Business Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Individual Immigration

Today, the 22 May 2020, the Home Office have updated their guidance for UK Visa Applicants in the UK and their visa (leave expires) between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

Your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 in the circumstances where you cannot leave the UK because of the travel restrictions imposed or as a result of self-isolation related to coronavirus.

If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 you visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.

You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present BUT ARE NOT planning to stay in the UK in the long term.

If you intend to remain in the UK in the long-term please see below (Advice for Applicants who are applying to stay in the UK long-term)

Those who contact the Home Office for the visa extension under the COVID-19 immigration guidance will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted.

You will be expected to return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

Advice for Applicants who are applying to stay in the UK long-term

During these unique circumstances you’ll be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 July 2020, if your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

This includes those whose leave has already been extended to 31 July 2020.

You can apply online. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.

Application and Service Centres in the UK

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You cannot book an appointment.

If you’ve already made an appointment

If you’ve already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC, you will be contacted to be informed that it has been cancelled. You’ll be advised when you can book a new appointment.

Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment however the online application must be submitted to the Home Office. The date of the application is the date when it was submitted (and paid for) online.

If applicant is outside the UK

Many UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed or offering limited services. In some areas the UK cannot send visa vignettes across some borders and routes due to border restrictions. If applicant has an appointment and the VAC is now closed, they will be contacted and told their appointment will not take place.

English Testing Centres are also affected.

CONSULTATION FROM OUR IMMIGRATION LAWYERS

We continue to serve our clients by providing legal advice and assistance on UK Visas, Immigration and Nationality matters.

We are taking measures to protect our clients and ourselves in line with Government advice. This causes no interruption in our correspondence with applicants/clients, UK Visa officials and the Courts, where necessary.

You can request consultation from our immigration lawyers over the phone or via Skype or Zoom conferences. Face-to-face appointments are also arranged where deemed necessary and essential.

We advise applicants to take this opportunity due to the COVID-19 and make sure they remain first in the queue to make the immigration application and attend the appointment once the restrictions are lifted. Applicants for Global Talent, Tier 1 Innovator and Tier 1 Start Up visas are advised that the endorsement stage of the applications remain unaffected. Applications for endorsement are prepared, submitted and considered by the relevant designated endorsing body with no interruptions in the services.  

Please speak to our immigration lawyers for an advice on:

  1. Application from outside the UK and the visa centre is closed;
  2. Application from within the UK;
  3. You cannot get all the mandatory documents in time as a result of a disruption caused by COVID-19;
  4. If you are already past the deadline of applying for the visa from the UK;

We advise applicants applying from outside the UK to not delay the applications. Although immediate travel is not possible, we expect a large number of applications and appointment-bookings as soon as the restrictions are lifted. Delaying the submission of application may therefore lead to an additional delay as a result of inability to make a timely booking of visa/biometric appointment.    

What we/you can do during this period:

  • We can complete and submit the on-line application;
  • We can work on gathering the necessary mandatory evidence
  • We can upload the evidence.

Your case will be prepared and the necessary documents will be submitted online together with your visa application form. We will liaise with you regarding updates and date of arrival in the UK so that the interruption of your travel plans to the UK are kept to a minimum.

For a free confidential discussion about your immigration matter, call us on 0203 980 9348 or fill in the form for a call back.

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Business Immigration, Individual Immigration

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

If you are on Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and you no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each, the 12 month period you are required to employ someone for can be made up of multiple employees across different months.
Time when your employees were furloughed will not count towards the 12 month period.
If you have not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time your visa expires, you will be allowed to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement.

Tier 4 visa

If you are waiting for a decision on your application you can start your course or studies before your visa application has been decided if:
• your sponsor is a Tier 4 sponsor
• you have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
• you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this
• the course you start is the same as the one listed on your CAS
• you have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required
If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must stop your course or studies.

Tier 2 or 5 visa

If you waiting for a decision on your application you can start work before your visa application has been decided if:
• you have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
• you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this
• the job you start is the same as the one listed on your CoS
If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused your sponsor will stop sponsoring you and you must stop working for them.

