Many technology companies rely on being able to bring in talent from overseas. Alex Russell, an Associate in Mills & Reeve’s employment team, explains below how changes to UK law will impose additional burdens and restrictions on migrant staff. Companies recruiting from abroad will need to address these challenges to avoid the best employees choosing to go elsewhere.
Over the winter, an Immigration Bill has been passing (not entirely quietly) through the various stages of the UK parliamentary process following its publication in October 2013.
The process has recently concluded with the announcement that the Bill has received Royal Assent, meaning that it has now become law.
The Immigration Act 2014 introduces a number of changes affecting migrants to the UK, particularly in relation to access to services and wider government powers. These include the following:
- Migrants who do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK will be required to make a financial contribution to the NHS. The new regime is expected to be implemented by April 2015
- Private landlords will be required to conduct document checks for prospective tenants (in a similar manner to how employers are required to conduct right to work document checks). This is due to be rolled out as a pilot later this year.
- The number of immigration decisions that can be appealed has fallen from 17 to 4.
- Additional powers to enable the UK government to investigate ‘sham’ marriages and civil partnerships.
- Restrictions on the ability of migrants who do not have permission to be in the UK to obtain UK driving licences and open bank accounts.
- Provisions designed to ensure the courts have regard to parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering claims under Article 8 of European Convention of Human Rights (regarding the right to a private and family life).
A recent announcement summarises the main points from the UK government's perspective. The Immigration Act is described by UK Immigration and Security Minister as "a landmark piece of legislation which will build on our existing reforms to ensure that our immigration system works in the national interest."
Although the Act will be welcomed by much of the British electorate, it will present additional hurdles for businesses wishing to hire in talent from abroad.