Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Did you know that an EEA national, or even a non-EEA family member, can gain permanent residency under the EEA Regulations without spending 5 years in the UK?

Normally, in order to qualify for permanent residency under the EEA Regulations, an EEA national must have exercised Treaty rights in the UK for 5 years, such as working, being self-employed or being self-sufficient (which includes students) – or a combination of those.

Yet there is one exception, based on an EEA national worker who ceased activity. If an EEA national worked in the UK (for less than 5 years) but then ceased activity, then he/she qualifies for permanent residency immediately. 

The above also applies to a non-EEA family member of the above and it applies if a family member became such after the EEA worker has ceased activity. For example, an EEA national ceased activity in 2012 and obtained permanent residency, then married a non-EEA national in 2014. In this example, a non-EEA national will gain the right of permanent residency upon marriage! That’s without even 1 year in the UK!

There is of course a ‘catch’. There is a definition of a ‘worker who has ceased activity’ and it is described in the EEA Regulations, in its own dedicated regulation in fact. It is only if an EEA national meets that definition he/she can benefit from it. Broadly, it is based on the EEA national's work in the UK first for a number of years (less than 5) and then either retiring or to ceasing work as a result of an injury or accident which made an EEA national incapacitated.

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

 

Did you know that Eastern European nationals can count residency in the UK for the time before their countries joined the EU?

This post would be of interest to Romanian, Polish and other A8 and EU2 nationals, considering an application for permanent residency in the UK (or for British Citizenship if they are applying straight for Citizenship without applying for permanent residency first, which is allowed for the EEA nationals).

In the past, when assessing eligibility for permanent residence under the European Regulations, we could only count the time spent in the UK under the Regulations before a country in question joined the EU. For example, Romania joined on 1 January 2007, so we would only count from then. Some migrants did reside in the UK before that but on the visas under the Immigration Rules, such as a Work Permit or the old Highly Skilled (HSMP) visa or a student visa.

The point is that residence under the EEA Regulations derives from the European law while residence under the UK Immigration Rules derives from the UK law. Normally, we can’t combine them! We could not use such a combination until the   The ECJ (European Court of Justice) case of Ziolkowski. If an EEA national wanted to use his/her residence under the Immigration Rules then he/she had to continue under the Immigration Rules, ie as if there were no EEA Regulations (in other words, could not combine the UK and EU law).

However, based on the  Ziolkowski case, we can now count the time spent in the UK before a country joined the EU, as long as the residence was legal under the Immigration Rules.

Take example of a Romanian national who was working in the UK on a work permit during 2005-2006. On 1 January 2007 Romania was acceded to the EU and this person remained working in the UK, maybe applied for a Blue Card (although in this example a Blue Card wasn't compulsory). Based on the Ziolkowski judgement, the earliest point a Romanian national could apply for permanent residency would be 5 years from 2005, ie 5 years from the commencement of employment in the UK, which means in 2010 (and for British Citizenship in 2011). As you can see, this is not based on 5 years from 1 January 2007 when Romania joined the EU.

Interestingly, this also applies to the family members of EEA nationals but only if the family ,embers are also EEA nationals (ie ‘Romanian married to Polish’, for example). Yet non-EEA family members can’t benefit from the Ziolkowski judgement!

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

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

New successful case and testimonial on permanent residency application for a Romanian national.

“Oh my God!! I had to read your email a few times (when we told the application had been successful), to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong!! That is the best news I've had in a while! First of all, I just want to say thank you so much to everyone (please pass on a big thank you to Natalia), it's been such a relief to have someone advise me on the documents to be submitted and to know I'm doing the right thing. Thank you ever so much and I will surely be back in touch for a (British) passport application.”

This came from Adina, a Romanian citizen whom we helped to secure permanent residency under the European law, EEA(PR) application, following at least 5 years of exercising treaty rights in the UK, in this case working. This application took only approx 5 weeks, which is very soon bearing in mind the official processing time is ‘up to 6 months’. The next step will be to apply for British Citizenship and British passport (but it is voluntary).

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

New successful case and testimonial on a UK Spouse visa from Argentina.

"Natalia, I would like to say a huge thank you to you for all your help over the past months in preparing the visa pack and also for your patience, advice and kindness.  You gave me reassurance when I was worrying and were always on hand to answer my many questions.  The process took exactly 2 months (there was no fast-track service  in Argentina).  The service I received from you personally was very efficient, and we are so grateful you were there to guide us through the process. We are looking at flights now and hopefully Fernando will be here within the next few weeks."