If you are applying for a Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa

If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and we will consider all applications on a case by case basis.

For a free confidential discussion about your immigration matter and how it will have an impact during the COVID-19 spread, call us on 0203 980 9348 or fill in the form for a call back.

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Business Immigration

The British government have taken a number of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 disease. This may have affected your travel to and from the UK and in some cases even your immigration status if you are in the UK on an expiring visa and unable to leave because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.

On 24 March 2020, the UK Government updated the immigration guidance for those affected by Coronavirus travel restrictions.

We advise all our clients that due to the situation changing rapidly, to please check the latest developments before travelling.

The guidance issued today, at the time of writing this, 24 March 2020, states that:

If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020

Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). You must contact the Home Office with the relevant data and evidence as well as information about why you are unable to leave the UK. Anyone in this situation needs to contact the COVID-19 immigration team via the email address: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.

IMPORTANT: Please take a cautious approach to the new coronavirus extension policy. If your leave to remain in the UK is about to expire it is important to note that providing the details requested by the Home Office does not extend leave under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971. This advice will be reviewed in line with any guidance received from the Home Office.

If your reasons are not accepted, you may become an overstayer. If your leave is about to expire and you wish to remain in the UK, you MUST submit an extension application (please see below for the possibility to switch in-country).

Those who contact the Home Office for the visa extension under the COVID-19 immigration guidance will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted.

Stage 1, Endorsement applications are not immigration applications. Preparation of the evidence to be submitted in support of Stage 1, Endorsement application is not affected by the pandemic. You can use this time to make sure you have the required Letters of Recommendation, Personal Statement (if applicable) and other evidence in support of the application.

Applicants for Stage 2, Immigration Stage can benefit from the possibility to switch to this visa, in-country. This means that if otherwise required to leave the UK and apply from their country or origin or residence, it is now possible to submit the application without leaving the UK (please see below).

If you’re applying to stay in the UK long-term – switching in-country

During these unique circumstances you’ll be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

You’ll need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the UK application fee.

This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020 (under the previous guidance mostly affecting Chinese nationals and residents).

At Osbourne Pinner we fully understand that many businesses are adversely affected by the spread of the coronavirus. We would therefore reiterate that we continue to serve our clients. We provide legal advice and assistance on UK Visas and Immigration, as well as nationality matters.

We are therefore offering flexible payment plans to our clients. In light of the current circumstances we require only 40% of the agreed fixed fee to be paid in time of instructions which will enable us to start preparing your application.

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Individual Immigration

Advice for UK Visa Applicants in the UK and their visa (leave expires) between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020

Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 in the circumstances where you cannot leave the UK because of the travel restrictions imposed or as a result of self-isolation related to coronavirus. Applicants must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team of Home Office to update their records if their visa is expiring.

The Home Office then must notify and confirm that the visa has been extended.

IMPORTANT: Please take a cautious approach to the new coronavirus extension policy. If your leave to remain in the UK is about to expire, providing the details requested by the Home Office does not extend leave under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971.

This advice will be reviewed in line with any guidance received from the Home Office.

If your reasons are not accepted you may become an overstayer. If your leave is about to expire and you wish to remain in the UK, you MUST submit an extension application (please see below for the possibility to switch in-country).

Those who contact the Home Office for the visa extension under the COVID-19 immigration guidance will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted.

Advice for Applicants who are applying to stay in the UK long-term

During these unique circumstances you’ll be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications where applicant would usually need to apply for a visa from applicant’s home country. Applicant will need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the UK application fee.

This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020. Applicant can apply online. The terms of their leave will remain the same until their application is decided, however applicant cannot book an appointment as UK Visa Application Centres; Post Office Enrolment Services are temporarily closed until further notice.

If applicant has already made an appointment or have a biometric enrolment letter

Applicant’s immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of them not being able to attend an appointment or enrol biometrics at the Post Office.

