Work Visas: The U.K. Tier 2 vs the USA H-1B

  Work Visas: The U.K.’s Tier 2 vs the U.S.A.’s H-1B

 

  1. The U.K.’s Tier 2

In the case of someone from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland entering the U.K. and wishing to live and work there, that individual must apply for the Tier 2 (General) Visa.[1] The second requirement that individual should fulfil, in order to apply for the Tier 2 Visa, is to have been offered a skilled job within the United Kingdom.[2]

 

  • Employer

More specifically, the employer cannot be a ‘random’ one: they must be a licensed sponsor who has been given the right by the U.K. government to sponsor either migrants or students wishing to come into the U.K.[3] A full list of the organizations that have granted such a license can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/664037/2017-12-01_Tier_25_Register_of_Sponsors.pdf.[4]

The sponsor is responsible for checking that you have the necessary education and skills required for the job you will be hired to do and for providing you with a certificate of sponsorship along with a reference number that will be included in your visa application.[5] This certificate is an electronic document which includes your personal details as well as a description for the job you have been offered.[6] The reference number, it needs emphasising. is to be used within three months of issuance and not more than once. Always remember to request the licensed employee to provide you with all the work-related information required for your application and particularly your salary details. These constitute a crucial point that will determine whether you will be granted the visa or not.[7]

 

  • Application requirements

In order to be able to apply for the work Tier 2 visa, you, the applicant, must fulfil a number of additional requirements in addition to a valid sponsorship certificate provided by your employer.

Firstly, as an applicant, you must show that you will be getting paid for your job and that the salary will be appropriate. That means that the potential job must provide you either with an annual salary of at least £30,000 or with the appropriate rate for the job you have been offered. In any case, the highest salary rate prevails.[8] There are some exceptions for jobs in which you will be paid less, such as a nurse, a secondary school teacher or a midwife. For this reason the British government has issued a detailed Policy Guidance explaining[9] such cases. It can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/606182/Tier_2_Policy_Guidance_04_17.pdf.

Furthermore, the applicant has to prove in his/her application a knowledge of English .[10] This requirement can be fulfilled by either passing an approved English Language Test (covering reading, writing, listening and speaking with at least B1 level) or by having obtained an academic degree that was taught exclusively in English and which the U.K. NARIC recognizes as being equivalent to a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree obtained within the U.K.[11] The Policy Guidance mentioned above includes some exceptions to this rule by offering alternative ways through which you may meet the higher level of English required. In addition, there is no need to prove your English knowledge if you a national of an English-speaking country.[12]

Another requirement that you must fulfil, in order to be eligible to apply for the visa, is that you possess personal savings that will enable you to support yourself when you first arrive in the U.K. More specifically you will have to prove that the amount of £945 has been included in your bank account for a period of 90 days before applying for the work visa.[13] This requirement, however, is not necessary if you have a fully approved licensed sponsor who can guarantee the authorities in the sponsor certificate that he/she will provide you with the amount of £945 for one month, in order for you to be able to support yourself.[14]

In addition, the applicant must prove that he/she is able to travel and must provide the authorities with his/her travel history over the previous five years.[15]

Another very important eligibility criterion for the Tier 2 visa application is the tuberculosis test results[16] should you be coming from one of the countries included in this list, https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa/countries-where-you-need-a-tb-test-to-enter-the-uk. If you are entering the U.K. from one of the listed counties but where there is no local testing centre, you will be required to take the test in a neighbouring country instead.[17]

Finally, in the event that you will be working with vulnerable groups in sectors such as education, healthcare, therapy or social services[18], you will need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country you have lived in for a year or for at least the last ten years.[19]

 

  • Application

The application for the Tier 2 visa must be done online, with the only exception being that of North Korea. For these applicants, the application form that must be downloaded (as well as detailed instructions on how to proceed) can be found here[20]: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-form-for-uk-visa-to-work-study-and-for-dependants-and-right-of-abode-form-vaf2.

