Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Online CPD course 6 hours, Spouse/Partner Visas - Case Studies and FAQs


For our colleagues Immigration Advisers and Solicitors: Our online training course is accepted by The OISC and SRA, CPD ref number EJE/14IM.

Spouse/Partner Visas - Case Studies and FAQs. 6 core hours CPD credit.

This course provides case studies and answers to most frequently asked questions from our practice.  Case studies include meeting the Financial Requirement via employment, self-employment (including 'umbrella company', sole trader, limited company owner), savings, pension. Plus case studies including issues with English (including using the same evidence in the last visa application), Life in the UK Test as well as accommodation, translations etc. We also included cases where the Sponsor was exempt from the Financial Requirement (£18,600) and where a couple applied under Exception plus the difference between exemption and exception.

Download from our website, study in your own time on any computer, iPad or iPhone, complete the test and we will award your CPD hours and send you a certificate.

Visit website now to download or to read a detailed table of contents, objectives and extracts:  
The course is offered by our company, 1st 4Immigration Ltd, which is a practising immigration company, registered by The OISC at a highly respectable Level 2, based at the Royal Mint in Central London. We’ve had almost 100% success rate in 2013!
1st 4Immigration Ltd, OISC no F200800152, SRA ref EJE/14IM.
68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ.


www.1st4immigration.com and www.1st4immigration.com/training 

CONTENTS:
 
PART 1: REVIEW OF THE RULES

GENERAL:

Which partners are covered? Or whose partners (of who) are covered? | ‘Present and Settled in the UK’ | What is the difference between civil partners, unmarried partners and same-sex partners? | Which partners aren’t covered?

TYPES OF VISAS (Fiancée, Spouse and Unmarried Partner):

SPOUSE VISA | FIANCE(E) VISA | UNMARRIED PARTNER VISA

The main thing about Spouse/Partner visas is that there are Old Rules and New Rules, like 'before and after':

All changed on 9 July 2012 | How to distinguish? | Transitional arrangements | Applying under the Transitional Arrangements means

The Old versus the New – Summary of changes:

Knowledge of Language and Life (KOLL) – what’s new from 28 October 2013?:

English for a spouse/partner/fiancée visa: A1 or B1 level from 28 October 2013? Stop the confusion! | FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: Do I need English in Speaking and Listening only when the test covers all 4 components including Reading and Writing? | Exemptions

PART 2: ENTRY CLEARANCE CASE STUDIES

Canadian – British couple who lived in Canada for 20 years and now returning to the UK together. Financial Requirement was met through the British Sponsor employed by the Applicant’s own company in Canada, plus a new job in the UK

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION - spouses married for more than 4 years

Israeli wife and 2 children of a UK citizen who always lived in Israel and now returning to the UK together. Financial Requirement was met through the British Sponsor’s earnings from his own company in Israel, plus a job offer in the UK

American husband of a UK citizen. Financial Requirement was met through the Savings of both spouses, transferred from investments to cash savings

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: can value of the property be used ?

Rwandan wife of a UK citizen. Financial Requirement was met through working through an agency and paid by an ‘umbrella company’

Syrian wife of a UK citizen. Financial Requirement was met through the Sponsor’s limited company in the UK (and important point about director’s salary and financial years)

American husband of a UK citizen. Financial Requirement was supposed to be met using pension and savings but the case had to be cancelled because of the wrong type of pension

Ugandan wife of a UK citizen. The Sponsor lived in a shared accommodation in the UK, was in debt but was not exempt from the Financial Requirement

Nicaraguan husband of a UK citizen. The Sponsor was exempt from the Financial Requirement because of disability benefits

American partner of a UK citizen living together in Germany. The Financial Requirement was met via Category A, working for at least 6 months for a company in Germany and a job offer in the UK

American fiancé of a UK citizen. Before coming to us application was refused because of missing evidence including missing proof of intention to marry and adequate accommodation (yet the UKBA changed its mind while we were preparing a fresh application)

Filipina fiancée of a UK citizen with a proof of a TB test and intention to marry in the UK

PART 3: LEAVE TO REMAIN CASE STUDIES - FLR (M) UNDER THE NEW RULES

Filipina wife of a UK citizen switching from a Tier 4 visa and using earnings from work placements for both spouses

