Category: Immigration

Tier 1 Investor visa suspended from midnight tonight to crackdown organised crime

The Tier 1 (Investor) immigration route will be suspended from midnight tonight (6/7 December) which means no applications will be accepted after today.

Currently, a Tier 1 (Investor) visa is granted to wealthy candidates who are willing to make a substantial financial investment of £2 million, £5 million or £10 million in Government bonds or British businesses in return for permission to apply for permanent residence in five, three or two years respectively.

This so-called ‘gold-plated’ visa scheme which allows foreign investors a fast-track to settlement in the UK is planned to be suspended in order to tackle money laundering as part of serious organised crime conducted by those granted this visa. The Immigration Minister has been reported stating that the planned measures aim to make sure that only those genuine investors who play by rules and intend to support the UK business can benefit from the UK immigration system.

While a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules is planned to be laid before Parliament later today, as assumed to make the changes necessary to suspend the Tier 1 (Investor) route, the route itself will be re-introduced for applications in 2019 at unspecified date. Changes are planned to be serious, including removing government bonds from the list of acceptable investments and leaving only active and trading UK companies as option for investment while also obliging applicants to provide comprehensive audit trails evidencing the money source.

The announcement has been received as a shock by some practitioners who are concerned about the timing of introduction of these measures which collides with the timing of debating of the whole new future of the UK immigration system amid Brexit which may have a negative effect on already nervous investors coming from abroad.

These planned changes to investor visa scheme are not the first aimed to tackle non-genuine migrants investing in the UK through the Tier 1 (Investor) immigration route, as previously in November 2014 and April 2015 there had been reforms under which applications can be refused if there are reasonable doubts about the source of the investment funds or that they have been acquired through unlawful conduct. Those reforms resulted in planned plummeting of the number of Tier 1 (Investor) visas in their immediate aftermath.

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Immigration law firm Lupins based in Wembley Park ceased to trade

Immigration law firm Lupins based in Wembley Park has ceased trading after getting into financial difficulties. The London firm, well known in the immigration sector, halted operations from 28 September and has handed over its client files to Duncan Lewis, which has also taken on some ex-Lupins staff. Lupins clients can contact Lubna Chauhan at Duncan Lewis by email or on 03337720409 to access their file or to confirm that they are happy for Duncan Lewis to take over their case. There is speculation that Lupins’s difficulties were partly caused by legal aid cuts and further demonstrates the challenges faced by immigration firms relying on legal aid.

What to do next?

Duncan Lewis is holding all of Lupins immigration client files. This means that if Lupins were your immigration Solicitors, the paperwork is now all with Duncan Lewis. However, this does not mean that Duncan Lewis will be continuing to act for you in your immigration case. If you would like them to do so, you will need to complete a consent form allowing them to act for you, but you do not have to continue with them. You are free to choose a different immigration solicitor at any time, so in this case there is no problem with you giving consent to Duncan Lewis to continue to act in your immigration matter, or to instruct a different immigration lawyer.

We are a multi award winning Immigration law firm based in the same location – Wembley Park and also contracted with the legal aid agency to undertake public funded work. We would be pleased to discuss and to take on any immigration matters previously handled by Lupins Solicitors. Please do not hesitate to contact us  on 0330 058 3929 if you require any further assistance.

 

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Provision of Legal Aid Services to our clients

We are happy to inform that from 01st September 2018, we have started providing Legal Aid Services to all our clients at our firm. Legal aid is generally available for very limited immigration and asylum cases. The following matters may qualify for some advice, assistance and/or representation:

  • Detention & Bail cases;
  • Applications for Leave to Remain under the domestic violence rule;
  • Applications for leave by those identified as victims of trafficking;
  • Proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. This includes deportation and deprivation of citizenship cases where information is to be kept confidential for reasons of national security;
  • Many asylum cases & appeals;
  • Applications for Leave to Remain or settlement as a refugee with humanitarian protection/discretionary leave under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ie: freedom from torture or inhuman and degrading treatment;
  • Some Judicial Review Applications, in limited circumstances.

Legal fees for eligible clients will be paid by the Legal Aid Agency. You can check whether legal aid is available for your type of case online, by calling Civil Legal Advice (0345 345 4 345), or by contacting us. City Legal can assist you in establishing whether you qualify for legal aid. Even if you are not eligible for Legal Aid, our specialist immigration lawyers can advise, assist and represent you at very competitive rates.

