Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Points-Based System training course 28-29 March: Tiers, Points, Dependants, qualifying for ILR.

We offer a 2-day weekend course at our office in the City of London. Multi Travel Visas Ltd and its sister company, 1st 4Immigration Ltd, are both accredited by The OISC, ref F201100418 and F200800152 respectively. 

This course has a particular emphasis on Tier 2 General and Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa categories, applying for a Sponsor Licence and using Tier 2 Code of Practice as well as qualifying for an Indefinite Leave in these routes. It also covers (often forgotten in training) rules for family members of PBS migrants. You can earn 12 core CPD hours credit, subject to the successful completion of the test after the course.

You can book PBS training courses here: http://www.mtv-training.co.uk/index-pbs.php

As a practicing company, we are offering to share our experience to help you deal with the applications of Points-Based System migrants, their family members and ILR applications based on PBS categories. Our tutors are our very own OISC-accredited practicing immigration advisers who handle the real cases during the week and teach on weekends. You can read about them on the Tutors page. You can read Testimonials on our immigration cases here.

Unlike most traditional courses, ours is conducted using plain language and does not simply contain quotes from the Immigration Rules. We include cases studies from our practice, a Questions& Answers session and a test to test your knowledge, which is given to the candidates at the end to complete in their own time and send to us. Generally, we try to keep it as entertaining as possible!


Weekend 28 - 29 March 2015 (in the 2014-15 CPD year for The OISC!)

Weekend 9 - 10 May 2015

Detailed Course Agenda can be found here and is designed in our own unique way.

 Multi Travel Visas Ltd: 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. Near Monument underground station. Email: info@mtv-training.co.uk , Phone: 0871 472 1468 (£0.10 per minute, emails are free).


Course Agenda:

DAY 1:


Immigration Rules, Part 6A | Appendices | UKVI Operation Guidance | Multitasking - Why do you need to use all 3 in your practice | How to determine if switching is possible?| How to determine if a visa allows to work?


As ‘Points-Based’ as it sounds? | PBS Tiers


Step 1: Sponsor Licence

UKVI Guidance for Sponsors | Appendix A – Supporting documents | UKVI policy of refusing, not asking to correct the documents | Application process | Authorising Officer, Key, Contact, Level 1 User, Level 2 User | Decision: A and B-rated Sponsors | Sponsor Management System (SMS)

Step 2: Tier 2 Code of Practice  

What is the Code of Practice | SOC codes and types of jobs | Jobs eligible for Sponsorship | Go by the duties, not a job title | Salary: New Entrant v Experienced   

Step 3: Shortage Occupation List

What is Shortage Occupation List and why it is important    

Step 4: Resident Labour Market Test (advertising a job)

Why and when a job has to be advertised? | Exceptions from advertising: Shortage Occupation List, salary min £153,200 pa, extending to work for the same employer | Special arrangements for those switching from a Tier 4 Student visa | Where to advertise | How long to advertise for | Records to keep (table of candidates, why they are suitable or not, who was invited for an interview)

Step 5: Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)


Type of jobs which can be offered | Does applicant need to have experience or qualification for job sponsored under Tier 2? | Does an applicant need to work for this employer before he/she can be sponsored for Tier 2? If yes, how long for? | 


Minimum salary | New Entrant salary category | Experienced salary category | How can a number of weekly hours be determined | What if employer cannot offer minimum £20,500? | Salaries pro-rate, based on the full-time salary on the Code of Practice


Annual limit and when it applies | Resident Labour Market Test and annual limit are not the same thing and not connected | Assigning an unrestricted COS v requesting a restricted COS | Useful tip – request allocation of unrestricted certificate at the time of applying for a Sponsor Licence, if possible


What’s the minimum salary for Tier 2 General visa? £20,500 or as on the Code of Practice? If Tier 2 application was refused, does the applicant need a new COS or can he/she use the same one? | Where to find a confirmation that Sponsors employing Tier 4 migrants don’t need to advertise the jobs


A manufacturing company: we helped with the licence, requested allocation of certificates at the same time to speed it up and the company had an unannounced UKVI inspection a year after | A company whose Sponsor Licence application took record 3 days! | When and how to request urgent consideration | “Don’t try this at home”: how we applied for a Tier 2 visa by post, explained we will be submitting a Sponsor Licence application shortly and asked to hold the case, then sent a COS later. It worked but you should use it only in truly exceptional cases

Step 6: Tier 2 visa application including for Tier 4 Students switching to Tier 2

Main requirements for a visa application | Employing Tier 4 Students who are switching to Tier 2 category | Example of application refused because of the salary (and approved when re-submitted by us) | Example of application refused because of the wrong SOC code (the 2 were similar job titles but very different salaries) | TABLE: Tier 2 General in questions and answers

Step 7: While holding a Tier 2 General visa

3 and 5 year visas and extensions | 6 year limit and 12 months cooling-off period | Is work restricted to working for the Sponsor? | Can a Tier 2 migrant change a Sponsor? | What if the job is finished early?