Pakistani husband of a UK citizen, switching from a Tier 4 visa. Sponsor was exempt from the Financial Requirement and application was submitted after the Tier 4 visa expired

Filipino wife of a UK citizen, switching from a Tier 4 visa after it expired. The Sponsor was self-employed but did not submit a tax return yet

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: What is meant by a ‘full financial year’?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: What if one became self-employed or registered a company recently and does have a ‘full financial year’ yet?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: Which financial year do we count? Since the deadlines for submitting the tax returns/accounts can be 9 months later?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: Tax return, Self-Assessment, forms SA302 and SA300, what do they mean and what are the differences?

Chinese wife of a UK citizen, switching from a Post-Study Work visa. Financial Requirement was expected to be met by using Savings, transferred from investments. This case had to be cancelled after we found that one type of investments (peer-to-peer lending) was not held in a regulated institution

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: importance of a ‘regulated institution’

American wife of a UK citizen, switching from a Tier 4 visa. Financial Requirement was met by the Sponsor getting a basic job and working for 6 months (because his self-employment was a long way away from the end of a financial year)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: do I have to keep working after the visa was issued?

PART 4: LEAVE TO REMAIN CASE STUDIES - FLR (M) EXTENSIONS UNDER THE OLD RULES

Australian wife of a UK citizen who had to extend her visa because she confused English test and Life in the UK Test

Tunisian wife of a UK citizen who was offered a job in Tunisia during the 2 year probationary period

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: do ‘6 letters’ need to be addressed to the couple jointly?

American unmarried partner of a UK citizen who was doing some work abroad during the 2 year probationary period while the spouse remained in the UK

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: does getting married make a difference?

PART 5: INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN (ILR) FOR SPOUSES - SET (M)

Thai – British couple who were interviewed in Croydon during same-day service appointment because they did not have ‘6 letters’

American husband of a British citizen, the Sponsor was sent to work in Brazil during the 2 year probationary period

Filipino husband of a British citizen, the Applicant was working on a boat and had many absences

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: based on the above cases, how to judge whether to choose an ILR or extension because of absences?

MOST COMMON REASONS FOR DELAYING ILR:

Reason 1 and the most common: driving offences | Reason 2: fines | Reason 3: absences | Reason 4: Life in the UK Test | Other reasons

Ecuadorian husband of a Spanish citizen with a de-facto ILR in the UK. The case was almost refused (wrongly) in Croydon because of the caseworker’s confusion about UK/EU law.

Turkish wife of a UK citizen. English language requirement was met via using an IELTS certificate used in the previous application, even though that application required a lower level of English a certificate has now expired. Also, the applicant had 2 certificates and could not remember which one was used 2 years ago

Spouse/Partner KOL required - what do such visas mean?

Ghanaian husband of a UK citizen with a KOL Required visa

Russian wife and step-son of a UK citizen who did not bring the child on the day of appointment for same-day service

Australian wife of a UK citizen who did not move to the UK for a year

Old Maintenance rule – when Financial Requirement does not apply

PART 6: LEAVE TO REMAIN UNDER EXCEPTION - FAMILY LIFE 10 YEAR ROUTE

Exemption from the Financial Requirement (not to be confused with Exception) | Exception

(EX.1)
Trinidadian - British couple who had 4 British children studying at school in the UK and the wife had a visitor visa

PART 7: ILR FOR PARTNERS OF PBS MIGRANTS WHO SWITCHED TO FLR(M)

Before 9 July 2012 | All changed on 9 July 2012! | There is one exception (would not have been the same without with the UKBA!) | Russian wife of a Tier 1 migrant who obtained an ILR based on Long Residence |

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: My partner has just received an ILR, do I have to switch from PBS Dependant to FLR(M)?