As an applicant, you may submit your complete application up to three months from the day that you expect to start working in the U.K., such as is indicated in your sponsorship application. It should take up to three weeks for your application to proceed and for you get a decision regarding your visa.[21] Furthermore, you will be required to pay fees for your application. These start from as low as £391 and can go up to £1944.[22] These fees will be determined by your current situation; the way you are applying; how long you are planning to stay; whether it is a shortage occupation or not, and your location at the point of submitting your application. You should keep in mind that, in any case, you may be required as part of your application to pay for the healthcare surcharge. This can be calculated online via[23]: https://www.immigration-health-surcharge.service.gov.uk/checker/type.

 

  • Duration

The Tier 2 Visa will be valid for a maximum period of five years and 14 days or for the time mentioned in your sponsorship certificate plus one month.[24] In any event, the applicant may move to the U.K. two weeks prior to commencing the job. The applicant has the right to extend Tier 2 Visa for another five years, with the maximum total stay being six years.[25]

 

  1. S H-1B Visa

Where a U.S. company wishes to employ workers of graduate level in a specialty occupation then the H-1B Visa will enable them to do so. A specialty occupation is described as any kind of job that requires either theoretical or practical expertise (or both) in the fields of science, medicine, IT, accounting, and engineering amongst others.[26] Job positions that require at least a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree level and that you are fit for either via work experience or other professional qualifications, can also fall under the H-1B Visa for specialty workers.[27]

 

  • Employer

The H-1B constitutes a special type of visa as it is a kind of ‘non-immigrant work permit’ that is requested by the employer who may be seeking employee workers from abroad for an extended period. The application process for such a visa is speedier than the U.S. Green Card system. The latter has been the main type of visa for foreigners coming to live and work in the United States since the 1940s.[28] The employer who is based in the U.S. should apply for the H-1B Visa six months before the date that he wishes it to be valid from.[29] That means if he/she needs the employee to start working by the actual start of the visa, say July 1st 2018, he/she must submit the relevant visa application by January 1st 2018 in order for the worker to be able to do so.

In order for a job to fall under the category of the specialty occupation, one of the criteria described below must be fulfilled.[30] Firstly the job position must have as a minimum educational requirement a “Bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent”.[31] Alternatively the degree requirement must be one that is common in the respective industry in which the company belongs or else one that is necessary for a complex and unique job to be performed. In addition the degree requirement must be the same as that which the employer requires for the same job under all circumstances – without any exceptions being made. Finally, the job duties and tasks need to be so specialised that the necessary knowledge for the performance of the job can only be gained through a Bachelor’s or an equivalent level of degree.[32]

 

  • Application Requirements

Aside from the employer who is responsible for petitioning for the entry of the employee, the latter must also fulfil one of the following requirements in order to be eligible for the H1-B Visa.[33] Thus, if you are wondering whether you qualify for a job offer related to specialty occupation, possession of a U.S. Bachelor’s or higher educational degree necessary for the specific occupation (from either a college or university that is accredited) is a requirement.[34] Another option is if you have a foreign degree that is considered equivalent to U.S. Bachelor’s or higher educational degree necessary for the specific occupation. An unrestricted licence from a state, registration or a certificate which allows you to practice the specific occupation in the respective state constitutes an eligibility option also. Lastly, an individual may also be eligible, if rather than a degree, he/she has education, training or work experience that is equivalent to the required education degree and where he/she has held such responsible positions related to the occupation that they are considered an expert at the job field.[35]

 

  • Application

The application for H-1B Visa must be completed by the employer and can only be done online[36] through the United States Department of Labor by creating an account in the following link: https://icert.doleta.gov/. [37]

 

  • Duration

The duration of the H1-B Visa is three years and there is the possibility of extending it for a period up to six years.[38] It should be noted, however, that the H1-B visa gives you the opportunity of applying and obtaining the U.S. Green Card (which constitutes a permanent residency permit) either during the period that H1-B Visa is still valid or before it expires, should you wish to continue living and working in the U.S.[39]

 

[1] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general> accessed 3 December 2017.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Gov.U.K, ‘Register of Sponsors’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/664037/2017-12-01_Tier_25_Register_of_Sponsors.pdf> accessed 3 December 2017.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Gov.UK, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/eligibility> accessed 3 December 2017.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Gov.UK, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/eligibility> accessed 3 December 2017.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Gov.UK, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/eligibility> accessed 3 December 2017.