Important date: 6 April 2010 – who can and who can’t qualify for an ILR | Important date: 6 April 2011 – who falls and who doesn’t fall under the ICT 5 year limit | 12 months cooling-off period | Can an ICT migrant switch to Tier 2 General? TABLE: Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer in questions and answers


Meeting automatically: Based on the previous visa(s) | Tier 1 (Investor) applicants are exempt from this requirement | Nationals of majority English-speaking countries (and common countries which should be on the list but they aren’t) | Degree taught in English | English language tests | TABLE: English language required in each category


Meeting automatically | Certified by the Sponsor – Tier 2 | Savings: 90 days for Tiers 1, 2, 5 or 28 days for Tier 4 | TABLE: summary of Maintenance requirement for each category | Funds held for 90 days (Tiers 1, 2 and 5): How to count 90 days and when should this period end, a day before applying or when? | What if the applicant does not have the funds ‘held for 90 days’? | Foreign currencies and foreign banks | Black list of foreign banks | Dependants and Funds | Whose name should be on the bank account?


It goes further: specified details on the documents, not just specified documents | Evidential (in)Flexibility | The Immigration Rules provide 4 examples when Evidential Flexibility applies


Tier 1 (Investor) in Questions and Answers

DAY 2:


Initial applications – General:

Summary of the Rules: Part 6A, Appendices | UKVI Guidance |  Purpose of this visa category | Funds £200,000 / £50,000

Who can apply with £50,000?

Examples from the Rules | Common question – can I apply with £50,000 from my family?

Tier 4 Students wishing to have an Entrepreneur visa:

Rules - and restrictions - for Tier 4 Students

Funds available to invest:

Where the funds can be held | Regulated institutions |Funds transferrable to the UK | Common question from the applicants from China where strict currency controls exist  | Useful tips from our practice

Entrepreneurial Teams:

Conditions of 2 people sharing the funds | Sharing does not mean sharing 50 / 50 | What if one team member is eligible to apply with £50,000 and the other – with £200,000

Funds from the third party:

Who is considered as third party | Funds held on the name of a spouse or parents | Funds held on the name of a company  

Evidential Flexibility:

Why it is very important | Why we call it Evidential (in)Flexibility | Case from our practice which was refused but an appeal was allowed (should have been under Evidential Flexibility but the UKBA chose to refuse) | Case from our practice which was refused because one detail on the document was missing (that’s a detail on the document, not a document)

Genuine Entrepreneur Test:

Business plan | previous experience and qualifications | Other extras: business insurance, bank account, evidence of having clients, advertising

UK Visas and Immigration interviews and questions asked:

Examples of cases where applicants were invited for an interview (including a phone interview on a Saturday) and questions they were asked  

Useful case studies:

Entry Clearance from Ukraine – 2 applicants applying as an Entrepreneurial Team, one of them also being a third party for the other (exciting case to study!) |  Switching inside the UK – case which took only 3 weeks without interview and before contractors’ rules were changed

What to do once a visa has been issued (and requirements for an extension):

Setting up a business within 6 months | Taking over or buying an existing business | Joining an existing business | Types of businesses in the UK (limited company, sole trader etc)


What is considered as making investment – transferring the money to your business account? (The answer is No) |  What is not counted as investment including paying yourself | What evidence will the migrant need to prove investment (director’s loan agreement etc)  


Creating 2 jobs for settled workers | Definition of a “settled worker” for this purpose (which is different from the definition for the purpose of the Immigration Rules | What if the applicant had to employ more than 2 workers

Why working as a “contractor” is not considered a business:

Who is a contractor | Changes in the Rules in July 2014

Entrepreneur visa in Questions& Answers:

Does it allow to work in the UK? | Can the migrant switch to a different business from the one he/she initially invested? | Can the migrant combine time spent on Entrepreneur visa with the time spent on Tier 2 or other categories? | Can the migrant switch to a Tier 2 General visa from this category?