PART 8: PUBLIC FUNDS

Not all benefits are public funds | Income-related benefits (public funds) | Contributory benefits (not public funds) | The NHS | ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ – not what it seems |
Child Benefit | Child and Working Tax Credits

PART 9: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL:

My friend had a visa for 2 years, why are you telling me it will be for 2.5 years?
I have already spent 2 years in the UK while being married to a UK citizen, can I apply for an ILR?
Can I combine Spouse/Partner visas with other visas for an ILR?
My partner is eligible for an ILR but has not applied yet. Can I apply for a Spouse/Partner visa at the same time as he is applying for his ILR?
Can I come as a visitor and apply for a Spouse visa in the UK? Or Can I come as a visitor, get married in the UK and apply for a Spouse visa in the UK?
How early can I switch to a Spouse/Partner visa?
When is the earliest I can apply for an ILR? Within 28 days before my visa expires or within 28 days before I qualify?
Do I have to make a next application within 28 days after my previous visa expired or can I apply later?
I made an application but it was not decided before my previous visa expired. Am I an illegal immigrant?

KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGE AND LIFE (KOLL) – ENGLISH LANGUAGE:

When do I need A1 level of English and when B1?
I was told it is B1 level for Spouses from October 2013?
Do I need English in Speaking and Listening only when the test covers all 4 components including Reading and Writing?
I had to prove English when I applied for a previous Spouse/Partner visa, do I need to prove it again for an ILR?
Can the previously submitted evidence be used?
I had to prove English when I applied for a previous visa in another category (Tier 2 or PSW etc), do I need to prove English now again when switching to a Spouse/Partner visa?
I am from South Africa (or Nigeria), we speak English here and it is our official language. Surely it is a majority English-speaking country and we meet English rule automatically?
How to establish if a degree was taught in English?
Can school certificate be used (GCSE, A level)?
Can English language courses be used?
Common question from British husbands: “Her English is very good, will it do for a visa?”

KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGE AND LIFE (KOLL) – LIFE IN THE UK:

I am a national of a majority English-speaking country, do I still need a Life in the UK Test?
Can I use an ESOL in Citizenship context course?

ABSENCES:

I delayed my entry to the UK, what to do?
What the limits on absences for an ILR (and a myth about 90 & 180 days)?
Do I have to be in the UK during the Spouse/Partner visa? What if I am offered a job abroad?
How to judge, ILR or FLR(M)?

FINANCIAL REQUIREMENT:

Exemption and Exception, what’s the difference?
What is adequate maintenance?
Can property be counted towards the Financial Requirement?
Company directors, can I use the salary?
I am Self-employed, do I have to submit a tax return if it’s not the deadline yet? My accountant says I don’t have to
My partner has a salary of £19,000 now but it was only £15,000 until 3 months ago, how
would it work?
My husband has just returned to the UK but only got a job after 3 months, when can we apply to bring the spouse to the UK?
Financial requirement for dependants, how much income and savings? Which children do we have to count?

ACCOMMODATION:

What is meant by ‘adequate accommodation’?
How many people can occupy a room?
Can anyone share a room?
Do you count just bedrooms?
Do I need a report on the housing conditions?
Do I need to submit a proof of accommodation?
I am renting a room in a shared accommodation (with flatmates), will this work?
We are living with spouse’s parents, will it work?

TRANSLATIONS:

Who has to provide translations? I speak language pretty well myself, can I write?
Does a translation need to be certified?
Does a translation need to be notarised?
Does a translation need to be legalised?
Do I need an Apostille?

UNMARRIED PARTNERS:

2 years of living together or 2 years of a relationship?
I’ve lived with my partner for 2 years but we only have documents going back 1.5 years, what to do?
Does getting married make a difference?

PUBLIC FUNDS:
Which benefits qualify for Exemption from the Financial Requirement?
'No recourse to public funds’, does it mean no benefits at all?
NHS and public funds

CRIMINALITY AND DRIVING OFFENCES:

I had a parking/speeding ticket, does it affect my visa?
I had a fine/caution/warning does it affect my visa?
Do I have to wait until conviction has been ‘spent’?

Monday, 24 February 2014

New successful case and testimonial on a SET(M) application for an Indefinite Leave to Remain for a spouse of a UK citizen. For English we used IELTS certificate from the previous application (even though it has now expired).

