Immigration and Visa Review 2018 by Sanwar Ali

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

By Sanwar Ali, Editor

There were a number of significant changes to the visa system around the World in 2018.  Sanwar Ali of covers some of the changes to the UK and US visa system in this review.  This is the first in a series of reviews on changes in visa regulations around the World.


UK Visa News and Changes in 2018

Immigration Health Surcharge increase from 8 January 2019

The UK Immigration Health Surcharge, which had been expected to double in December 2018,  increased instead on 8 January 2019. The immigration health surcharge increased from £200 to £400 per year for many UK visa categories including the Tier 2 visa, Tier 1 entrepreneur visa, Sole Representative visa and Tier 1 Investor visa categories. The Health Surcharge fee for international students applying for the Tier 4 visa, those applying for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa Scheme and for other Tier 5 visa applications rose from £150 to £300 per year.  UK visa related fees which were amongst the highest in the World are even higher now.

Read more on this

UK Tier 2 Visa Review by October 2018

By Sanwar Ali, Editor

The situation has improved enormously for many Tier 2 visa employers with a Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa migrants since August 2018.  From December 2017 to June 2018 the points requirement for a restricted CoS to employ someone based outside the UK was very high.  This meant that many employers simply could not afford to pay the salary required to gain enough points which was about £50,000 plus.

Read more on this

US Visa News and changes in 2018

New H1B and L1 visa administrative regulation cause friction

New administrative H1B and L1 visa regulations were recently announced by the US Labor Department, as the Trump Administration continues its efforts to restrict immigration. The new administrative regulations came after the Trump Administration and Congress failed to push through changes to actual H1B and L1 visa legislation.

Sanwar Ali comment:

The Trump administration and indeed Obama before him had great difficulty in passing new substantive US visa legislation.  It proved impossible for both Houses of Congress to agree. Therefore, attempts have been made to restrict immigration that do not require changes in the law.  

Read more on this

US H1B visa and L1 visa denials increase due to Trump policy

Shortly after Donald Trump signed the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ presidential executive order on April 18, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began to increase the number of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and denials for H1B visa petitions, according to new evidence released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).   There is also a similar situation for L1 visa petitions including both L1A visa and L1B visaapplications.

Sanwar Ali comment:

US visa difficulties are surely affecting economic growth and job creation in the United States.  To be able to work in the US was in many cases already very difficult under President Obama.  It is even more difficult under President Trump.  Much of the time the only visa categories available are the L1 visa and possibly the H1B visa.  In reality if you wish to employ someone new currently based outside the US on an H-1B visa the chances of success are low.  In recent years, in most cases, the only time that you can apply for an H1B visa to employ someone is in the beginning of April each year to start work in October of the same year. There is a lottery for the available H1B visas available.  The alternative E2 visa and E1 visa categories are only available for certain nationalities and are not available for Indian and Chinese nationals.

Read more on this Visa Services:

If you would like advice and assistance on a visa application contact us via email on or telephone the London office on 0344 991 9222.