UNITED KINGDOM VISA AND IMMIGRATION NEWS
Table of Contents
1 April 2022
Unvaccinated UK Travellers Can Now Enter France Under Facilitated Rules
UK nationals who have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease will now be able to enter France under facilitated entry rules as the latter has decided to place the UK on the green list.
Consul General of France in London, Guillaume Bazard said that starting from March 31, the UK will be part of the green list, and thus, UK nationals will be exempt from additional entry measures.
Bazard stated: “On 31/03, the United Kingdom will be placed on the green list. Abolition of compelling reasons for non-vaccinated travellers, who must present a negative test (72 hour PCR or 48 hour TAG) – entry into force upon publication in the Official Journal,”.
Under the new rules, UK nationals who have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease will be permitted entry to France as long as they present a negative test result taken recently.
The French Ministry of Interior explains that the country accepts both PCR and rapid antigen tests. This means that unvaccinated Britons can either present a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours or a rapid antigen test taken
within the last 48 hours in order to be permitted entry to France without having to meet any other additional measures.
1 February 2022
Why do migrants try to come to the United Kingdom?
- In recent years more and more migrants have been crossing, or have attempted to cross, the English Channel on small boats. Despite a deadly shipwreck in November that claimed the lives of 27 people, crossing attempts have continued unabated. Why are migrants risking their lives instead of staying in the EU and seeking protection there?
Many people leaving their home countries don't even know where they will end up. They often pay people smugglers or human traffickers the equivalent of their life savings or more just in order to get away from war, persecution or serious hardship. Those who organize clandestine transport for them have limited options and are often involved in rivalries with other criminal gangs.
This means that some of the migrants and refugees embarking on dangerous journeys don't know what exactly the smugglers have planned for them and simply end up being taken across the English Channel after weeks of travel across the European mainland. Reports of dangers at sea might even be downplayed or ignored altogether by smugglers hoping to make money off desperate people and their dreams.
With the United Kingdom having departed from the European Union, many things have changed -- including immigration controls. While there are still changes ahead, one of the most important legal change for migrants and refugees is the fact that the Dublin regulation no longer can be enforced in the United Kingdom.
Under the accords of the EU's Dublin agreement, asylum seekers who already have asylum proceedings pending or closed in one EU nation usually have to be sent back to that country. While the UK is hoping to strike a similar deal with the EU as part as ongoing post-Brexit talks, migrants and refugees reaching the UK now can -- at least in theory -- lodge another asylum application there, which then has to be considered by British authorities.
There are persistent myths saying the UK has a first-class welfare system, which means that migrants and refugees coming to the UK think they will enjoy more economic freedom while their asylum case is being processed. However, asylum seekers are currently eligible to receive only GBP 37.75 each
week as they await the decision on their asylum application -- sometimes for years on end. During this time, they are legally prohibited from seeking work.
2 January 2022
UK keen to ease immigration rules for Indians in exchange for trade access
- UK Ministers are keen to ease immigration restrictions in a bid to make it easier for thousands of Indian citizens to live and work in the country as part of the forthcoming trade talks. The potential offer will be under discussion when International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan travels to Delhi this month, reports the Times UK.
Trevelyan is said to have the backing of the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, who is keen to curb China's growing influence in the region. However, they are likely to meet strong resistance from Some Secretary Priti Patel, who opposes the offer.
According to the Times UK, visa relaxation options under consideration include a scheme similar to one agreed with Australia which would allow young Indians the right to live and work in the UK for up to three years.
Another would be to cut visa fees for students and allow them to stay in Britain for a period of time after they graduate.
3 December 2021
The British National (Overseas) or BN(O) route
- On 31 January 2021, the UK launched a bespoke immigration route for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders and their immediate family members.
This route reflects the UK’s historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who chose to retain their ties to the UK by taking up BN(O) status at the point of Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997.
Those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members can apply to come to the UK to live, study and work in virtually any capacity, on a pathway to citizenship. After five years in the UK, BN(O) status holders and their family members will be able to apply for settlement, followed by citizenship after a further twelve months.
13 November 2021
UK migrant crossings hit record daily high
- Nearly 1200 people traversed the English Channel in small boats in one day to reach the UK from France, a new record high for migrant crossings in a single day that British authorities have labeled as "unacceptable."
At least 1185 people reached the UK aboard 33 vessels on Thursday, Britain's Home Office confirmed on Friday. That figure surpasses the previous high of 853 set earlier this month.
Lifeboat crews and Border Force boats were busy well into the evening in the Channel, the busiest shipping lane in the world, after spending hours intercepting boats throughout the day.
Despite their efforts, three people are feared lost at sea after two kayaks were found adrift off Calais in France.
In 2019, Home Secretary Priti Patel promised to make migrant crossings an "infrequent phenomenon" by spring 2020 and then pledged in August last year to "make this route unviable."
During this time, the British government agreed to pay France millions of pounds to increase security on its northern coast.
02 October 2021
UK extends Truck driver Visa Program
- The British government has extended an emergency visa program for truck drivers as fuel shortages showed few signs of abating Saturday, particularly in London and the southeast of England.
In an announcement late Friday, the Conservative government said temporary visas for nearly 5,000 foreign truck drivers it hopes to recruit would run into 2022 instead of expiring on Christmas Eve as originally planned.
The short duration of the program announced last week drew widespread criticism for not being attractive enough to entice foreign drivers.
The government said 300 fuel drivers would be able to come to the U.K. from overseas “immediately” and stay through March. Some 4,700 other visas for foreign food truck drivers will last from late October to the end of February.
In another move intended to ease the pressure at Britain’s pumps, around 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, will be deployed beginning Monday to help to relieve fuel supply shortages that have caused empty pumps and long lines at filling stations.
