The guidance issued by HMRC in relation to bringing vehicles and pets from outside of the EU to the UK was updated on the 6th March 2017. This guidance is available here.

The guidance confirms that when a person relocates to the UK and brings with them a vehicle or pet, those goods will normally be subject to standard import duties and charges unless an application is made for relief from the normal duties on the form ‘Transfer of Residence’. Certain items (for example pet dogs and cats) may be eligible for relief from the normal duties and charges.

Due to the recent change in the regulations, the processing time for ‘transfers of residence’ are presently taking longer. Therefore, for those intending to transfer their pets or vehicles to the UK whilst travelling, we would strongly recommend that you submit your application for a ‘Transfer of Residence’ at the earliest opportunity.

Further guidance on the requirements involved in bringing pets to the UK can also be found here.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of these regulations please contact Mark Lilley-Tams at markl@paragonlaw.co.uk

President Trump signed a revised executive order on 06 March 2017 which temporarily suspends new entries of nationals to the US from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

 

There is a significant narrowing of the controversial executive order of 27 January which caused chaos at US airports and was challenged successfully in the courts. The previous order was blocked initially by a district court in Washington State and then an appellate panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The new order revokes the earlier one and takes effect on 16 March. The key features of the new order are:

  1. It cuts refugee settlement this fiscal year to 50,000 from an earlier target of 110,000 and puts a stop to refugee admissions for 120 days. The new order also retreats from the attempt to prioritise applications from minority-religion refugees.
  2. The new order restricts nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US unless they had valid visas as of 27 January. The justification for this restriction is that new admissions from these countries would be “detrimental to the interest of the United States”.
  3. There is a departure from the previous order which included Iraq in the list of countries.
  4. There is a significant departure from the previous order which banned the entry of those who had valid visas, including permanent residence and suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The new order allows nationals from the six countries to apply for case by case waivers and provides examples as to when waivers might be exercised e.g. where an individual has previously established significant contacts in the US or are seeking to visit immediate family members who are legally resident in the US.

Nationals from the six designated countries have already been undergoing greater scrutiny and vetting procedures compared to nationals of other countries. Nationals from Iran, Syria and Sudan face further scrutiny procedures since these countries have been designated state sponsors of terrorism by the US State Department.

Further, nationals from Iran, Sudan and Syria and recent travellers to all of these six countries are excluded from visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program even if they hold citizenship of one of the 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program.

The 27 January order was flawed on a number of counts and argued to be a breach of the US Constitution. The 9th Circuit Court also indicated that this order violated the First Amendment by discriminating against a particular religion. These matters will now become academic as the 06 March order revokes the previous one. The new order has tried to address the points of challenge in the previous order and the basis for a legal challenge has now been narrowed.

Trump’s administration continue to maintain that travel bans as set out in the new order are necessary and rely on the Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 and in particular section 212 (f) which allows the president to suspend entry of certain foreign nationals if he finds that their entry would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States”. Whilst this statuette has been used by previous presidents it is argued that it has never been used as broadly (and without a response to a specific event or threat) as Trump’s order. This therefore may be the starting point to any legal challenge.

 

 

 

spouse visa

The Supreme Court gives judgement on spouse visas and the financial requirements of £18,600

In July 2012, the Government made substantial changes to the Immigration Rules, which particularly impacted on those who were sponsoring family members coming to the UK. ‘Appendix FM’ of The Rules introduced a number of significant hurdles that family members needed to overcome. The Supreme Court in the case of R on the application of MM (Lebanon) and others v SSHD [2017] UKSC 10 has now considered whether the introduction of the ‘financial requirement’ for spouses is lawful.

 

What is the Financial Requirement under the July 2012 Rules?

Under the previous system of Immigration Rules, an Applicant for a spouse visa needed to satisfy a ‘maintenance’ requirement which showed that they would be adequately supported in the UK without having any ‘recourse to public funds’. When deciding whether an Applicant satisfied this criteria, the Home Office would assess whether the income available to them in the household, after taking into account housing costs, would exceed the amount that they would receive if they were on a UK benefit known as income support. This was a relatively low threshold. In addition, as well as being able to rely upon the income received by the UK spouse, it was possible to rely upon support that was promised to the couple by third parties (such as family members who promised to give the Applicant a certain sum every month) and prospective job offers in the UK that the Applicant had received.

Under the system introduced in July 2012, an Applicant was required to evidence a minimum income of £18,600. This minimum income would increase if there were also non-settled children in the family. The income requirement for a family with one such child was £22,400, with the income requirement raising a further £2,400 for each additional child.