“We have accomplished obtaining my settlement right together. Not only have you made this highly complex process very easy for us but you also have taken all the stress and anxiety away from us. I appreciate that you always replied our e mails quickly regardless of time and place you were. It was a great opportunity to have been able to ask any question anytime. You have generated different alternatives in accordance with our circumstances which were very practical as well as money saving tips. As for the application day, Russell was a great help for us in every respect. My husband and I just sat in the café and enjoyed our coffees. Russell dealt with everything which was a really huge relief. To have worked with you for my settlement application was of the best decisions I have ever made. Thank you!”
This came from Ms U A who applied for an ILR after 2 years in the UK on a Spouse visa. The main issue in this case was the new English requirement, which applies from 28.10.2013. The Applicant did pass a Life in the UK Test but we needed to address what to use for English.
The Applicant did pass an IELTS exam before when she applied for a Spouse visa 2 years ago, achieving a B1 level (or even higher), even though only A1 level was needed. This is very common in this category. The current Rules, Appendix KOLL, say that if the previous visa was issued on the basis of demonstrating a B1 level then there is no need to demonstrate English again.
The problem was that the previous visa, Spouse leave to remain, required only an A1 level of English and therefore, the visa was issued on the basis of that. In this case we could use the same test again, even if it has now expired, as long as the client provides an original certificate used 2 years ago, which was achieved.
For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com 
If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website: www.1st4immigration.com/training

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa: what questions are asked at the interview?

Have you applied for an Entrepreneur visa? Or switching to it from Post-Study Work where you need to already have a business? If Yes, it is very likely you will be invited for an interview. If you have not been invited yet then it is very likely you will be invited.

In many cases we had, the UKBA invites for a face-to-face interview in Sheffield, although sometimes with a very short notice. In this case the applicant has a chance to prepare for the interview. However, invitation letter does not say what exactly is needed, only something standard, like ‘bring anything related to your case’. You may even be phoned by a caseworker and asked questions, effectively conducting a phone interview right at that moment. It may happen on a Saturday.

Here are some examples of questions we have seen our clients asked. Please remember you may be asked different questions but you may still find it useful:

“I looked at your website, you say (this) or (that). Can you provide more information on it?” The point here is that you need to expect to be asked about anything on your website.

“Your business plan says (this) or (that). Can you provide more details?” A good lesson to learn here! A business plans tends to be like a CV – a lot is promised on it yet not everything reflects the reality. Here you have to be prepared for questions about anything in your business plan. Or, if not too late, to think well before writing your business plan.

For ‘contractors’, usually having a contract with IT or accountant firm: “You have a contract to work at the client’s premises Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm. How are you going to combine this with developing your business?”

“Do you have an accountant?”

“Do you have business insurance?” We normally advise to include this with the application but the UKBA may also ask about Employer’s Liability Insurance, even though there is no requirement to employ people at the initial visa application. It is a requirement at the extension stage, so technically, this is when Employer’s Liability Insurance will be relevant. However, it will not hurt to include it anyway.   

“Are the funds still available”? Meaning that you have not spent the £50,000/£200,000. The funds must be kept on your account or invested in the business but not in paying yourself.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training

Monday, 10 February 2014

I made an application but it was not decided before my previous visa expired. Am I an illegal immigrant?

If you submitted your application before your current visa expired then your previous visa automatically extends for as long as it takes to make a decision on your new application, however long it will take. This happens under Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971. In this case all conditions of the previous visa continue to apply until decision has been made on the new application.

Switching from Tier 2 to a Spouse/Partner visa, such as if you don’t want to work for your Tier 2 Sponsor anymore. Until decision has been made, your status remains Tier 2, so you have to continue to comply with its conditions. Many choose same-day service for such switches because there is no risk of an employer finding out earlier than you want them to.

Switching from Tier 4 to another visa: your conditions of stay remain as on Tier 4 until decision has been made on your next visa. If your Tier 4 visa allowed to work then you could keep working, same as before (usually part-time during the terms and full-time on vacations and after the course has been completed). if your Tier 4 visa did not allow to work then you cannot work while your next application is under consideration.

Switching from Post-Study Work to Entrepreneur: again your status remains Post-Study Work for as long as it takes to make a decision on your Entrepreneur visa. During the consideration you can continue working as on PSW. Once your Entrepreneur visa has been approved, you will be able to work only for your business, as per conditions of Entrepreneur visa.