Accelerated route to ILR:

3 years instead of 5 | business turnover | creating 10 jobs


How to check whether a category leads to an ILR | Examples of PBS categories which do not lead to an ILR

Common routes to an ILR:

Tier 2 General | Counting Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa | Tier 1 Entrepreneur | Tier 1 Investor

Tier 1 (General) – remaining ILR applications in this route

Why was this visa so popular? | New applicants cannot join it but existing applicants can still apply for permanent residency until 6 April 2018 | Last extensions in April 2015


The main thing to remember here is 3 dates and how the points differ | Age is ‘frozen’ in time and points are given accordingly | Qualifications | Earnings from employment | Earnings from a limited company | Earnings from being a Sole Trader

Common ILR requirements and issues:


Do we count 5 years from the date of visa issue or date of entry to the UK? | Absences from the UK: From 13 December 2012 | Purposes of absences | Before 13 December 2012


Before 13 December 2012 - Spent and Unspent criminal convictions | From 13 December 2012 – Sentence-based thresholds | Table of offences and impact on applications | Driving offences: drink-driving, driving without insurance, driving whilst using a mobile phone and similar | Fixed Penalty Notices | Fines


Before 28 October 2013 | From 28 October 2013 | Examples of applicants who are affected by these changes


Part 8 of the Immigration Rules - still applies! | If the main applicant holds a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa | What to do if the main Tier applicant qualifies for an ILR but his/her spouse/partner has not spent enough time in the UK? From PBS Dependant to an ILR? | All changed on 9 July 2012! | There is one exception – 10 years Long Residence | Absences for dependants | Criminal convictions for dependants | Life in the UK Test and English language


If the main applicant holds a Tier 1 or a Tier 2 visa | Child born in the UK, do the parents need to apply for a Dependant visa? | Children born in the UK – no need to include them into ILR as they can be registered as British | Children who turned 18 years old | When can a child qualify for an ILR | What if one parent qualifies for an ILR and the other one doesn't


2 types under tier 4: General and Child students  | Tier 4 Sponsors | Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) | Acceptable types of courses | Academic progress | How many years can one study in the UK?3 and 5 year limits | English language courses


Low-risk nationals | How much money does a Student need? | Reduced maintenance levels for established students | How many days does the money need to be on account? | Whose name can be on account (and a common cause for refusal)? | If the money is on the parents’ accounts


How long is a visa valid for? Can students work in the UK? What about changes: change a course, change a sponsor, drop out of the course?



To book please visit the page Booking or contact us: info@mtv-training.co.uk

New successful case and testimonial on a same-day Spouse visa, switching from a Private Life visa.

“Dear Lucy and Christina, I would like to say a very big thank you for all your support over the last 2 weeks (Yes, this is how quickly we handled this application!). For putting my mind at ease through the application stages and constantly re-assuring me of positive results. I have never felt so relaxed whilst undergoing an immigration application and submission. Also, Christina was very professional today at the premium service centre (in Croydon) and once again reassured me and explained the processes to me. There was a slight hitch just before the approval came through but Christina was able to offer reasonable explanations to the immigration officer regarding it and the permit was granted right after her discussion of the same. My husband and I are very grateful for her effort. She made the process seamless and the wait less agonising. I would recommend 1st 4Immigration to anyone with doubts about switching from discretionary leave to spouse visa!!!”

This came from Gerry, a Nigerian national, married to a British citizen. Gerry was in the UK on a Private Life visa, which replaced a discretionary leave in July 2012. Like a Spouse visa, a Private Life visa is also for 2.5 years, however, it is from the so called ‘10 year route’. Once our client has switched to a ‘normal’ Spouse visa, she can qualify for permanent residency in the 5 year route, thus reducing her wait for an ILR by a half!
Furthermore, it is possible to do such a switch on same-day service, which is what we did!

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful 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


Home Office Immigration fees go up from 6 April 2015. If you're eligible - apply now. Especially for a Spouse/Partner in-country visa or an ILR, fees go up by £350 and £400 respectively!

As it happens every year, the Home Office increases the immigration fees from 6 April, as the new tax year starts. If you are eligible for a visa or British Citizenship - apply before April to save money!

