legal support.

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Public Come Together to Protest Against the Home Office’s Deportation of a 10-year-old Orphan

10-year-old Giorgi Kakava is being threatened with deportation by the Home Office, after being orphaned when his mother passed away this February.

Giorgi and his mother arrived in Glasgow as Asylum seekers seven years ago, when Giorgi was just three, from their home country of Georgia.

Now, three months after his mother’s death, Giorgi is being threatened with deportation, after having his asylum application refused by the Home Office.

Unable to speak any language but English, members of his community are devastated at the prospect of him returning to Georgia, where they believe he will be placed in severe danger.

Since this news was revealed, his teachers, school-friends, local religious figures, and politicians have come together in support of him, with a recent petition to halt Giorgi’s deportation amassing over 65,000 signatures already.

In today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Glasgow North East’s MP, Paul Sweeney, directly asked Theresa May about what she plans to do about Giorgi:

“Giorgi has lived here since he was three years old”, Sweeney stated, “the only language he speaks is English and he speaks it with the same [Glaswegian] accent as I do – he now faces being deported to Georgia, torn from his school-friends in Glasgow and placed in grave danger”.

A Home Office spokeswoman commented: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and every case is assessed on its individual merits.”

 

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‘Right to Rent’ Scheme Under Attack for Coercing Landlords into Unintentional Immigration Officials

MPs have appealed to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, to review the controversial immigration scheme “right to rent” which will be brought up by the high court this week.

The policy is up for debate since landlords across the UK have been coerced into conducting additional immigration checks against their tenants since February 2016. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) argue that the policy is discordant to the European Convention on Human Rights, with critics claiming that the scheme is leading to unfair refusals and perpetuating the ‘hostile environment’ of discrimination and racism.

“Right to rent” is a background check viewed by the landlord to assess whether their potential tenant is legally allowed to rent and live in the UK. Yet instead of targeting illegal immigrants, the scheme is tarnishing all non-British or non-white applicants with the same brush.

Should landlords accidentally approve a tenant who has no right to live in the UK, they face fines up to £3,000 – or even prison if they are convicted of ‘knowingly’ renting to people who have no right to be in the UK. As a result, landlords are favourably approving tenancy applications from those with British passports and are even caught denying people if they belong to an ethnic minority or have a “foreign-sounding name”, the Guardian reported.

The JCWI found that up to 51% of landlords claimed they were less likely to allow non-European tenants to rent their properties, while 48% of landlords were less likely to rent to those who could not produce a UK passport due to fears of criminal sanctions and fines if they were deceived by fraudulent documents.

The policy is also largely responsible for uprooting victims of the Windrush generation. Residents who have lived and worked in the UK for decades found themselves being denied their right to work, rent, and access to public services – such as the NHS. Research conducted the Migration Observatory suggests that as many as 57,000 people could be affected by the Windrush scandal; a scandal that saw innocent people thrown out of their rented homes onto the streets due to long-ago Home Office incompetence whereby officials destroyed residents’ documents. Without being able to prove their immigration status, landlords were able to deny their ‘right to rent’ under the belief that they were living in the UK illegally.

MPs such as Diane Abbott and Caroline Lucas have cited a report conducted by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), David Bolt, claiming that the scheme has “yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance”.

The letter not only nodded to those affected by the Windrush scandal but drew attention to victims that may be left homeless by the ‘right to rent’ scheme such as those affected by modern slavery, abuse and trafficking.

In reality, people who are legally permitted to live and work in the UK are being tangled up in the net designed to catch illegal immigrants. Whether they are British are not, people without passports or valid ID – usually the most vulnerable in society – are being denied access to homes and are alienated in the country they call home.

 

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How did the Windrush affair affect the UK immigration system?

The Windrush Generation involves citizens of the Commonwealth countries who have arrived into the UK in 1948 and onwards. The Windrush Generation had been unfairly targeted by the UK government immigration policies to discourage illegal immigrants.

Therefore, some have been unable to work, claim welfare support, detained and faced deportation. So, what has changed?

Citizenship

The Windrush taskforce was initiated on 18 April to deal with the case. Since then, more than 850 individuals have received essential documentation to prove their right to be in the UK.

Compensation

A compensation scheme was launched by the government for individuals caught up in the case. However, the procedure will take time since the government wants Windrush members to present their personal stories as they develop the scheme further.