[11] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/knowledge-of-english> accessed 3 December 2017.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Gov.UK, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/eligibility> accessed 3 December 2017.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Gov.UK, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/eligibility> accessed 3 December 2017.

[17] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa/countries-where-you-need-a-tb-test-to-enter-the-uk> accessed 3 December 2017.

 

[18] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/documents-you-must-provide> accessed 3 December 2017.

[19] Govuk, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (GovUK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa/countries-where-you-need-a-tb-test-to-enter-the-uk> accessed 3 December 2017.

[20] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/apply> accessed 3 December 2017

[21] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general> accessed 3 December 2017.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Gov.U.K, ‘Tier 2 (General) Visa’ (Gov.UK, 2017) <https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general> accessed 3 December 2017.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Workpermit.com, ‘US H-1B Visa for Specialty Workers’ (Workpermit.com, 2017) <http://workpermit.com/immigration/usa/us-h-1b-visa-specialty-workers> accessed 3 December 2017.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Workpermit.com, ‘US H-1B Visa for Specialty Workers’ (Workpermit.com, 2017) <http://workpermit.com/immigration/usa/us-h-1b-visa-specialty-workers> accessed 3 December 2017.

[29] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’ (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2017) <https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models> accessed 3 December 2017.

[30] Ibid.

[31] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’ (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2017) <https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models> accessed 3 December 2017.

[32] Ibid.

[33] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’ (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2017) <https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models> accessed 3 December 2017.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Workpermit.com, ‘US H-1B Visa for Specialty Workers’ (Workpermit.com, 2017) <http://workpermit.com/immigration/usa/us-h-1b-visa-specialty-workers> accessed 3 December 2017.

[37] U.S. Department of Labor, ‘ICERT Visa Portal System’ (US Department of Labor, 2017) <https://icert.doleta.gov> accessed 3 December 2017.

 

[38] U..S Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’ (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2017) <https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models> accessed 3 December 2017.

[39] Workpermit.com, ‘U.S. H-1B Visa for Specialty Workers’ (Workpermit.com, 2017) <http://workpermit.com/immigration/usa/us-h-1b-visa-specialty-workers> accessed 3 December 2017.

 

UK Tier 2 v USA H-1B

Comparisons between the UK’s Tier 2 visa and the USA’s H-1B visa.

 

With the UK being the top destination for foreign workers and the USA being a popular destination for IT outsourcing companies, it is no surprise that hundreds and thousands of applications are submitted for the UK’s Tier 2 visa and the USA’s H-1B visa every year.

 

The Tier 2 visa and the H-1B visa are work visas, which permit foreign workers to gain temporary employment, and both are highly sought.

 

Differences

Visa category

The Tier 2 visa and the H1-B visa both consist of different visa categories for which a foreign worker can submit an application under.

 

Under the Tier 2 visa there are four categories: Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer), Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 2 (Minister of Religion).

Whereas, only three categories exist under the H1-B visa: H1-B Speciality Occupations, H-1B2 Department of Defence Researcher and Development Project Worker, and H-1B3 Fashion Model.

 

The Tier 2 (General) category is open for any job position that was unable to be filled by a settled worker in the UK, the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) category are for “employees of multi-national companies, transferring between offices”[i], the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category are for international coaches and sportspersons[ii], and the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) category is applicable for those “who perform pastoral duties in recognised religions”[iii].

