It was confirmed in this week’s Budget that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will be increasing from £400 to £624 per year of the visa. The IHS is a visa fee applicable to overseas nationals for the NHS. The measure also increases the discounted rate for students, their dependants and those applying for Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visas from £300 to £470 per year of the visa. In a new tweak to the previous arrangements, the surcharge will be set at the lower £470 rate for all children under the age of 18.
The writing had already been on the wall. Priti Patel had warned that there would be no “carve outs” for specific sectors which would experience a shock when free movement ended. Those comments were aimed at various industry groups which had asked for the temporary work visas which had been mooted in the 2018 Immigration White Paper to be part of any new policy. But repeatedly, the mood music coming from No. 10 and Ms Patel had been clear – don’t lobby us until you have raised wages and provided training and career development opportunities that will attract more local workers.
This week marks the publication of the UK Government’s negotiating position on a new trade deal with the EU. As the UK embarks on negotiations for a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA), employers may be wondering whether a deal could provide a mechanism for additional visa routes for both skilled and lower-skilled foreign workers.
Last week the Government announced its latest plans for the new post-Brexit immigration system. Under the proposed new rules, from 1 January 2021, migrants wishing to come and work in the UK – including EEA citizens - will need to have a job offer in a ‘skilled’ role, normally with a salary of at least £25,600.
Last month the Law Commission issued Report 388 on Simplification of the Immigration Rules. This followed a year of consultation and examination of the rules with a view to their improvement. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has had even a casual relationship with the Rules that it took the Law Commission 41 Recommendations to express the urgent need for reform and provide guidance for that process.
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