21 September 2010

Visa to the United Kingdom - Are we creating too many barriers?

You would not believe the increasing number of requests I now receive each day to provide help with Visa applications to the UK and also to help with advice on making appeals for rejections.

Lets look at the scene so far. The UK Home Secretary - Teresa May - Claims that the recent 'cap' on immigration "will not harm the UK economy"
Back in June this year The British Home Secretary confirmed that "immediate restrictions will limit the number of workers entering the UK from outside the Europe Union to 24,100 before April 2011"

Then we had the Immigration Minister - Damian Green who spoke recently at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London. Damian Green said that the Government wishes to "maximise" the benefits of immigration.

The UK immigration minister went on to say that the UK has benefitted from immigration but 'will only continue to do so if it is properly controlled'.

UK Immigration has undertaken research recently on immigration into the UK and has published a new report about immigration called "The migrant journey". The immigration report looks at what has happened to immigrants who came into the UK in 2004. According to UK immigration the largest group of migrants were the 186,000 students on student visas. The immigration minister went onto say that more than twenty percent of migrants were still in the UK five years later:

'We need to understand more clearly why a significant proportion of students are still here more than 5 years after their arrival. And we also need a system which can scrutinise effectively, and if necessary take action against, those whose long-term presence would be of little or no economic benefit.'

I am sure all this has been taken on board by the UK Border Agency (UKBA)
Most recently we had Vince Cable the Business Secretary claiming that the immigration cap will harm British companies who need to find highly skilled workers from other countries.

So, much confusion among the senior members of the new UK Government coalition.
After the speech by Damian Green, I'm sure the word went out both offically and unoffically that the UKBA must stop so many people trying to enter the UK on Student Visas. No coincidence that I then get requests from Ukrainains who have just been rejected (very hard word that)and not allowed to go to the UK to take up places at UK universities AFTER they had been given firm offers by UK universities AND after thay had confirmed they had enough money to pay fees and accommodation and living expenses etc. Let's face it, many of these Ukrainain students are from VERY rich families who have no problem in setting aside GBP 25,000 per year for their kids to go to a UK university.But then the gentlemen from the UKBA/Immigration officers will reject the "Student Visa' Application based on the poor excuse that the bank account that contains the money for the student to go to the UK, does not have any 'Account History". Its pretty obvious that rejections are being made purely to meet political objectives. We all know that the new UK Coalition government needs to keep 'Daily Mail" Readers happy and stop all these 'Johnny Foreigners" from getting into the UK as they just might decide to stay there.

I am forever telling Ukrainian people that I am sorry that their application was rejected. It must have been the poor preparation of the application that made the Immigration officer decide to reject their visa application. Please do not take it personal. But as always people DO take it personal. Who can blame them?

We all know that the UK is already FULL of too many immigrants and many of them are there illegally. Moreover, many are there just to 'claim a better life' and they have no intention of ever leaving and will use the UK benefits system to maximum advantage. Many of them know how to exploit the system better than most native British people.

But, getting back to Vince Cable. Is he right? Will UK industry suffer as a result o fthe government places a cap on the number of people that can come to live and work in the UK from outside the EU? I get the feeling that the majority of British people would say "Enough already, we do not need any more immigrants".

Getting back to the people that contact me for help. The vast majority are Business people who only need to visit the UK on a short business trip and are afraid they will have a problem with the UKBA. Most of these business people have no intention whatsoever of staying in the UK. (I assure you they have a much better lifestyle here in Ukraine than what they would have in the UK.) The other group are parents who have managed to secure an offer from a UK university for one of their kids to complete the big dream of a "British University Education". They have the offer from the university (afterall they are paying the full wack of fees), they have organised a flat for their kid to stay and in many cases they have purchased a flat or house just for the same. Moreover, they have more than enough money to enable this 'international student' to live comfortably in the UK during their course of study. But then some UKBA employee decides to find a 'problem' with the visa application and all it brought to a sharp halt. Hence they contact me and ask "Why does your country do this?"

It is a dilema. On the one hand, I know I could find thousands of UK British residents who would say "Why do we need to allow more International students/workers into the UK, we need to take care of our own students first who are finding it difficult to secure a place at university".

On the other hand, we could say that the UK needs international students. British universities are still considered the best in the world. British universities also have a reputation for producing many future leaders in both governments and industries around the world.

Maybe though, the UKBA and the UK government are right. Things need to be tougher.
Maybe the UK has been too soft in the past and has let far too many people into the country without proper checks. But, in my case I know for sure I ALWAYS get approached for help by genuine people who are not poor people who genuinely want to go to the UK for business reasons or for completing a UK University course of study and they have every intention of returning to Ukraine.

Unfortunately, I am sure it the UK's 'fellow EU citizens' from Romania and some other countries that have created such a bad image of immigrants in the UK, that British people have reacted in such a negative way towards people from 'Eastern Europe'. Many Romanians are allowed to stay in the UK because they are EU citizens, but they fail to bring any economic benefit to the country.

So, it would appear that the biggest problem facing the UK is from other EU citizens and not from people from outside the EU, many of whom just want to visit for business purposes or short term higher education opportunities.

See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8008109/Vince-Cable-says-immigration-cap-is-costing-British-jobs.html

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