Saturday, 6 June 2020

👉 Immigration news roundup




Dear customers of 1st 4Immigration and Multi Travel Visas,


#1 Visa centres are beginning to reopen from 1 June, for UK visa applications. In the UK, they are only offering appointments to the applicants who had booked prior to the lockdown and had their appointments cancelled, but it’s a start. 

Outside the UK: depends on the situation in your country. Many are still closed (Canada, Russia, India, for example), although some are also beginning to re-open (Malaysia, China including Hong Kong). 

At this moment there is no news on foreign travel visas, such as if you are hoping to travel to the Schengen area this summer. 


#2 Visas for Hong Kong residents. This has been making headlines lately. It is not an official policy yet. It is an intention, in case the new law is implemented in Hong Kong, to allow British Nationals (Overseas), known as BN(O), to come to the UK for 12 month. Visa-free. Instead of the current 6 months. No more details yet. It is expected the newcomers may be given the right to work, extend for another 12 months and eventually get settlement.


#3 English language test centres are also resuming their work: Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the Pearson Test of English website or the LanguageCert website


#4 If you had a 30-day visa sticker in your passport but couldn’t travel to the UK. You can request another one, free of charge, and travel later. This will remain in place until end of 2020. 


#5 This isn’t new, but remember the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will be increasing from £400 per year to £624 per year! Per person, so per each family member too. Expected from October but no official date is confirmed (to prevent the rush of applications before that). We suggest to apply for a UK visa as soon as you qualify. Applying means the date of online application and payment, even if your visa centre appointment - and all subsequent steps- come after the new IHS is implemented. 


We at 1st 4Immigration are working as normal. We continue to guide on the visa rules, assist with applications online, via email and Dropbox. Just drop us a message if you wish to start or restart your engagement with us. 
If you need a consultation (advice session), we continue over WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and email, and you can book here: https://www.1st4immigration.com/book-a-consultation/ 

If you need any help from us, or any questions, please do get in touch!


1st 4Immigration 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. Address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.
www.1st4immigration.com

Saturday, 23 May 2020

UK visa work continues and visa centres reopen - latest update

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UK immigration authorities continue to process visa applications, albeit still at a slower pace and without Priority services. However, the visa centres are beginning to reopen in the UK and abroad from 1 June 2020 for submission of biometrics (fingerprints). To start with, they are re-booking appointments for the applicants who had booked a slot prior to the lockdown and had them cancelled.

Regardless of that, it is still possible to submit your application online. If your visa expires soon, you can apply for your next visa online and "on-time", i.e. before your current visa expires, and then waiting for further steps. This keeps you within the Rules and does not make you an overstayer. 

Even better, the actual documents (supporting evidence) can be submitted later, thus giving you even more time to prepare them. Usually, within 45 days after the online "submission". It may be extended due to the Covid situation (but no dates confirmed yet). There is an 'informal confirmation' of 8 months (240 days) but it's not an official policy. It will, however, be extended for as long as needed to clear up the backlog. 

If you can, it is a good idea to make your application now. When we are back to normal, it will have its place in the Government queue! And in the queue for biometric appointments. No one knows at the moment how long it would take for a decision, but the sooner it is submitted, the sooner it will be looked at.

We at 1st 4Immigration continue to work from remotely, but as normal nonetheless: via email, WhatsApp, Skype, phone, Dropbox and similar. Visa applications are prepared, analysed and submitted electronically. Our advice sessions are also running as normal via Whats App, Skype and email. You can book a consultation here.


If you need any help from us, or any questions, please do get in touch!

1st 4Immigration OISC ref F200800152
www.1st4immigration.com 
info@1st4immigration.com - we reply on the same working day!
What’s app worldwide +447795471483 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

🎓 Online OISC Level 1 training




We have moved all our training online! 


We now offer OISC Level 1 course livestream on Zoom and Skype 13-14 June, 1-2 July and 4-5 August 2020.

It is a 2-day course, 10.00 - 16.00 with breaks. CPD 10 hours. Price £250+VAT. It is live training (livestream), where you can interact with the tutor and ask your questions. You can check the dates and book here.