If applicant is outside the UK

Many UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed or offering limited services. In some areas the UK cannot send visa vignettes across some borders and routes due to border restrictions. If applicant has an appointment and the VAC is now closed, they will be contacted and told their appointment will not take place. English Testing Centres are also affected.

CONSULTATION FROM OUR IMMIGRATION LAWYERS

  • We continue to serve our clients by providing legal advice and assistance on UK Visas, Immigration and Nationality matters.
  • We are taking measures to protect our clients and ourselves in line with Government advice. This causes no interruption in our correspondence with applicants/clients, UK Visa officials and the Courts, where necessary.
  • You can request consultation from our immigration lawyers over the phone or via Skype or Zoom conferences. Face-to-face appointments are also arranged where determined essential.
  • We advise applicants to take this opportunity due to the COVID-19 and make sure they remain first in the queue to make the immigration application and attend the appointment once the restrictions are lifted.

Please speak to our immigration lawyers for an advice on:

  1. Application from outside the UK and the visa centre is closed;
  2. Application from within the UK;
  3. You cannot get all the mandatory documents in time as a result of a disruption caused by COVID-19;
  4. If you are already past the deadline of applying for the visa from the UK;

We advise applicants applying from outside the UK to not delay the applications. Although immediate travel is not possible, we expect a large number of applications and appointment-bookings as soon as the restrictions are lifted. Delaying the submission of application may therefore lead to an additional delay as a result of inability to make a timely booking of visa/biometric appointment.    

What we/you can do during this period:

  • We can complete and submit the on-line application;
  • We can work on gathering the necessary mandatory evidence
  • We can upload the evidence.
  • Your case will be prepared and the necessary documents will be submitted online together with your visa application form. We will liaise with you regarding updates and date of arrival in the UK so that the interruption of your travel plans to the UK are kept to a minimum.

For a free confidential discussion about your immigration matter and how it will have an impact during the COVID-19 spread, call us on 0203 980 9348 or fill in the form for a call back

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Business Immigration

Migrants travelling to the UK from outside the European Economic Area, otherwise referred to as the EEA, will need a visa for work. But the UK’s visa system is much more complex than that. A migrant will have to go through a points-based system to find their eligibility for different tiers of visa.

To be eligible for any of the four tiers, an applicant must be able to gain certain points for different factors. For example, with tier 2, the applicant must meet an English language requirement. With any of the tiers, if the points score above the minimum threshold, a visa will be awarded.

Tier 2 is the most popular tier for visa applications, as it allows skilled workers to travel to the UK for a job. But with many applications being turned down each year, it’s evident that there’s still some confusion around the visa process.

If you’re unsure how to apply and get a tier 2 sponsor licence, read on as we break down how to create a successful application…

The UK’s tier visa system

Before applying for a visa, it’s important to be sure you’re applying for the right one. The first tier is for those travelling outside of the EEA and considered to be ‘high-value migrants. So, an investor or someone who has been identified as a leader in their sector.

Tier 2 is for skilled workers travelling from outside of the EEA. It includes those who are travelling to fulfil a work shortage, transferred by an international company or are sports personnel.

Tier 3 no longer exists, making tier 4 the next option. This includes students looking to study in the UK. Tier 5 has sub-tiers but generally includes creatives, charity and religious workers along with the youth mobility scheme.

The tier 2 visa

Once you’re sure you are applying for the right visa, it’s time to consider the application. When applying for a tier 2 visa, there are different schemes to be aware of. But regardless of situation, the job in question needs to listed on the Codes of Practice of Skilled Workers.

Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List

In this scheme, workers must be travelling for a role that has not been advertised. To be awarded the visa, applicants must have been formally offered the job. They also need to obtain a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship from the employer and hold a valid sponsor licence.

Tier 2 General Visa

The general visa scheme is open to applicants of a job that has been offered to those in the EEA before opening to non-EEA immigrants. This is a simpler application process and requires less documentation.

The tier 2 sponsor licences

For many migrants and employers, the process is relatively straightforward. However, when it comes to the sponsor licence, many face difficulties as there is a large margin for error.