 

In terms of the categories within the H-1B visa category, the H-1B Speciality Occupations category is open for any position which requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the H-1B2 Department of Defence is specifically aimed for foreign workers who will be working on a cooperative research and development project or a co-production under a government-to-government agreement administered by the Department of Defence[iv], and the H-1B3 Fashion Model category is solely for fashion models.

 

Skill level

Both visas require a different level of skill. The Tier 2 visa generally requires a ‘skilled’ foreign worker without further elaboration, with the exception under the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa which requires international recognition. The H-1B visa can be viewed as requiring a slightly higher level of skill. According to the Code of Federal Regulation, alongside a bachelor’s or master’s degree a speciality occupation requires “theoretical and practical application of a highly-specialised body of knowledge’[v]. The H-1B visa additionally requires ‘exceptional merit and ability’[vi] relating to the Department of Defence cooperative research and development project and ‘distinguished merit or ability’[vii] for the services of fashion modelling.

 

A possible reason for the differing skill level is that the H-1B visa is extremely popular within the IT, engineering, medical and science sector, which all require highly specialised skill and knowledge.

 

Cap level

There is a substantial difference in the numerical limit of how many applications can be submitted yearly. Under the Tier 2 visa the limit is fixed to 20,700 whereas the H-1B visa consists of two caps with the total of both fixed to 85,000. The H-1B cap for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree is 65,000 and the H-1B cap for applicants who have a master’s degree is 20,000. “For the fifth consecutive year, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services reached the mandated 85,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2018 within 5 days of the pipeline opening”[viii].  Regarding, the Tier 2 visa, in 2016 there were 56,058 Tier 2 skilled work sponsored visa applications and 56,012 applications in 2015[ix].

 

Lottery visa

In deciding which applications to approve, there is a stark difference. Whilst visa applications under the Tier 2 category are assessed, the H-1B visa is described as the ‘lottery visa’ as applications are approved on a total random basis and therefore not taking any thorough consideration into the actual skill and credentials of the foreign worker.  This has been criticised by President Donald Trump, as only “the most-skilled and highest-paid applicants”[x] should be considered.  The “Labor Department data shows that about 40 percent of the visas go to entry-level workers and another 40 percent go to people with limited experience and skills”[xi].

 

Resident Labour Market Test

A critical difference between both of the visas is that the H-1B visa does not require the employer to source for a suitable US employee before offering a role to a foreign worker. Under the Tier 2 visa UK employers are obligated to advertise a job position within the UK to find a suitable settled worker with the relevant skills and experience before extending the advertisement to foreign workers, unless an exemption applies which the UK employer can prove. This is known as the Resident Labour Market Test (UK employers must prove that a suitable settled worker in the UK is unavailable for the position they are seeking to assign to a foreign worker under the Tier 2 visa) which aims to protect the settled workforce by encouraging UK employers to train settled individuals in the UK. Whether the absence of a Resident Labour Market Test in the USA has a significant impact is a question to consider. Research conducted by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in which the report assembled 14 leading economists, demographers and scholars who found little to no negative effects on overall wages and employment in the US of native-born workers in the longer term[xii]. However, as the USA is the prevailing destination for IT professionals, foreign workers with the H-1B visa have displaced many American technology workers from their jobs in recent years[xiii].

 

Salary

Under the Tier 2 visa the minimum salary threshold is £30,000 for skilled workers and £41,500 for multinational companies who are transferring a foreign worker into their UK branch. In comparison to the H-1B visa, the Department of Labour has an input in the salary threshold. The US employer is required to pay the higher wage out of the either the actual wage paid by the employer to workers with similar skills and qualifications, or the prevailing wage which is the “average wage paid to the similarly employed workers”.[xiv]

 

Immigration Skills Charge

Due to recent reforms to the Tier 2 visa an Immigration Skills Charge has been implemented which requires UK employers to pay a charge for hiring a foreign workers in skilled areas. The charge is £1,000 per foreign worker for every year they are employed, and a reduced rate of £364 per foreign worker for smaller companies and charities. The Migration Advisory Committee strongly supported the introduction of an Immigration Skills Charge to incentivise employers to reduce their reliance on migrant workers and to invest in training and upskilling UK workers[xv].

