Immigration has become one of the most talked about topics now a days. Each political party has its own agenda with regards to immigration. Which political party will be elected and how that will affect immigration remains to be seen. Some political parties seem to be absolutely anti-immigration while some political parties are actually saying that immigration is very important for the economic growth of the country. Just recently a lot of changes were made to many immigration rules and one of the major changes was that the right of appeal has been removed for most of the visa categories so now people cannot appeal against a decision even if they feel it was wrongly given. In fact all they can do is ask for an administrative review where the Home Office will review the decision. Also there is an option for Judicial Review but then it may become a very expensive affair and most people might not want to go that way. Earlier when there was a right of appeal the applicant could legally stay here till a decision was given but now there is just a 14 day period available for them after rejection of the visa. Even if there has been an application for judicial review the applicant cannot live here based on that application. Whether or not this is fair to the migrants remains a very important question.

With so many changes to the rules there is bound to be more confusion and also at the same time worry regarding what to expect as far as immigration is concerned after the elections.

Today on the show I had the pleasure of talking to Paul John who is an Immigration solicitor and has been practicing for the past 13 years. I spoke to him in detail about the rules regarding the Indefinite Right to Remain and also for which visa categories is the option of ILR available. He told me that ILR or Indefinite leave to remain or settlement means being allowed to stay in the UK without any time restrictions. He also added that once someone is granted ILR and after that if he or she stays out of the country for more than 2 years then the ILR can lapse and that person will have to apply for something called a Returning Resident Visa. And for this the person applying will have to show that he or she has connections in the UK — family living here, a house, business etc. So after getting the ILR if a person stays out of the country for a long duration and does not want the ILR to lapse then they need to make sure that they return within the 2 year period.

He also spoke about the dependents visa after the main applicant has gotten ILR. He said that if the dependent came into the country before July 2012 then they will be eligible for ILR at the same time as the main applicant but if the dependent came to the country after July 2012 then he or she has to complete 5 years before being eligible for ILR.

He also told us about the NHS surcharge that’s compulsory. Be it new applications or extensions of existing visas, he said that the entire amount for the duration of the extension has to be paid before making the application and that the receipt of that has to be attached to the application without which there might be a rejection. Also if the application is rejected for any reason the NHS surcharge will be refunded.

It was a pleasure talking to Paul about some of the changes to the immigration rules that came into effect on April 6, 2015.