This year there have been one with a lot of changes to Immigration rules, and like is the case with any kind of change individuals tend to question their immigration status. How will these changes affect us is the question on most people’s minds.

On today’s show I had the pleasure of talking to Salman Shah and Tahir Khan,  both very experienced immigration solicitors who spoke about the recent changes to immigration rules as well as the changes that are going to come into effect every soon.

Tahir said that a certificate of sponsorship has paved the way for an employer to bring a migrant who is a non EU citizen into the country to work for him. He said that there is a system designed by the home office called the sponsor management system where there is a list of shortage occupations put up. Only people from the professions listed here can be allowed to come here to work. The employers also need to put up advertisements at the Job Centre or a newspaper of the relevant field for the vacancy. Then the employers need to make a COS application where they need to provide details like the job description and reason for employing a non EU migrant. If the application is successful then the employer is issued a Certificate of sponsorship. It is only after receiving a Certificate of sponsorship can the proposed employee apply for a Tier 2 Visa.

Speaking of the Surinder Singh Route of immigration Salman said that this route is based on the judgment in the famous Surinder Singh case. He said that many Europeans come to the country and exercise their treaty rights to work and live here. And based on that their family members are also granted visas to come into the country. Similarly, if a British citizen goes to any other European country and exercises his or her treaty rights to live and work there, their family members also get the permission to go and live with them in that country. If a family member or extended family member of the British citizen who may be from outside the European Union but has lived with them in the EU country for a period of 9 months or more with the sponsor can come into the United Kingdom to live with them upon the sponsor’s return. When the sponsor British citizen returns to the United Kingdom he or she can apply under the Surinder Singh route to bring their family or extended family to live with them in the UK. When they first enter the UK they are granted a six month visa. After that they can apply to get a 5 year residence card based on their sponsor. They will need to submit proof that their sponsor works here and for that they will have to submit the sponsor’s payslips and also will need a letter from their employer. Along with that they will also have to show that they have the proper accommodation to live with their sponsor. After completing 5 years in the country under this residence card they can then apply for permanent residency.

Talking about the domestic worker visa Tahir said that initially if someone wanted to come here on this type of visa they would get extensions every year and then could apply for PR after completing 5 years under that category. But the rules have now changed and a domestic worker can come into the country for a maximum of 6 months after which he or she will need to go back to their home country and can apply for an extension from there for a period of 6 more months. Initially the domestic worker route led to settlement but now that is not possible. The same applies to the students who also have to now go back to their home country to apply for an extension after the completion of their course. Tahir said that this was mainly done to bring a break in the continuous period of residence that is needed to be eligible for permanent residency in the United Kingdom.

Speaking of applying for British citizenship, Salman said that people need to pass the Life in UK test and also a B1 English language test to be eligible. But from the 5th of November there will be changes to the rules regarding the English language requirement for citizenship applications. So if someone has passed an English language test which is not a B1 equivalent then they will have to give a new exam to be eligible for the applications made after the 5th of November 2015. After this date there will be only 2 Home office approved centers which are the IELTS where the requirement will be Band 4 and Trinity College. And these rules regarding the English language requirement are applicable to both in country and out of country applications.