NHS data-sharing

It was found the NHS revealed 3,000 patients’ details with the Home Office to tackle individuals disobeying immigration laws. The government have suspended such arrangements as of this month to tackle the issue of patients not seeking NHS help for medical attention.

Home Office staff would only use data-sharing methods to track people who are facing deportation if they have committed a serious crime in the future.

Bank checks

The Home Office announced that it would also suspend immigration checks on thousands of bank accounts, and will reduce the extent of the checks by liaising with banks.

This is so they have the power to close down bank accounts.

Highly skilled migrants

The government would stop deporting people under section 322(5) of the Immigration Act, a complex rule to tackle terrorism, and it will now face a review. Now, there are 1,000 highly skilled migrants are facing deportation after being accused of being dishonest in their applications such as making minor and legal modifications to their tax records.

 

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Highly-Skilled Migrants Are Next in the Firing Line in Latest Immigration Scandal

Political correspondent Olivia Bridge offers insight into recent accusations against the Home Office, which suggest they are targeting highly-qualified and skilled migrants in their efforts to reduce immigration numbers. 

Just weeks after the recent revelations in the Windrush scandal, immigration experts are now drawing attention to a controversial legislation in Immigration Law that is designed to tackle terrorism but instead is targeting up to 1,000 highly skilled migrants with deportation over minor tax discrepancies.

Innocent migrants are getting caught up in the governmental sweep to catch illegal and criminally dangerous immigrants. Such migrants include teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, engineers, scientists, academics, healthcare professionals and IT specialists, all of whom have contributed considerably to a thriving British economy.

These citizens, when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), are finding themselves in a battle against stringent rules and threatening rejection letters from the government. Home Office officials are issuing migrants with deportation under Paragraph 322(5) of the 2014 Immigration Act. The harsh consequences of the clause mean that migrants become ineligible to apply for any other UK visa and are told to ‘voluntarily’ leave the UK within 14 days. Those with the option to appeal the decision face a lengthy – and costly – fight ahead. In the meantime, migrants issued with the sanction are denied access to free healthcare, are barred from renting properties, and dismissed from employment.

Lord Dick Taverne wrote to The Guardian to publicly demand an end to the misuse of the ‘controversial paragraph’ which has seen many innocent and lawful migrants accused of deceitful conduct; and, worse still, certified with a dreaded 322(5) stamp in their passport –  a stamp that in fewer words brands its holder as a criminal or terrorist.

The Home Office’s guidance of 322 (5) states that it should only be used in cases involving ‘criminality, a threat to national security, war crimes or travel bans’, yet officials are refusing applicants to their discretion based on citizens’ ‘character and conduct’. Applicants are being wrongly stripped of their right to ILR over tedious discrepancies in their declared income or tax reports. Critics further claim that the Home Office are “blanketing” the clause in a bid to meet unrealistically high net migration targets – obliging to Theresa May’s so-called ‘hostile environment’.

Nisha Mohite came to the UK in 2008 from India to study and complete her masters in pharmaceutical analysis. She spent the last 10 years developing anti-cancer and anti-psychotic drugs while also setting up her own pharmaceutical consultancy. In 2016, Mohite paid £2,500 towards her application for ILR, only to be rejected by the Home Office due to a mistake made by her accountant in her declared income. Despite rectifying the mistake and paying the sum immediately, Mohite was not only rejected to ILR but was served with the Paragraph 322 (5) sanction criticising her as displaying “undesirable conduct”. This cost Nisha a 322(5) stamp in her passport, limiting her options to travel or work elsewhere while simultaneously losing her job, home, and life savings in the UK.

Mohite’s case is not uncommon. Owais Raja is a prestigious engineer, inventing a training programme that he used to train British engineers from the Ministry of Defence at City College Plymouth for eight years. However, after applying for ILR in 2016, he was refused by the Home Office on the grounds of a mistake in his tax return at the fault of an accountant. Despite paying the £1,200 owed to HMRC, the Home Office issued him as a ‘threat to national security’ under section 322(5). Now stripped of his job, Raja struggles to pay the expensive healthcare fees that both his six-year-old son needs for specialist treatment for a hole in his heart, and for his wife who suffers from a pulmonary embolism. Left destitute with no job, Raja is forced to sell all the family’s belongings on Gumtree in order to cover the £20,000 Home Office fees and legal advice, not to mention hospital fees, rent, food and general living costs.

