Yesterday Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced new curbs on foreign workers and students, by proposing two-tier visa rules affecting poorer quality universities to reduce the amount of students from outside of Europe, as well as a crackdown on work visas. The new proposals will also include options to force companies to publish the percentage of international staff that they employ, as well as to require companies recruiting staff from outside the EU to demonstrate what they have done to foster local candidates. 

These proposals add to the chaos of the Home Office’s policy on immigration which has caused fear for many foreign nationals living in the UK, and the net result will be more Commonwealth citizens losing their jobs. Back in 2014, the Government changed the law regarding right to work checks, which has overlooked those with Indefinite Leave to Remain. Dawn Butler MP has called on the Government to change this flawed policy which has caused some local residents to lose their jobs.

This law change has recently been enacted and as a result of this change, employers are conducting rigorous employee checks which are having damaging consequences that are severely impacting on the lives of many Jamaican and Commonwealth citizens, despite them having every right to work in the UK.

One such example is Tyrone, who was born in Jamaica and came to the UK in 1964. He has never left the UK. His Jamaican passport expired in 2010 which means that because of the Government’s new legislation, which favours Biometric Residency Permits (BRP) as proof of residency over other listed documents, he has now lost his job because his employers fear he will be classified as an illegal immigrant. 

Lisa Choong, a resident of Brent, has also been affected by the policy and has said:

I am disappointed that my employer initially suspended me without pay, and only gave me 48 hours to obtain a Biometric Residency Permit, it is impossible to get BRP within that timeframe.

Recent House of Commons data has revealed that there are 1.07 million adult nationals of Commonwealth countries who have lived in the UK for longer than 12 months. There is particular concern about how this new change to the law has affected them, as well as how the change has been communicated to long-term residents.

Dawn Butler said:

I am distraught at the number of similar cases coming into my surgery. The government has failed to inform the public of these changes which came into force on 12th July 2016.  People who have lived in the country for decades and who have worked for the same employer for many years are now losing their jobs. The government needs to urgently address this anomaly, it is possible that this has been an unintended consequence of their new biometric policy but either way it needs to be resolved urgently.  

Dawn will launch a campaign calling on the Government to implement a 5-point plan for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) passport holders;

1. Introduce concessionary fees for people who have their ILR stamp in their passport

2. Speed up the processing time for No Time Limit applications

3. Reduce the staggering cost of No Time Limit applications

4. Stop prosecuting employers for employing people with ILR

5. Provide a faster checking procedure for Employers

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