 

The H-1B visa does not include an Immigration Skills Charge. US employers are not obligated to pay any charge for the foreign workers they employ.

 

Labour Condition Application

US employers are required to make attestations in the form of a Labour Condition Application, which is not entirely required for UK employers. The application requires the employer to attest that certain labour requirements will be complied with: the foreign worker will be paid “no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers or, if greater, the prevailing wage”[xvi], “the employer will provide working conditions that will not adversely affect similarly employed workers”[xvii], “there is not a strike or lockout at the employer’s place of business”[xviii], and notice of the filing of the Labour Condition Application has been given[xix].

 

Fraud and abuse

A significant difference between both visas is the level of fraud and abuse of the visa programme. Whilst it does not appear that UK employers have used the Tier 2 visa programme for fraud, abuse or exploitation of foreign workers, however, little of this can be said for the H-1B visa.

 

A notorious case demonstrating this emerged in 2015 when “American IT employees at the Walt Disney Company were made to train their foreign replacements, who were hired on H-1B visas, before getting laid off”[xx]. Additionally, about “80% of H-1B workers are paid less than the median wage in their fields”[xxi] demonstrating that the H-1B visa has opened a doorway for cheap labour to replace American workers. This can be further shown by the exemption under the visa that allows US employers “to ignore the requirement about protecting American jobs as long as they pay foreign workers at least $60,000 a year, or hire a foreign worker with a master’s degree”[xxii]. Considering the average IT worker in the US earns far more than $60,000, the exemption makes it legal for US companies to displace American workers with cheaper H-1B workers[xxiii], which in turn exploits foreign workers.

 

President Donald Trump’s executive order to revamp the H-1B visa programme, calls on government departments “to take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse”[xxiv]. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services have now stated that they will take a more targeted approach when making site visits to the worksites of H-1B employees and determine whether H-1B employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit US workers[xxv]. It is said, “employers who abuse the H-1B visa programme negatively affect US workers, decreasing wages and job opportunities as they import foreign workers”[xxvi].

 

Similarities

 

Sponsored visa

For a foreign worker to gain employment under either of the visas, an employer must sponsor the foreign worker. Under the Tier 2 visa, the foreign worker must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer with a Tier 2 Sponsorship licence, and under the H-1B visa an employer must offer a job and petition for the foreign worker to have a H-1B visa.

 

Protecting the settled workforce

Giving priority and fair consideration to the settled workforce over foreign workers has been a clear requirement under both visas, despite the fact that the implementation method of this requirement is not the same. As already mentioned above, under the Tier 2 visa a Resident Labour Market Test, however, under the H-1B visa programme, US employers have an obligation only to act in good faith to recruit US workers. Whilst the UK government has advocated its encouragement for UK employers to train settled individuals in the UK instead of relying on foreign workers, President Donald Trump, who campaigned on an ‘American First’ ideology, required US companies to prioritise American job applicants – “no exception”[xxvii].

 

Enforcement

With the above similarity, it is arguable whether the requirement to protect the settled workforce is actually portrayed in reality. Although under the Tier 2 visa employers are required to test the labour market, “the test is based on attestation”[xxviii]; employers simply have to state that they have carried out the Resident Labour Market Test and were unable to find any suitable settled worker[xxix]. Few or no routine checks are made about the validity of this statement before the foreign worker is admitted[xxx]. Almost all of the enforcement of the Resident Labour Market Test occurs after the foreign worker has been admitted[xxxi]. Similarly, under the H-1B visa “enforcement appears to be very low”[xxxii] which in turn has resulted to fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa programme.

