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UK Student Visa and Occupation Shortage Changes

Two new changes to the United Kingdom’s visa systems.

Occupation Shortage List

The shortage of occupation list has recently been expanded to include a range of skilled occupations, following changes to the Immigration Rules.

The changes mean that occupations such as veterinarians, architects and web designers will be added to the shortage occupation list (SOL), giving people coming to the UK to work in these industries priority in securing a Tier 2 work visa, over occupations not on the list.

It also means that employers can advertise job vacancies for the occupations included to all nationalities as soon as it’s available, making it easier for them to access the international talent they need.

The Tier 2 shortage of occupation list (SOL) is a list of occupations recognized by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as being in national shortage, which they assess would be sensible to fill, in part, through non-EEA migration.

Reflecting recommendations by the independent Migration Advisory Committee in its review of the shortage occupation list in May 2019, today the Immigration Rules have been amended accordingly, putting the changes into law.

When reviewing the shortage of occupation list, the MAC considers a range of factors including whether the role is in national shortage and whether it is sensible to fill with migrant workers.

In addition to expanding the SOL, the Immigration Rules have been amended to further demonstrate the government’s commitment to transferring the 480 unaccompanied children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 as soon as possible.

The updated rules will ensure that those children transferring under section 67 are granted with ‘section 67 leave’ upon arrival. This form of leave allows them to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and is a route to settlement which they would not ordinarily have had. Currently, those who transfer to the UK under section 67 only receive ‘section 67 leave’ if their asylum application is unsuccessful.

It will provide the children, and the local authorities who will care for them, with additional reassurance and guarantee their status in the UK at the earliest opportunity.

The Home Office has also streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit another test before entry to the UK on a Tier 2 visa. This change will make sure that hospitals and medical practices across the country will be able to access the staff they need more quickly.

Student Visa Changes

The UK Government has announced that it has plans in the pipeline for overseas students in the UK. A new immigration route will enable overseas students in the UK to stay for two years after they graduate. The UK Government hopes that these plans will enable some of the best students to stay. They also hope to attract more talent to the UK. This will, of course, offer wonderful opportunities for graduating overseas students. The plans will however only be introduced sometime in 2020.

To qualify, the graduate must have studied at a so-called trusted UK university or higher education provider. This provider must have a proven track record at the Home Office. The good news is also that there will be no cap on the number of overseas students that will qualify under these new plans.

Overseas graduates in any subject will be able to stay in the UK for two years to find work. They will be allowed to apply for jobs regardless of their skills or the subject they studied. The UK Government is hoping that the two-year allowance will increase their chance of finding long-term employment in the UK.

During these two years, graduates can then find employment that will fulfill the criteria for immigration routes leading to permanent residence, and switch to these routes. It will, of course also be possible for them to switch to other routes during this time that leads to permanent residence in the UK. Permanent residence will then, of course, lead to British citizenship.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

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How South Africans Can Bring Their Parents and Grandparents to the UK

Part of the process of deciding to move to the UK is weighing up the impact on your extended family.

While even simply the idea of leaving loved ones behind can be devasting, moving from South Africa to Britain will most likely mean a long-term physical separation from beloved family members, says Lisa Aspeling from immigration consultants Move Up.

Below she outlined the different ways that emigration South Africans can bring their elderly dependents with them when moving.

How to qualify for the Elderly Dependent Permit

Issued for five years, one major advantage of the Elderly Dependent Permit is that it leads to British citizenship.

However, the rules around being granted this particular visa are very strict and it’s common for many of these applications to get refused, said Aspeling.

“Unfortunately, if your parents do not qualify to move to the UK based on ancestral rights or the other more traditional routes to UK settlement and they don’t need round-the-clock care, they won’t be eligible for the Elderly Dependent Permit.

“Applicants must prove that they require long-term, hands-on care in order to handle everyday living. The kind of care your parent or grandparent will be required to prove they need includes daily tasks like washing, cleaning and cooking. Essentially, your parent or grandparent will have to prove that they are absolutely unable to live independently.”

Aspeling said that a comprehensive doctor’s report about your parent or grandparent’s state of health would be an important document to include in your application.

Full medical records, including specialist reports and hospitalisation records, as well as a letter from the applicant’s current carers – for example, their nursing home manager – is also essential, she said.

“The letter should state the healthcare professional’s full recommendations, whether that is being admitted into a frail care facility or receiving special medical attention.

“The only silver lining here is that the UK government will accept a broad range of reasons for this: the specific care your parent or grandparent requires might not be available locally, or no one can reasonably provide it, or it can come down to a lack of affordability.”

Requirements from the sponsor to qualify for the elderly dependent permit

“Not only do your parents (or grandparents) need to jump through some hoops to qualify for this rare visa, but you as the sponsor need to prove that you can provide adequate maintenance, accommodation, and care for your elderly dependant – and here’s the catch – without having to withdraw public funds,”said Aspeling.

“You as the sponsor will be required to sign a sponsorship undertaking form, confirming that you are entirely responsible for your dependant’s care, without relying on public funds, for at least five years.”

EU law and elderly dependents in the UK

While no one knows what will happen to the UK’s immigration laws after Brexit is completed, as things stand, if you have EU nationality, rather than British citizenship, it is easier to qualify to bring your parents or grandparents to the UK, said Aspeling.

This is largely because the rules for elderly dependants are much more lenient under EU immigration law, she said.

“Under EU law you will, among other things, need to show you are exercising treaty rights in the UK by studying, working, being self-employed or self-sufficient. The UK Home Office will also need proof that your parent(s) or grandparent(s) is dependent on you.

