Wednesday, 16 October 2019

❗Part 2. Immigration articles worth reading (and worrying). NHS doctor is threatened with deportation over basic visa mistake.


NHS doctor is threatened with deportation over basic visa mistake. How a basic, non-common-sense rule can stop from securing a UK visa. And why you shouldn’t worry if your refusal letter says “You must now leave the UK”. 



Was it correct under the law to deny a visa? Bizarrely, yes, it was. 

In this article, a Taiwanese junior doctor was refused a work visa because of a small mistake, a technicality. She applied under the sponsorship of the NHS (no less), to work as a much-needed junior doctor.  

The problem: 
It was Maintenance requirement. She must have had £945 held continuously for 90 days. She had it but the balance fell below £945 for a few days. A small mistake, a technicality, yet the outcome was a visa refusal and what newspapers called a ‘deportation letter’. 

The rule of “held for X days” means the balance must not have fallen below the minimum amount even for 1 day even by £1.

Although this situation is about a Tier 2 sponsored work visa, the same logic applies to other categories. For example, for a Spouse visa, if you are using Savings to meet the Financial Requirement, you need a balance of £62,500 held for 6 months. Not falling before even by £1 for 1 day. Here we have ‘only’ £945 held for 90 days, and yet it created such a stir!

Solutions? 
As usual, the press to dramatise such events, so they report that “the doctor is threatened with deportation”. In fact, not only can she re-apply for her visa, her NHS sponsor can certify this rule for her. The latter solution is not even available to spouse of Brits, where help from any third party is not considered. 

What about a ‘deportation letter’? 
This comes up a lot in the press, again, this is a good way to add some drama! In reality, it is a standard letter that comes with every refusal. It is a pre-typed wording, generated by a computer. It does say ‘you must now leave the UK’, which is not helping. It means you must leave if you don’t make a new application, don’t or can’t appeal, and there is no other basis of remaining in the UK.  

Further question to think (and worry) about: 
What happens with the right to work while waiting for a new visa? 

Next time: 
Girl, two, faces deportation even though both of her parents hold British passports because she hasn't lived in the UK for seven years. It is as ridiculous as it sounds! And the wrong application to start with.


As always, we are here to offer individual adviceyou can book here on our website. A consultation can be face-to-face at our London office, on What’s App, Skype or email. 

1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

❗Immigration articles worth reading (and worrying). Part 1. School sends home a teacher because she has no right to work.


School sends home a teacher because she has no right to work – her Indefinite Leave is in the old passport. If your passport expired, do you need to transfer your UK visa? Yes and No, there is no short answer. 



Was the school correct in applying the law? Bizarrely, yes, they were.  

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP), a visa card that looks like a bank card, you don’t have to do anything until this visa expires. If, however, you have an old Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) sticker in your passport, then the answer becomes more complex. 

In this article, a Trinidadian deputy headteacher (no less) has had her ILR since 1989, is married to a UK citizen and has British children. The immigration law does not require her to transfer ILR to a new passport, she can travel with both passports. It is employment law that was ‘the problem’ here. 

Some relatively recent changes in employment law made it compulsory for non-EU citizens to have either: 
  • Valid BRP. It has expiry date, unlike old ILR stamps that were, well, indefinite.  
  • ILR sticker in the valid passport. 
  • Same applies to non-permanent visas, such as Spouse visa for 2.5 years or Tier 2 visa for 3 years etc. This article was based on the confusion between a visa saying ‘indefinite’ but being ‘no so indefinite’. 

Solutions? 

The press likes to dramatise such events, so they report that “family appealed for help”. There are, in fact, 3 solutions:
  • To transfer ILR to a biometric card. It won’t be attached to a passport anymore but it will have its own expiry date. This costs money in Government fees, especially to do it on 24-hour service, so the cynics in us think maybe this was the purpose all the way! 
  • To apply for British Citizenship and get a UK passport. 
  • To do both: to get a BRP on a 24-hour service, so the right to work is not affected. And then to apply for Citizenship which cannot be sped up but worth waiting for. 