Exception: the only exception here is spouses of European/EEA nationals (non-British). For example, spouses of Polish or French citizens. Under the EU law rights of residency, and therefore, a right of work in the UK, comes automatically from the law and not from a ‘visa stamp’. The main condition is that an EEA spouse is exercising treaty rights in the UK. In this case a non-EU spouse gains all the rights automatically, with or without applying for a Residence Card (and if he/she applies the Card, which is actually a stamp in the passport, will simply confirm the rights, rather than grant them). So, here a non-EU spouse on a Tier 2 visa can quite the job right away if he/she wants to. Or a non-EU spouse on a Tier 4 visa which does not allow to work can start working right away. However, it’s worth remembering that new employers may not know this automatic right, so better to check with them or wait until application has been granted. This exception does not apply to Unmarried Partners and does not apply at all to spouses of UK citizens.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website: www.1st4immigration.com/training

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Online CPD course 7 hours, British Citizenship - a Dream for Many!

For our colleagues Immigration Advisers and Solicitors: Our online training course is accepted by The OISC and SRA, CPD ref number EJE/14IM.

British Citizenship - a Dream for Many! 7 hours CPD credit.

The course includes criminality changes from 13 December 2012 and rules for EEA nationals including Bulgarian / Romanian (EU2) whose applications can be submitted from 2013 onwards. 

Download from our website, study in your own time on any computer, iPad or iPhone, complete the test and we will award your CPD hours and send you a certificate.

Visit website now to download or to read a detailed table of contents, objectives and extracts:  




The course is offered by our company, 1st 4Immigration Ltd, which is a practising immigration company, registered by The OISC at a highly respectable Level 2, based at the Royal Mint in Central London. We’ve had 100% success rate in 2012!
1st 4Immigration Ltd, OISC no F200800152, SRA ref EJE/14IM.
4 Royal Mint Court, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4HJ.


www.1st4immigration.com and www.1st4immigration.com/training

 
CONTENTS:
INTRODUCTION  

PART 1 – NATURALISATION

4 types of rules - 4 groups: Spouses and civil partner of British citizens, EEA nationals, family members of EEA nationals and 'Everyone else'.
SECTION 1: We start from the most common group – ‘Everybody else’.

ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS:
Condition 1: No ILR – No Citizenship! | Common mistake: ‘skipping’ an ILR | TIP -The main challenge on the way to Citizenship is to qualify and secure an ILR  | Example: A client asks “I have an Entrepreneur visa, when can I apply for a British passport?” |

Condition 2: Having an ILR for at least 12 months | CASE STUDY: Canadian national holds and ILR and is married to another Canadian national who holds a Spouse visa | TIP - Spouses and civil partners of the UK citizens don’t need to wait for 12 months after an ILR.
Condition 3: Five years of continuous legal residency in the UK and being present in the UK on a day 5 years before receipt of application by the UKBA | 3.1) Legal residency | Exemption from immigration control | Being in any place of detention or prison | Illegal residency | 28 days of overstaying is not ‘overstaying’.  | 3.2) Continuous residency | CASE STUDY – from Tier 1 General straight to Citizenship? | 3.3) Being present in the UK on a day 5 years before receipt of application by the UKBA

Condition 4: Good character | 4.1) Paying taxes | TIP – Unemployed clients | CASE STUDY – Chinese national who doesn’t have a job | 4.2) Criminal convictions, civil judgments, driving offences, fines, fixed penalty notices, cautions | Before 13 December 2012 - Spent and Unspent criminal convictions | From 13 December 2012 - Criminal convictions | TIP – applicant’s offence may have happened after he obtained an ILR | Table of offences and impact on applications | TIP – changes under 4. in the above table (non-custodial sentence) actually means ‘good’ news for many | Single conviction for a minor offence | Driving offences: drink-driving, driving without insurance, driving whilst using a mobile phone and similar | Fixed Penalty Notices | Fines | More than one sentence | TIP – It is the prison sentence that counts, not the time served | TIP  - Suspended sentence | TIP – Admonished sentence (in Scotland) | Charged with offence and awaiting trial or sentencing | Terrorism | CASE STUDY – Russian national with a ‘spent’ drink-driving offence | 4.3) Bankruptcy.
Condition 5: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK | Examples of applicants who still need to meet English and/or Life in the UK requirements, even though they did not need it for Settlement | And those who are exempt altogether | 2 ways of meting this condition |  Life in the UK Test | TIP -Life in the UK Test does not have expiry date | On a humorous note | English language requirement – new from 28 October 2013.