 

Education level

Both the Tier 2 visa and the H-1B visa explicitly require foreign workers to have a sound educational background, the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Combining the level of skill both visas require it is not surprising that a degree is needed. However, under the H-1B visa a master’s degree may also be required and the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree must be directly related to the H-1B position, a requirement which is not asked for under the Tier 2 visa.

 

Family

A dependent spouse and children are permitted to reside with the foreign worker under both visas, however, there are some differences.

 

Under the H-1B visa the foreign worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 “may seek admission in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification”[xxxiii] and the dependent spouse can also seek employment by submitting Form I-765 for Employment Authorisation, “as long as the foreign worker has started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent residence status”[xxxiv].

 

Under the Tier 2 visa, the foreign worker’s spouse is also permitted to enter the UK along with any children who are under the age of 18[xxxv]. The foreign worker is required to show that the dependants can be supported whilst they are in the UK. Dependants must have £630 available to them regardless of whether they apply to stay with the foreign worker together or separately[xxxvi]. This is in addition to the £945 which the foreign worker must show that they have as evidence that they can support themselves[xxxvii] (a requirement which is not sought for under the H-1B visa).

 

Permanent residence

Both visas permit the foreign employee to apply for permanent residency. A foreign employee under the H-1B visa, after having stayed and worked in the US for a period of 6 years, the foreign worker can either return back to their native country or apply for permanent residency, which is also known as the Green Card, and begin the H-1B to the Green Card process[xxxviii]. Only the sponsoring employer can petition for an employee to change from the H-1B status to the Green Card status[xxxix]. A more restricted approach is taken under the Tier 2 visa, in which a foreign worker earning £35,000 or more is able to qualify for permanent residence under the Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 2 (Ministry of Religion) visas. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May defended this requirement as a way to help reduce the number of non-EU nationals and their dependents that are granted residence each year from 60,000 to 20,000[xl].

 

 

[i] ‘Recruiting under the Tier 2 visa UK’, (DavidsonMorris Solicitors, Lexology, 18th June 2016), < https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=e8d410a5-9a12-4245-8401-31139d17053e>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[ii] ibid

[iii] ibid

[iv] US Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Speciality Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’, < https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models>, accessed 1st December 2017

[v] Jon Velie, ‘H-1B Visa: What is a Speciality Occupation?’, (OnlineVisas), <https://onlinevisas.com/usa/h1b-visa-specialty-occupation-definition/>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[vi] US Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Speciality Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’, < https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[vii] ibid

[viii] Nikhila Natarajan, ‘H1B visa applications reach 85,000 cap in 4 days – all you need to know’, (First Post, 8th April 2017),< http://www.firstpost.com/world/h1b-visa-applications-reach-85000-cap-in-4-days-all-you-need-to-know-3374166.html>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[ix] National Statistics Work, (23 February 2017) < https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-october-to-december-2016/work>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[x] Nikhila Natarajan, ‘Trump signs executive order on H1B  visa review, says lottery system is all wrong’, (First Post, 19th April 2017), <http://www.firstpost.com/world/trump-signs-executive-order-on-h1b-visa-review-says-lottery-system-is-all-wrong-3391920.html>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[xi] Vindu Goel, ‘How Trump’s ‘Hire American’ Order May Affect Tech Worker Visas’, (The New York Times, 18th April 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/technology/h1b-visa-facts-tech-worker.html>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xii] Julia Preston, ‘Immigrants Aren’t Taking Americans’ Jobs, New Study Finds’, (The New York Times, 21st September 2016), <https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/us/immigrants-arent-taking-americans-jobs-new-study-finds.html>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xiii] ibid

[xiv] ‘The Prevailing Wage for H-1B Application, and the Speciality Occupation Requirement for H-1B Workers’, <http://www.greencardapply.com/h1b/h1b_pwages.htm>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xv] James Brokenshire, ‘Tier 2 (Skilled Workers): Written Statement – HCWS660’, (24th March 2016), < https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-03-24/HCWS660/>, accessed: 1st December 2017