Further question to think (and worry) about: 

What happens to biometric ILR when you apply for British Citizenship? 


Next time: 

NHS doctor is threatened with deportation over small visa mistake. How a basic, non-common-sense rule can stop from securing a UK  visa. And why you shouldn’t worry if your refusal letter says “You must now leave the UK”.
 
As always, we are here to offer individual advice, you can book here on our website. A consultation can be face-to-face at our London office, on What’s App, Skype or email. 

1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.




Tuesday, 8 October 2019

👫5 most common questions about UK Spouse visa


#1 How long can I be out of the UK? 
#2 Difference between 5 and 10-year route? 
#3 Does having a British child exempt from the Financial Requirement £18,600? 
#4 English language: A1, A2 or B1? 
#5 When to apply for British Citizenship: 3 or 5 years? 



#1 How long can I be out of the UK?

By far, most common question ever! You might have heard 6 month or 90 days or 6 months per year. 
The ruth is: there is no rule. Each case is considered individually.
The only rule is “you live permanently with your partner in the UK”. 
In practice, with the new online application forms, you will be asked about your trips abroad and reasons, such as holiday or work. 
It will attract attention if you spend more than 50% of your '‘visa time” outside the UK. 
We recommend to go by the same rule as for work visas: 6 months per year and your main home has to remain in the UK. 
If this affects you - please contact us for an individual assessment. 

#2 Difference between 5 and 10-year route? 

5 or 10 years refer to the amount of time you need to spend in the UK to quality for permanent residency. 
In the standard 5-year route you need only 5 years (2 visas: 2.5+2.5) but have to meet all the requirements including Financial £18,600. 
In the 10-year route, you need to wait twice longer and pay more (4 visas: 2.5+2.5+2.5+2.5) but some of the requirements, such as Financial or English, can be waived altogether. 
It is often thought (mistakenly) that 10-year is an easy route, available to all. 
This is not the case! 
It is only for those with exceptional / compassionate circumstances.

#3 Does having a British child exempt from the Financial Requirement £18,600? 

This is in continuation of the above. 
We often see clients coming to us who cannot meet the Financial Requirement £18,600.
Often it is because of the way it is administered rather than because of not having a £18,600 job. 
The question goes: “But we have 2 chidden born in the UK and they have UK passports, does it make a difference?" 
The answer is: “if you are applying for extension, Yes, very likely”. In practice, you are likely to be given a visa - but in the 10-year route (see above). 
If you are applying for an entry visa, No, it is unlikely to make a difference in most cases, and you would need to wait until the Financial Requirement has been met. 
On the positive side, the income threshold remains £18,600, it only goes up if non-British children are applying for visas.  

#4 English language: A1, A2 or B1? 

What a confusion! How many levels are there, when do we need what? 
When you apply for your 1st Spouse/Partner visa, you need the most basic level - A1. 
When you apply for extension (after initial 2.5 years), you need a higher level - A2.
When you apply for permanent residency, you need an even higher level. - B1. 
When you apply for British Citizenship, you need the same B1 level, so, in practice, you don't need to meet it again. 

#5 When to apply for British Citizenship: 3 or 5 years? 

This is another common misunderstanding. 
If you read the guidance on the internet, you will see 3 years. 
Yet professionals, like us ,say 5 years. Who is right? 
Doesn't help that press claims Meghan Markle can have it after 3 years (she can't). 
So, the actual rule in the Nationality law is indeed 3 years but….!
It is only one rule of several. 
Another rules is to have a permanent residency status (Indefinite Leave). 
From 2012 spouses and partners need 5 years in the UK to qualify for it. 
The real answer is: you need 5 years!   

For more, welcome to our website, page In detail: UK Spouse and Partner visas

As always, we are here to offer individual advice, you can book here on our website. A consultation can be face-to-face at our London office, on What’s App, Skype or email. 

