The new Solicitors Accounts Rules: what has changed?
In a welcome move, Boris Johnson recently announced the potential for a new Global Talent visa for those with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. This follows hot on the heels of his other recent announcements in relation to asking the Migration Advisory Committee to look at whether the UK should adopt an Australian style Points Based System.
In his introduction to the recent White Paper on the future UK immigration system, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid promised a new system that welcomes talent “from every corner of the globe and demonstrates the United Kingdom is open for business.” The UK’s first changes to the Immigration Rules since the publication of the White Paper came into force on 29 March. Sadly, these rules clearly show that the UK has a long way to go to fulfilling that promise of being open for business.
Since 13 December 2012, Americans coming to the UK with a visa issued under one of the popular ‘Points Based System’ categories, have been allowed to spend up to 180 days outside the UK in each 12 month period and still qualify for indefinite leave to remain at the end of five years. This 180 day period was calculated by looking back at each fixed 12 month period in the five years leading up to the date the applicant applied for indefinite leave to remain. Unfortunately, a change to the Immigration Rules which came into effect on 11 January 2018, has thrown this careful planning into disarray. The 180 day limit is now to be applied to a rolling 12 month period. This new calculation is also to be applied retrospectively and will impact anyone who applies for indefinite leave to remain after January 2018.
The UK has almost 60,000 tech businesses which together employ over 1.5 million people, and the numbers continue to grow. Much of the growth in the tech industry has been fuelled by startups which have benefited from the UK’s ability to attract talent from across the EU and the rest of the world. However, following the Brexit vote there were concerns that the UK’s days as a magnet for tech talent may be numbered in a so called Techxit. As we wait to see when/if Article 50 will be triggered and try to manage the uncertainty this brings, we also need to monitor the changes that a new USA administration will bring. Will Trump help or hinder the UK tech sector?
The Home Office has announced the expansion of the UK Registered Traveller Service to applicants from 16 new countries, with effect from today. Business travellers and frequent visitors will be able to benefit from faster entry to the UK as the Government’s Registered Traveller Service is expanded. Membership will now also be open to passengers from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay, subject to meeting the membership criteria.
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