Condition 6: Absences from the UK (rules are not the same as for an ILR!) | Date of Application (and how far back absences are counted) | Basic rules on absences | Differences from the ILR rules (and will be confusing for your clients) | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the 5 years | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the last 12 months | CASE STUDY – Indian executive with frequent global travel | TIP – last 5 years before Date of Application are assessed | Why is it important? Because you will have clients who get an ILR and then take up a lucrative job offer abroad | What’s the solution? | TIP – absences while application is being considered |
FLOWCHARTS: common paths to Citizenship, various examples -  9 scenarios

FOR ALL 4 GROUPS - MAKING AN APPLICATION:
Do we need to send original passports? | ID document used for a Life in The UK Test | Referees | Who can be a Referee? | TIP – Can a representative of the applicant act a Referee? | Common question – “I don’t have anyone who’ve known me for 3 years and who is British or a professional” | Full List of Acceptable Professional Persons | Processing time | CASE STUDY - a Greek doctor | CASE STUDY - Lithuanian national who was a worker and a student | Is same-day service available?

THE OUTCOME:
Citizenship ceremonies | TIP - Date of ceremony | TIP -This is where he/she becomes a British Citizen! Not when he/she gets a British passport

British by descent’ and ‘British otherwise than by descent’ – the difference | British ‘otherwise than by descent’ | Who is British otherwise than by descent? Common examples | ‘British by descent’ | Who is British by descent? Common examples.



SECTION 2: Spouses and Civil Partners of British citizens.
ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS, WHICH ARE THE SAME AS 'EVERYBODY ELSE' generally but some details are different.

Condition 1: No ILR – No Citizenship!
Condition 2: Good character.

Condition 3: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK.

ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS, WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO SPOUSES AND CIVIL PARTNERS OF BRITISH CITIZENS:
Condition 4:  Three (3) years of legal continuous residency in the UK| Anomaly in this requirement | Before 9 July 2012  |
Transitional arrangements | From 9 July 2012 | Even more common mistake – skipping an ILR or skipping extension application | The right route now is | Alternative right routes.
Condition 5:waiting 12 months after an ILR (not actually applicable).

Condition 6:Absences from the UK | Basic rules | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the 3 years | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the last 12 months.
FLOWCHARTS: common paths to Citizenship for Spouses and Civil Partners of British citizens  - 8 scenarios
 

SECTION 3: European (EEA) nationals
Rules are the same as for ‘everybody else’ but applied differently | Who are EEA nationals? | TIP - EEA is not the same as Schengen area | How to count residency | Most EEA nationals – from 30 April 2006 | You can count residency of the following nationals from 1 May 2004 | You can count residency of the following nationals from 1 January 2007 | European citizens often don’t have visa stamps in their passports (they don’t have to) | A growing number of Greeks and Italians are applying for British Citizenship.

General rules:
Condition 1: 5 years of residency in the UK

Condition 2: Good character and criminality | ‘Criminality’ rarely prevents from Permanent Residency under the EU law… | … but does apply under the British Nationality law.
Condition 3: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK | EU/EEA citizens don’t have to meet this rule for Permanent Residency… | … but have to meet for Citizenship:

Condition 4: Absences from the UK | Absences are not the same as for Permanent Residency | Exceptions.
Condition 5: No permanent residency status – No citizenship! | Same condition but with a difference | So, how does one get an ILR if one doesn’t get any visa stamps? | Examples of exercising Treaty rights | Worker | Self-employed person | Student | Self-sufficient | Jobseeker | Worker or Self-employed person who has ceased activity due to Retirement | Worker or Self-employed person who has ceased activity due to a work accident | Exercising Treaty rights in the UK continuously qualifies an EU citizen for Permanent Residency (with a ‘visa stamp’ or without) | Not ‘continuous residency’ but ‘continuous exercising of Treaty rights’ | Date when this point has been reached | TIP - Date of issue on the visa document is not relevant.

BULGARIAN AND ROMANIAN (EU2) NATIONALS
TIP - Romanian/ Bulgarian nationals do have restrictions on working in UK but not on qualifying for an ILR | EU2 nationals who had UK visas before Bulgaria/Romania joined the EU in 2007 | CASE STUDY - Romanian national who has been working since 2004 | Summary of restrictions and documents for EU2 nationals | Restrictions in place from 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2013 | What about when restrictions on workers are lifted?