We also continue to run our best-selling Self-study OISC Level 1 course, based on an electronic textbook. 

You can study in your own time, at your own pace, from any device at any place. CPD 16 hours. Price £199+VAT. You can find it here.  



Our courses are CPD-accredited by The CPD Standards Office, reference 80001.

Extracts from How To Use the Immigration Rules:

The ‘Other way around principle’: when trying to find out whether a migrant can switch from one visa category to another, most people would go to the section of the Rules that covers their current visa. Then looking for what they can switch or extend to. For example, a Tier 4 student would go to the Tier 4 rules and try to understand whether they can switch to a work or Spouse visa. It works ‘Other way around’: you have to go to the section about the visa you are switching to, find Requirements for a Leave to Remain, and see whether your current category is listed there as one of those ‘the applicant must have one of the following’. In our example, a Tier 4 student, trying to find out if they can switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa, you have to go to Part 6A, find Tier 2 (General) Requirements for a Leave to Remain, then ‘the applicant must have been granted one of the following’ and here is Tier 4 on the list. If not on the list - can’t switch. For example, Tier 2 won’t have a visitor or Tier 5 YMS on the list.

Extracts from Spouse/Partner visa - Financial Requirement £18,600:

What is a full financial year for a self-employed person? A self-employed person is what HMRC calls a sole trader , ie self-employed without a company. It is not what we envisage under the common sense definition of ‘working for yourself’, with can be as a sole trader, a company director and other forms, like a partnership. For a ’self-employed’ person, a full financial year is a tax year, ie a year ending 5 April. So, you have to submit your tax return, even if it means earlier than HMRC deadline of 31 January next year, generate HMRC Tax Calculation and go by the line Profit From Self-Employment, which must be minimum £18,600 for a spouse visa. 


1st 4Immigration is one of the most experienced UK immigration law companies, OISC - accredited 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: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN. www.1st4immigration.com 

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Health Surcharge will increase to £624 - apply now if eligible!



Whilst we are pre-occupied with Coronavirus, there are other changes happening in the UK immigration field. Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is expected to soar from the £400 to £624 per year from October 2020! The Government is known for confirming such changes at a short notice, sometimes earlier than expected - to prevent the rush of applications before the change.

If you are eligible - apply now to save money! 
For a typical 2.5-year Spouse visa, IHS would increase from £1,000 (£400 x 2.5) to £1,560! For a 3-year Tier 2 work visa, from £1,200 to £1,872! That’s in addition to the 'application fee' and it is per person, i.e. the same for a spouse and each child. 

If you are planning your UK entry visa, such as a Spouse/Partner visa or Tier 2 work visa, you can apply ’now’, pay the current IHS amount, and wait for the next steps. When visa centres re-open in your country, you will be able to submit biometrics (fingerprints) and provide supporting documents. It doesn't matter how long it will take - your date of payment will be fixed as ’now’ at the lower amount. 

If you need to extend your UK visa, such as after initial 2.5 years on a Spouse visa, you can apply within 28 days before your current visa expires. We can start working on your case now and submit online as soon as you are eligible, pay the current (lower) IHS amount if it's before the change, and wait for the visa centres to open. During the wait, your status remains the same as on the current visa for as long as it takes for a decision.

You can also apply without English or Life in the UK test, then wait for the test centres to re-open, sit the test and continue accordingly. 

IHS does not apply to applications for Indefinite Leave, British Citizenship and EU Settlement Scheme. 

To start your application, please get in touch by Replying to this email.  
To book a consultation to discuss your case, please follow this link.
We continue to work as normal, providing online/email/WhatsApp consultations and considering documents over Dropbox and similar. 

1st 4Immigration team, OISC ref F200800152
info@1st4immigration.com - we reply on the same working day! 
What’s app worldwide +447795471483 

Thursday, 30 April 2020

☑ 5 visa-related things to do in the lockdown




If you are planning to make a new visa application in 2020, these are the steps you could take now:


1. Study for Life in the UK Test. 

If you are planning to secure a permanent residency or British Citizenship in the future, you can start studying now. Doesn’t matter if you are a good few years away from it - the test doesn't have an expiry date!  You cannot take the actual test until the test centres re-open but you can order a Book or study online. 


