Monday the 2nd of April 2007 saw the launch of the new Border and Immigration Agency which, a new executive agency of the Home Office. The Agency will assume the responsibilities of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. The new body will supposedly focus on 'local-level' immigration, and has appointed six regional directors. The six regions are: Scotland and Northern Ireland; North East, Yorkshire and Humberside; North West; Wales and the South West; London and the South East; and Midlands and East of England.
Monday the 2nd of April 2007 also saw the introduction of language and citizenship knowledge testing for settlement applications. Anyone applying to permanently settle in the UK will need to provide evidence of Knowledge of the English Language and of Life in the UK (as those applying for British Citizenship are already obliged to do). Click here for the full details of how the requirements can be met.
It has been reported that the influx of immigrants into the EU from the 10 eastern European accession countries may be starting to push down wages among low-paid workers, and leading to a rise in unemployment among unskilled workers. This was according to a report by Lord Turner to the prime minister. More info
The Home Office has attempted to rush through the deportation of a number of Darfurians to Khartoum before the Court of Appeal hears the appeal against the decision of the AIT in HGMO (Relocation to Khartoum) Sudan CG  UKAIT 00062. The issue was raised in the Commons by John Bercow. Read the news story
The 2nd of April 2007 sees a number of changes in fees for applications to the Home Office, as well as a raft of new application forms.
The Immigration and Nationality (Cost Recovery Fees) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/936 introduces new fees for a range of applications, including leave to remain, travel documents, permission to marry or form a civil partnership, and arranging citizenship ceremonies. The fees for leave to remain applications have risen to a whopping £595 for applications in person, and £395 for postal applications. The cost of applying for indefinite leave to remain has more than doubled from £335 to £750. The cost of a naturalisation application has risen from £200 to £575. The statutory instrument - Click Here . The Home Office have also produced a 'Fees Table', available at . These changes come into force on 2nd April 2007.
The Immigration (Leave to Remain) (Prescribed Forms and Procedures) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/882 sets out the prescribed forms to be used in applications for leave to remain. Click Here for the new forms . These changes come into force on 2nd April 2007.
The Accession (Immigration and Worker Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/928 increase the registration fee which must accompany an application by a worker who has not previously registered under the worker registration scheme from £70 to £90. The increase relates to applications made on or after 2nd April 2007.
In MB (OLF and MTA - risk) Ethiopia CG  UKAIT 00030, the AIT gave country guidance as to the risk on return to members and sympathisers of the Oromo Liberation Front and members of the Maccaa Tulema Association. In summary, the AIT held that as of February 2007, the situation in Ethiopia situation is such that, in general (a) OLF members and sympathisers, (b) persons perceived to be OLF members or sympathizers, and (c) members of the MTA will be at real risk of persecution on return. OLF members and sympathisers and those specifically perceived by the authorities to be such members or sympathisers will in general be at real risk if they have been previously arrested or detained on suspicion of OLF involvement. So too will those who have a significant history, known to the authorities, of OLF membership or sympathy. MTA members will also be at real risk on return if they have previously been arrested or detained on suspicion of MTA membership and/or of OLF membership or are known or suspected of membership of the MTA. Despite the banning of the MTA, the evidence did not show a real risk where the extent of the authorities' knowledge or suspicion about an individual relates to something less than membership of the MTA.