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Immigration Law Update - April 2015

Historically, the UK Government updates and introduces a number of new measures in UK Immigration Human Rights law in April of each year. This April saw a number of new procedures implemented by the Home Office which arguably, makes it more complex for migrants to remain in the UK.

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On 6th April 2015, the Government introduced for the very first time, an Immigration Health Surcharge. The Immigration Health Surcharge requires every migrant to pay a financial contribution towards NHS costs for the period during which they are granted leave to remain in the UK.

The amount to be paid per migrant is £150.00 per year for a student or £200.00 per year for all other visa or immigration applications. The Immigration Health Surcharge is payable irrespective of whether a migrant makes any use of the NHS during the time that they are in the UK. In addition, each dependent family member will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge so the cost will add up quickly for families, the Immigration Health Surcharge fee is separate from the visa fee which must also be paid to the Government.

For those seeking leave to enter the UK, or for those making an application for regularisation of legal status or an extension for leave to remain for more than a period of 6 months they will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge before they submit or send a visa or immigration application for processing. The Government will automatically turn down a visa or immigration application unless the Immigration Health Surcharge is paid in advance online to them and once payment has been received, then the migrant will be immediately issued with an Immigration Health Surcharge reference number which they will need to provide in their visa or immigration application.

Immigration Fees increase

The full list of fees for immigration applications from inside and outside the UK applying from 6th April 2015 can be found by clicking the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/418355/2015_website_fees_table.pdf

There are significant Home Office fees increases: a 50% hike to £162 for visiting academics for some reason, a 57% increase to £592 for relatives of refugees, a 37% increase to £1,500 for family of members of the British armed forces and for other applications for settlement, a 150% increase to £260 for a simple confirmation of immigration status document and hikes of between 10% and 50% for a range of nationality applications.

New Immigration Application Forms

On 6th April 2015, Immigration applications were updated with new versions so migrants should go to www. gov.uk to ensure they complete and submit a current and valid immigration application to the Home Office in order for their visa applications to be smoothly processed . It should be noted that if an outdated immigration application form is submitted or where payment of the Home Office fees cannot be processed by the Home Office, then the Home Office may deem the application invalid and return it to the Applicant. This can be a precarious situation for the migrant particularly if their visa expires whilst the application has been in the hands of the Home Office who then deem their application as invalid thereafter  thereby potentially leaving the migrant without legal status in the UK.

It is therefore a sensible idea to pay the relevant Home Office fee either by bankers draft or postal order as these are guaranteed funds which the Home Office can process speedily and therefore avoids the chances of payment not going through.

 

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General Election, May 2015

The forthcoming Government elections on 7th May 2015 could also have a massive effect on UK immigration law; with the possibility of UKIP having a place in Government with Nigel Farage's well documented anti-immigration views along with the Conservative government’s pledge to limit migration as they have done so since coming to power in July 2010, both parties seek to dramatically curb the rise of migration in the UK.

Labour’s  proposed reforms include a prohibition on migrants not being able to claim benefits for at least two years, tougher Border controls and ea promise to deal with exploitation of illegal immigrants in the workplace will be deterred by tougher penalties.Under other Tory plans, Migrants will be barred from claiming benefits such as tax credits and housing benefit for four years, as well as having entitlement to social housing reduced.

It will be therefore interesting to note who ascends to power in the forthcoming Government election and to see what subsequent immigration law policy’s which will be implemented thereafter:  will there be a relaxation of immigration policy’s if the more ‘liberal’ political parties come to power or will there be an even more increased tightening of the immigration laws if the more ‘rigid’ political parties come to power? With the current Conservative government’s spectacular failing to reduce migration with net migration in 2015 peaking at 298,000, the hugest net migration figure in over a decade, it can be said with some certainty that  the UK remains a haven of opportunity for migrants to live, work and contribute to British society and despite stringent immigration laws and increased fees and charges, the UK will continue to attract migrants from across the world.

Greenfields Solicitors are experts in all types of Immigration and Human Rights matters. This

area of law is complex and constantly changing which means that you have to be sure you

have up to date and accurate legal advice. Get advice and representation at an early stage to

help give your immigration case  the best chance of success.

 

By Raheela Hussain

Principal Solicitor

 

Greenfields Solicitors

6 Market Parade

Winchester Road

London N9 9HF

Tel: 020 8884 1166

www.greenfieldssolicitors.com

 

*Please note that the above article is an informative article only and does not in any way constitute legal advice. For advice regarding your case, please call Greenfields Solicitors on 020 8884 1166 to book a consultation. Ms Hussain offers both telephone and in-office consultations for a fee of just £49.00 for 40 minutes advice.

 

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