1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

🚀 Next-day UK visa service – decision in 24 hours


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Would you prefer to know a decision within 2 working days or wait (and worry) for several months?


Most in-UK visa types are eligible:
- Indefinite Leave 10 years residence
- Spouse/Partner visa: switching, extension, Indefinite Leave
- Tier 2 work visa: switching, extension, changing sponsor, Indefinite Leave
- Tier 4 and 5 visas: switching, extension, changing sponsor
- Ancestral visa: extension, Indefinite Leave
- PBS Dependant: switching, extension, Indefinite Leave
- Renewal of Indefinite Leave (new visa card)
Categories that are not eligible:
- Tier 1
- EEA applications, instead you can register under EU Settlement Scheme that often gives immediate decision
- British Citizenship
- All applications outside the UK, instead there is premium service. It’s not next-day but still faster than standard service
Why choose 1st 4Immigration?
- OISC-accredited company at the highest level 3, ref F200800152
- 10+ years of immigration experience and 1000s successful cases
- Specialist in Spouse/Partner visas with focus on Financial Requirement £18,600
- Experts in Business and Tier 2 work visas
- We reply emails on same working day and use Skype for clients worldwide
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does it work?
Next-day service replaced what used to be a popular same-day service, such as in Croydon. We advise on the visa requirements, prepare your case, complete application forms, upload your documents onto the Government system, book an appointment for biometrics and, generally, ‘hold your hand’ throughout the whole process. On the day of appointment you submit biometrics (fingerprints) at your local facility, which is just for the biometrics and not handled by the visa officers. After that your case it considered electronically by the Government officials at the Home Office ‘behind the scenes’  (they are not seen or talked to), and they notify about the decision by email by the next working day. Then a biometric Visa card arrives a few days later. Our How It Works page describes this process in detail.
How much does it cost?
We have a most competitive fixed fee of £1,099+VAT for most visa categories. Even better, we count the initial consultation fee towards it!  Fees page has a list of our service fees. Our service fee is in addition to the relevant Government fees, which differs in each category, please contact us for details.
How long in advance does it have to be booked?
We can book an appointment up to 4 weeks in advance.
Location and what happens on the day?
Under the current system (new from November 2018), the appointments are only for biometrics (fingerprints) before your case is considered by the Government officials remotely (usually in Sheffield). Since there is no face-to-face or other direct interaction with the UKVI visa officers anymore, these appointments are available at the visa centres all over the UK and can be close to you.  It can be a local library, a core centre such as in Croydon or Manchester, or a designated facility, such as in the City of London.
Important! The new core centres, such as in Croydon or Manchester, are run by a commercial partner, ie ‘visa centres’. These are not Government facilities, as used to be in Croydon or Liverpool (there is a different address in Croydon, it is not Lunar House anymore). There is no direct interaction with the visa offices anymore, they consider all cases remotely.  You can, however, choose a location very close to you, which makes it more convenient and saves time!
Very important! The process described here was changed in relation to the visa application process but not eligibility rules. So, all the visa rules remain the same, such as Financial Requirement £18,600, English language tests, Tier 2 salary rules and so on. What changed is how you apply.
Do I have to attend in person?
As above, you have to come to your chosen visa centre to submit biometrics (fingerprints).  After that your case will be considered remotely by the Government officials (usually in Sheffield).
How does it compare with standard service?
Speed! It is for you if timing is everything.If your visa category is eligible for same-day service (such as Spouse/Partner visa), you have a choice of using standard service (used to be called postal service)  or next-day service. The eligibility rules are the same. The difference is timing. With next-day service you have a decision by the next working day after your biometrics’ appointment. It immediately changes your immigration status to the new category, even though your biometric visa card follows a few days later. With the standard service, it can take 6 months for permanent residency (ILR) application and 2-3 months for non-ILR application.  This is why next-day service is so popular!
To use this service please get in touch on info@1st4immigration.com or visit our website, Next-day UK visa service page
Let’s secure your visa quickly!
1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

🎓 Classroom And Livestream OISC Level 1 Training Course. CPD 10 Core Hours, 12-13 October 2019, Saturday And Sunday, 10am-5pm, £250+VAT.



