Illegal working punishable by up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine under new Immigration Bill

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said yesterday that the forthcoming Immigration Bill will introduce a new offence of illegal working punishable by up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine in England and Wales.

The Immigration Bill is set to be introduced this autumn. news release reported that the Bill will also make it easier to prosecute employers who know, or reasonably suspect, that persons they employ do no have legal permission to work in the UK.

Businesses such as pubs, off-licences or takeaways who evade sanctions or offend repeatedly face losing their licence to operate.

Brokenshire was quoted as saying: “Anyone who thinks the UK is a soft touch should be in no doubt — if you are here illegally, we will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car.”

“As a one nation government we will continue to crack down on abuse and build an immigration system that works in the best interests of the British people and those who play by the rules.”

“Through our new Immigration Bill, illegal workers will face the prospect of a prison term and rogue employers could have their businesses closed, have their licences removed, or face prosecution if they continue to flout the law.”

Labour’s shadow immigration minister David Hanson was quoted by The Herald as saying: “This is the third time the Government have announced forms of these plans which have yet to be scrutinised by parliament in the as yet unpublished Immigration Bill. They are simply trying to look tough before Thursday’s migration figures and in the wake of failures at Calais.”

Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) warned that the plans to ramp up enforcement action in migrant communities across the country is likely to prove divisive and increase the sense of fundamental injustice in the UK immigration control system.

MRN director Don Flynn said: “The proposal to create a criminal offence which could lead to a six month prison sentence with an unlimited fine for anyone found working without the right papers is also grossly disproportionate to any harm which migrants in a vulnerable position may be considered to have done.”

Flynn was also concerned that the government appeared to have singled out pubs, takeaways and off licenses: “business sectors where people of migrant backgrounds have established themselves on high streets across the country.”

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Net migration to the UK reaches record high

The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that net migration to the UK for the year ending March 2015 reached an all-time record high of 330,000, beating the previous record of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.

The ONS Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, August 2015 is available here.

The key points of the report are:

• Net long-term international migration = +330,000 (up 94,000 from YE March 2014), in the year ending (YE) March 2015.

• Immigration = 636,000 (up 84,000), in the year ending (YE) March 2015.

• Emigration = 307,000 (down 9,000), in the year ending (YE) March 2015.

• The net migration figure was a statistically significant increase from 236,000 in YE March 2014 and is the highest net migration on record.

• Net migration of EU citizens showed a statistically significant increase to 183,000 (up 53,000 from YE March 2014). The increase in non-EU net migration to 196,000 (up 39,000) was also statistically significant and is a result of an increase in immigration (not statistically significant) and a decrease in emigration (statistically significant).

• The increase in long-term international immigration included a statistically significant increase for EU citizens to 269,000 (up 56,000), the highest recorded level for this group; and an increase for non-EU nationals to 284,000 (up 23,000) (not statistically significant).

• 53,000 Romanian and Bulgarian (EU2) citizens immigrated to the UK in YE March 2015, a statistically significant increase and almost double the 28,000 in the previous 12 months.

• 290,000 people immigrated for work in YE March 2015, a statistically significant increase of 65,000 from 225,000 in YE March 2014 continuing the upward trend.

• There were statistically significant increases of immigration for work for both EU citizens (from 134,000 to 162,000 in YE March 2015) and non-EU citizens (from 48,000 to 64,000). The increase for British citizens was not statistically significant. Of the 53,000 EU2 citizens immigrating to the UK, 42,000 were coming for work, a statistically significant increase of 20,000.

• 61% of EU citizens immigrating for work had a definite job to go to, whereas 39% were intending to look for a job rather than taking up an offer of employment.

• Latest employment statistics show estimated employment of EU nationals (excluding British) living in the UK was 250,000 higher in April to June 2015 compared with the same quarter last year and non-EU nationals in employment increased by 7,000. Over the same period, British nationals in employment also increased (by 84,000), therefore three-quarters of the growth in employment over the last year was accounted for by foreign nationals. (These growth figures represent the net change in the number of people in employment, not the proportion of new jobs that have been filled by non-UK workers.)

• In YE June 2015, work-related visas granted (main applicants) rose by 8,862 (or 8%) to 121,964, including a 5,177 (11%) increase for skilled work (Tier 2) visas.

• Long-term immigration for study increased from 176,000 to 188,000 in YE March 2015 (not statistically significant). Over the same period, visa applications to study at a UK university (main applicants) rose to 166,481.

• There were 25,771 asylum applications (main applicants) in YE June 2015, an increase of 10% compared with the previous 12 months (23,515). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).

• The largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,568), followed by Pakistan (2,302) and Syria (2,204). A total of 11,600 people were granted asylum or an alternative form of protection.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the net migration figures were “deeply disappointing.”

