The Home Secretary spoke to an audience consisting of key immigration partners at London’s Policy Exchange where she restated the government’s commitment to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament, clarifying that this cannot be done through the current points-based system alone.
She announced the government’s approach to reforming the settlement rules including a formal decision not to pursue the so called “earned citizenship” policy.
This earned citizenship was planned to come into effect in July 2011 and concerned the path to settlement and British citizenship. However, it will no longer be introduced.
In the light of this, the UK Border Agency has said that further announcements and developments with regards to this issue will be announced in due course. Meanwhile, the existing rules and requirements for settlement and obtaining citizenship continue to remain in place.
Amongst many things, the Home Secretary has prioritised her focus points as follows:
- To encourage an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and investors to enter the UK
- Ending the abuse of the student route
- Shortening the link between applicants who enter the UK on a temporarily basis and permanent settlement
The Home Secretary clearly stated that the government is determined in increasing the number of high-value migrants who come to the UK, examples include investors and research scientists. Furthermore, employers must be encouraged to fill vacant jobs with those who are unemployed and already in the UK.
When concluding her speech, she admitted that it would be a difficult task to reduce the net migration from its current level of hundreds of thousands to that of the government’s aim which is tens of thousands.
UK Border Agency has announced the following transitional arrangements:
· If you have already been given indefinite leave to remain on the date when earned citizenship is introduced, you will automatically be considered to be a 'permanent resident'. You will not need to pay or apply for this to occur. You would also be eligible to apply for British citizenship under the current rules during the first two years after earned citizenship is introduced.
· If you applied for indefinite leave to remain before the date when earned citizenship is introduced, and is subsequently granted indefinite leave to remain, you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship under the current rules during the first two years after earned citizenship is introduced.
· The UK Border Agency will continue to meet its obligations to migrants who entered the United Kingdom on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).
· The introduction of earned citizenship has been postponed by six months, to give people time to adjust to the new system and to allow more applicants who are already in the United Kingdom to apply under the current rules. Earned citizenship will now be introduced in July 2011
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