UKBA Ruiz Zambrano Press Release

The UKBA has today issued the following press release in response to the recent landmark Court of Justice of the European Union decision of Case C-34/09 Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi:

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) recently handed down judgment in the case of Ruiz Zambrano (C-34/09). This judgement creates a right to reside and work for the sole carer of a dependent British citizen when that carer has no other right of residence in theUKand removing the carer from theUKwould mean the British citizen would have to leave the European Union. The UK Border Agency has been considering the effect of this judgement and whether any changes are required to our policy or the law as a result. Until now, we have not accepted applications we have received on this basis as there is currently no provision within the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (the regulations) to issue documentation on this basis.

We will amend the regulations in due course to enable a person to be issued with a document confirming that they have a right to live in theUKas a result of the Ruiz Zambrano judgement. However, in the meantime, we will issue a certificate of application to those who are able to show:

  • evidence that the dependent national is a British citizen;
  • evidence of the relationship between the applicant and the British citizen; and
  • adequate evidence of dependency between the applicant and the British citizen.

This certificate will enable a person to work in theUK while their application is outstanding. Once changes to the regulations are made, the application will be given full consideration and documentation will be issued under the regulations to those who meet the final agreed policy.

Employers can accept this certificate of application, in combination with a positive verification from our Employer Checking Service, as proof of right to work in the UKfor up to 12 months. This document combination comes under entry 5 of List B within the ‘Comprehensive guidance for employers on preventing illegal working’, and will provide an employer with a statutory excuse against payment of a civil penalty for up to 12 months.
Further information on the scope and processes referred to can be obtained from the Customer Contact Centre on 0845 010 5200.
Further information on the laws on preventing illegal working can be obtained from the Sponsorship and Employers’ Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

How to apply

Applicants wishing to apply to the UK Border Agency in accordance with the Ruiz Zambrano judgment may do so, free of charge, by completing an EEA2 application form and forwarding this to the address included on the form along with a covering letter explaining the reasons for the application.

It is not a requirement that an application form be completed for this purpose, although this may help reduce the need for further enquiries at a later date.

Migration Advisory Committee Recommends Amendments To The Shortage Occupation List

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has today advised that the Shortage Occupation List be revised to restrict migrants from outside the EEA to a smaller proportion of occupations within the UK labour market. MAC recommends the list be reduced to cover 190,000 employees (not migrants) or well under 1 per cent of the UK workforce. In 2008, before the MAC recommended changes to it, that list covered over 1 million employees.

Professor David Metcalf CBE, Chairman, MAC, said:

Although the proportion of the labour market covered by our new recommended list is lower than before, our recommendation will have only a limited impact on migration volumes because overall migration through Tier 2 is limited. However, the list is more selective than before: it is targeted specifically on those job titles where there is currently a clear evidence of shortage.

We think it is vital that the government, employers and the training sector take concerted action to raise the skill levels of the UK workforce, especially in long-standing shortage occupation areas. This will reduce the UK’s reliance on migrant workers in the long term and provide real benefits for the economy as a whole.

A total of 29 job titles are recommended for removal from the list. They include: secondary school biology teachers; consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology; paediatric surgery; nuclear medicine and paediatric dentistry; veterinary surgeons; and tutti orchestral musicians.

The 33 recommended additions to the list include: consultants in emergency medicine; actuaries; specific roles within the visual effects and 2D/3D computer animation for film; television and the video games sectors; high integrity pipe welders; environmental scientists; and operations managers in the decommissioning areas of the nuclear industry and geochemists.

The government had indicated that it will consider the MAC’s recommendations and respond in due course.

New Highly Trusted Sponsor Guidance Published

On 18 July the UKBA published its proposed criteria to become a Highly Trusted Sponsor under Tier 4 and invited comments. Today the UKBA has published its new guidance which covers:

  1. Highly Trusted Sponsorship, including the date by which Tier 4 sponsors who are not already highly trusted need to apply for HTS by; what will happen to existing Tier 4 sponsors who do not apply for HTS by the deadline or who do apply and fail; and details of transitional arrangements for sponsors who are not already highly trusted.
  2. educational oversight, confirming the previously announced detail of the new approach, including a reminder of the date by which applications should be made and to which oversight body; and information Tier 4 sponsors who either do not apply by the specified deadline or who apply and fail to obtain it.

There will also be changes to Tier 4 sponsor ratings which in future will costs of 2 ratings only: ‘A’ rating and Highly Trusted.


Changes Affecting Restricted Certificate Of Sponsorship Applications

On 1 October 2011 the UKBA will be introducing changes to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS), which will affect the way employers apply for restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS) in Tier 2 General. The changes will allow employers to use their SMS account to:

  1. submit applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship;
  2. withdraw applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship;
  3. track the progress and outcome of applications for RCoS;
  4. base a new application for RCoS on the details submitted in a previous application; and
  5. view your RCoS allocation including the number of restricted certificates of sponsorship assigned.

