UK immigration – glossary of terms

Accession: The term used to describe the process by which a country joins the EU. In particular in reference to the 10 countries joining the EU on May 1st 2004: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus; and on January 1st 2007: Bulgaria and Romania.

Accession 8 (A8): Eight of the 10 Accession countries listed above, minus Malta and Cyprus. The EU freedom of movement of A8 nationals can be restricted until the end of a transitional period in 2009, (or less likely, with EU permission, be extended to 2011). The UK has used this to place certain limitations on rights of A8 nationals, restricting the right to reside to those in registered work, with the effect of restricting access to benefits and Council homelessness assistance to those in registered employment or the self-employed. (see Worker Registration Scheme below)

Asylum Seeker: An asylum seeker is someone whose application for refugee status has been received by the Home Secretary, and who has not yet received a final decision. A person remains an asylum seeker while the application or the appeals on it are continuing.

Border and Immigration Agency: see UKBA.

Common Travel Area (CTA): The UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of man and the Channel Islands. There are no immigration controls between them, and passports are not stamped with leave to enter.

Discretionary Leave to Remain: Where an asylum application has failed and Humanitarian Protection not been granted either, Discretionary Leave (DL) may be granted, usually for three years. Same rights to work, housing and welfare support as UK national.

European Economic Area (EEA): Includes all the countries of the European Union – including the accession states that joined in 2004 – plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

From the 1 June 2002, Swiss nationals have had the same free movement rights as EEA nationals.

EU Freedom of Movement: Nationals of the EU, and the EEA, are free to move across borders within the EEA as workers, workseekers, students, or to provide or receive services or for other reasons defined in EU regulations. One of the “fundamental freedoms” of EU law.

Gangmaster: Defined by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority as an individual or business who: supplies labour to agriculture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging;uses labour to provide a service in the licensed sectors; or uses labour to gather shellfish.

Gangmasters Licensing Authority: A UK Government agency, the GLA was established in 2005 to curb the abuse of workers in agriculture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging. It was set up following the death of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay in 2004.

Habitual residence: A term used in social security law in order to exclude some people from eligibility for certain welfare benefits and local authority housing.

Humanitarian Protection: People who are refused refugee status may be granted Humanitarian Protection (HP). This is only granted to those who cannot return to their native country because “they face a serious risk to life or person from one or more of the following reasons: death penalty, unlawful killing, torture, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment.” Usually granted for three years, then reviewed. Same rights to work, housing and welfare support as UK national.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND): see UKBA.

Immigration Rules: The rules of practice, published by the Home Office, as to the conditions which various different categories of applicant have to satisfy ion order to be admitted to the Uk. If they are published while parliament is suiting, they are called House of Commons papers e.g. HC 398; if Parliament is in recess they are Command papers, e.g. Cm 7075. They are frequently amended. It is always open to the immigration authorities to waive the rules and grant leave exceptionally.

Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain (ILR/ILE): Leave to enter or remain in the UK without time limit. Where there is no time limit, no other immigration can be put on a person’s stay. A person with ILR or ILE is generally accepted as being settled in the UK

Public Funds: Term used in the Immigration Rules to describe those welfare benefits which applicants need to show that they will not need to claim in order to demonstrate that they can support themselves in the UK. Often a condition of no recourse to public funds is attached to leave to enter.

Refugee: A person who “owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”. Article 1 of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. A person granted Refugee Status in the UK is generally granted 5 years leave to remain (previously Indefinite Leave to Remain). Same rights to work, housing and welfare support as UK national.

Residence Document: A term used in European law to refer to documents which must be provided to the family member of an EEA national where that member is not an EEA national, but who is entitled to be in the UK as family member of an EEA national who is exercising EU rights of free movement.

Residence Permit: Document issued by the Home Office to EEA nationals to confirm their right to live in the UK as a person exercising EU rights of free movement.

Right of abode: Being free of immigration control and able to enter that UK freely at any time, after no matter how long an absence. More than simply the right to live in the UK, or the right to stay indefinitely. All British Citizens have the right of abode. So do some commonwealth citizens.

Right to reside: Most common use of this term is relating to regulations introduced in May 2004 and April 2006, after accession of new states to the EU, adding another layer to the habitual residence test, which restricts access to social security benefits and local authority housing. The intention is to restrict in particular EEA nationals (not just A8 nationals), who are not present in the UK exercising EU rights of freedom of movement (in most cases the right to move as a worker).

Subject to immigration control: Usually used to refer to people who need leave to enter or remain in the UK (i.e. people who do not have right of abode and who are not exercising European rights of free movement, and are not exempt from immigration control). The term is defined in the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996. The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 gives a different definition for this term which is used to define who is not able to access certain forms of welfare support.

UK Border Agency (UKBA). UK Government Home Office department responsible for handling all applications regarding immigration, nationality and asylum, as well as for enforcement and developing policy in these areas of law. Formerly known as Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) and before that Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND).

Worker Registration Scheme
For EU “A8” nationals of Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, which became EU member states in 2004. Nationals of these countries must register on this Home Office scheme for any job of over 30 days. Self-employed people are exempt. Registering on the scheme costs £90, and confers the legal Right to Reside in the UK while employed, which also allows access to (in-work) welfare benefits and public housing (in Scotland, the situation is slightly different, with no registration requirement to access to housing and homelessness rights, although this is disputed by some local authorities).

After registered working for a continuous 12 month period, an A8 national need no longer register, can apply for a UK residence permit, and is entitled to free employment rights and has equal rights to state benefits and public housing with other UK and EU citizens. The scheme is likely to end in May 2009, when the UK’s right to impose transitional discriminatory restrictions ends.

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