OUR CONCERNS REGARDING PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE IMMIGRATION RULES sign now

OUR CONCERNS REGARDING PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE IMMIGRATION RULES


We are happy to introduce ourselves as the members of Indian community

We are writing this to invite your kind attention to an issue that affects all skilled & highly skilled immigrants living in the UK; On July 14 Home secretary Jacqui Smith announced sweeping changes in immigration rules. We do not have any objection to the proposal to tighten the boarder and limit immigration. However, there is one proposal that deeply disturbs the skilled & highly skilled migrants in this country, and we would like to bring this up to your attention.

According to the document announced by home secretary - THE PATHS TO CITIZENSHIP- the minimum period of permanent residency has been changed to 8 to 10 years from the current 5 years. If an immigrant does volunteer work, then he/she can apply for settlement after 8 years and if not he needs 10 years. We feel that this is not a fair deal to immigrants who are already here in this country with a belief that they could earn permanent residency after 5 years. The policy change will deeply unsettle immigrants who are expecting to get permanent residence rights shortly.

We find that the government has not properly considered the fact that almost all of the immigrants are working hard, paying tax and not at all taking any benefits from the system. However, the British media are only interested in highlighting the issues of illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, the government too, it seems, is following their example. Therefore we feel isolated and discriminated against.

In this circumstance, we request you to kindly raise the following amendments when this bill is brought up for debate in parliament. We are attaching herewith the copy of the proposed changes, highlighting sections of the bill that may badly affect us.

1. As per the current system any foreign citizen who has lived in the country for 5 years with valid work permit can apply for settlement. Then, one year later, they are eligible to apply for citizenship. But according to the new proposals, if anyone wishes to apply for permanent settlement he/she needs a period of 8 to 10 years work experience in this country, though the citizenship period is still not changing. We request you to limit the proposed changes only in the case of new immigrants. Would you please propose an amendment that allows those already in the country keep their entitlement to settle as per the existing rules?

2. As per the changes proposed, if any one does not wish to take citizenship after the probationary citizenship, he must stay on for a minimum three more years, and in many cases five more years (effectively making it a total of 10 years), for the settlement visa. On the other hand people who wish to take citizenship can get it straight after the probationary period. Due to issues like restrictions in home country or immigrants strong ties with it, sometimes one family member takes British citizenship and the other may keep the born country citizenship. In situations like this, we feel that the above stipulation is discriminatory and therefore we request you to award either citizenship or settlement straight after the probationary period.

According to the proposal each candidate needs to qualify individually, rather than as a family. As per the strict immigration rules, the dependent can join the family only after the work permit holder settles in the UK. If the new rules are implemented the huge cost of applying for the PR will double as the application process will have to be done twice over. Many of the dependents may not be able to manage English well, though the main immigrant can easily do it. Under the new proposals a person may
get settlement and but his/her dependent may not qualify for it. We are afraid this will be an extremely difficult and painful prospect for people looking forward to stable family life. Therefore we request you to propose an amendment to let the dependents apply with the main applicant, as is currently applicable.


3. According to the proposal, immigrants should do community work for speeding up their path to permanent residency/citizenship. Many of the immigrants are engaged in community work, thanks to their professions like medicine, nursing, social work and caring. We request you to kindly recommend to the government to exempt these professionals from community work. As we are working together for the community under our associations banner, we would like to request to include this too as community work.

4. According to the proposal, the government is planning to collect extra annual fees from immigrants. We strongly believe it is discrimination as all immigrants pay full tax and NI, but never accept any kind of benefits. We also pay a huge amount for every visa processing steps. For example we are already paying around 1000 pounds for settlement visa. Therefore we request you to kindly recommend scrapping this plan while you implement the changes.

We would also like to highlight is that due to the uncertainty over changes in immigration rules, many skilled workers, especially nurses, are moving from the UK to countries like the US and Australia. Please note that all these nurses are trained in NHS and they are leaving all on a sudden because of complications in the home office rules. Again, owing to the mandatory higher English language qualification only fewer nurses are coming into the country. As many qualified nurses leave, NHS and nursing homes will face an acute shortage of nurses and it will heavily affect the health service. Unfortunately it seems the UK government is not at all aware of the seriousness of this issue

We hope your kind office will consider these facts and point out this in the parliament when the draft bill appears for debate. Any helps on this front will be highly appreciated.



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Janell DanielBy:
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