Immigration Rules Change for Migrants with Skills the UK Needs
The Home Office announced on Christmas Eve that new temporary changes to the Immigration Rules will see care workers added to the Shortage Occupation List. visaThe temporary measures are due to come into effect in early 2022 and will be in place for at least 12 months.
In a press release, the Home Office said: "Thousands of additional care workers could be recruited to boost the adult social care workforce … The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted a range of staff shortages within the social care sector, placing pressures on the existing workforce, despite the incredible and tireless efforts of social care staff."
Carers will require an annual salary minimum of £20,480 to qualify under the Health and Care visa route. Those recruited will be able to bring their dependents, including partner and children, to the UK. The route also offers a pathway to settlement in the UK if workers remain employed. The decision to add care workers to the Shortage Occupation List was taken following a recent recommendation by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). As reported by BBC News earlier this month, the MAC said the care sector is facing "severe and increasing" problems hiring and retaining staff after Brexit.
Read more: Electronic Immigration Network, https://rb.gy/fl2q4n
Asylum Seekers Subjected to ‘Dangerous’ Use Of Force by Guards at Brook House IRC
Asylum seekers were subject to force by guards who the Home Office allowed to remain on duty despite being “effectively uncertified” in the safe use of restraint techniques, according to internal documents charting conditions inside one of the UK’s most controversial immigration centres. Experts say the department endangered lives last year by deploying custody staff whose training in the safe use of force had expired, as it detained hundreds of people who had crossed the Channel in a fast-track scheme to remove them.
The cache of 180 documents, obtained through freedom of information laws by the Observer and Liberty Investigates, reveal the desperation of those held at Brook House as the Home Office mounted an intensive programme of flights removing people who had arrived in small boats to mainland Europe. They show that the proportion of detainees subjected to force inside the removal centre near Gatwick airport more than doubled last year. The documents – which include officers’ written accounts, minutes taken during oversight meetings and complaints filed by detainees and staff – also offer a rare insight into allegations of excessive force by staff.
Serco, the contractor that took over Brook House in May 2020, said it “completely refutes” the allegations, although it did not specify which claims.
Read more: Aaron Walawalkar, Jessica Purkiss, Eleanor Rose, Mark Townsend, Guardian, https://rb.gy/mdqfgz
Government Told to Let Asylum Seekers Work in the UK
UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), in their annual report to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the committee stated that the ban on asylum seekers holding employment showed clear evidence of harm. They cited research carried out our by Refugee Action, stating that the anxiety and stress placed on those waiting for a decision to be issued can impact wellbeing and long-term integration.
In a recent parliamentary statement, The Under Secretary for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove, stated: “In light of wider priorities to fix the broken asylum system, reduce pull factors to the UK, and ensure our policies do not encourage people to undercut the resident labour force, we are retaining our asylum seeker right to work policy with no further changes.”
However, the MAC report noted that the Home Office has provided no evidence to support a link between the employment ban and other pull factors.
The chair of the MAC, Professor Brian Bell, said that: “It’s not enough to say: ‘There’s a pull factor.’ You’ve got to have evidence to support that. You can’t come to conclusions if you’re not willing to tell us what the evidence is on one side of the equation.”
Read more: IAS, https://rb.gy/thyfpj
Deportation Order Does Not Terminate EU Right to Reside
Where the Home Office has taken a decision to remove an EEA national or other person with rights under the 2016 Regulations - on the grounds of public policy, public security, public health, or misuse of rights - then regulation 23(9) says that decision "has the effect of terminating any right to reside otherwise enjoyed by the individual concerned". On the face of it, regulation 23(9) automatically terminates the right to reside immediately, even while the person appeals the decision. They would immediately become a 'person subject to immigration control', subject to the hostile enviroment. They could not work legally or claim means-tested social security benefits. They would be unable to obtain a driving licence or open a bank account. Regulation 23(9) has been in force since 2017 when the 2016 Regulations came into effect - it had no equivalent in the 2006 Regulations they replaced.
Court of Appeal Overturns Asylum Seeker Convictions
Four Iranian men who crossed the English Channel in small boats have had their convictions for immigration offences quashed. The Court of Appeal said it had not been proven they intended to enter the UK illegally. The men were intercepted by Border Force officials on separate crossings in 2019 and 2020 and were all convicted separately. They had all piloted inflatable boats in crossings organised by smugglers. One of the men, Samyar Bani, claimed he had control of the tiller for a matter of seconds. He was released after serving part of his sentence. He told the BBC: "I lost everything because I came to the UK for an asylum claim. "I'm not a criminal, not a smuggler. I just sat in a boat and came here for asylum claim." Mr Bani, who travelled through Turkey, Greece, Germany and France before reaching the UK, was convicted in June 2019 after Border Force officials saw him piloting a rigid inflatable boat across the channel. The Court of Appeal said the jury in his case had been wrongly told Mr Bani broke the law as soon as he entered UK waters.
Read more: BBC News, https://rb.gy/x9oyez