Spring Budget Migration Announcements
Taylor Hampton Solicitors Spring update
This article discusses the Spring budget migration announcements. The Home Office has announced forthcoming adjustments to the business visitor visa rules for UK Immigration. Second, the inclusion of construction workers on the Shortage Occupation List also featured in the Spring Budget 2023. The Government stated that other languages would be available for users of the Ukraine Visa Scheme.
The range of short-term business operations that can be conducted for periods of up to six months will be expanded. This forms part of the modifications anticipated for autumn 2023. Moreover the authorities will review the permissible paid engagements. The government will also account for a larger variety of actions associated with discussions with trading partners in the upcoming months.
Additionally, non-visa national business travellers from the EU or the US will be subject to the adjustments.
Immigration and the Construction Industry
Later this year, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will wrap up its examination of the list of shortage occupations. In fact, just yesterday we saw the release of an interim study on the hospitality and construction industries.
Interestingly, 6% and 7% of all employment is in the construction and hotel industries, respectively. Currently, self-employment accounts for 30% of all construction jobs. Furthermore, do note that employees who are self-employed are ineligible for the skilled worker visa option.
What is the eligibility for new job titles?
Before the summer parliamentary break, the Government proposes adding five job titles in the construction industry to the list of shortage occupations. This will enable employers to pay employees in these positions 20% less than the required minimum wage for sponsorship. That is, £20,960, instead of £26,200.
The roles are:
- Bricklayers and masons
- Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
- Carpenters and joiners
- Plasters and dryliners; and
- Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified
However, the only real difference is that the application fee is £479 rather than £625. Alternatively this is £719 if you are extending your visa from within the UK. Nevertheless, the Immigration Skills Charge (up to £1,000 annually) will still apply to employers. The condition that you speak English fluently is unavoidable. Certainly, for many people, this requirement – rather than the cost or salary – is what prevents them from getting a visa.
Deportation to Rwanda
The Illegal Migration Bill appears quite expensive on the surface. Building detention facilities in the UK and making substantial payments to the Rwandan government appear necessary in order to enforce onward deportation. Alternatively, it would necessitate continued assistance for refugees who nonetheless arrive, yet never achieve status if removals don’t take place. However, those assistance expenses might never materialize because newcomers are more likely to blend into society than to live forever in limbo with a remote chance of deportation to Rwanda. Additionally, as the backlog steadily shrinks, the Home Office will probably save some money on hotel expenses.
So, we’ll have to wait and see how they operate in practice. Perhaps their implementation will help immigrants using these visa channels, as with other similar government pronouncements.
What is the outlook for 2023?
It won’t be clear until at least the end of 2023 whether the addition of these positions to the Shortage Occupation List will result in an increase in the number of construction workers choosing to apply for Skilled Worker visas. Nonetheless many may still discover they cannot enter the trade as a sponsored worker given the English language requirement.
Additionally, people continue to struggle with the visitor visa work restrictions following Brexit. Thus, they may welcome instead, the modifications to the business visitor visa requirement. We are waiting to see how the visiting visa requirements will pan out in the autumn statement of revisions to the immigration laws. Because they are currently open to broad interpretation, the position is difficult to gauge.
For more information
For more information please contact our Head of Immigration, Leena Chouhan, who assists with queries for both visas and citizenship. Leena has many years of experience helping in a variety of tricky cases.
Leena can be reached at: [email protected], 0207 427 5972