Under the new Rules, other than in very limited circumstances, the Applicant can only rely upon the income that their UK based partner is earning to meet the requirement. This means that third party offers of support and any job offers that the Applicant has in the UK, cannot currently be taken into account.

The financial requirement also allows savings to be taken into account to meet the financial requirement, but only if those savings exceed £16,000. For an Applicant who wants to solely rely upon savings to meet the financial income requirement of £18,600, it is necessary to evidence savings of at least £62,500.

It estimated by some that 40% of British citizens would be unable to satisfy the current financial requirement.

What the Supreme Court was asked to decide

The Supreme Court was asked to reach a decision on three principle issues:

  1. Whether the principle of having a minimum income requirement was compatible with human rights law;
  2. Whether the treatment in the Rules and Guidance of children was lawful; and
  3. Whether the income requirement was lawful in preventing Applicants from relying on third party support and job offers in the UK to meet the requirement.

Principle of a minimum income requirement

In this part of the case, the Court found in favour of the Government. They found that having a minimum income requirement was, in principle, lawful, as part of the Government strategy of reducing net migration.

This finding does not mean that there will not be individual cases where a refusal of an application on financial requirement grounds will be a breach of that individual’s human rights, but it does mean that the principle of having such a Rule is not itself in breach of human rights law.

Treatment of Children

There is a requirement in UK law, including in the context of immigration, to treat the best interests of children being affected by decisions, as a ‘primary consideration’. The Government argued that it would be for Entry Clearance Officers to make decisions on individual cases to ensure that children’s best interests were protected.

However, the Court considered the Guidance that entry clearance officers needed to take into account when deciding cases and found that they set the threshold at which a child’s rights would be breached too high. They had no hesitation in finding that the Guidance was defective, and that new Guidance would need to be issued which was compatible with human rights caselaw, to ensure that the best interests of children were given primary consideration.

The Court further found that the Immigration Rules should also be amended to reflect the Government’s duty towards children. The Court did not describe how the Rules should be amended, but as they have been found to be unlawful, it will be necessary for the Government to make changes to the Rules to fully reflect that Entry Clearance Officers are properly taking into account the impact of children when deciding applications.

In practice, this means that if there are children who are being adversely impacted by a decision to refuse a spouse entry clearance to the UK, there is a strong legal argument that the Government’s reliance on the Immigration Rules in their current form is unlawful.

Treatment of Third Party Support and Job Offers

In this part of the case, the Government argued that for reasons of ‘practicality’ it was not appropriate to include offers of support from third parties or prospective job offers. They argued it was difficult to assess how credible such support or job offers were and there were ‘substantial risks and uncertainties’ attached to the calculation.

The Court however rejected the Government’s arguments. Whilst acknowledging that it may be difficult for an Applicant to prove that there is suitable support available from a third party or that a job offer would materialise in actual work upon the Applicant’s arrival, they found that it was overly prescriptive to prevent the Applicant from being able to rely upon other sources of funding even if they had good evidence available to them.

The Court therefore found that the current Guidance needed to be amended so that Applicants could rely upon support from a third party, or a job offer in the UK.

Applicants who may otherwise struggle to meet the financial requirement, can therefore now argue that they would meet the financial requirement with the support of a third party (such as a family member) or through the work income the Applicant would obtain upon arrival in the UK. This is a significant development for many families. If relying on other sources of funding however, Applicants will need to ensure that they provide comprehensive evidence of the potential source of funding and be prepared that the Home Office may not in the first instance accept that source of funding as credible.

Conclusion

Whilst the income requirement has remained in-tact, the Supreme Court’s decision will offer hope to many families who have been prevented from living together in the UK previously.

There are certain aspects of the financial requirement that the Supreme Court did not consider, such as the difficulties that the Rules impose for those who are self-employed in satisfying the financial requirement. These are matters that may well continue to face scrutiny by future courts and which may force the Government to make further amendments to the Rules to prevent families from being forced to live apart for very substantial periods of time.

 

For further information on the spouse visa rules please contact Mark Lilley-Tams at markl@paragonlaw.co.uk

From 6th April 2017, the Home Office will require some Tier 2 applicants to obtain criminal record checks. The roles that will be subject to this requirement are typically in healthcare, education or other sectors where applicants may work with vulnerable adults or children.

 

Superficially, this may appear a reasonable requirement. However, if an overseas applicant is applying to work in a role where a disclosure and barring check is necessary, then they already have to acquire a criminal record certificate from abroad. For example, any healthcare professional applying to work in the NHS already has to comply with these requirements in order to be appointed in the first place. This new measure appears to extend the requirement for a criminal record check to posts where one would not be required of a settled worker.

