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General Election 2015 Update on UK Immigration
The question of immigration is a burning issue, especially in the run-up to the general election. Twenty years of rising immigration has meant that 6.5 million adults of working age now live in the UK, who were born abroad. Britain has been referred to as being an “Island of immigrants”.
Migration plays a hugely positive role in the UK workforce. A study published in November 2014 from University College London concluded that ‘European immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed more than £20bn to UK public finances between 2001 and 2011.
They have endowed the country with productive human capital that would have cost the UK £6.8bn in spending on education’. But in the fog of political rhetoric, there is often a disconnect between public perception and reality.
UK Visit Visa delay sees war veteran die before farewell to grandson
Relatives of a decorated World War II veteran say he died less than three hours before his grandson could visit him to say one 'last goodbye'; it is said because of delays caused by an outsourcing company paid millions by the Home Office to help process travel visas.
Prior to his death, the grandchildren of 92-year-old Anthony Eldridge, said that the government's partially privatised visa process amounted to 'profiteering from the misery of others.' Anthony Eldridge, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his service with the Royal Navy, died on Monday, April 13.
In March 2014, the Home Office handed French firm, Teleperformance, responsibility for UK visa processing services in 74 countries. They were awarded a £300m, five year contract, but the move had been lambasted by critics for causing 'chaos and humiliation' for people seeking to travel to the UK.
Canadian Immigration's new Express Entry system a slow starter
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that less than 50 percent of immigrants coming into the country this year will be selected through its much-anticipated Express Entry system. The new system, introduced by Canada's Conservative government, promised to match skilled economic migrants with the needs of employers.
Since the launch of the Express Entry on January 1, 2015, just over 6,850 prospective or approximately 2,300 immigrants per month, have been invited to lodge an application for permanent residency. It won't be until 2017 that a majority of immigrants are processed through the new system.
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Tier 2 Visa Changes and other UK immigration changes from 6 April
Major UK immigration changes took effect on 6 April 2015 with the Tier 2 visa category set for substantial changes. The most significant change is the introduction of an NHS surcharge for most UK visa applicants.
From April 6 there will also be an NHS surcharge applicable to immigrants in many visa categories. Non-EEA migrants entering the UK for a period over six months and those currently in the country seeking to extend their stay will be subjected to the new NHS surcharge scheme.
The surcharge is a £200 annual fee per person (£150 for students) and the amount is payable when lodging an application.
Passport exit immigration checks now in force at UK borders and ports
A new scheme is being phased in at UK border crossings, so that UK immigration can collect data on all passengers leaving the country. The information is obtained by staff working for airlines, ferry companies, etc who record details of every traveller leaving on a commercial flight, or by sea or by rail. The data collected is then passed on to the Home Office.
A Home Office spokesperson said: "The government wants the checks to identify individuals who are in the UK illegally. This means that passport and travel details will be transmitted to the Home Office.
The information will then be collated and added to Home Office data, where it can be accessed if the government needs it. All data will be processed in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality."
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