“I can’t go home”, Raja says in the Guardian, “I have no links there any more, no savings, [and] the healthcare for my wife and son isn’t suitable.” He continues: “My occupation is on the shortage list in lots of countries but I can’t travel with a 322(5) on my passport.”

The Highly Skilled Migrants support group claim there are up to 1,000 innocent migrants in similar situations to Mohite and Raja. In an effort to battle the Home Office, the support group raised over £40,000 to take officials to court. 9 out of 10 cases so far have won in favour of migrants, with the judge ruling that the governmental use of Paragraph 322 (5) was wrong.

Simple human error and tedious mistakes are branding valuable migrants who have contributed immensely to the British economy with terrorism or associated misbehaviour. Yesterday a group of around 20 MPS and Lords sparked pressure groups to crack down on governmental injustice in the future and hope to put an end to the perpetuating ‘hostile environment’.

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Immigration Official Admits That People Are Being Wrongfully Deported From The UK

Since 2012, there have been a “handful” of people that have been wrongly deported from the UK according to a senior immigration enforcement official.

 

MP’s have been told by Hugh Ind that “up to 5” people have been brought back to the UK as there were questions over whether they were rightfully deported from the country.

 

The government argues that they have been unaware of any deportations, especially those from the Windrush generation of migrants and their families.

 

Windrush settlers, who are those that came from the Caribbean after World War Two, have been particularly affected by the “hostile environment” policy within illegal migration in the UK, despite living legally in the UK.

 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned last month after scrutiny emerged towards targets over immigration and the Windrush controversy.

 

There were claims made against Rudd that targets had been put in place for the past 3 years over removing illegal immigrants in the UK by Sir Philip Rutnam, a senior official from the Home Office.

 

Ms Rudd denied the allegations and then later argued that she was unaware of the targets when official memos emerged that targets had been put in place.

 

There was confirmation by Sir Philip that there were no targets put in place for the year 2018-2019, but there would be “expectations” of people who had no right to live in the UK to be pursued.

 

This sparked an angry response by Labour MP Stephen Doughty, who claimed that by stating there would “expectations” it would be a way of Sir Philip trying to use “slippery tactics” to describe targets in a different term.

 

Asked whether there had been any wrongful deportations over the past 6 years, Mr Ind replied “yes”. Mr Ind is the Director General of Immigration Enforcement.

 

He stated that there had been occasions where they had to bring “a handful” of some individuals back when they were wrongfully deported.

When he was pushed to be more specific, he said there may have been “up to 5” cases from the past 6 years.

 

Caroline Nokes, who is the Immigration Minister, stated she didn’t think she had any cases of wrongful deportation.

 

When Mr Ind was asked why she wasn’t aware of this, he said: “I don’t know.”

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Government reveals more than 5,000 possible Windrush cases but says anyone who has been rejected has no right to appeal

The Home Office has revealed that more than 5,000 people have now been identified as potential Windrush cases but will have no right to appeal if they get rejected under the scheme.

A task force that has been set up in the wake of the scandal has taken over 13,000 calls so far, with 5,000 being identified as potential cases and more than 850 now being given documentation following an appointment with the team.

However, guidance that was issued as part of a package of measures which was designed to process citizenship applications for Commonwealth nationals that settled in the UK before 1973, Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, announced that those rejected under the scheme “will not attract a right of appeal or an administrative review”.

Labour MP and chairperson of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Yvette Cooper said “I’m extremely concerned they rule out any appeals or reviews of Windrush decisions.

Given the history of this, how can anyone trust Home Office not to make further mistakes? If the home secretary is confident that senior caseworkers will be making good decisions in the Windrush case, he has nothing to fear about appeals and reviews”.

This comes just after Mr Javid revealed there were 63 cases of Caribbean nationals who may have been removed from the country, even though they had lived in the UK legally for decades.

The home secretary said that free citizenship applications for children of the Windrush generation that joined their parents before they turned 18, and free confirmation of existing British citizenship for the children who were born to the Windrush generation in the UK would now begin.

Those applying for citizenship under the scheme would have to meet the character requirements that are in place for all citizenship applications, but they would not need to take the knowledge of language and life in the UK test or attend the citizenship ceremony.