The new fees usually come in force on 6 April, however, this year 4 – 5 April falls on a weekend and 3 April is Good Friday (a bank holiday!). That means the last working day with the old fees will be Thursday 2 April.

When to apply and how to determine how much to pay?

If you are planning to use same-day service your appointment has to be by 2 April.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR, permanent residency): fee goes up by £407! Postal service fee is going up from £1,093 to £1,500 while the same-day service up from £1,493 to £1,900!

Spouse/Partner visas, in-country applications, are another example of a substantial increase. Postal fee is going up from £601 to £956 (the difference is £355) while same-day service from £1,001 to £1,356! This applies to those switching to this visa (such as from a Tier 4 or Tier 5 visa) as well as to those extending tin the same category (such as extending a Spouse visa or getting one after a Fiancée visa).  

If you are applying inside the UK and planning to use postal service for a visa application (but not Citizenship) the date of application will be the date of posting. Therefore, you will pay a fee applicable on the day of posting, even if the UK Visas and Immigration receives your case on or after 6 April. Please note this rule only works if you’re using Royal Mail (if you’re using a courier, like DHL, the date of application will be date of delivery to the Home Office). Categories mostly affected by the new fees: Tier 2 General up from £601 to £651, Tier 1 Investor from £1,093 to £1,500 and Tier 1 Entrepreneur from £1,093 to £1,180. EEA applications are going up from £55 to £65.

If you are planning to use postal service for a British Citizenship application the date of application will be the date when the UK Visas and Immigration receives your application. Therefore, you will pay a fee applicable on the day of receipt and need bear the delivery time in mind when arranging your payment. The main Naturalisation fee is going up from  £906 to £1,005. Child's registration fee - from £669 to £749.

If you are applying outside the UK the date of application will be the date of payment, usually online payment of the fee after you have submitted your online form. In this case you have to submit the online for and pay online before 6 April 2015, even if your appointment at a visa centre will be after that date (it goes by the date of payment when applying outside the UK). For example, Spouse/Partner/Fiancée visa fee is going up from £885 to £956 and will be the same as an in-country fee.

1st 4Immigration service fees are NOT going up in April.

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

Thursday, 19 February 2015

How to count absences for Indefinite Leave to Remain? From what date? Date of entry, date when the visa was issued or date of ILR application?

This is one of the most common question for those applying for an ILR in the Points-Based System routes, such as Tier 1 and Tier 2, as well as in the Ancestral route.

The limit on absences is well-known, 180 days in each 12 months of the (5 years) qualifying period. The questions is: how do we count these 12 months, from which date? From the date of entry to the UK? No. From the date of when the visa was issued? No. A calendar year? No.

The answer is: from the date of application for an ILR. Since there is no obligation to apply for an ILR on the 1st day you are eligible, ‘your’ 12 months for this purpose will depend on the day when you’re applying for an ILR. To make it more complex, you can apply for an ILR within 28 days before you qualify, thus potentially ‘moving’ your application date and therefore ‘your’ 12 months again.

There may be further questions re whether to count the period between the date your Entry Clearance was issued and the date you entered the UK; plus a further question whether to count this period as an absence.

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    



Accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for immigration advisers. CPD credit accepted by the OISC.

1st 4Immigration Ltd is an accredited CPD provider and can be found on the OISC list of CPD providers. 

Current CPD courses:


Self-Employment Income in Visa Applications (by a Self-employed immigration adviser). CPD 6 hours.

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

British Citizenship for European/EEA nationals and their Family Members. CPD 5 core hours.

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

The courses are offered by our company, 1st 4Immigration Ltd, which is a practicing immigration company, registered with The OISC and based in the City of London.  Classroom training is organised by our sister company, Multi Travel Visas Ltd, and delivered by our OISC-accredited practicing advisers.  CPD credit is awarded upon successful pass of the assessment, which will be provided after the course.

 1st 4Immigration Ltd,
OISC no F200800152, 
68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ.

New successful case and testimonial on a British Citizenship application for a Zimbabwean national.

"Lucy, the (Citizenship) ceremony went very well. May I take this opportunity to thank you all for the assistance given to me to obtain my citizenship."
This came from Brian, a national of Zimbabwe. We dealt with both Brian’s Citizenship and Indefinite Leave application prior to that. Brian had a UK Ancestral visa in the past, which allowed him to qualify for an ILR. A year later we applied for British Citizenship, which has now been successfully achieved!

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful 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