[xvi] US Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Speciality Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’, < https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xvii] ibid

[xviii] ibid

[xix] ibid

[xx] Cherlynn Low, ‘US cracks down on the tec industry’s go-to work visa’, (4th March 2017), <https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/03/us-visa-program-cracks-down-on-employers/>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xxi] David Smith, ‘Donald Trump to overhaul H-1B visa program that admits foreign workers’, (The Guardian, 18th April 2017), < https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/17/donald-trump-temporary-worker-h1b-visa-executive-order>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xxii] Alexia Fernamdez Campbell, ‘There’s a Clear Way to Fix the H-1B Visa Program’, (The Atlantic, 6th December 2016), < https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/12/fixing-h-1b-visa-loophole/509639/>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xxiii] ibid

[xxiv] David Smith, ‘Donald Trump to overhaul H-1B visa program that admits foreign workers’, (The Guardian, 18th April 2017), < https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/17/donald-trump-temporary-worker-h1b-visa-executive-order>, accessed: 3rd December 2017

[xxv] ibid

[xxvi] US Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘Combating Fraud and Abuse in the H-1B Visa Program’, <https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/putting-american-workers-first-uscis-announces-further-measures-detect-h-1b-visa-fraud-and-abuse>, accessed: 3rd December 2017

[xxvii] Tracy Jan, ‘This one group gets 70 percent of high-skilled foreign worker visas’, (The Washington Post, 3rd April), <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/04/03/this-one-group-gets-70-percent-of-high-skilled-foreign-worker-visas/?utm_term=.d48a32a036dc>, accessed: 3rd December 2017

[xxviii] Cathryn Costello and Mark Freedland, ‘Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law’, (Oxford University Press), page 73

[xxix] ibid

[xxx] ibid

[xxxi] ibid

[xxxii] ibid

[xxxiii] US Citizenship and Immigration Services, ‘H-1B Speciality Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models’, < https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models>, accessed: 3rd December 2017

[xxxiv] ibid

[xxxv] ‘Tier 2 (General) visa’, ‘Family member’, < https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/family-members>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

[xxxvi] ibid

[xxxvii] ibid

[xxxviii] ‘H1B to Green Card Process’, <https://www.path2usa.com/h1b-to-green-card-process>, accessed: 3rd December 2017

[xxxix] ibid

[xl] Daniel Waldron and Sanwar Ali, ‘UK Tier 2 Visa Immigrants must earn £35,000 to settle from April 2016’, (Work Permit, 7th July 2015), <http://workpermit.com/news/uk-tier-2-visa-immigrants-must-earn-£35000-settle-april-2016-20150707>, accessed: 2nd December 2017

American Immigration Issues

American Immigration Issues

Immigration in America is changing quickly under new president Donald Trump. Though overall immigration policies have yet to change, his proposals are having considerable effect.

What’s changing for American Immigration?

Fast processing for H-1B visa’s allowing highly skilled workers to quickly take up important roles in the US economy for a period of one to three years was suspended for a time. Standard processing can take six months and the suspension caused concern for medical institutions and technology companies across America who rely on H-1B to fill skills gaps.

The new president has also signed an executive order to review the H-1B visa program, potentially replacing it with a more merit based system with the aim of favouring American workers and reducing immigration.  More recently Donald Trump is supporting the RAISE act which although stalling in congress, if passed would bias towards financially stable English speakers, and reduce American immigration by 50 per cent.

Though Trump’s repeated attempts at travel bans for citizens of certain countries was not targeted at those who had already gained visas, the controversy and treatment of these citizens is certainly beginning to deter migrants and skilled workers.

The proposed wall on the Mexican border, and clampdowns on illegal immigrants is affecting individuals and families who have lived in the US for years and now facing possible deportation.

This September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, passing it over to congress to find a legislative alternative. The announcement and the potential effects on the 800,000 young individuals under DACA is controversial and far reaching.

What is DACA?