Even more surprisingly, the requirement also applies to adult dependants of the main applicant. Therefore, if a UK business wishes to recruit an Optometrist from outside the EEA, and that person wishes to live in the UK with their spouse, then the spouse must get a criminal record certificate.

Who does this apply to?

This requirement applies to a wide range of roles and is determined by an applicant’s SoC code. It will include, for example, Pharmacists and Optometrists (see below for the full list).

Adult dependants of the main applicant will also have to get a criminal record certificate.

What do applicants have to provide?

Applicants must provide a criminal record certificate from any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, unless they were 17 or under at the time that they lived in that country. The 12 month period will be calculated consecutively or cumulatively. For example, if an applicant has lived in a country for two separate periods of 6 months, then they will need to get a certificate from that country.

If the certificate is not in English, then the applicant must also provide a translation.

The certificate must be no more than 6 months old at the time that the application is submitted and must also be within any validity period expressly stated on the certificate itself.

How do applicants get a criminal record certificate?

This will vary from country to country. The Home Office publish a guide of all countries with information about how to obtain a suitable certificate in each. The guide can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants

If applicants are still unsure what they need to do, they should contact their embassy in the first instance.

Applicants should keep a record of all of the steps that they take to try and get a certificate.

How will this affect employers?

This is yet another administrative hurdle for both employees and employers to get over. The biggest concern is that this requirement may cause delay in getting new employees to the UK. Inevitably, different jurisdictions will have different time frames from dealing with requests. Some applicants may need to obtain certificates from more than one jurisdiction. Some applicants may not be able to get a certificate at all.

What steps should employers take to reduce the impact of this requirement?

If possible, employers should aim to submit those applications that they can before April 2017. The immigration skills charge is also due to come into force in April 2017, so there is a clear benefit to submitting applications before that date where this is feasible.

Employers should inform any new employee that they identify of this requirement as early as possible. UKVI suggest doing this at the point that a certificate of sponsorship is assigned, however it could also be done as soon as any advertising has finished, when the employer is applying for the restricted certificate of sponsorship.

This will be particularly important in countries where a certificate may be impossible to obtain. If the applicant cannot get a suitable certificate, then UKVI have indicated that they will expect employers to do what they can to obtain background checks, for example by taking up references.

What if we cannot get a criminal record certificate?

If an applicant simply cannot get a certificate, then they should write a clear list of all of the steps that they have taken to try and get one. They should also attach copies of any evidence that they have to illustrate this, for example an itemised telephone bill, proof of postage or email chains.

This should all be submitted along with the visa application. The embassy will consider the evidence, and also their knowledge of the current situation within the country in question. If they are persuaded that it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ for the applicant to obtain a certificate, then they will waive the requirement.

1181 – Health services and public health managers and directors

1184 – Social services managers and directors

2211 – Medical practitioners

2212 – Psychologists

2213 – Pharmacists

2214 – Ophthalmic opticians

2215 – Dental practitioners

2217 – Medical radiographers

2218 – Podiatrists

2219 – Health professionals not elsewhere classified.

2221 – Physiotherapists

2222 – Occupational therapists

2223 – Speech and language therapists

2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified

2231 – Nurses

2232 – Midwives

2312 – Further education teaching professionals

2314 – Secondary education teaching professionals

2315 – Primary and nursery education teaching professionals

2316 – Special needs education teaching professionals

2317 – Senior professionals of educational establishments

2318 – Education advisers and school inspectors

2319 – Teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified

2442 – Social workers

2443 – Probation officers

2449 – Welfare professionals not elsewhere classified

 

For further information contact Thalej Vasishta at thalejv@paragonlaw.co.uk.

Thal_1_2_1

 Changes to the Immigration Rules – Update for Employers

The important changes to the Immigration Rules which employers and sponsored workers need to be aware of and which came into effect on 24 November 2016 are as follows:-

 

Tier2 (General)

  • The minimum salary threshold for experienced workers has increased to £25,000. This will increase again in April 2017 to £30,000.
  • The threshold remains £20,800 for new entrants i.e. those under the age of 26 or international students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
  • An exemption from this increase will apply for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers (mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin). The exemption will end in July 2019.
  • Those employed under a graduate training programme will be able to change occupation within the programme or at the end of the programme, without their sponsor needing to carry out a further Resident Labour Market Test or the need for them to make a new application.
  • Nurses will continue to remain on the Shortage Occupation List but employers will need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test before proceeding to sponsor a nurse under the Tier 2 (General) visa.

