Migrants to UK to lose right to stay indefinitely, says Immigration Minister

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    Damian Green, Immigration Minister
    In a new proposals announced today by the government, migrants coming to the UK on temporary visa could lose the right to stay indefinitely.

    Immigration minister Damian Green said today at the launching of a public consultation on reforms to the work routes leading to settlement that “settlement has become almost automatic for those who choose to stay, this needs to change”.

    The minister went further to say that the government has “set out to re-classify visas as either ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’ and introduce stricter criteria for those who want to stay. In government-speak, this could be interpreted to mean (like in Biblical terms) it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for migrants with ‘permanent’ visas to be able to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

    He also went further to state that “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”.
    He also gave some statistical data to back up his reforms as follows:

    “Under the current system, many workers are allowed to apply to stay here permanently. In 2010, 84,000 people who entered the UK for employment were granted settlement. This compares to less than 10,000 who qualified for employment related settlement in 1997.

    The government has already implemented new settlement requirements for skilled workers entering under Tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system, which require applicants to demonstrate English-language proficiency, continue to meet the salary requirements and to pass a new criminality test.

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

    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;
    Allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK, to retain an automatic route to settlement;
    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;

    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;
    Introducing an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement;
    Restricting the maximum period of leave for Tier 5 Temporary Workers to 12 months; and
    Closing or reforming routes for overseas domestic workers”.
    He also added that ‘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.’

    The Government has committed to reforming all routes of entry to the UK in order to bring immigration levels under control. The settlement, Tier 5 and overseas domestic worker reforms will work alongside the annual limit, the new student visa reforms and changes to the family route which will be consulted on later this year”.

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    By Joseph K Adebole