Having finished filming the BBC documentary Who Should Get to Stay in the UK?, we are excited to offer our OISC Level 1 courses during autumn 2019!

As the subject of UK immigration is becoming even more exciting, you can keep up-to-date with our classroom and online training – and claim CPD hours.



2-day weekend course is conducted at our office in the City of London and presented by our Level 3 accredited Senior Immigration Lawyer, Jules Motcho. That’s him on the far right on the photo!


Classroom and livestream training:

12-13 October 2019, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm, CPD 10 hours, £250+VAT. Book now!

2 – 4 November 2019, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm, CPD 10 hours, £250+VAT. Book now!



Online self-study course:
If you prefer studying in your own time, we have a more detailed Online OISC Level 1 courses here. CPD 16 hours, £199+VAT.


1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

🚀 Fast Schengen visa! Travel now, Christmas and New Year.



Our best guide to the minefield of Schengen! 

Who issues longer visas? Who is fastest? Talk to us before making your travel plans!
Each Schengen country is different but it works well by proper planning to comply with strict rules. Maybe you need fastest service, or maybe better to wait but secure a longer visa, apply once and travel during 6 - 12 months or even more.

You can apply within 3 months before travelling – time to plan Christmas and New Year holidays now!

France - Schengen visa  
Sooner appointments than in the public system! We are one of just 9 accredited visa agencies in the whole of the UK, a highly-trusted company with 15 years of experience. French Consulate issues longer, multiple-entry visas. 
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals, may be longer during busy travel times. 

Spain - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next working day.
Processing time: 7 - 10 days for most nationals.

Portugal - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next 2 - 3 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals.
 
Germany - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next 3 - 4 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals. 

Netherlands - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next 2 - 3 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals, may be longer during busy travel times. 

Italy - Schengen Visa
Soonest appointment: next 2 - 3 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals.

Phone us: 0871 472 1468 or 07795471483 or text.
Email: info@multitravelvisas.co.uk, we reply on the same business day!
Submit an enquiry on our new website: https://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/

Visit our office in the City of London, 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday, no appointment needed.


Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN. Nearest Underground stations are: Liverpool Street, Bank, Monument. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

10 common mistakes when meeting the Financial Requirement £18,600 for a UK Spouse visa



#1 Most common - submitting “everything I have’. 

Some payslips, a tax return, some savings plus a property deed for good measure. Surely, should work? It may sound logical to provide as much as possible, this is often a nightmare scenario for immigration lawyers and often a direct path to a visa refusal. Financial Requirement is strictly based on the ‘rules’: what income can be used, how various sources can be combined and what documents are needed. We often say there is 75-page office guidance just on the finances: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/636618/Appendix_FM_1_7_Financial_Requirement_Final.pdf 


#2 Savings - it’s not £18,600 and not £16,000. 

The real amount (for this purpose) is calculated using this formula: threshold you need to meet (such as £18,600) x 2.5 plus £16,000.
If you are using savings alone, it would be £18,600 x 2.5 + £16,000 = £62,500! 


#3 Employment -  the minimum is 6 months for the same employer. 

In short, you can’t get a job today and apply for a visa tomorrow. You have to stay on that job for 6 months first. 


#4 Employment again -  the maximum is 12 months for the calculation. But don’t need to be all 12 months. 

If you can't meet the previous 6-month rule, let’s say you started your current job last month and your salary is £18,600 pa. 
You have to meet the additional rule of having earned £18,600 in the last 12 months- from any number of jobs. 
This may sound straightforward but there is a lot of confusion about this 2nd rule. 
For example, the 12 months in question are 12 months immediately before the date of visa application and NOT 12 months on the previous job!
Also, 12 months in maximum, so if you have earned £18,600 in, say, 8 months, that’s sufficient. 


