The last minute reprieve was granted by the Minister of State for Immigration, Damian Green to extend the fishermen's visas for one year and has been welcomed by Strangford MP Jim Shannon and MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, who campaigned on behalf of the Filipinos to change UK immigration policy so that they could remain in the UK.The Immigration Minister Damian Green has allowed them another year visa extension while a determination is made on the level of qualification the Filipinos have for UK citizenship. The fishermen have been working in Scotland and Northern Ireland under a concessionary scheme for fishermen from outside the EU. Recently, Filipino fishermen have been considered an integral part of the fishing community and many local skippers said that without employing Filipinos they would be unable to put to sea due to lack of crew.According to Mr. Shannon, the situation was that the visas were not being renewed for those who were not of European citizenship unless they qualified for a UK Tier 3 Visa and the arguments made by the fishermen were that the Filipinos were qualified to that standard. The extension is aimed to give time for a new scheme to be put in place and for the Government to set up a training programme for these fishermen. It will ensure that they can meet the skill level the UKBA requires in the future.Angus MacNeil MP said: "I am glad that Damien Green MP saw common sense on this issue… His decision to extend the visas means that many domestic UK jobs will be saved as well". "Skippers were literally days from bankruptcy and UK workers in fish processors were very close to losing their jobs so I thank Mr. Green for allowing all of these people to continue working in the UK".However, the Minister also stated in his letter that this was the last UK visa extension by the Home Office for these people on the stipulation that the skipper/owners along with fishermen must provide written confirmation that they understand there would be no more extensions and the fishermen must leave the UK by 31 August 2012.
The last minute reprieve was granted by the Minister of State for Immigration, Damian Green to extend the fishermen's visas for one year and has been welcomed by Strangford MP Jim Shannon and MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, who campaigned on behalf of the Filipinos to change UK immigration policy so that they could remain in […]