There will be transitional arrangements for moving from the current on-line application process to the SMS, which will affect the way employers make an application for RCoS between 6 September 2011 and 9 October 2011. The transitional arrangements will also affect the dates by which RCoS granted prior to 30 September 2011 should be assigned.

These arrangements are summarised in the table below:

Date Event Action
5/9/2011 Closing date for applications for September monthly allocation meeting All valid applications received by 5 September 2011 will be considered on 8 September 2011
6/9/2011 UK Border Agency accept on-line applications for requests for exceptional consideration for restricted certificates of sponsorship that will be assigned before 1 October 2011 Applications for exceptional consideration can be made using the on-line application form for restricted certificates of sponsorship. If the restricted certificates of sponsorship is granted it must be assigned before 1 October 2011
30/9/2011 Final day for assigning restricted certificates of sponsorship granted under existing application process. On-line application form withdrawn after close of business All restricted certificates of sponsorship granted prior to 30 September 2011 should be assigned by this date
01/10/2011-9/10/2011 Applications can be made using sponsorship management system for October monthly allocation meeting The deadline for receipt of applications is extended from 5 October to 9 October 2011.
10/10/2011 Applications can be made using sponsorship management system for November monthly allocation meeting All valid applications received between 10 October and 5 November 2011 will be considered at the November allocation meeting
11/10/2011 October monthly allocation meeting held All valid applications received by 9 October 2011 will be decided and the decision updated on sponsorship management system
11/11/2011 November monthly allocation meeting held All valid applications received between 10 October and 5 November 2011 will be decided and the decision updated on sponsorship management system

If an employer is granted a RCoS but does not assign it before 1 October 2011, they will not be able to assign it without taking further action to reclaim it using the SMS.

Proposals For Breaking The Link Between “Temporary” And “Permanent” Migration Announced

Migrants coming to the UK to work on “temporary” visas will no longer be able to apply for settlement, under proposals announced by the government today.

Launching a public consultation on reforms to the work routes leading to settlement, Immigration Minister Damian Green set out plans to re-classify visas as either ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’ and introduce stricter criteria for those who want to stay:

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. The immigration system has got to be made to work properly. We want the brightest and best workers to come to the UK, make a strong contribution to our economy while they are here, and then return home.

A small number of exceptional migrants will be able to stay permanently but for the majority, coming here to work will not lead automatically to settlement in the UK

Key proposals under consideration in the 12 week consultation are as follows:

  1. re-branding Tier 2 (the skilled worker route) as “temporary”, ending the assumption that settlement will be available for those who enter on this route;
  2. allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to theUK, to retain an automatic route to settlement;
  3. creating a new category into which, after three years in the UK, the most exceptional Tier 2 migrants may switch and go on to apply for settlement;
  4. allowing Tier 2 migrants who do not switch into a settlement route to stay for a maximum of five years with the expectation that they and any dependants will leave at the end of that time;
  5. introducing an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement;
  6. restricting the maximum period of leave for Tier 5 Temporary Workers to 12 months; and
  7. closing or reforming routes for overseas domestic workers.

New Annual Limit On Tier 2 (General) Visas

The government’s new annual limit on non-EEA workers comes into force today. Under the annual limit, only a total of 20,700 people from outside the EU would be allowed to enter under under Tier 2 (General) of the Points-Based System. A further 1,000 visas will be made available to people of ‘exceptional talent’. The 1,000 exceptional talent visas will be given to those who are believed will make the biggest contribution to science and the arts in the UK.

Prospective Tier 2 (General) migrants will now need to have a graduate-level job offer, speak an intermediate level of English and meet specific salary and employment requirements. Those earning a salary of £150,000 or more will not be subject to the annual limit.

In addition, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visas, who are not subject to the annual limit, will be changed in 3 ways:

  1. the job will have to be in an occupation on the graduate occupation list;
  2. only those paid £40,000 or more will be able to stay for more than a year – they will be given permission to stay for 3 years, with the possibility of extending for a further 2 years; and
  3. those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be allowed to come to the UK for no longer than 12 months, at which point they must leave the UK and will not be able to re-apply for 12 months.


New Immigration Fees

Following Parliamentary approval, new immigration fees will be introduced from Wednesday 6 April 2011 for foreign nationals applying to visit, study, work or settle in the UK, and for employers and education providers applying for a sponsor licence.

The new fees were announced on 28 February by Immigration Minister Damian Green. Applicants and representatives making an application on or after 6 April 2011, will need to ensure that they enclose the correct fee. The UKBA will return any applications where an incorrect fee is paid.

You can find a list of all the new fees here.