Please visit https://citylegalservices.co.uk/legal-aid/ for more details or to make a referral. Alternatively you may call us on 0330 058 3929 (Option 3) or email us: [email protected]

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Court Of Appeal rules on the validity of UK visa applications made online.

In the case of R (Singh) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1669 the Court of Appeal discussed transitional provisions in the Immigration Rules that apply to online applications which must be supported with further evidence sent later by post. The appellant argued that an application made online without supporting evidence was not valid and therefore did not count as an application for the purpose of deciding whether the “old” or “new” Rules applied. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument and ruled that the online application did count and therefore the previous Rules would apply. This meant the appellant could not benefit from a change to the Rules which required the Home Office to chase applicants for missing evidence and give them an additional 10 days to submit it.

Mr Singh had leave to remain as a student and made an online application for further leave on 22 October 2014, shortly before his leave expired. On 16 October 2014 the Secretary of State for the Home Department had changed the Immigration Rules on supporting documents. Previously, applicants had 15 days to supply those documents by post. If the deadline was missed the application would be automatically rejected. The new Rules told Home Office caseworkers to instead send a letter chasing up the missing documents and wait for a further ten days before rejecting the application. At the same time the Secretary of State made a Rule stating that applications made before 6 November 2014 would be decided on the basis of the old rule and applications made after that date would benefit from the new rule.

Mr Singh argued that this transitional rule only referred to “valid” applications made before 6 November 2014. His application never became valid because he had not sent his passport to the Home Office, therefore it did not fall to be considered under the old rules and he should benefit from the additional ten days provided by the new rules. Although the outcome of this case is unfortunate for Mr Singh it is difficult to challenge the conclusion reached by the Court of Appeal. It would be very surprising if the online application were not to count as an application as a matter of law when that term is used in other parts of the Immigration Rules.

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BBC pull video aimed at children claiming immigration is in ‘our DNA

The BBC film aimed at GCSE pupils claimed Britain was “multicultural long before curry and carnival” and there isn’t such a thing as “pure Briton”. The assumptions made in the video, which had been in circulation since May, sparked a backlash and BBC was forced to withdraw the documentary. In the animated video, part of a series called Don’t Hate the Debate, the voiceover said: “Think immigration is a recent thing? Think again. “Because you see, you got the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings, the Normans, the Flemish, the Irish, black Britons and Jewish people.

The video then seemed to issue a thinly-veiled attack on some right-wing parties calling for measures to curb immigration. Following the withdrawal of the video, a BBC spokesman said: “Don’t Hate the Debate is a series of films designed to help teachers enable classroom debates about topical issues.

 

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Paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules and Its Effect on Tier 1 Migrants

A recent investigation has shown that many of the Tier 1 Migrant workers that have made an Indefinite Leave to Remain application are facing deportation orders by the Home Office pursuant to paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Rules even though they have not been criminally charged or fined by the HMRC. Home Office is being criticised heavily for wrongly applying this paragraph. Paragraph 322(5) was designed to tackle terrorism and disseminate those that are seen as a threat to national security. These rules were not designed to tackle those who are making changes to their tax records. Investigation has revealed that the Home Office is not proving beyond a reasonable doubt the intent to deceive HMRC or/ and Home Office and is solely relying on the failure of notifying all the relevant parties of changes to tax records. This has caused an outcry by many questioning the competence of the Home Office and its wrongful application of the relevant provisions of the Immigration Rules. It is argued that the Home Office’s incompetence will lead those with wrongful deportation orders to have a permanent “black” mark on their immigration history. Not only will the individuals be able to obtain visa to enter countries, they will face travel restraints and restrictions. Due to its sensitivity, MP’s and members of the House of Lords are now trying to create pressure groups to inform and prevent the Home Office from wrongly applying the Immigration Rules and deporting highly skilled migrants. Last month the home secretary, Sajid Javid, promised “all applications potentially falling for refusal under the character and conduct provisions of paragraph 322(5) … have been put on hold pending the findings of the current review”.

If you are a Tier 1 Migrant facing a deportation order based on amendments to your tax records or your ILR refused, please call one of our immigration experts on 0330 058 3929.

 

 

 

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Home Office set up New Team to help Commonwealth citizens

The new dedicated team will work across government to help individuals identify and gather evidence to confirm their existing right to be in the UK. The team will include a dedicated contact point and aim to resolve cases within 2 weeks once the evidence has been put together. In addition, no one affected will be charged for the documentation which proves their right to be here.

The package of measures is being introduced to support individuals, who have resided in the UK for an extended period of time, and encourage them to come forward and regularize their stay. It will help guide individuals through the process and use data from across government to help build a picture that will evidence a person’s right to be here.

