The result of the UK’s general election 2019 means that the Conservative Party will govern with a majority. We can therefore expect to see the Prime Minister’s plans for both Brexit and the UK’s future immigration system intensify over the coming days and weeks.
Brexit – next steps
Within what may be a very short time-frame, we can expect the Withdrawal Agreement, reached in October 2019, to be approved by parliament (the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is here.)
It remains the Government’s intention for the UK to have left the EU by the end of January 2020.
Our Brexit Immigration Analysis provides information on what this means for EU citizens and their families, including information on applying under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Future immigration system – next steps
The Conservative Party manifesto, which we covered here, contained a number of plans, including some information on a future ‘Australian-style points based’ immigration system.
During the run up to the election, further limited information about these plans was provided to the media. We await detailed information but at this stage, the plans relating to work-based migration centre around these core areas:
- those who are exceptionally talented and/or make exceptional contributions;
- skilled workers, including a new visa for doctors, nurses and other professionals who will work in the NHS;
- those coming to work in specific sectors;
- international graduates.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his team have already started work on many aspects of the new system.
For example, in August 2019 plans were published ‘to cement [the] UK as a science superpower’. These included a fast-track immigration route for “elite researcher and specialists in science, engineering and technology, from maths to Olympiads at the very start of their careers to winners of internationally recognised prizes and fellowships”.
In September 2019, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was commissioned to advise on a points-based system for migration and it is due to complete this work in January 2020. The Government intends that the MAC will play a central role in UK immigration policy moving forward, publishing an annual report with information designed to assist the Home Secretary’s policy decision on changes to the points-based system and sector specific schemes.
In its manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to make the UK’s immigration system “more fair and compassionate”. Many people we help are caught in an immigration system that is wholly lacking in compassion and fairness — prevented from being with their families, unable to provide evidence to secure jobs or homes to rent, subject to expensive and often unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape. We are very much hoping, and expecting, to see fast and meaningful progress on this pledge.
We will be closely monitoring developments in immigration law and policy and providing regular updates on our website and via our immigration updates, which you can sign up to receive here.
How we can assist
We are ranked by Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal and other leading publications for our high-quality immigration law services.
We are partners with Here for Good, a charity that provides pro-bono advice to vulnerable and other eligible EU citizens. Members of our team also work with the world-renowned EU Rights Clinic in Brussels, providing legal advice on complex EU law issues. We also sit on numerous working groups and committees, meeting regularly with Home Office officials.
Services for businesses and education providers
We offer the following range of services to businesses and education providers that are designed to enable them to offer enhanced support to their employees and HR teams:
- presentations to EEA employees to explain the EU Settlement Scheme and other options available, including how to apply to naturalise as a British citizen;
- one-on-one sessions in person or via video conferencing to provide personal support to employees;
- EU Settlement Scheme application filing sessions where our team will use our technology to enable employees to submit their applications;
- preparation of other applications for EEA staff and their family members such as applications for permanent residence documents and applications to naturalise as a British citizen;
- bespoke training for HR teams and legal advice on how best to manage Brexit immigration related matters;
- advice and assistance on Sponsor Licence, Tier 2 and all other work-related immigration matters;
- information on proposals for the new immigration system due to come into force from January 2021, including how to engage with the Government on the design of the system;
- advice on conducting compliant right to work checks;
- discounted rates to employees and further immigration law advice and assistance as required.
We have designed a flexible fixed fee structure which is tailored to the specific services the employer requires.
Services for individuals
We understand that this is a worrying time for EU nationals and their family members.
The Legal 500 has said that our team provides ‘that extra bit of listening, care and explanation that engenders the client’s trust and makes them feel comfortable’. Our immigration experts are on hand to provide legal advice as needed.
We will usually be able to prepare applications, for example, under the EU Settlement Scheme or to naturalise as a British citizen, on a fixed fee basis. If your situation is complex, we will analyse your situation and provide you with legal advice in a cost-effective way working to an agreed budget.
For the vast majority of people, making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme is unlikely to need a lawyer. Do take time to review the scheme before deciding to instruct any law firm. The latest information from the UK Government about the scheme can be found here.
If you would like to discuss your needs, or would like information about our services and fees, please contact us.