New Immigration Minister Appointed – What Changes Might We See?

14 Aug 2019, 52 mins ago

Seema Kennedy, the British-Iranian solicitor, has made headlines as she was appointed the new Immigration Minister, replacing Caroline Nokes.

The House of Common’s Human Rights Committee has been in dispute with the Home Office regarding the length of time spent in detention by UK immigrants. The Home Office have been consistently urged by various parties to implement policies to minimise such periods of immigration detention. It appears that Kennedy supports the committee in such calls and that it is her intention to make an impact on overall immigration policy by decreasing the use of prolonged periods of immigration detention.

The reasons behind arguments to limit the period of detainees’ detention include observations that lengthy detention can have a detrimental effect on a detainee’s mental health, and would therefore infringe their human rights. The suggested limits to periods of detention could encourage the Home Office to speed up the process by which cases are considered and could help cut down on detention costs.

The Home Office’s decision to reject the call from MPs for a 28-day time limit in immigration detention cases has caused a stir amongst the committee, with Harriet Harman, the committee chairwoman, stating that: “Home Office immigration detention is arbitrary, unfair and breaches human rights. Repeated detention and release, which characterises the system, shows that it must be reformed”.

There is therefore no doubt that the committee will keep a close eye on whether Kennedy can help overturn the Home Office’s decision and propose a solution which would establish a set time limit for those in UK immigration detention.

It is also hoped that the Minister can now, in addition, review the abolition of the Entrepreneur visa. If an investor or businessman wants to enter the UK now they must demonstrate:

  1. That they have a minimum of £2 million pounds for an investor visa; or
  2. That they are someone who wishes to start a start-up business or be an innovator – both of which require endorsement from endorsing bodies (which are either thin on the ground or charging enormous sums for mentoring) (a recipe for disaster – watch this space!); or
  3. That they are a sole representative; or
  4. That they are a work permit holder on a salary of more than £159,600 per year (if they wish to have more than 10% of the business).

How does this make the UK a welcoming place for the purposes of attracting much needed business and capital?

The Entrepreneur visa was a category which was ill-equipped for the Point Base System (“PBS”). It required a quantification, by way of points, as to why a person was capable and able to run the business. The PBS made this visa the subject of much abuse. The Home Office then brought in specialists to monitor applications under this category and the refusal rate rose to over 50%.

Despite Brexit and the lack of legislation this year the then Prime Minister and Ms Nokes found the time to scrap this visa – which had created many jobs for UK nationals and created good businesses. If the Home Office felt it was too wide and allowed the creation of too many coffee shops, etc, they could have reintroduced it with restrictions on certain types of activity. Businesses which can now no longer be established include for example pharmacies and small trading enterprises – small enterprises which are usually started by hard-working entrepreneurs who are not millionaires, but who provide valuable products and services. Hopefully, the ‘new broom’ will approach this subject from the point of view of “what is good for UK PLC” and not with the same apparent prejudices of those who have moved on.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2019