EASTERN EUROPEAN (A8) NATIONALS
Again the same rights but again with a difference | Unique rule for the A8 nationals - Workers Registration Scheme | WRS was relevant for an A8 national for the first 12 months of working in the UK | What counted as ‘continuous 12 months’? | WRS was stopped in May 2011 but is still important for your applications | What if an A8 applicant didn’t register under WRS? | CASE STUDY – Hungarian national who has never registered under WRS.

Condition 6: waiting for 12 months after permanent residency | If your client does not have a Permanent Residency document | If your client has a Permanent Residency document
EUROPEAN NATIONALS WHO ARE ALSO MARRIED OR CIVIL PARTNERS OF BRITISH CITIZENS

CASE STUDY – dual Dutch/Brazilian national who is a civil partner of a UK national

SECTION 4: FAMILY MEMBERS OF EUROPEAN (EEA) NATIONALS.
European family members of European nationals, such as ‘Polish married Polish’ | Non-EEA family members of EEA nationals, such as ‘Canadian married to German’ | TIP - Direct and extended family members, why does it matter? 

DIRECT non-EEA family members of EEA nationals | This is what most non-EU nationals have | And this is what the law allows | Date on a 'visa stamp' does not matter | Example 1: a Canadian meets a German while both are in the UK and a German is working | Example 2: German national is working in the UK and he meets his partner in Canada | Example 3: German national and his Canadian spouse are both living in Canada | CASE STUDY – Russian national married to a Belgian | But bear in mind those who retained residency rights | And bear in mind Surinder Singh route | Spouses and civil partners of the UK citizens under Surinder Singh route | Other family members of the UK citizens under Surinder Singh route.
EXTENDED non-EEA family members of EEA nationals | Here dates on ‘visa stamps’ matter!

 
PART 2: REGISTRATION  OF CHILDREN UNDER 18 y.o.
SECTION 1: IMPORTANT DATES AND ACTS TO REMEMBER.

British Nationality Act 1981 | From 1 July 2006.  
SECTION 2: CHILDREN BORN IN THE UK.

1) If child's mother is British | 2) If child’s father is British | 3) If child's parent (one or both) is not British but has permanent residency in the UK | 4) If the child's parents hold a limited leave to remain, ie Tier 1, Tier 2, Work Permit, Ancestral visas etc | 5) If the child's parents are European citizens | 6) Children who spent the first 10 years of their life in the UK.
7) Difference between 'British by birth' and 'not British but can be registered as British'?

SECTION 3: CHILD BORN OUTSIDE THE UK TO NON-BRITISH PARENTS AND WHOSE PARENTS IMMIGRATED TO THE UK.
Example 1: Indian family who came to the UK together | Example 2: Indian national came to work while his family joined much later | Example 3: Russian step-child of a UK citizen.

SECTION 4: CHILD BORN OUTSIDE THE UK TO BRITISH PARENT(S)
Example 1: British parent was born in the UK but his child was born outside the UK | It is possible that both parents are British but only one can pass nationality | Example 2 | Example 3.

PART 3: REGISTRATION FOR ADULTS
SECTION 1: People born before 1983 to British mothers

Those born before 1983 to a British mother can now register as British.... | ... but only if all other requirements have been met also | CASE STUDY – South African national on Ancestral visa but who is eligible for a UKM application.  



Friday, 7 February 2014

English for a spouse/partner/fiancée visa: A1 or B1 level from 28 Oct 2013? Stop the confusion!

This seems to be the most confusing subject at the moment – which level of English language is needed from 28 October 2013 for those applying for a Spouse/Partner/Fiancee visa? The short answer is “Still the same – A1 level in Listening and Speaking”. Yet why is there such confusion?

First of all, this article only relates to spouses/partners of British citizens and spouses/partners of permanent residents (or ILR holders). This article is not applicable to partners of Points-Based System Migrants and to partners of EU (non-UK) nationals.
The reason is 2 meanings of a term ‘Settlement’ when it comes to the UK visas. The Rules on English were changed indeed from 28 October 2013, however, the new Rules only apply to those applying for ‘Settlement and Citizenship’. The term ‘Settlement’ here represents ‘Permanent Residency’ in the UK, known as an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). So, those spouses and partners who are applying for Permanent Residency from 28 Oct 2013 will need to demonstrate English at a B1 level (not A1) as well as pass a Life in the UK Test. 

