Many South African Expats currently living in the UK may not even be aware that they could face deportation from April this year... yes that's less than 3 months away.Back in 2012, the UK government announced plans to introduce new immigration rules to restrict UK immigration by requiring non-EU workers (this includes South African Expats) to be earning above £35 000 a year if they have been in the UK for 5 years or more, or face being given the boot and deported.Those plans are still scheduled to be enforced come April 2016.
So what does this mean for South African Expats currently living in the UK?Well quite simply, come April, if you have been living in the UK for more than 5 years on a non-EU passport ie. South African Passport (and on a Tier 2 General VISA for example) and have not applied or been granted your Indefinite Leave To Remain (IDL) yet, and you currently earn below the £35 000 per anum threshold, then best you start getting your A into G and apply for your IDL if you are eligible, or start begging your boss for a raise. If you don't meet the requirements, then, (I don't mean to scare the hell out of you) but the harsh reality is, you could face being on one-way flight back to South Africa...and it's very doubtful that ignorance will save you since these plans have been public knowledge for a number of years now.So just in case you're wondering, if you are a South African but hold a Britsh Passport or on a UK Ancestral VISA then you DON'T need to worry...You're in the safe zone.If you are at risk, please contact 1st Contact (and don't forget to mention that PharSide referred you when you do).These new immigration rules have been met with some resistance and Home Secretary Theresa May has been called upon to re-think the new rules which have been labelled as discriminatory, and not to mention that the threshold is also way above the UK average income of £26 500 a year.Obviously, this doesn't only affect South Africans, as it is spread across the board for all non-EU nationals, however, it is said the major sectors are going to be severely hit such as the nursing which the NHS stands to lose thousands of nurses who don't earn above £35k a year. I'm sure many South African nurses will sadly be affected.
Other sectors who will likely be hit hard are:Students
Start-up entrepreneursCharity Sector WorkersTeachers (which is obviously also another big one for South Africans)However, there may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon...A UK Parliament petition has been set up which is gaining an increasing amount of support to scrap the new rules... I'd highly recommend that those currently living in the UK sign it, (for those in South Africa, please share this with your UK friends).