Saturday 19 April 2014

East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership Briefing

The East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership Briefing brings together different sources of information relating to Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants.

  • Asylum and Refugees
  • Migration
  • Consultations
  • Training

Asylum and Refugees

Moving immigration and visas content to GOV.UK

Background

GOV.UK was created as part of the plans to bring all government services in one place. It will result in savings and efficiencies across government as more services more onto one platform.

The new website GOV.UK was launched on 17 October 2012, bringing together content from Direct.gov and Businesslink. Since this date other government department sites have followed, with the Home Office launching its content on GOV.UK in March 2013.

The content from the former UKBA website (immigration and visas) is now being moved over. All of the web content, documents and guidance that was on the old site will be available on GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/ but will be written to suit the GOV.UK format and style.

How the site works

You will see GOV.UK is structured in a different way from the former UKBA website, so it may take some getting used to. There is an introductory video about GOV.UK on YouTube to help users understand the new site. http://youtu.be/4_1gld1PIkA

Refugee Action Immigration Bill Online Debate

The Immigration Bill is a game-changer for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.  It could affect people receiving the healthcare they need, or make it near impossible to find somewhere to sleep.

If you’re interested in how the Bill’s proposals affect real people, join Refugee Action on Wednesday 19 March for an online Q&A about the Immigration Bill and its impact.

Join us on You Tube to see our expert panel discuss the Bill and its measures. Panellists include experts from the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, Crisis and the British Medical Association.

With the Bill about to become law Email or tweet us your questions today – and join us from 1 – 2pm on Wednesday 19 March, to hear the answers.

 

Refugee Action legal challenge to asylum support 

The following information is included on behalf of Refugee Action.

Every day at Refugee Action we see first-hand the poverty that faces so many asylum seekers. People who’ve come to the UK in search of safety are forced to live on as little as £5 a day. They often have to walk for miles because they can’t afford a bus pass or, more worryingly, go hungry so they can feed their children.

For years now we’ve been calling on the Home Office to increase the level of financial support paid to asylum seekers. The Home Office has refused to listen to our concerns. So earlier this month we challenged them at the High Court in London.

Through our legal challenge, we argued that the amount paid to destitute individuals and families is unlawful because it is insufficient to meet their essential living needs or to provide a dignified standard of living.

We have a fantastic legal team -  the Migrants’ Law Project (solicitors) and Dinah Rose QC, Alison Pickup and Ben Silverstone (counsel)- who presented our wealth of evidence and witness statements before the court.

A huge amount of work has taken place to get us to this point and we want to thank everyone who has been involved in helping us put together such a robust case.

We will have to wait a few months before we receive a judgment from the court and will keep you posted with developments. In the meantime, please see our briefing for more detailed information about the challenge. You can join our campaign, or tweet your views using the hashtag #asylumsupport

Migration

2014 brings a mix of new housing entitlements and restrictions for EU nationals and other migrants

Attempts by some backbench MPs to halt the changes in housing and welfare entitlements for Bulgarians and Romanians that automatically came into effect in January were unsuccessful.  This meant that, from 1st January, all nationals from those countries have had the same housing and welfare entitlements as other EU nationals. The changes are explained on the BME National and CIH housing rights website here. Now the only remaining special rules apply to Croatians, as Croatia only joined the EU last year.

In another move, the government made a new rule that, from 1st January, jobseekers in Britain who have never worked will be unable to pass the 'habitual residence test' for the first three months after their arrival in the UK. This affects access to welfare benefits such as housing benefit.  The details of these change can be found in the detailed guidance for those advising European workers, here.

It's a good idea to give your allocations and advice staff regular access to the housing rights website, so they can keep up to date with the details of changes in entitlements due to immigration status. It's unlikely that the recent changes will be the last!

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) publishes the report ‘Tier 1 (Investor) route. Investment thresholds and economic benefits’ – 25 February 2014

The Migration Advisory Committee has today published a report on the Tier 1 (Investor) route in response to a commission from the Government. The report will be available on the MAC website from 10 am today at:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/workingwithus/indbodies/mac/

It is expected that the MAC website will move to the Gov.uk platform as of midday on Wednesday, 26th February 2014. The existing MAC website will then close. The new MAC website, and the Tier 1 (Investor) route report will then be available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/migration-advisory-committee

The MAC would like to thank all those who contributed to this report by responding to our call for evidence or by hosting visits for us.

The MAC will be hosting a stakeholder event to discuss this report on Friday 28 February 2014 at 2.30 to 4.00pm in room 137/138, Seacole Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF. Places are limited, so if you would like to attend please let the Committee’s secretariat know by Thursday 27 February.

The Migration Advisory Committee Website

All being well, the MAC website will move to the Gov.uk platform as of midday on Wednesday, 26th February 2014. The existing MAC website will close. The new MAC website will be available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/migration-advisory-committee

Minimum earnings threshold for EEA migrants introduced

Migrants from the EEA who claim to have been in work or self-employed to get benefits, will face a more robust test from 1 March 2014.

Migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) who claim to have been in work or self-employed in order to gain access to a wider range of benefits will face a more robust test from 1 March 2014.

Being defined as a ‘worker’ under EU law allows people more generous access to in and out-of-work benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. Currently European Union case law means the definition of a ‘worker’ is very broad, meaning some people may benefit from this even if, in reality, they do very little work.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/minimum-earnings-threshold-for-eea-migrants-introduced

Home Office releases new resources on UK immigration

This week the Home Office released three new resources on UK immigration which will be of use to researchers, analysts and NGOs:

Migrant Journey (4th report) draws on Home Office data to suggest the outcomes for a sample of migrants who entered the UK and subsequently decided to extend their stay or switch their status. It aims to inform Government migration and settlement policy and offers a suggestion of common pathways for migrants once they have entered the UK. This report follows three previous research reports in this area.

Employment and occupational skill levels among UK and foreign nationals examines recent data and trends over time in employment and occupational skill level of UK and foreign nationals, and particularly the period of increased immigration since the EU accession in 2004. It finds that UK nationals accounted for 92 per cent of the total rise in employment in the year to July-September 2013. It also reports that, in the year to July-September 2013, the overall employment gain for UK nationals was in higher-skilled occupations, whereas employment growth amongst foreign nationals was much smaller and mainly focused in lower-skilled occupations.

Finally, the Policy and legislative changes affecting migration to the UK: timeline provides a summary of the key legislative and policy developments in relation to immigration between January 1983 and April 2013.

Charging for Home Office Immigration and Nationality Services 2014/15

On 3 February and on 14 March 2014, two separate pieces of legislation will be laid in Parliament which will propose fee changes for visas, immigration and nationality applications and wider premium services. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the new fees will take effect from 6 April 2014, though fees for premium services overseas may come into effect one week earlier. From April 2014, the Home Office proposes to increase the majority of fees by 4%, including the short-term visit visa. A copy of the proposed new fees table is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/immigration-and-nationality-services-change-in-fees-for-2014-to-2015.

CIFAS named for bank account controls role

The government has named CIFAS as the anti-fraud body likely to oversee proposed bank account controls set out in the Immigration Bill.

The controls mean banks and building societies will be required to check all applications for new current accounts with a specified anti-fraud organisation or data-matching authority.

Anyone who is in the UK illegally will not be allowed an account.

The Home Office said in a statement of intent that CIFAS would be chosen as the specified anti-fraud organisation to hold data on known illegal migrants.

The legislation continues the reform of the immigration system so that it is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants.

Those with outstanding asylum applications or appeals will not be affected, nor will those who have been granted leave to be here, including refugees. Only data relating to known illegal migrants will be passed on.

CIFAS is a leading not-for-profit anti-fraud organisation with many banks and building societies as members. Over the last two years CIFAS and the Home Office have worked with UK financial service providers to avoid fraud amounting to £25million.

 

More rights and better working conditions for non-EU seasonal workers – announcement from European Parliament

Seasonal workers from outside the EU will be entitled to better working and living conditions, including proper accommodation and a limit on working hours, under a law passed by the European Parliament. These rules, the first to be agreed at EU level for these workers, aim both to end exploitation and to prevent temporary stays becoming permanent. The European Commission estimates that over 100,000 third-country seasonal workers come to the EU every year. Member states will have two and a half years to put the new rules into effect. Please follow this link to read the announcement in full http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140203IPR34619/html/More-rights-and-better-working-conditions-for-non-EU-seasonal-workers

Please follow this link to read a response to the announcement from the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH): http://www.aedh.eu/Employment-of-third-country.html

Thanks to the East of England Newsflash

 

Migration Policy Institute report - Human smuggling and trafficking into Europe: a comparative perspective

Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration examines facets of human smuggling and trafficking activities. This report looks at trafficking and smuggling trends and routes to Europe, and profiles the facilitators and clients/victims of such activities. The report concludes with a menu of policy solutions that are likely to reduce trafficking and smuggling flows. Please follow this link to read the report in full: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/TCM-Human-Smuggling.pdf

 

Events

Fair’s Fair- What you need to know about employing people and being an employee

The East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership is hosting a drop in event focusing on employing people fairly and knowing your employment rights at work.

Come and visit to talk to representatives from the Home Office, Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority, TUC, Department of Work and Pensions, Legal advisers, Boston College, Employers, Citizens Advice Bureau, Employment Agencies and many more.

 A series of rolling workshops will enable you to

  • Understanding employer liabilities
  • Points Based System
  • How to collect and retain the correct documentation
  • Gain a better understanding of discrimination

This event will give you the opportunity to discuss your employment issues with professionals and additionally for employers will give you access to a bespoke email helpline to get further assistance after the event. 

The event is free but please register on the day to gain access to ongoing employer helpline.

Further information is available from sarah.short@emcouuncils.gov.uk

Directions to the College can be found here:

http://www.boston.ac.uk/campuses-and-facilities/rochford-college-campus/Pages/index.aspx