The new team will work with HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education and other relevant bodies to help people evidence their right to be here.The Home Office has also published a new web page which provides information and guidance for former Commonwealth citizens. It gives examples of the type of evidence that can be provided to support applications including exam certificates, employment records, your National Insurance number, birth and marriage certificates or bills and letters.

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UK Visa Fees Increase from April 2018

The UK Visas & Immigration announced new fees for immigration and nationality coming into effect on 6 April 2018. The changes include increases to Tier 2 work visa fees, indefinite leave to remain and naturalization applications. We’ve highlighted some of the increases below but a full list can be found here.

TIER 2 VISAS

  • Overseas
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff up to 3 years: £610 (previously £587)
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff over 3 years: £1,220 (previously £1,174)
  • In country
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff up to 3 years: £704 (previously £677)
    • Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff over 3 years: £1,408 (previously £1,354)

TIER 1 VISAS 

  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur overseas: £1,021 (previously £982)
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur in country: £1,277 (previously £1,228)
  • Tier 1 Investor overseas and in country: £1,623 (previously £1,561)
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur overseas: £363 (previously £349)
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur in country: £493 (previously £474)

OTHER WORK VISAS 

  • Representative of overseas business (overseas application): £610 (previously £587)
  • Representative of overseas business (in country application): £704 (previously 677)
  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker & Youth Mobility Scheme: £244 (previously £235)

 SETTLEMENT & BRITISH NATIONALITY 

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain: £2,389 (previously £2,297)
  • Naturalisation as a British citizen: £1,250 (previously £1,202)

Please contact us on 020 3695 4626 if you need any assistance on UK immigration.

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Owning & Operating a business may amount to private life under Article 8

The court of appeal recently considered the case of  Onwuje v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 331  under Article 8 and Underhill LJ accepted that “an entrepreneur’s ownership of, and involvement in, his or her business may also be regarded as an aspect of their private life for the purpose of article 8”, as stated in Niemietz v Germany (application no. 13710/88).

In Niemietz the European Court of Human Rights accepted that the concept of private life should not be limited to an “inner circle” but should include professional or business activities, “since it is, after all, in the course of their working lives that the majority of people have a significant, if not the greatest, opportunity of developing relationships with the outside world”.

Even though the appeal did not go through in this case, the comment is worth noting for future private life claims involving business aspect.

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70-day deadline to verify and confirm the identity of individuals alleged by the UK to be illegal migrants

India will commit itself to a 70-day deadline to verify and confirm the identity of individuals alleged by Britain to be illegal migrants, according to a memorandum of understanding to be signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit here in April. The text of the MoU was finalised and initialled by minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju and UK minister for immigration Caroline Nokes in London last week. The sensitive issue is linked to Britain improving its visa offer for Indian nationals, expected to be announced during Modi’s visit.

The issue of repatriating illegal Indians is one of key elements in the bilateral relationship. The returns have so far been plagued by delays in confirming the Indian nationality of suspects, though the 70-day deadline is expected to speed up the process. As Prime Minister Theresa May said during her November 2016 visit to India:  “(The) UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the UK.”

The MoU divides Indian citizens without a legal basis to be in the UK into two categories – those whose passports and other details are available from their applications for British visas, and those whose documents are not available but acknowledge being Indians. The verification process of the first group – after Britain submits documents to India – is to be completed within 15 days, while the identity of individuals in the second group – a more complicated process – will need to be confirmed within 70 days.

No figures for suspected illegal Indians are released but the Home Office assesses that Indian citizens are among the top nationalities remaining in the UK Illegally. A Home Office official said: “A major barrier for removal is the current process for obtaining travel documentation for those without a current passport.” In the past, the verification process in India, after documents are sent from London, took months, but Indian officials hope the speedier timeline in the MoU will enable Britain to consider better visa conditions for legal migration.

Since address verification for Indian passports is usually completed in 21 days, officials believe the 70-day deadline will be sufficient for police authorities to complete the process. “Illegal migration should not be a barrier to legal migration,” said India’s deputy high commissioner Dinesh Patnaik. May had unveiled plans to roll out the “registered traveller scheme” for Indian business leaders during her India visit, but it has not been announced so far. It will enable business travellers expedited clearance at Heathrow and other ports.

There is also a demand that Britain extend to India an ongoing pilot scheme in China offering cheaper and longer duration visas, and Indian representatives hope British authorities will have three months to consider such plans before Modi’s visit in April.

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