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