 

Tier2 (Intra-Company Transfer)

  • The Skills Transfer sub-category has now been closed.
  • The minimum salary threshold for the Short Term sub-category has increased from £24,800 to £30,000.
  • The minimum salary threshold for the Graduate Trainees sub-category has been reduced from £24,800 to £23,000 and the number of trainees each employer may sponsor has increased from 5 to 20.

 

The changes that are likely to take place in April 2017

  • The exemption currently from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge to Tier 2 (ICT) Migrants and their dependents is likely to be removed.
  • The new Immigration Skills Charge will be introduced and will be set at £1,000 per year for a sponsored worker of a large businesses and £364 per year for SMEs and charities. Exemptions will be applied to PhD occupations, ICT Graduate Trainees sub-category and international students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General).

 

Other Autumn 2016 changes to be aware of

  • The Home Office have previously accepted applications submitted within 28 days of a persons immigration status expiring regardless of the reason for the overstay. This has now been reduced to 14 days and an out of time application will only be granted if there is a good reason beyond the applicants control for the overstay.
  • The Rules have been amended to enable a Tier 5 A-Rated sponsor to certify maintenance in respect of a Tier 5 migrant and their dependents.

 

Immigration Act 2016

Two important provisions were introduced on 12 July 2016:

1.A new offence of illegal working

  • The offence is committed when a migrant works in the UK when he knows or has ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that he is disqualified from working.
  • The offence carries a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 51 weeks or a fine, or both.
  • A confiscation order may also be made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to cease the earnings of the convicted illegal worker

 

2. An amended illegal employment offence for employers

  • The offence has been widened to not only include employers who ‘knowingly’ employ illegal workers but also employers who have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the employee is disqualified from employment by reason of their immigration status.
  • The maximum term of imprisonment has increased from 2 to 5 years.
  • Immigration officers have also been given the power to arrest without warrant any person who they have reasonable grounds of suspecting has committed or is attempting to commit the offence of employing a person illegally.
  • It should also be noted that on 1 December 2016 immigration officers will be given additional powers under The Act to close business premises for up to 48 hours if employers who have committed immigration offences and they will be able to apply to the court for a compliance order to impose special measures, including ongoing closure, on the employer to prevent illegal working.

3. Why you should be concerned?

  • The bar has been reduced from ‘knowingly’ employing someone who does not have the permission to do so if as an employer you could be found to have had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the employee did not have or had ceased to have the right to work in the UK.
  • It should also be noted that if an employee of the business who has responsibility on behalf the business of any aspect of the employment of an individual has reasonable cause or believe that the employee does not have the right to work then the business will be treated as having ‘reasonable cause to believe ’that fact.
  • The 2016 Act does not give a definition of ‘reasonable cause to believe’ and it will therefore appear that the law will be developed on a case by case basis. The threshold will certainly be higher than mere negligence as this is the function of the civil penalty regime though, the bar has been set lower than ‘knowingly’ employing someone who does not have the correct immigration status.
  • Those employers who hold a Tier 2 license who fall foul of this legislation are likely to have their license revoked and the immigration permission of all migrant employees sponsored under the license curtailed. The business is likely to be prevented from applying for another Tier 2 license for a period of up to 12 months.

4. What you should be doing?

  • It is recommended that you review your right to work checks to ensure that your system and procedures are robust in order for you to maintain the statutory excuse for all employees.
  • You should also review your procedures in relation to change of circumstances and new information received after the employment has commenced.
  • HR and line managers should be given training on the new changes and what circumstances may trigger having ‘reasonable cause to believe’ and the action to be taken.

 

Training

Paragon Law will be running a training course on the new and proposed changes to the Immigration Rules, preparing for UKVI visits (including the areas of focus by visiting officers), the changes under the Immigration Act 2016 and protecting your EU employees following the Brexit referendum. This one day course will take place in January 2017 and places will be limited. Therefore to register your interest or if you require specific training for your HR advisors please email me at thalejv@paragonlaw.co.uk.

 

european job seker image

 

EEA Nationals are allowed to remain in the UK whilst they are exercising their right to freedom of movement under the EEA Regulations. In order to have a right to remain in the UK however, EEA nationals must fit within one of the ‘qualified’ categories, which are:

  • Workers
  • Self-employed
  • Students
  • Self-sufficient persons
  • Jobseekers

Over the years, the EEA Regulations have been amended a number of times by the UK Government. These amendments appear to have reduced the rights that EEA jobseekers have to remain in the UK. This can be particularly important for EEA nationals who wish to apply for permanent residence. A permanent residence application requires a continuous period of 5 years ‘qualified status’ with no breaks, and EEA Nationals may need to show that they were present in the UK as a jobseeker to fill any gaps between work or studies.

