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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Statement of changes HC 1534, 11 October 2018

On 11 October 2018, the Home Office has published the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 1534) which the Home Secretary laid down before the Parliament for approval. The statement is around 50 pages long and with changes taking effect from 1 November 2018. It can be accessed here.

The Statement of Changes has three main purposes. Firstly, it introduces Changes in Appendix EU and implementation of a second pilot phase of the EU Settlement Scheme for resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain UK immigration status, to run from 1 November to 31 December 2018. This phase will test the full end-to-end online application process, will significantly scale up the testing, including, on a voluntary basis and with the agreement of the Devolved Administrations, staff in the higher education, health and social care sectors across the UK. This phase will also include some vulnerable individuals as them being supported by a small number of local authorities and civil society organisations in order to enable testing of the operation of the scheme for those with support needs.

Secondly, the Statement of Changes further introduces the “Calais leave”, a form of leave to remain for children transferred to the UK as part of the Calais camp clearance to reunite with their family between 17 October 2016 and 13 July 2017 and who do not qualify for international protection (i.e. refugee status or humanitarian protection). As it would not be in interest of those children to separate them from their families but rather to reunite with their families and integrate in the UK, this support from the UK authorities is perceived as a significant positive change to Immigration Rules.

Thirdly, there are changes to the general visa application process, including the requirements to post passports and original documents, in order to support the operation of the new application process in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). By amending the Rules on the requirements for a valid application, the majority of those applying in the UK to extend their stay or apply for citizenship will be able to submit key documents and personal information in a more secure way while retaining their passport and supporting evidence which will make an application process more flexible and accessible.

However, there is one controversial major change introduced in the Statement. The immigration health surcharge will double from £200 to £400 in December 2018 for non-EU nationals. This has been explained as a necessary and fair contribution from long-term migrants to long-term sustainability of NHS service. These changes affect neither permanent residency holders nor certain vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers and modern slavery victims.

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Theresa May backs immigration plan that favours skilled workers

Theresa May’s cabinet has agreed a post-Brexit immigration system that will offer visas to immigrants in a tiered system based on skills and wealth, a flagship policy that is expected to be one of her key announcements to the Conservative party conference next week.

Downing Street hopes the migration policy will appeal to party members concerned about May’s leadership and the Brexit negotiations, which last week appeared to have reached an impasse at Salzburg when EU leaders declared her Chequers proposals would not work.

The Brexit negotiations update was held at the end of the cabinet meeting on Monday afternoon and the only person who referred to a Canada-style trade deal was the prime minister herself in her own presentation. She added that some EU heads of government were being more constructive than others behind the scenes, but did not specify which leaders.The meeting amounted to a moment of relief for the under-pressure prime minister, who heads to New York on Tuesday for a United Nations meeting before turning her attention to the party conference. One cabinet source said May was “just trying to get through the conference season intact”.

A white paper setting out the new immigration policy is due to be published later this autumn.

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MAC recommends removing the cap on Tier 2 work visas after Brexit

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its research into migration from the EU and how it should be managed after Brexit. The committee recommends a policy allowing greater access for higher-skilled migration while restricting access for lower-skilled workers. It suggests extending the current scheme for high-skilled non-EEA migrants – known as a Tier 2 visa – to those from EEA countries as well. As part of this process, the cap on the total amount of workers allowed to enter under Tier 2 should be abolished and the range of jobs eligible for the visas expanded, the committee says. Current policy is to allow 20,700 high-skilled workers into the UK each year on Tier 2 visas. The current salary threshold for such visas is £30,000, which the report says should be retained. You can read the full report here.

 

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Recent changes in Immigration routes to tackle BREXIT labour shortage

UK Government has announced various addition of Immigration routes and Pilot schemes in order to tackle Brexit labour shortage to ensure smooth availability of skilled labour in the UK. In this article, we look over some of the recent routes introduced over the last few months.

Seasonal Workers – 2,500 migrants a year 

British farmers will be allowed to recruit 2,500 non-EU migrants a year under a new government pilot that will help alleviate an anticipated shortage of seasonal workers after Brexit. Under the new scheme, which will run for two years from next spring, non-EU nationals who travel to the UK to work on fruit and vegetable farms will be able to stay for six months before returning. This two-year pilot is expected to ease the workforce pressures faced by farmers during busy times of the year.

Overseas researchers – UKRI Science, Research and Academia

The ‘UKRI Science, Research and Academia’ scheme opened on 6 July 2018 by way of an addition to the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa route in an effort to encourage the ongoing growth of the research sector in the UK.  The Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) route is the principal visa route by which non-EEA nationals who wish to undertake training and work experience are able to come to the UK.  The new scheme allows non-EEA researchers, scientists and academics to come to the UK for up to 2 years.The scheme is operated by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and means that they, along with 12 approved independent research organisations, including the Natural History Museum, are able to directly sponsor highly skilled researchers to work and train in the UK. Sponsored researchers include academics, researchers, scientists, research engineers or other skilled research technology specialists who will be hosted through an approved research institute, in a supernumerary role.

New UK Startup Visa for Entrepreneurs

The new route, announced during London Tech Week, will widen the applicant pool of talented entrepreneurs and make the visa process faster and smoother for entrepreneurs coming to the UK. It will replace a visa route which was exclusively for graduates, opening it up to a wider pool of talented business founders. It will require applicants to have acquired an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor, including accelerators. The visa route has been designed following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee and feedback from the tech sector and other stakeholders. This route will launch in Spring 2019, further details will be announced in due course.