There are two types of tier 2 sponsor licence:

  • tier 2 general sponsor licence
  • tier 2 intra-company transfer sponsor licence

The general licence is typically quicker, and the intra-company visa does not normally lead to indefinite placement in the UK.

However, with the general visa, businesses will have to do a Resident Labour Market Test to show that no resident worker is able to complete the work. This is not required under the other visa. It is worth noting that it normally is best to do the RLMT first anyway as in some cases it is required further down the line.

Business requirements

So, you know you need to apply for a sponsor licence, but what do you need to have to get it?

Well, there are no rules in place to say that a business has to be a particular size to obtain one. Neither does it say that a business needs to have been running for a set length of time. The key thing is that the business is operational, and a UK resident is available to deal with any queries regarding the application.

One requirement is that the business has a genuine need for a non-EEA employee. It’s also ideal to have a team of at least two or three working for the business already along with a separate office to work from.

How to apply for tier 2 sponsor licence

The organisation needs to complete the online application and submit it along with all of the relevant documentation requested. There is also a cost to submitting an application.

It’s important to note that this needs to be finalised within five days of initiating the application. Missing out any of these key parts may result in repercussions, including a rejected application or additional costs.

What happens next?  

Once a business’s application has been submitted, they’ll receive confirmation of receipt. It will take between 8-10 weeks before your application is either approved or rejected.

The UK Visas and Immigration will inspect the application and may even perform a compliance visit. This will take place around 6-8 weeks into the application and will help them assess whether they should be granting a licence or not.

Final application steps

Once a business has been appointed as tier 2 visa sponsors, they must appoint a key member of staff to carry out compliance relating to the licence. Then, all that’s left to do is assign a certificate of sponsorship and pay the Immigration Skills Charge. The rest is left with the applicant when they apply for their visa.

Need help?

If you’re still scratching your head over how to get tier 2 sponsor licences, then get in touch with Osbourne Pinner. Our team of expert immigration solicitors in London have 15 years’ experience with sponsor licences and can support clients as they navigate through the process.

With many applicants facing difficulties in understanding parts of the application process, our immigration solicitors can provide clear guidance and support. For a confidential chat, call us on 0203 983 5080, email info@osbournepinner.com or use our Live Chat. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Individual Immigration

At the start of October, the UK Government announced plans for a new immigration system. The so-called ‘points-based’ system would move towards the existing immigration process in Australia, as confirmed by Home Secretary Priti Patel in her speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

What is a points-based system?

As the name suggests, a points-based immigration system works by awarding points to people applying to live in the UK. Applicants would need to meet a minimum score to gain entry to the country, with their entry based on merit in several areas.

The UK does already have a ‘points-based’ system for migrants outside the European Union (EU). However, it has often been described as points-based in name only, because of the number of extra concessions that are made.

Australian points-based system

In the UK, the points-based system is generally discussed with reference to the system in Australia, where points are awarded for:

  • Age
  • Job
  • Proficiency in English
  • Skills
  • Education & Qualifications
  • Spouse skills and qualifications
  • Sponsorship

Would it be the same in Britain?

Plans may vary in the UK, depending on the specific needs of the country. The idea is to tailor the points to areas where Britain would benefit the most. So, if a country needed more young people, they would award more points to younger applicants based on their age.

In the existing Australian system, for instance, applicants aged 25-32 gain maximum points for that category. Presumably because that’s the age at which people are fully skilled and qualified for their career, but still young enough to offer the majority of their career to the country they’re migrating to.

When will it happen?

According to Home Secretary Priti Patel, the new system would be brought in once Britain leaves the EU. Rather than the existing system which has special conditions for EU migrants, all immigration applications would be treated equally through the points-based system.

Expert assistance with immigration

Whether it’s tiered immigration or a points-based system, immigration can be complex. Osbourne Pinner is an expert team of immigration solicitors in London. We aim to take the hassle out of immigration for our clients, with expert support every step of the way. For help and advice with your application, give our team a call on 0203 983 5080 or email info@osbournepinner.com.

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