Alan Platt (Director) gives expert video advice on: What is 'immigration'?; Why do we have immigration control?; Who manages immigration in the UK? and more...
What is 'immigration'?
Immigration is when an individual wants to move from one country to live in another country, normally for various purposes. As a student, it can be to go and get married to a national of another country, living in another country or it can be to go and take up employment in another country.
Why do we have immigration control?
Immigration control is necessary so that governments can know who is coming into their country, why they are coming in, how long they are going to stay and what they are going to do while they are there.
Who manages immigration in the UK?
Immigration control in the United Kingdom is managed by the Home Office. Obviously, the vast majority of immigration control takes place at the ports of entries, but it's also managed by diplomatic missions abroad when they issue visas, and also by the Home Office in the United Kingdom when they consider applications for extensions of stay.
What is a 'visa'?
A visa is an endorsement in a person's passport which is given to them abroad at a British diplomatic mission before they enter the United Kingdom. It gives them a right of entry into the United Kingdom for the purpose that the visa was issued.
What is a 'Overseas Diplomatic Mission'?
An overseas British diplomatic mission can be a British embassy, a British high commission, or a British consulate. They represent the affairs of the British government abroad and, in most instances, have a visa section, where visa applications are decided.
If somebody has a visa does it guarantee entry?
If you hold a Visa, it doesn't necessarily guarantee your entry to the United Kingdom. In a small number of instances, if an individual for example obtains a Visa by deception, that means perhaps they've produced fake documents to support their Visa application. There may have been a material change in facts since the issue of the Visa. The Visa would then be invalid and the individual would be refused entry into the United Kingdom. This only happens in a very small number of instances. The vast majority of people granted Visas obtain entry to the United Kingdom with no further formalities.
What is a 'migrant'?
A migrant would be a person who intends to come to the UK for a protracted period or perhaps to come and live here on a permanent basis. Normally, they would be leaving their own country to come and live in this country. There is a distinction though between an legal migrant and an illegal migrant. Obviously, if someone has a visa just for a short period of time, they cannot stay as a migrant in the country, because they would be required to return home before the period in which their visa expires.
What is an 'immigrant'?
An immigrant is a person who wants to leave the country in which they live in, and come to live in the United Kingdom for either a protracted period or a permanent period of time.
What is a 'visa national'?
Visa national is a national of a country that requires a visa to come to the United Kingdom for whatever purpose they intend. Be that as a visitor, be that as a student, or be that for settlement purposes.
Does a visa national need to apply for a visa before entering the UK?
Yes, that individual would have to apply for a visa before they left their country of origin to come to the United Kingdom, and they would make that application at a British diplomatic mission.
What is a 'non visa national'?
A non-visa national is a designated country by the United Kingdom that can come to the UK for a short period of time, normally for less than six months, without needing to go to a British Diplomatic Mission abroad. They would normally be granted leave to enter the United Kingdom at the port of arrival. That can be for example, an American National or a Canadian National or a Japanese National.
Why do they make a distinction between a visa national and a non visa national?
The distinction between visa nationals and non visa nationals is made principally because those countries designated as visa national countries, there is a pressure to emigrate from them, and obviously it is easier for the visa officer at the British diplomatic mission in those countries, to assess an individual's circumstances to decide whether they are, for example, a genuine visitor.
What is 'entry clearance'?
An entry clearance is a general term used for visas. An entry clearance once again is issued by a British diplomatic mission abroad and it's really the same as a visa.
What is a 'foreign national'?
A foreign national under the immigration rules is anyone who is not a British citizen or not a European Union national. Foreign nationals are subject all to immigration control when they arrive in the UK.
What is 'settled status'?
Settled status means that there is no limit on the amount of time that a person may stay in the country. It's also known as indefinite leave to remain or indefinite leave to enter.