06 September 2021
Ease Immigration rules to fix jobs squeeze
- Britain must relax its new immigration rules to allow in more foreign workers and ease labour shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, a leading employers group, the Confederation of British Industry, said on 06/09/21.
Since COVID restrictions began to ease earlier this year, allowing the economy to reopen, companies have complained increasingly of a lack of workers especially in hospitality, food processing and logistics which has led to gaps on supermarket shelves and restaurant closures.
A shortage of truck drivers has forced some employers to offer signing-on and retention bonuses of up to 5,000 pounds ($6,900), and official data shows a record number of job vacancies.
The CBI said drivers, welders, butchers and bricklayers should be classed as shortage occupations for immigration purposes. This would allow easier access to visas, but also for the employers sponsoring them to pay salaries below thresholds for migrant workers under Britain's new migration system.
The government has called on employers to train more British people to fill their vacancies but the CBI said that would take up to two years.
01 August 2021
UK population increase by around 7 million
- In just 20 years, the UK population has exploded by around seven million to nearly 70 million. According to a study, 90 per cent of this growth was driven by immigration.
Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that the Great British public had had enough of "uncontrolled migration directed by organised crime gangs". "They’ve had enough of people
being trafficked and sold into modern slavery, of economic migrants pretending to be genuine refugees, of adults pretending to be children to claim asylum,” she told MPs.
"For the first time in decades, we will determine who comes in and out of our country." She then unveiled her new Borders Bill to block both illegals and the shadowy mafia gangs who have made a fortune as their travel agents. Bogus
asylum seekers will be sent back, she promised. Criminals will be rounded up and punished.
05 July 2021
EU Settlement Scheme Closes
- The United Kingdom’s EU Settlement Scheme, which permitted European Union citizens to apply to continue living in the UK in spite of Brexit, has closed for applications on June 30, 2021.
Announcing the closure of the deadline, the Home Office has noted in a press release that as many as six million applications have been received to the scheme, "marking an astonishing success in protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK."
EU and EEA citizens living in the UK, who haven’t applied for the EU settlement scheme on time will now need to apply for valid UK immigration status in order to remain in the UK, "either through the EUSS, if they were resident in the UK by December 31, 2020, or are a joining family member,
or through a valid visa."
The EU Settlement Scheme was first launched on March 30, 2019, processing more than 20,000 applications per day. The scheme granted all EU, EEA and Switzerland citizens the chance to continue living in the UK after the latter left the European Union.
02 June 2021
Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin requests more EU migration
- Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin has called for more EU migration to help tackle the shortage of bar staff working in the UK.
The pro-Brexit multimillionaire urged Boris Johnson to introduce a "reasonably liberal immigration system" controlled by Britain rather than the European Union.
Mr Martin, who was a vocal supporter of the UK's departure from the EU, also suggested that countries geographically closer to the UK could be prioritised for the programme.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "The UK has a low birth rate. A reasonably liberal immigration system controlled by those we have elected, as distinct from the EU system, would be a plus for the economy and the country.
"America, Australia and Singapore have benefitted for many decades from this approach. Immigration combined with democracy works."
JD Wetherspoon was founded by Mr Martin in 1979 and sells low-priced ales, breakfasts, lunches and dinner.
It currently runs 871 pubs in the UK and Ireland but has seen the number of workers drop over the past year by around 6,000 to almost 38,000.
A visa system would make it easier for pubs and restaurants to hire workers from the bloc, with post-Brexit rules making it more difficult for workers in lower-skilled roles to settle in the country.
According to recruitment website Caterer.com, roughly one in 10 hospitality workers have left the sector over the past 12 months, while the industry's trade body, UK Hospitality, estimated a shortfall of about 188,000 workers due to successive lockdowns.
04 May 2021
UK & India sign Partnership migration deal
- The governments of the UK and India have signed a new landmark migration
agreement, which will see both countries benefit from enhanced arrangements on
Home Secretary Priti Patel and India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam
Jaishankar today (Tuesday 4 May) signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership
agreement, aimed at supporting people to live and work in both countries while
addressing long standing problems of illegal migration from India to the
The historic agreement delivers on the UK government's fair but firm New
Plan for Immigration & attracting the best and brightest and supporting
people coming to the UK through legal routes, while stopping the abuse of the
system and speeding up the removal of those who have no right to be in the
The agreement will enhance and accelerate the processes to return Indian
nationals with no legal right to stay in the UK and vice versa, and ensure
greater co-operation around organised immigration crime.
In a first of its kind between the two countries, both governments have agreed
enhanced mobility provisions for young professional Indian and British citizens
which will allow people to live and work in the two countries for up to two
02 April 2021
Anger among UK musicians 'forgotten' in Brexit deal
- Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly has garnered some of Britain's highest honours
for her work. But such recognition is in stark contrast to the treatment
experienced by musicians post-Brexit, she says.
Connolly called the government's failure to prioritise an agreement allowing
musicians visa-free travel to Europe, after Britain finally quit all EU
structures at the end of 2020, "absolutely outrageous".
While Britain insists the blame lies with EU inflexibility during last year's
trade negotiations, Brussels argues that London was fixated on ending freedom of
movement for EU citizens coming to Britain.
Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he shared the performers'
frustration, adding the government was "working flat out" to address the issue
with individual EU governments.
"Some of them are much, much better and forward leaning than others. Others we've
still got progress to make," he said.
Annetts said the effect of the restrictions had been temporarily hidden by the
Covid pandemic, with venues shuttered and travel curtailed. However, serious
damage had already been done, she added.
"There is, at the moment, a cultural shift going on, because UK musicians are now
seen as problematic," she said.
The implications would be "massive" for Britain's creative industries and the
economy, Annetts added. "In terms of the standing of the UK, I don't think that
can be underestimated."