2. Download bank statements. 

Most applications ask for the bank statements for the last 6 - 12 months, so you could download them as soon as they are ready. Same for payslips. 


3. Prepare 2019-20 tax return if you are self-employed. 

This applies if you are self-employed (a sole trader, without a company) and are likely to use such income for your next application. Doesn't matter the HMRC gives you time until 31 January 2021 - the visa authorities expect to see the 2019-20 tax return if you make a visa application before 5 April 2021. 


4. Make a list of all oversees trips since your last UK visa. 

Almost every application now asks about all trips outside the UK since your last visa started. For example, if you are currently on the initial Spouse visa, you will be asked for this when you apply for extension. 


5. Download household bills. 

Another common piece of evidence, required for almost all applications, covering a period since your last UK visa was issued. These can be in the electronic format, so you can download them at home. Examples: utility bills, council tax bills, tenancy agreements, mortgage statements. 


As always, we are here to help if you need advice or to start working on your application: https://www.1st4immigration.comWe are open and working remotely, with the online submission to the Government. 



ONE MORE THING: If you are considering a career change post-Coronavirus, such as more working from home, the world of immigration advice is moving precisely that way. Not in all cases, of course, and many clients still prefer talking face-to-face (which we are always happy to do, safely, after the lockdown). Most of the casework, however, has been conducted over WhatsApp, online applications with electronic documents even before Covid-19. At the same time, the actual Immigration Rules - the law - is becoming increasingly complex: old rules, post-Brexit rules, transitional rules, exceptions, details etc. While there is more demand for competent immigration advice, the actual work can potentially be mostly done “from home”. As one of the recognised trainers of immigration advisers, we have an Online OISC Level 1 course: 
https://www.1st4immigration.com/training/#online


1st 4Immigration 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. Address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN


Monday, 6 April 2020

👉 Online OISC LEVEL 1 Course. CPD 16 Hours. Only £199 + VAT. 👈

Dear friends!

Our OISC Level 1 training is a bestseller! With the online version, you can download it on your computer and study in your own time.
The course is great for you if:
- you are preparing to take a Level 1 OISC exam and become an immigration adviser.
- you are a practicing adviser or solicitor and wish to broaden your knowledge about other visa categories, such as to learn in detail about the Points-Based System. You will earn 16 CPD hours!
- you work in HR; you are a business owner or a landlord and need to learn about how your employees or tenants can stay legally in the UK so that you don't face penalties.

With over 10 years of experience, we designed this course to be of practical help! It's full of useful advice, explanation of how to understand Immigration Rules, where to find the information during a case and many case studies.
Unlike most training other there, this is not boring coverage of the Immigration Rules, we tried to keep it as entertaining as possible!



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, 5 April 2020

Updated May 2020: UK visa work continues - latest update

UK immigration authorities continue to process visa applications, albeit not as fast as they normally would. The visa centres are beginning to gradually re-opening from 1 June 2020 in the UK and abroad. Regardless of when your particular centre re-opens, it is still possible to submit your application online. If your visa expires soon, you can apply for your next visa "on-time", i.e. before your current visa expires, by making such an application online and then waiting for the further steps. This keeps you within the Rules and does not make you an overstayer. 

Even better, the actual documents (supporting evidence) can be submitted later, thus giving you even more time to prepare while remaining within the Rule on visa expiry dates. We usually have 45 days to provide the documents (ie upload them online to the Government portal) after the online "submission" mentioned above. This is extended for as long as it will take to clear up the backlog. 

If you can, it is a good idea to make your application now. When we are back to normal, it will have its place in the Government queue! And in the queue for biometric appointments. No one knows at the moment how long it would take for a decision, but the sooner it is submitted, the sooner it will be looked at. 