This came from Nicole, a British citizen who asked us for help to secure a Spouse visa for her husband in Argentina. The next step will be to renew a visa after 2.5 years and then to apply for permanent residency after 5 years. Both steps can be done using same-day service, such as the one we use in Croydon.

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

Monday, 18 May 2015

Places still available! Points-Based System training course Saturday 23 May: Tiers, Points, Dependants, qualifying for ILR. CPD 7 hours.

We offer an intensive Saturday course this weekend at our office in the City of London. 1st 4Immigration Ltd is a practicing OISC-accredited immigration company, OISC, ref  F200800152. We are also a recognised CPD provider and can be found on the OISC list of the training providers.

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 7 core CPD hours credit, subject to the successful completion of the test after the course.

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. You can read Testimonials on our immigration cases here. 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.

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!

You can book PBS training courses here (we have training almost every month):  http://www.1st4immigration.com/training/pbs-course.php

Upcoming training dates:
 
Saturday 23 May 2015. In time for an OISC exam on 28 May.
 
Saturday 19 September 2015. In time for OISC exam on 28 September.

Saturday 17 October 2015. In time for OISC exam on 29 October.

Saturday 21 November 2015. In time for OISC exam on 23 November.

Saturday 5 December 2015. In time for OISC exam on 17 December.

Alternatively, for OISC Level 1 training dates please visit http://www.1st4immigration.com/training/classroom-oisc-level-1-course.php

1st 4Immigration Ltd,
OISC no F200800152, CPD ref EJE/14IM.
68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Places still available! OISC Level 1 course this weekend, Sat-Sun 16 - 17 May 2015 (just in time for the OISC exam on 28 May), City of London, from a practicing immigration company. CPD 10 hours.

A very informative and practical 2-day weekend course at our office in the City of London!  1st 4Immigration Ltd is a practicing OISC-accredited immigration company, OISC ref F200800152. After many years of experience – and hundreds of successful cases – we are sharing our experience to help you to prepare for your OISC Level 1 assessment and accreditation or, if you are already practicing, to increase your knowledge. You can read Testimonials on our immigration cases here.

TRAINING DATES:

Weekend 16 - 17 May 2015, OISC Level 1, just in time for an OISC exam on 28 May.

Saturday 23 May 2015, Points-Based System, just in time for an OISC exam on 28 May.

Weekend 20 - 21 June 2015, OISC Level 1, just in time for an OISC exam on 23 June.


After that we have training dates every month from September to December 2015 on both OISC Level 1 and Points-Based System.

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.

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, answers to most common questions, a Questions&Answers session and a mock Level 1 assessment, 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. We will also provide a printed version of the course (150 pages) for you to take home, which is very detailed, contains more cases studies and you can take it with you to the 'real' OISC exam.

To book visit our training website: http://www.1st4immigration.com/training/classroom-oisc-level-1-course.php

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

1st 4Immigration Ltd: 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. Near Monument underground station. Email: training@1st4immigration.com, Phone: 0871 472 1468 (£0.10 per minute, emails are free).
_____________________________________________________