#5 Returning to the UK from abroad - more serious than you think. 

This tends to be one of the biggest problems people face. Normally, a British spouse needs a job offer in the UK, which is very difficult to secure while living abroad. 
And we often see the non-British husband working in a well-paid skilled job in their home country of, say, New Zealand, while the British wife stays at home looking after the children. 
In this case, the UK visa rules expect the British wife to have a job offer in the UK.  The common-sense arguments - that the New Zealander husband is a skilled professional who would find a job in the UK in no time - would fall on deaf ears. 
We have a separate post on how you could meet the Financial Requirement while living abroad: https://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.com/2019/09/5-sure-ways-to-meet-financial.html 


#6 Property. 

A very British thing! How can we use it for the UK Spouse visa? 

You cannot use the value of the property. Wherever it is, whether it is your home or a buy-to-let. 
But if you sell it, and deposit the cash in a bank account, then you can. After all applicable deductions (mortgage, fees etc) and taxes. 
The amount you need is the same as under the savings category above (ie not £18,600). 
You can also use income from property if it add up to £18,600 in the last 12 months (not in a tax year!). 
Interestingly, here the amount we go by is gross rent as on the tenancy agreement - not the profit. 
Be careful if you own a property through a holding structure, such as a limited company, which will be very different. 


#7 Self-employment income is different from the rest and it's based on what’s “on paper’. 

As we are one of the specialist firms that work with self-employment income for UK visas, the biggest challenge is to establish what the client has "on paper”.
Are you a sole trader or have a limited company? 
Is your business in the UK or abroad? 
If you are a contractor, we will still treat you as ‘having a business’, even if in your mind you feel you have a job. You may count income paid by your ‘employer’ but we will count income you personally receive from your ‘business’. 
You also have to go by the last financial year, even if it was only finished yesterday. The normal HMRC deadlines of submitting the tax returns 9 months later won’t apply! 


#8 Your tax return is rarely useful! And usually too old. 

Another common-sense approach would be to use your latest available tax return, showing income of minimum £18,600. 
Perfectly understandable and useful in all walks of British life - except when it comes to the Home Office.
Speaking with a good-natured humour (there is place for it in the visa work), we have to ‘fight it off’ on the daily basis.
Unless you have a business under your own name (a sole trader, ie ‘self-employed’ as HMRC calls you), your tax return is NOT relevant for a UK visa. 
We simply don’t need it. 

If we do need it (ie if you are a sole trader), what do we mean by ‘too old’? As above, it has to cover the tax year that’s passed, even if it finished only yesterday. 
Let’s say today is 6th April and the UK tax year finished yesterday- 5th April. You have to prepare tax return for the year finished ‘yesterday’, even though HMRC gives you time until 31 January next year. 

If you have a limited company, your tax return is still irrelevant because your income will be calculated on salary and dividends. 


#9 Family support.

Under the current rules, support from any third party isn’t allowed, even if it is a close family. Even if it is a joint bank account with a close family member (other than your partner). 
But that’s on the date of visa application. 
If your family, usually parents, have money and want to help with a visa, they need to deposit the cash to your and/or your partner’s account, then you need to wait for 6 months not touching it. Then you can apply for a visa. By that time, on the date of application, you will have had the savings for 6 months in your name(s). 


#10 What can increase your chances? 

We put this as a separate point because this is a very common question. 
The answer is “nothing”. 
You can't increase your chances, so to speak. 
Instead, you either meet the rules or you can't. 
This visa is based on the rules: if you don't meet them - you don't get a visa. But if you can meet the rules - you get the visa! 



For individual advice or to make an application, please visit our website: Financial Requirement page or contact us: info@1st4immigration.com. We respond emails on the same working day.


1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.