There is another meaning of a term ‘settlement’: when spouses, partners and fiancées are applying from outside the UK, such applications are also called ‘Settlement’. It does not mean these are applications for Permanent Residency but means that the applicant (a foreign partner) is planning to come to the UK with the view of settling here, ie ‘for settlement’.  There is no such term when switching from a Spouse/Partner visa inside the UK, for example, from a Tier 4 to a Spouse visa. Yet this 2nd meaning of a ‘Settlement’ term is used for applications outside the UK.

So, spouses, partners and fiancées who are applying for a visa to come to the UK, or switching inside the UK, will still need only A1 level of English. However, when later applying for Permanent Residency, they will be expected to improve their English to a B1 level. 

Examples of those who are affected:
-           Those who had to take an English language test in the past and only scored A1 or A2 level.
-           Those who managed to get an ILR under the current Rules but will be applying for Citizenship under the New rules.
-      Those who think they qualify automatically because of their nationality, yet they don't. Example is South African nationals who all speak English as native while South Africa is not on the list of majority English-speaking countries.  

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com 
If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website: www.1st4immigration.com/training

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or extension? Common reasons for delaying ILR


Of course everyone would like an ILR! The aim of this post is to point out most common reasons for delaying applying for an IRL because of the circumstances or not meeting the requirements (or thinking so):

 

Reason 1 and most common: driving offences. We are not using a word ‘criminality’ as the Rules because it usually tend to be specifically driving offences: drink-driving (most common by far!), driving without insurance and related. These offences are not considered minor, even though they usually end up with a fine. They therefore prevent a migrant from applying for an ILR for 2 years since the date of conviction.

 

Reason 2: fines. This is a part of a criminality rule but we’d like to explain the difference between a fine and fixed penalty notice (FPN). An FPN is not an offence and does not form a part of one’s criminal record. If you pay it on time then the matter does not go to court and FPN remains an FPN. Most common examples of receiving an FPN are speeding and parking in the wrong place. However, if you don’t pay an FPN, or decide to dispute it, then the matter goes to court and if found guilty, an FPN becomes a fine. Anything with a word ‘fine’ is included in one’s criminal record and therefore, prevents from an ILR for 2 years.

 

Reason 3: absences. A countless number of migrants leave the UK to take up a lucrative job in the Middle East, Asia, the USA, and Australia. They would still prefer to have a UK visa, for the future. Here we have no problems with extensions usually, such as another Tier 1 General or FLR(M). However, ILR rules have strict absences limits and generally, the point of an ILR is that it is based on a number of years spent in the UK (as well as other conditions).

Remember that spouses and partners of British citizens do not have strict limits on absences and each case is considered on an individual basis, so your case may not be as hopeless as you think (or may be, sadly).

 

Reason 4: Life in the UK Test. Everyone has to pass it unless exempt because of age or illness. It includes nationals of Commonwealth countries and English-speaking countries. So, Australians, Americans, South Africans etc all have to pass it. This is NOT an English-language test. Life in the UK Test is about, well, life in the UK. Furthermore, we always say that it is based on the Book provided by the Home Office (available from the internet). Many applicants rely on their common knowledge about the UK, especially after living here for many years. Like with any test, you have to prepare for this test specifically, which means studying the Book. And it’s worth remembering that British citizens would fail it! This was said time and time again by British partners of our clients.

 

Other reasons: we had a situation of a Tier 2 migrant not being supported by his Sponsor for an ILR. The Sponsor did not mind providing a COS for another Tier 2 visa but did not want to provide a letter required for an ILR based on Tier 2 or Work Permit. Logically, they probably did not want to see the applicant leaving their company shortly after getting ILR. Here it’s also worth remembering that there is a limit now on time spent in the Tier 2 category (5 years in ICT and 6 years in other Tier 2 sub-categories, although they only apply to those who joined Tier 2 from 6 April 2011).

 

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com 

 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website: www.1st4immigration.com/training