Removal of Doctors & Nurses from Tier 2 Visa Cap

The removal will mean there will be no restriction on the numbers of doctors and nurses who can be employed through the Tier 2 visa route – giving the ability to recruit more international doctors and nurses to provide outstanding patient care when required. The Tier 2 visa route, which has had an annual cap of 20,700 since 2011, has in recent months seen the number of applications exceed the monthly allocation of available places. This has been driven, in large part, by demand from the NHS, which accounts for around 40% of all Tier 2 places. As well as providing a boost to the NHS, it will also free up hundreds of additional places a month within the cap for other highly skilled occupations, such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent – Increased to 2000 per year

The first big change is that the number of places available per year has been doubled from 1000 to 2000. This is to be allocated between the five Designated Competent Bodies (DCBs) according to demand. The next big change is the introduction of accelerated settlement after three years, bringing the category in-line with Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and (Investor) routes which have similar routes to settlement before five years.This means that recognised world leaders in their field can apply to settle after three years, and potential world leaders must wait until year five.

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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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Statement of changes

Statement of Changes Appendix EU – status for EU nationals and their families

The statement of changes to the Immigration Rules CM9675 of 20/7/18 contains new Appendix EU to be added to the rules and in force on 28/8/18 for the initial test phase. This is voluntary and applies only to persons on the payroll of the 12 NHS Trusts, and students and persons on the payroll of Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool John Moores University, and The University of Liverpool. The scheme will be rolled out on a phased basis from late 2018, to be fully open by 30 March 2019 (further details over the summer).

This, with parallel measures Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 and The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018  is intended to align with the Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme of 21/6/18.

Appendix EU (see text in SoC) is structured as follows, in outline, by paragraphs:

  • Annex 1: definitions
  • EU2 to EU8: requirements and procedure for grants of settled status (ILR)
  • EU9: validity requirements for applications
  • EU11: eligibility requirements for settled status (ILR) for EU citizens and their family members, and EU12 for the family members of certain British citizens
  • EU14: eligibility requirements for pre-settled status (5 years’ LTR)
  • EU15 and EU16: basis on which an application under Appendix EU will or may be refused on grounds of serious criminality, other public policy considerations or deception, as reflected in the draft text of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Paragraph 1 of the SoC disapplies the general grounds for refusal in Part 9 for applications under App EU, except para 323(ii)  323. A person’s leave to enter or remain may be curtailed: … (ii) if he ceases to meet the requirements of the Rules under which his leave to enter or remain was granted;

Appendix EU provides that:

  • EU citizens and their family members who, by 31/12/20, have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible for ‘settled status’ (ILR).
  • EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31/12/20, but who have resided here for less than 5 years, will generally be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’ (five years’ limited leave to remain in the UK), enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold, then apply for settled status.
  • Close family members (a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living overseas will be able to join an EU citizen resident here after 31/12/20, where the relationship existed on that date and continues to exist when the person wishes to come to the UK. Provision for future children will be made, in line with the draft Agreement. A family member of a British citizen who is lawfully resident in the UK by 31/12/20 under Surinder Singh Reg 9 of the 2016 EEA Regulations will be eligible to apply under Appendix EU

The Explanatory Memorandum further states in paras 7.3-7 that

  • the requirements in App EU accord with the Withdrawal Agreement except where the UK applies more favourable criteria
  • beyond the Withdrawal Agreement terms there is no further discretion to refuse a valid application
  • administrative burdens will be minimised by only requesting necessary information (!)
  • Appendix EU is self-contained and displaces any provision made elsewhere in the Immigration Rules which would otherwise apply, e.g. in Part 1 (leave to enter or stay in the UK).
  • nationals of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein are not covered by the draft Withdrawal Agreement, but the intention is to secure ‘a similar deal’ for them and for UK citizens living in those countries
  • nationals of Ireland enjoy residence rights under the Common Travel Area arrangements between UK and ROI which are separate from the EU and not affected by the UK’s withdrawal, but they or their family members may apply under App EU if they wish
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Update on Retained Right of Residence as a former spouse of a qualified person.

On 20th April 2018, the Court of Appeal and the Secretary of State in the case of Baigazieva v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1088, clarified the law in relation to Retained Right of Residence. Prior to this case, it was interpreted that non-EEA national must prove that that their EEA national spouse was a qualified person at the time of the divorce decree. However, it is now established that the non-EEA national must only show that their EEA national spouse was a qualified person at the initiation of their divorce proceedings.

The Court of Appeal and the Secretary of State identified that the period between the commencement of divorce proceedings and the grant of divorce decree is quite critical. It was understood that once the termination of marriage is initiated, it will be unreasonable and highly-unlikely for the non-EEA national to obtain evidence of the EEA-national spouse’s employment status as the relationship ties are broken and dissolved. Due to this, the Court of Appeal clarified the interpretation of Regulation 10(5) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 and Article 13(2) of the Directive 2004/38/EC.

The position of the law in relation to retained right of residence is now clear. A non-EEA national will only be able to obtain retained right of residence once the divorce is granted legally, however the conditions for retaining right of residence will only be based until the commencement of divorce proceedings.

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