“Although being granted an Elderly Dependent Visa is admittedly a rare outcome, our experienced immigration consultants are available for a free consultation and assessment to help you determine if this is a viable route for moving your parents or grandparents to the UK with you.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

How Many Skilled Professionals Are Leaving South Africa Every Day?

There has been a major increase in skilled professionals leaving the country as South Africa faces continued uncertainty.

Speaking to eNCA, Sable International’s Andrew Rissik said that people are leaving for many reasons – with two of the biggest reasons being economic uncertainty and crime.

“We are looking at around 25,000 skilled people leaving South Africa each year, with around 1,000 – 2,000 of these people also being very wealthy people who are able to buy their way into other countries.

“These are potentially very high-quality taxpayers that South Africa is losing,” said Rissik.

This averages out to around 68 skilled people, and between two and five ultra-wealthy South Africans, leaving the country every day.

“What we see is that a lot of people with young children tend to start getting pulled back to South Africa because of family links.

“Although we have seen this (trend) slow compared to the past decade because of the economic situation in South Africa as we know it – it’s really pretty negative at the moment.”

Rissik added that as long as these ‘push factors’ are present, people will continue to leave.

Popular destinations

The Department of Home Affairs does not keep record of South Africans who emigrate permanently; however, receiver countries do keep track of immigrants, which gives an indication of how many people are actually leaving.

This data shows that the UK is still the most popular choice for South African immigrants, while a growing number are also choosing to settle in Australia and New Zealand.

  1. New Zealand: The latest data from Stats NZ shows that there has been a sharp rise in South African migrants, with 8,200 people moving to the country between April 2018 and April 2019;
  2. Australia: The latest immigration data from Australia shows that a total of 5,397 South Africans moved in 2016/17 time period and 2,907 South Africans over the 2017/2018 period;
  3. UK: At the beginning of January, statistics provided to City Press by UK’s Office for National Statistics showed that approximately 7,300 people emigrated from South Africa to the UK in 2017

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Ross Parmly [1], [2].

New UK Fast-Track Visa for STEM Field Applicants Announced

The UK Government intends to create a fast-track visa for persons with skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

According to immigration consultants Breytenbachs, the reasoning behind this move is to attract the world’s top scientists and researchers to the UK.

“The UK Government said in its announcement that it is hoping that by introducing this visa it enhance the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK,” the group said.

“The launching of this new immigration route is indeed very good news for scientist and researchers looking to work in the UK.”

Breytenbachs said that the route will be open to all nationalities, irrespective of whether they are EU or non-EU citizens.

Opportunities for South Africans

Breytenbachs said that this new immigration route will create many opportunities for professionals in STEM.

“The new fast-track visa will offer great opportunities for individuals who qualify under this immigration route,” it said.

“Persons who apply successfully will receive a three-year visa. During their stay in the UK they can come and go from the UK at will. They will also qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, after only three years.

“Dependents of the main visa holder will be able to join the main holder in the UK. Adult dependents will be able to work in the UK without any restriction.”

Another major advantage of this new visa route, is that this new visas will have no minimum salary requirement or minimum salary threshold. There is also no need for applicants to secure a job before arriving in the UK.

Breytenbachs said that new fast-track visa will open during the later in 2019.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

UK Home Office Changes Will Make it Easier for South Africans to Emigrate to the UK

The UK’s Home Office has published more details about its future skills-based immigration system.

Earlier this month, the department said that a new immigration and borders system will be implemented in a phased approach from 2021.

“Proposals include scrapping the annual cap on the number of visas issued for skilled workers and widening the skills threshold to include people with qualifications equivalent of A levels,” the Home Office said.

“The new skills-based system will also remove the resident labour market test for high-skilled workers and introduce a route for temporary workers at any skills from low-risk countries, allowing them to come to the UK for a maximum of 12 months.”

According to JP Breytenbach, director of Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants, the new skills-based immigration system is definitely good news for South Africans looking to live and work in the UK.

“The new immigration system will mark the end of free movement for European workers to the United Kingdom. It will not favour any specific nationality. Europeans will have to compete with all other nationalities if they want to apply for UK jobs and visas,” he said.

Breytenbach said that the end of free movement will also mean that there will be more job opportunities available.

This, coupled with a simpler skills-based immigration system will allow South Africans to take up more job opportunities in the UK, he said.

“It will definitely be easier for South Africans with sought after skills and talent to apply to live and work in the UK.

“Furthermore, there will no longer be a cap on the number of workers that can come in a specific period. This will make it easier for UK employers in specific sectors to hire the number of workers they need.”

Still desirable

Despite recent Brexit troubles, Breytenbach said that the UK labour market remains a desirable location for South Africans.

“London is reckoned to be the financial capital of the world, and many global businesses have their headquarters in the city,”he said .

“This obviously means many attractive job opportunities for skilled and highly skilled persons in London, and the country as a whole.

“It is also easy for South Africans to adapt to the UK workplace and culture. Language is no barrier. The short flight distance also makes it an attractive destination for South African businesses looking to expand to the UK and EU markets.”

No typical applicant

Despite a recent uptick in the number of South Africans looking to emigrate, Breytenbach said that there a really is no ‘typical’ South African applicant.

“There are numerous young persons who are applying for UK student visas. Many of them then later switch to other immigration categories, upon finishing their studies,” he said.

“We also have skilled and highly skilled persons who apply for visas and permits from all age groups, and a number of business persons looking for visas in order to expand their businesses to the UK.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].