9th June 2011
Today, 9 June 2011, the Home Secretary has published a consultation on how those who come to work in the United Kingdom (UK) under Tiers 1 and 2 may be granted indefinite leave to remain, or settlement. The consultation also looks at Tier 5 and Overseas Domestic Workers.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
The proposals I am making today are aimed at breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration. Settlement has become almost automatic for those who choose to stay. This needs to change.‘
As part of the Government’s strategy of reducing net migrant from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands, the government now intends to be more selective of those who are able to stay. The consultation also reviews the routes by which migrants can enter the UK to work and then apply for settlement, other than through Tiers 1 and 2 of the points based system. This includes Tier 5 (Temporary workers and Youth Mobility), overseas domestic workers in private households and UK Ancestry.
The Government proposes that Tier 1 will only give an entry to settlement for Investors and Entrepreneurs. The government recently implemented changes for Tier 1 (General) migrants to demonstrate, as part of settlement application, that they continue to meet the salary requirements and to pass a new criminality test.
The government also believes that Tier 2 should, in the future, be regarded as a temporary and not a permanent migration route. The government will consult on allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrants, including those who are earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK, to retain their right to indefinite leave to remain, or settlement.
In addition, the government will consult on creating a new category into which after three years in the UK, the most ‘exceptional’ Tier 2 migrants may switch to, to then apply for settlement and those who do not switch can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years. The government intends for the UK Border Agency to apply robust selection criteria to those Tier 2 migrants who wish to switch; and then to introduce a limit on the total number of migrants allowed to switch.
The consultation considers restricting the maximum period of leave in Tier 5 (temporary worker) to 12 months, although they propose no changes to the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Category).
The Government also propose to abolish the route for overseas domestic workers in private households or consider restricting leave to a 6 month period as a visitor only. There would be no right to change employer, sponsor dependants and no right to settlement.
Finally, the Government intends to introduce an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement.
The consultation will run for three months until 9 September 2011 after which the Government will announce their confirmed intent. The changes proposed above are likely to affect those workers who entered the UK under Tiers 1 and Tier 2 from 6 April 2011, and who under the current system could have expected to apply for settlement in 2016. A further consultation is likely to be published later this year for the family route, such as marriage.
Should you require any further information, or wish to submit a response to the consultation, please speak with a member of the Magrath LLP immigration team who will be pleased to assist or email [email protected]