You can also apply without English or Life in the UK test, then wait for the test centres to re-open, take the test and continue accordingly. The test centres are also beginning to re-open in June also. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the Pearson Test of English website or the LanguageCert website or contact your test centre.

Furthermore, you can potentially avoid an increase of Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is expected to go up from £400 to £624 per year (per person!) from October 2020. Read more in our post here.

We at 1st 4Immigration continue to work from home, remotely, but as normal nonetheless: via email, WhatsApp, Skype, phone, Dropbox and similar. Visa applications are prepared, analysed and submitted electronically. Our advice sessions are also running as normal via Whats App, Skype and email. You can book a consultation here. 

If you need any help from us, or any questions, please do get in touch!

1st 4Immigration 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. www.1st4immigration.com 

Thursday, 2 April 2020

(COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

This scheme is up and running now, you can start here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme 

Self-employed means a sole trader, ie someone who has a business and working for themselves- without forming a company. If you have a limited company, you won't be classed as self-employed for HMRC and this purpose. You will, however, be classed as self-employed if you are in a Partnership. 

Under the scheme, the self-employed will be paid 80% of their income, up to £2,500 per month, initially a lump sum for 3 months. The actual amount will be calculated as average of your income during the last 3 tax years (last tax year being 2018-19). If you were self-employed for less than those 3 tax years, it will be average of the available tax years. If you only started self-employment during 2019-20 tax year, you won't qualify. Also, only those with income of £50,000 from self-employment will qualify and only if self-employment forms more than a half of your total income. 

Self-employment income for those purpose is the line 'Profit from self employment' on your Tax Calculation (known as form SA302). You can also benefit from deferral of tax payment under Self-Assessment: what you would be expected to pay by 31 June 2020 can now be deferred until 31 January 2021. 

If you have a limited company, and pay yourself a director's salary under PAYE, you should look instead into Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme because you are an employee of your own company: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme 
Unfortunately, so far, no help has been proposed to cover dividends. 

And here is a link to the summary of the proposed measures to help businesses, such as exemption from business rates, deferral of VAT and Self-Assessment payments etc:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses 


Friday, 27 March 2020

Updated May 2020. COVID-19: UK visas, help for businesses and people

UK visas and your immigration status: 

If your current visa expires before 31 July 2020, and you are not planning to remain in the UK, you can request the above extension until 31 July 2020 (but you have to ask for it, ie it's not automatic). 

If your current visa expires before 31 July 2020, and you are planning to stay in the UK long-term, you can make an online application for that - by 31 July 2020. Even if you couldn't switch under the normal circumstances, you will be able to do so now. Examples: from a visitor status to a Spouse visa; from a visitor status to a Tier 4 student or Tier 2 work visa. 

The latest extension, up to 31 July 2020, will be applied automatically to those who had already extended their stay until 31 May 2020 under the previous provision (in which case you don't have to ask for it, it will be done automatically).  

Tier 2 migrants working for the NHS as a doctor, nurse and other eligible occupations:  if your visa expires before 1 October 2020, your Tier 2 Sponsor (employer) will be able to ask for a 12-month extension.

If you have an entry visa stamp for 30 days in your passport but unable to travel before it expires (or before it has already expired): you will be able to request another stamp, free of charge, to travel until the end of 2020.

Our work:  

We at 1st 4Immigration continue to work remotely (but as normal otherwise) via email, What’s App, Skype and phone. Visa applications are prepared, analysed and submitted by us electronically - you can send your documents to us via email, Dropbox or similar. Once submitted, applications are considered by the UK authorities electronically.

Our advice session service (consultations with our lawyers) are running as normal via What’s App, Skype and email. You can book a consultation here. 


Help for businesses:  

Company directors: 
If you or your business have been affected by Coronavirus, you can also claim support with your director’s salary under the Job Retention Scheme. Only your salary under PAYE, not dividends. 

Employees:
As above, your employer may be able to get help to keep you on their books while you have no work to do. 

Self-employed (sole traders without a company or those in a Partnership):

1st 4Immigration 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. www.1st4immigration.com 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Advice from Gov.UK for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents