Please see the following recent changes in immigration law.
Application fee increases from 6 April 2018
As we’ve come to expect, Home Office application fees will increase from 6 April 2018. Most application fees have been increased by around 4% - for example, the postal Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee, currently £2,297 will rise to £2,389 from 6 April 2018.
Fees for the optional overseas Priority service will increase by 15% however. This means that those wishing to submit their applications using the Priority service will pay an additional fee of £212 on top of the standard fee (rather than the current additional fee of £184).
Updated Home Office guidance on the restricted Certificate of Sponsorship process
The Home Office has published updated guidance on the restricted Certificates of Sponsorship process, which can be found here.
There is an annual quota of 20,700 restricted certificates of sponsorship available to sponsors, divided into unequal monthly quotas.
The highest number of certificates is available in April each year and the number available drops significantly towards the beginning of the following year making it harder to obtain a restricted certificate in January, February and March.
The monthly quota has not traditionally been an issue but the perfect storm of uncertainty over Brexit, the removal of the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term and skills transfer routes and general concern over the immigration landscape contributed to the quota being reached in December 2017, January 2018, February 2018 and March 2018. High salaries of around £50,000 or above per year have been needed in recent allocation months to obtain a restricted certificate of sponsorship and many applications have been refused. We are hopeful that the situation will improve in April 2018 when the monthly quota increases.
Sponsors wishing to sponsor a non-EEA national using a restricted certificate of sponsorship should however be aware that it may not be possible to obtain a certificate or that it could take a significant amount of time to obtain and it is important to plan ahead. Please see our previous article here.
Absence limits for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications
In January 2018 the rules on permitted absences for successful Indefinite Leave to Remain applications from main applicants and dependants were amended to take effect for anyone granted leave (including further leave to remain as a result of an extension application) from 11 January 2018 onwards.
Further details on these changes can be found in our earlier update here.