Mr Javid said that the scheme covered the government’s commitment in helping members of the Windrush generation who are now looking to return to the UK after spending many years back in their home countries, and these people are able to apply for the relevant documentation free of charge.

He also confirmed that any non-Commonwealth citizens who settled in the UK before 1973, and people who had arrived between 1973 and 1988 and have an existing right to be in the UK do not need to pay for the documentation they need to prove their indefinite leave to remain.

Mr Javid said “I am clear that we need to make the process for people to confirm their right to be in the UK or put their British citizenship on a legal footing as easy as possible. That is why I have launched a dedicated scheme which brings together our rights, obligations and offers to these people in one place”.

The Windrush scandal has seen people that arrived in the UK from the Caribbean between the late 1940s and early 1970s targeted by immigration officials, even though they have every right to be in the country.

Some have lost their homes and jobs for failing to have the right paperwork, and there have also been stories of people being denied vital medical treatment and being targeted for deportation.

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Britain Set to Offer EU Immigration Deal Similar to Free Movement

It’s been revealed that Britain is preparing to make an offer to the EU, which is “very similar” to the current free movement rules, which were put in place after Brexit was announced.

 

UK negotiators are set to put the proposal forward in order to coincide with a European Council summit that is happening in June. This is set to be the turning point that will break up the current deadlock in Brexit talks.

 

If agreed upon, this plan will see a high level of access to the UK and EU citizens in the future, but would also mean that the British government possess the power to halt this in certain circumstances.

 

Experts believe that this will, in fact, enrage the hardliners. This is because many believe that resorting to an agreement that is very similar to the ‘free policy’ is a betrayal to the decision for Britain to leave the EU in the referendum result 2016.

 

The Cabinet Minister David Davis, who has tirelessly campaigned for Brexit, is allegedly on the brink of resigning after the announcement of this news. Many pro-Brexit officials have voiced their concerns about the new immigration deal.

 

As well as this, the week previous has seen the government under a heavy pressure to accept staying in the EU customs union. This decision could mean an alignment with the new offer on immigration rights. This could be a turning point for Brexit negotiations if both parties agree with the new proposals.

 

The new offer by British officials is set to for Ms May’s efforts to lock the EU into a deal for future relations. It’s our understanding that the offer could mean that any European citizen travelling to Britain would benefit from visa-free travel.

 

As an addition to this, EU citizens would also be given the right to gain work in the UK under a new status that would be set aside for those who have arrived from the EU.

 

The key elements to this new immigration proposal are extremely similar to those of the free movement that the Prime Minister has been planning to end. Many pro-Brexit officials have voiced their opinions on the matter and have shown concern for the new offer.

 

Despite the similarities, the new offer also includes that the British government would hold the overall decision on imposing an emergency brake on the plan or to even enforce restrictions on the matter.

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Survey Reveals British People are Becoming More Pro-Immigration and Sympathetic to Refugees

 

A recent study has revealed that British people are becoming more sympathetic towards refugees and migrants. A recent survey included 1,053 Britons and revealed that there has been a distinctive increase in the number of British citizens who feel sympathetic towards refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

 

They believe that the British government should do more for people who are fleeing from war and should enable more legal immigrants to become British citizens.

 

It was revealed in the annual Aurora Humanitarian Index public opinion study, that more than half of the participants (52%) feel that the refugees are deserving of more support. The study also revealed that 38% of people showed regret, as the country isn’t doing enough.

 

It’s been revealed that nearly half of the British people who were surveyed believe that any legally established immigrants should be given the right to become British citizens.

 

Experts believe that these findings show that the hostile policies that are currently being enforced by the government, do not necessarily reflect public opinion. These experts have also urged government officials to create a legislation that is reflective of the much more positive and inclusive public opinion.

 

The UK immigration system has faced scrutiny over the past week, after the Windrush fiasco forced ministers to apologise for incorrectly targeting people who withhold the right to reside in Britain.

 

The survey also revealed that the majority (65%) of people from the UK claim that there are too many humanitarian crises to keep up with, and that they are still largely misinformed about the reality of the refugee crisis.

 

One of the largest misconceptions for Britons, it has been revealed, is understanding who refugees are. The majority of UK citizens believe that only 32% of refugees are under the age of 18, when in fact, it is over half (52%) of the total global refugee population that are in fact children.

 

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