- The UK attracts many immigrants due to its strong economy and cultural diversity, but it has stringent immigration laws.
- The points-based system, health surcharge, and Right to Rent policy make migration challenging.
- The hostile environment policy and Brexit’s EU Settlement Scheme have tightened immigration rules further.
- Despite these hurdles, people can successfully migrate with professional help and relevant skills.
- Staying updated with changing immigration laws and the Tier 2 sponsorship visa can facilitate migration.
The United Kingdom has long been a top destination for immigrants seeking a better life. However, strict laws make it rather hard for people to migrate to the UK. It is one of the countries with the toughest immigration laws across Europe. The government’s tight measures have been labeled racist and xenophobic in some instances. Here’s what you need to know regarding migrating to the U.K., certain laws that make migration hard, and ways to make your migration successful.
Migration to the U.K.
It’s estimated that about a million people migrate to the U.K. annually, making it one of the countries with the highest inflow of immigrants across Europe. This is due to its strong economy, diverse culture, and excellent educational opportunities.
However, migrating to the U.K. is not an easy feat. The country has strict immigration laws in place that make it challenging for people to migrate and settle there. Here are some of those laws and policies:
1. The Points-based System
The UK immigration system is designed as a points-based system. Applicants must meet specific requirements to get enough points to qualify for a visa in the country. The points-based system puts strict guidelines on finance, sponsorship, English proficiency, and criminal records. Applicants must also pass a routine medical exam to ensure they are healthy. This makes it quite difficult for people with low education qualifications to come to the UK, as the aspects of education and experience carry many points.
2. The Immigration Health Surcharge
The UK government also imposes an immigration health surcharge on those seeking an extended visa. The surcharge forces the applicant to pay extra for the National Health System (NHS). The amount one needs to pay is supposed to cover the cost of medical assistance that immigrants may receive while in the country. The payment is quite steep and may not be in the means of some potential applicants, thus making it challenging to migrate to the UK.
3. The Right to Rent
The UK government introduced the ‘Right to Rent’ policy in 2016 to control the number of immigrants who are in the country illegally. The policy demands landlords to check potential tenants to ensure they have the right to rent in the UK. Tenants who cannot present the right documents may face eviction, indirectly affecting the immigrant community. This policy has been heavily criticized for being discriminatory against ethnic minorities and has been the subject of legal challenges.
4. The Hostile Environment Policy
The home office introduced the ‘hostile environment’ policy in 2012, which demands landlords, healthcare providers, and employers to check immigrants’ documents to ensure they are in the country legally. The policy was supposed to regulate migration without direct deportation. However, it inflicts harm in the daily lives of immigrants and leads to discrimination, anxiety and affects their mental health.
5. Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme
Brexit was critical in tightening immigration laws as the country prepared to leave the European Union. The EU Settlement Scheme was launched in 2019 to offer EU, European Economic Area (EEA), and Swiss citizens living in the UK the right to remain post-Brexit. Applicants undergo extensive background checks, proof of residence, and identity before qualifying for the scheme. An applicant missing out on the requirements may be left undocumented, leading to automatic deportation.
Ways to Make Your Migration Successful
Despite these strict immigration laws, thousands of people successfully migrate to the U.K. every year. Here are some tips to make your migration successful:
Seek Professional Help
Migrating by yourself is going to be challenging. Instead, consider looking for an experienced immigration lawyer to help you. They can guide you through the complex process and ensure you have all your documents in order.
Gain Relevant Experience and Skills
The points-based system favors highly skilled workers. If you plan on migrating to the U.K., consider gaining relevant experience and skills in an industry with high demand. This will increase your chances of getting enough points to qualify for a visa.
Apply for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Visa
The Tier 2 sponsorship visa is designed for skilled workers with a job offer from a UK employer. The employer must have a sponsor license and be willing to sponsor the applicant’s visa. This is an excellent option for those with in-demand skills as it guarantees entry into the country.
Keep up-to-date with Immigration Policies.
The immigration policies in the U.K. are constantly changing, especially with Brexit. It’s essential to keep up-to-date with any changes affecting your migration plans. Stay informed by regularly checking government websites and seeking guidance from a professional.
Migrating to the U.K. can be challenging due to its stringent immigration laws. These laws, while criticized for their harshness and potential prejudice, are also in place to maintain a balanced demographic and economic structure within the country. Nonetheless, with appropriate guidance, relevant skills, and up-to-date knowledge of immigration policies, the journey to becoming a U.K. resident can be achievable. Prospective immigrants must remain informed and seek professional help when necessary to navigate the complexities of the immigration process.