Recent weeks have heard much posturing on all sides in respect of immigration policy. Boris Johnson has announced policies including:
A new fast track visa system that would allow the UK to attract migrants branded as ‘the brightest and best’ in fields of technology engineering and science.
Another Boris Johnson policy is to have half price visas and quick decisions for nurses and doctors as part of his new mysterious ‘Australian points-based system’. The new NHS visa would cost £464 and guarantees a decision within 2 weeks of application. Johnson also announced that the immigration health surcharge would not be paid upfront as it is in most other visa types but would be paid out of medical workers salaries whilst in the UK.
The Prime Minister has also previously made positive noises about an amnesty for migrants currently in the UK; although, this amnesty has not made its way into any concrete policy or the Conservative manifesto. Johnson had previously said that persons within the UK who’d been here for 15 years and haven’t ‘fallen foul’ of the law in that time, should be granted leave to remain. Alas, the detail of this has never been meted and news on the amnesty has been limited since July 2019.
In respect of European migration Boris Johnson seems intent on rolling European migration in with non-European migration in his much articulated, but little detailed, Australian points-based system project.
Boris Johnson also repeatedly shows lack of knowledge on the current immigration system with statements including that migrants must pay for NHS on day one whether or not they use the health service (Note: they already do. The Immigration Health Surcharge applies to all applicants applying for leave to enter or leave to remain for longer than 6 months)
Boris Johnson himself does not appear to have had immigration problems entering other countries, however, some close to him seem to have had some problems…
Failing to produce an entry-clearance
Boris Johnson’s girlfriend and resident of number 10 Downing Street, Carrie Symonds, was in August 2019 denied a visa waiver to enter the US on the basis of her visit the previous year to Somaliland. A visit to the US embassy in August 2019 was necessary in order for her to obtain entry clearance to visit the US.
Repeatedly losing British passports
Ms Symond’s has also faced problems with the UK passport office, having lost her last three British passports, she can now only be issued a passport with the validity of 6 months. Restricted validity passports are normally issued with validity of 12 months, however, in cases where there have been multiple losses, validity can be restricted further, as has occurred in Ms Symond’s case.
Investment in an Entrepreneur visa
Jennifer Arcuri the US businesswoman embroiled in a conflict-of-interest row about her ‘friendship’ with Boris Johnson, secured a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa to come to the UK on the basis of her business. It said that part of her application included an endorsement from Boris Johnson for her business. It is reported that Jennifer Arcuri obtained her Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa on the basis of an endorsement, rather than on the basis of holding £200,000 of her own funds. The endorsement route of the Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa required that applicants obtained an endorsement from a recognised body willing to invest £50,000 in the business of the applicant.
The Prime Ministers statements are deliberately vague and often contain falsehoods. This has created a level of uncertainty regarding his policies and how immigration policies will be amended under his leadership. His commitment to immigration reform which would protect foreign nationals has been cast in some doubt given how his associates’ problematic track record of supporting unsuccessful visa applications.
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