You can find a detailed Table of Contents on the link above, here are 2 examples (of 20):
PART 1: CRUCIAL TO GET THE BASICS!2 systems of immigration law: UK law and European law | Types of visas under the UK law | Entry Clearance | Visitor visa | Leave to Remain (also called Residence Permit or Limited Leave to Remain) | Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) | It is possible to lose an ILR, however Indefinite it is | Indefinite Leave to Enter | There is also a Leave to Enter
‘Settlement’ and 2 confusing meanings of this word | Common question:  Passport has expired, do I have to transfer my visa to a new passport | What is Switching? | Common examples when switching is not allowed even though the migrants are desperate to do so | What is the Date of Application and why it is so important? | When is the Date of Application? | In-time and Out-of-time applications
PART 2: IMMIGRATION RULES AND HOW TO USE THEM
Each category rules consist of 3 parts | My ‘Other way around’ principle | How to determine if switching is possible?| How to determine if a visa allows to work? | Registration with the police | Tuberculosis test | UKBA Staff Guidance
You can find Extracts on the link above too, here are 2 of them:
Extract from the “IMMIGRATION RULES AND HOW TO USE THEM” section:
No one knows everything and remembers all the rules! The trick is to know how to use the Immigration Rules and where to find  the specific information. The Rules may change anytime, and they do change a lot, but if you know how to use the Rules you could check the requirements or check the changes at any time. For example, things like whether a migrant can switch a visa category while in the UK or whether a migrant can work or whether a particular English test is acceptable are all a matter of the Rules, not a matter of guessing.
My ‘Other way around’ principle:
I call it ‘other way around’ because many people tend to think this way: “I am on a Tier 5 visa and want to know if I can apply for a Spouse visa inside the UK”, then they go on the Immigration Rules webpage for the Tier 5 category and try to read the rules there. Understandably, they only find the rules about how to get a Tier 5 visa, which they already have, and not a Spouse visa.
What you need to do is to act the ‘other way around’, ie to check the rules of the category your client is looking to apply for, not the rules of the category in which he/she already has a visa. In our example of switching from a Tier 5 to a Spouse visa it is the Spouse visa rules that one needs to read – to determine if he/she can qualify.
Extracts from the “CRUCIAL TO GET THE BASICS!” section:
What is Switching?
Switchingis not an official term. Switching simply means changing a visa category while inside the UK, ie switching from one to another, such as from a Tier 4 Student to a Tier 2 General; or from Tier 4 to a Spouse visa. Officially it is called ‘applying for a leave to remain in a Tier 2 General category’ or ‘applying for a leave to remain as a Spouse of a UK citizen’. So, we can simply say ‘Switching from a Student visa to a Spouse visa’.
The significance of switching is this: switching means applying inside the UK and it is only allowed if the Rules specifically allow so. If switching is not allowed then the applicant has to return to their country and apply for a visa from there, which means he/she would be applying for an Entry Clearance.
What is the Date of Application and why it is so important?
Imagine this: you are making an application today but tomorrow the Rules are changing, which rules would apply? Or you have made an application a month ago, your visa expires in 2 weeks time and your application is not going to be decided before then, are you going to become an overstayer through no fault of your own?
A Date of Application idea deals with such issues. If the date of your application is before the Rules changed then your application is going to be considered under the Rules in place before the changes. For example, Spouse/Partner visas rules were significantly changed on 9 July 2012, yet those who applied before that, even on 8 July 2012, had their applications considered under the old rules, even if the decision was made a few months after the rules changed.
If the date of your application is before your last visa expired then your status remains the same as it was on the date of application for as long as it takes for a new application to be considered. However long it takes, even if the last visa expired by then. Officially it is extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, which automatically extends the ‘last visa’ for as long as it is going to take for a decision on the new application. This means migrants do not become overstayers through no fault of their own?




To book please visit the page Booking or contact us: training@1st4immigration.com
 



Thursday, 7 May 2015

What is the difference between FLR(M) and FLR(FP) applications?

Both are used to apply for visas for family members of a settled person, such as for spouses or children of a British citizen.

FLR (M) stands for a Further Leave to Remain, in the ‘M’ category, ie based on the Marriage to a settled person, under the Appendix FM. It is used for spouses and partners of British citizens and settled persons but it has to be an application within the Rules. All the requirements must be met, including the Financial Requirement, status in the UK etc. The outcome is a visa for 2.5 years in the so called “5 year Partner route”, meaning it would take 5 years to qualify for Indefinite Leave (permanent residency).

FLR (FP) stands for a Further Leave to Remain, in the ‘F and P’ categories, ie based on the Family Life under the Appendix FM or Private Life under the Part 7.

Family Life: can be used to apply for a visa as a parent of a British or a settled child when the applicant is not eligible to apply as a partner. For example, if the parents are divorced but the child either lives with the foreign spouse or a foreign spouse has the access rights granted by the court. This will be a so called “5 year Parent route”.

Also, it can be used by the spouses and partners who don’t meet the FLR(M) requirements for partners but can potentially qualify for an Exception under the Appendix FM. For example, if a foreign spouse does not have a legal status in the UK but the couple have a British child(ren) and – important – it would be unreasonable for the child(ren) to leave the UK. It won’t be based just on the fact of having a child (in which case an application from outside the UK would be appropriate). Or if the couple can’t meet the Financial Requirement but there are “insurmountable circumstances” preventing them from living outside the UK. Each case is considered on an individual basis.

There are many aspects of Family Life applications but 3 most important ones, in our opinion, are the following:

Firstly, no matter how compassionate your situation is, you must meet the definition of a ‘Partner’. For instance, this category is of no use to partners who are not married and have not lived together for 2 years (we are often asked this by the couples who met, say, 1 year ago and who are hoping for an exception).

Secondly, you will be asking the British authorities to make an exception from the law (this is what this application is about). If they deem your circumstances exceptional enough (in their opinion) they will approve your application, if not they won’t. This is why it is decided on an individual basis as it’s impossible to provide some approved list of such circumstances. It is important to distinguish between “trying for a visa” and “getting a visa”, in other words, this is not a category to simply bypass the Rules, there has to be a good reason for it.

Finally, if approved, the outcome will be a visa for 2.5 years. Yes, it’s the same duration as a Spouse/Partner visa but visa duration will be the only similarity. This is the "10 year route", meaning you’d need 10 years (not 5) to qualify for Indefinite Leave. However, you can also switch to the 5 year route once you meet all the requirements of an FLR(M) application and we can do it on same-day service. For example, if the problem was not having a valid visa, now you would have a valid Family Life visa and could switch to FLR(M) on same-day service.

Private Life is “a different kettle of fish”, despite the same form being used. It is for those who spent 20 years in the UK illegally (or legally and illegally together) and allows to legalise their stay. The outcome is a visa for 2.5 years in the “10 year route” meaning it will take another 10 years to secure permanent residency (again, can switch to FLR(M) if eligible). This category replaced what used to be ILR based on 14 years of residency.  

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

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

French Schengen visa for business travel – we can submit your application any day without an appointment!

Multi Travel Visas Ltd is an accredited agency with the official French visa centre in London, we have many years of experience of working with French Consulate. We use a separate system of appointments and for a business Schengen visa we are allowed to submit visa application any working day without an appointment.  


FRENCH SCHENGEN VISA:

It is possible to obtain a visa within 4 working days from the date of the biometric appointment for most nationals, such as Filipino, South African, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Turkish and most others. It takes longer for some nationals, up to 3 weeks, a list is available on our website: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/schengen-visa-france.php 
In case of a business visa, we can arrange submission any working day without an appointment!


GERMAN SCHENGEN VISA:

German Schengen visa takes 5 working days from the date of appointment. No biometrics, no personal attendance needed! Furthermore, spouses and family members of UK/EU citizens don't have to book tickets/accommodation before applying for this visa. This is the best Embassy to apply for a Schengen visa for spouses and family members of UK/EU citizens.
Webpage: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/schengen-visa-germany.php


PORTUGUESE SCHENGEN VISA:

Portuguese Schengen visa takes 1 week from the nearest available Wednesday. No biometrics, no personal attendance needed! Webpage: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/schengen-visa-portugal.php

Contact us at Multi Travel Visas: www.multitravelvisas.co.uk
Phone 0871 472 1468 or 07795471483
Email:
info@multitravelvisas.co.uk 

We reply on the same working day!

Or come to our office from 9am to 6pm (you don’t need an appointment): 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. We’re near Monument tube station, close to Bank and Liverpool Street, over the bridge from London Bridge station and within easy reach by DLR from Canary Wharf.

What to do if the main Points-Based System (PBS) migrant qualifies for Indefinite Leave but the spouse/partner doesn’t?

We are often asked about such situations, the main question being whether the spouse has to switch to a Spouse visa of a settled person (Spouse of an ILR holder, also some call it ‘ILR Dependant’ which is not the right name, basically an FLR M application).

For example, if the main Tier 2 General migrant has almost spent 5 years in the UK and is soon planning to apply for ILR. The spouse, however, only arrived 1 year ago (or they only got married a year ago).

If the main Tier 2 migrant is applying for ILR on the basis of spending 5 years on the Tier 2 General visa (but not 10 years Long Residence) then the spouse needs to have spent either 2 years in the UK (if his/her PBS Dependant visa was issued under the Rules in place before 9 July 2012) or 5 years in the UK (if the Dependant visa was issued under the Rules in place on or after 9 July 2012).

So, the main Tier 2 migrant can go ahead and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The spouse, however, won’t be included in this ILR application. Instead the spouse would have to make a PBS Dependant application again, and possible again, every time for 3 years until he/she has reached the required number of years in the UK.

Even though the main Tier 2 migrant has already secured ILR, or has even become a British Citizen, the spouse can continue to apply as a ‘Tier Dependant’, ie as a PBS Dependant (even though there is no more main Tier migrant to ‘depend’ on).

The only exception to this is when the main Tier migrant is applying for ILR on the basis other than spending the 5 years on the eligible ‘Tier’ visas. So, if the main Tier  migrant is applying for ILR on the basis of 10 years Long Residence then the spouse would have no choice but to switch to a Spouse visa, ie to make an application as a spouse of a person settled in the UK. In this case the spouse would start the 5 years again, this time as a spouse of a settled person, the 5 years can’t be combined with the PBS Dependant visas (but may be able to apply based on his/her own 10 years in the UK, if it is sooner).

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