BBC News quoted him as saying: “While these figures underline the challenges we need to meet to reduce net migration, they should also act as a further wake-up call for the EU. Current flows of people across Europe are on a scale we haven’t seen since the end of World War Two. This is not sustainable and risks the future economic development of other EU member states.”

BBC News also reported today that the Institute of Directors warned jointly with the think tank British Future that radical policies to prevent migrants coming to the UK will damage the economy.

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, was quoted by BBC News as saying: “Scrabbling around to find measures to hit a bizarre and unachievable migration target is no way to give British businesses the stable environment they need. Combined with ministers’ increasingly strong rhetoric on immigration, the UK’s reputation as an open, competitive economy is under threat.”

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Confusion between immigration appeal and judicial review

Client’s who consult us find it difficult to work out the difference between an immigration appeal, administrative review and a judicial review. An immigration appeal or administrative review provides you with an immigration decision whereas the judicial review does not.

Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached. It is not really concerned with the conclusions of that process and whether those were ‘right’, as long as the right procedures have been followed. The court will not substitute what it thinks is the ‘correct’ decision.

This may mean that the public body will be able to make the same decision again, so long as it does so in a lawful way. If you want to argue that a decision was incorrect, judicial review may not be best for you. There are alternative remedies, such as appealing against the decision to a higher court.

Examples of the types of decision which may fall within the range of judicial review include:

  • Decisions of local authorities in the exercise of their duties to provide various welfare benefits and special education for children in need of such education;
  • Certain decisions of the immigration authorities and Immigration Appellate Authority;
  • Decisions of regulatory bodies;
  • Decisions relating to prisoner’s rights.

If you require advice or are unsure of the advice provided to you by someone else, speak to us today on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us on 

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Statement of changes July 2015 -Tier 4 Visas

A number of changes are being implemented on the July 2015 Immigration Rules. Summary of the changes are as follows:

  1. Amend paragraph 19A which relates to returning residents, to include the spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner of a Home Office employee serving overseas.
  2. Make changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to administrative review.
  3. Make minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules on family and private life.
  4. Increase the maintenance requirements for Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) students.
  5. Expand the area in which Tier 4 students have to demonstrate a higher maintenance requirement for London to include the University of London, or institutions wholly or partly within the area comprising the City of London and the former Metropolitan Police District.
  6. Apply the same maintenance requirements to all Tier 4 (General) students, regardless of whether they are already living in the UK, except Doctorate Extension Scheme students.
  7. Make all time spent in the UK as a Tier 4 student count towards Tier 4 time limits.
  8. Change the conditions for those given leave to enter or remain to study at publicly-funded further education colleges, to prohibit work.
  9. Prevent college students from extending their stay in Tier 4 or switching into any other points-based route in-country.
  10. Allow university students to extend their studies at the same academic level, but only if the course is linked to the previous course and the university confirms that the course supports the student’s genuine career aspirations.
  11. Prevent Tier 4 (General) Students from spending longer than two years in the UK studying further education courses.
  12. Allow a Tier 4 visa to be issued in line with a student’s intended date of travel.
  13. Require that Tier 4 (Child) Students be sponsored by Independent Schools only (which does not include Academies).
  14. Prevent Tier 4 (Child) Students granted leave after the changes come into force, and those already here not sponsored by an HEI in receipt of public funding from specified bodies, to switch into Tier 2 and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).
  15. Prohibit Tier 4 Migrants from studying at Academies or schools maintained by a local authority.
  16. Update the list of Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange schemes.
  17. Remove Part 2 of Appendix T and refer instead to the list of approved overseas screening providers published on the GOV.UK website.
  18. Make minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to visitors.
  19. Enable South African diplomatic passport holders to travel visa free to the UK as a visitor for official purposes, for tourism or for the purpose of “visit in transit”.
  20. Align the eligibility requirements for transit passengers who are non-visa nationals with visa nationals (other than those using the Transit Without Visa Scheme) in relation to the maximum duration of stay that may be granted to them.

If you are seeking further advice on the changes and how these will impact you, you can either e-mail us on or call us on 0207 237 3388. 


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Tier 1 entrepreneur extension of stay

Tier 1 Entrepreneur application’s can be extended for further leave to remain, however you need to make sure you provide the specified evidences.

You can apply to extend your visa if you have registered as a director or as self-employed no more than 6 months after the date you were given permission to stay in the UK under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa and that you can prove you’ve been self-employed or working as a director of a business 3 months before you apply. You must also provide evidences that you have created at least 2 full time jobs that have existed for at least 12 months.

You must have invested into 1 or more UK businesses either:

  1. £200,000 in cash; or
  2. £50,000 in cash if your initial application was based on having funds from an approved funding source

You must be in the UK to extend your visa. You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend – including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

The visa should be considered by those looking to start, run or take over a UK based business. The visa allows initial entry for a period of up to 3 years and 4 months for the applicant as well as his/her spouse and children under the age of 18 and can be extended. If the business continues you should be able to gain permanent residence in the UK in about five years

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