Immigration is never far from the headlines and there has been a lot of uncertainty for many people living in Devon and Cornwall. Immigration solicitor Lisa Mulholland has helped hundreds of people navigate the complicated Home Office application process. Here she looks ahead to some changes coming up in immigration law.

Increase in NHS surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge allows anyone in the UK on a work, study or family visa for longer than six months to access NHS services in the same way as UK citizens.

The surcharge is paid as part of a visa application process. It is about to double from £200 per year of the visa to £400 per year of the visa. This change is applicable to all applicants who make UK visa applications from December 2018 onwards. 

For the vast majority of applicants, the surcharge is set to increase from £500 to £1,000. Given that this is in addition to the visa application fees which are in excess of £1,000 per applicant, it is a costly process to remain living in the UK with your British family member. 

It is even more important that you get the applications right as if applicants don’t, they are then required to resubmit or appeal and the Home Office retain the application fees. 

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme will enable EU citizens resident in the UK and their family members to obtain the UK immigration status they will require in order to live and work in the UK after the end of the planned Brexit implementation period on 31 December 2020.

A pilot is underway to provide the Home Office with the opportunity to see how the scheme will work when it is rolled out, and hopefully iron out any issues before the full launch.

The second phase of the pilot EU Settlement Scheme will be run from 1 November 2018 until 21 December 2018. 

From 15 November 2018, staff in the higher education sector across the UK, and some vulnerable individuals being supported by five local authorities and seven civil society organisations in England will be eligible. From 29 November 2018, staff in the health and social care sectors across the UK will be eligible.

The entire scheme will be implemented on a phased basis and will be fully open by 30 March 2019.

Navigating the immigration process can be daunting and often the support of an experienced immigration lawyer can help.

Lisa Mulholland is a solicitor in the immigration team at Stephens Scown LLP. The team is unique in the region as it advises both individuals and businesses on all aspects of UK immigration law. To contact Lisa, please call 01392 210 700 and e-mail Immigration@stephens-scown.co.uk or visit www.stephens-scown.co.uk.