The Home Office have been criticised for the rapid introduction of new rules without following due democratic process and accused of rushing the introduction of new rules without proper consideration and due diligence.
Recently the Home Office have had a number of Court decisions made against them.
Many of the new rules can appear to discriminate on the basis of the applicant’s race. For example, the rules for Spouse visas were changed in 2008 to stop spouses under the age of 21 from entering the UK, whilst those not subject to UK immigration control were not subject to similar impositions.
Courts recently deemed this requirement illegal, yet immigration minister Damian Green has stated that he will appeal this decision if possible and that he thinks it reasonable for non-EU couples to not marry until 21, whilst not seeing a similar need for UK couples or EU couples to do the same.
The Home Office recently closed the Tier 1 General Visa route for new applications made outside the UK with less than 2 days notice. Those who had access to the online payments system (including Australia, South Africa, Canada and others) could still book an appointment today and will have their application accepted, whereas those without access to the online payment system, including applicants in India and Russia, do not have this opportunity, leaving many with appointments already booked that will now be cancelled.
Many have expressed outrage that applicants in some countries are able to confirm appointments in the New Year and will have their applications accepted, whereas applicants based in other countries are not given the same opportunity.
The business, scientific and education sectors, amongst others, have expressed significant concern that business and the general economic recovery could be damaged by new immigration rules and restrictions on the movement of skilled migrants to the UK.
The Government has responded in part by allowing unlimited Tier 2 Intra-Company transfers, these being visas for Companies to bring overseas staff to the UK. This only benefits certain scenarios for large Companies, many of whom are non-UK and use tax rules to avoid paying PAYE tax and National Insurance on the salaries of such employees.
Many smaller UK Companies have expressed the belief that this places them at an unfair competitive disadvantage as they will not have access to the same global talent pool as their larger competitors.
Such Companies would have previously used the Tier 1 General route to access the required skilled workers but this has also now been closed.
As skilled migration accounts for a relatively small part of the overall net migration to the UK, the motives for this Government seeking to restrict access to skilled workers must be questioned.