Barack Obama created DACA in 2012 to allow those brought to the UK illegally as children the temporary right to live, study and work in America. The program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) covrtd a group now known as “dreamers”, most of whom know America as their home country and have little or no knowledge of their birth countries culture or language. “Dreamers” see themselves as Americans. The DACA program allows those who have completed school or military service, and have passed criminal and security vetting, a two-year deferral on any threat of deportation. After which they have opportunity to renew. During the two-year period they are granted rights to a driving license, college access, and a work permit.

What will ending DACA mean?

DACA protects 800,000 between the ages of 15 to 36. Trump has indicated that current “dreamers” if generally law abiding, will not be subject to any action. However new applications will not be affected. Trump touts his plan to make the deportation of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the USA a priority for his government.  Though current DACA protectees should be safe right now, they are rightly terrified for their future. As are many other young people who will miss this opportunity yet know only America as their home country.

For most “dreamers” their status under DACA will lapse by March 2020 and it’s unclear what will happen to them then. For the first DACA citizens, their two-year deferral expires in 2018, the rest in 2019 and 2020. Immigrants with DACA permits expiring before March 5, 2018 can apply for a renewal.

Currently 15 states have joined together in a lawsuit protesting the decision to rescind DACA and California has announced its own lawsuit against the process.

More resist Trump’s policies – who are the sanctuary cities?

Sanctuary cities, places of protection and respite, go back thousands of years. For the US they have gained in number and reputation over the past 10 years, accelerating with the newest presidential administration and its policies.  New York was the first to speak out with a letter the week of Donald Trump’s inauguration defending the right of every student in New York City to school. It explained school staff do not check if children’s parents had visas and would not permit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to enter schools without proper legal authority. New York has an estimated 1.2 million undocumented immigrants.

Sanctuary cities are considered to have adopted laws, policies or practices which may impede some immigration enforcement efforts. The Sanctuary counties and cities in the US currently include Oregon, with 31 counties, Washington with 18 counties, California with 15 counties. Massachusetts has 6 cities, California 3 and there are many more.  A list can be found here: http://www.10news.com/news/list-of-sanctuary-cities-2017

How have the recent hurricanes affected undocumented immigrants?

In Texas and Florida there are many undocumented immigrants affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They are deeply concerned about being deported under the government’s new and proposed policies. Despite some of them being entitled to aid from the federal government, most are too afraid to draw attention to themselves by asking for help, and are instead turning to churches and private charities. Federal Emergency Management Agency rules allow people in the country illegally to apply for disaster assistance on behalf of their children who are under 18 and have legal status in the USA. Undocumented immigrants are concerned applying for FEMA aid will expose their information and lead immigration authorities to them.

Trends in US immigration – a quick look at some interesting statistics.

America is changing. Immigrants, even if not yet affected by new policy are worried. They are concerned about changing attitudes, both from the government and American citizens. Some can’t cope with living in fear. There are increasing numbers of Mexican nationals voluntarily choosing to return to Mexico, even though their children were born in the US.

It’s easy to forget that America is a nation of migrants, in 1890 14.8% of the population were non- US born. Today that figure is still only 13.4% of the total population.

In the period 2009 to 2014 more Mexican nationals returned to Mexico than entered America. 1 million returned, and 870,000 went to the US. Recent reports are that more and more Mexicans are leaving America each week.

Other groups of immigrants are either leaving or turning away from the USA. The changes in H-1B and some student visas are discouraging students and highly skilled migrants from India, China and other countries. Last year the growing rate of foreign student admissions to the US grew at its slowest rate since 2009. Canada however, is actively seeking to attract international students and highly skilled workers to fill a skills gap in its economy. The number of international students in Canada has grown 92% since 2008.

A recent Ivy League study predicts 4.6million jobs will be lost by Donald Trump’s policies and the US economy will be 2% smaller by 2040. The article from CNN makes for interesting reading http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/10/news/economy/trump-immigration-jobs/index.html