Two recent decisions of the Court have helped to re-affirm the rights that EEA Nationals have to remain in the UK whilst job seeking.

In the case of KS v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKUT 269 AAC the Tribunal looked at the requirement within the regulations that a person provide ‘compelling evidence’ where they had been job seeking for more than 91 days. This requirement was controversial, as the previous case of Antonissen (C-292/89) had found that a person should be permitted a period of at least 6 months to find work and be treated as a ‘worker’ during that period. In KS the Court explained that the requirement to provide ‘compelling’ evidence however was just a requirement that on the ‘balance of probabilities’ a person establish that they have a genuine chance of finding work. That is the normal standard of proof applied in civil courts and therefore the use of the word ‘compelling’ does not introduce an additional hurdle for EEA nationals to jump through.

In the case of MB and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKUT 372 AAC the Court went on to consider the ‘compelling evidence’ test of genuinely searching for and finding work. The Courts confirmed that a person must have a chance of being engaged within a ‘reasonable period’ and that the test involved looking forward, including if the person was to obtain qualifications which would enable them to obtain work. There must be ‘real prospects’ of obtaining work and the burden is on the jobseeker to show this.

The Court’s decisions in these cases are re-assuring as the Courts have shown that they will continue to interpret EU law in a manner which continues to strongly protect free movement rights for EEA nationals and their family members.

Mark Lilley-Tams

For further information please contact Mark Lilley-Tams at markl@paragonlaw.co.uk.

eu-referendumParagon Law have, since the Brexit referendum, been providing in-house seminars to clients and their EU/EEA staff members on the requirements of regularising immigration status before the UK invokes Article 50.

From these seminars we list the frequently asked questions and our answers in turn.

Should you require specific advice then contact the Paragon Law team at enquiries@paragonlaw.co.uk or call 0115 9644 123.

 

Registration Certificate

Q: What is the benefit of obtaining a Registration Certificate?

Answer: A Registration Certificate is evidence that an EEA national is present in the UK as a qualified person at the date of application. In certain immigration contexts, it may leave you in a more advantageous position at a later date, if you make an application for a registration certificate now. One example of this is that for students who obtained a registration certificate as a student before the 20th June 2011, transitional provisions are in place which mean that they do not need to evidence that they have held comprehensive sickness insurance when applying for a document certifying permanent residence. Another advantage is that it may provide you with evidence of your status if you require that at a later date.

Q: For a registration certificate, if the same day premium service at Croydon is used, is there a guarantee it will be done the same day?

Answer: There is never any guarantee but it is highly likely.

 

Permanent Residence

Q: How strict is the home office in regards to the travel history?

Answer: In terms of your application it is in your best interest to be as accurate as possible. Only full days outside of the UK need to be included on the form (so if you travel on a Saturday and return on a Sunday there is no need to record your travel). If it is not possible to provide the exact dates, then as accurate an estimate as possible should be provided.

For a permanent residence application, It is permissible to limit providing your travel history to the period where you are claiming to have established your right to permanent residence and after that point up until the date of application. However, you should make it clear that you are only providing your travel history from that point, and advise that earlier travel history can be provided upon request.

Q: Is it possible to lose permanent residency?

Answer: You can only lose a right of permanent residence in the UK under EU law where you have been absent from the UK for more than two years, or where you are excluded from the UK on public policy/public security grounds.

Q: Do I still need to apply for permanent residence if my spouse is a UK citizen?

Answer: Although being married to a British citizen has certain immigration advantages in particular contexts, it is not sufficient on its own to establish a right to be in the UK. Therefore it is still advisable to make an application for a permanent residence card to be able to evidence a permanent right of residence in the UK.

Q: I am trying to establish a right of permanent residence. I have been continuously residence for a period of 5 years in the past, but have been abroad for more than one year (but less than two years) since then. Can I still qualify for permanent residence documentation?

Answer: Yes. If you are able to establish that you have acquired a right of permanent residence through a period of 5 years continuous qualified status, then you will only lose that right of permanent residence either through an absence from the UK of more than two years, or through being excluded on public policy/public security grounds.

Q: If I have been in the UK for less than 5 years, what options do I have?

Answer: EEA nationals can apply for a Registration Certificate. Family Members can apply for a residence card. At a later date, it may still be possible to apply for permanent residence documentation if you accrue 5 years continuous qualified residence before the UK leaves the EU. It is recommended that in the meantime good records of qualified status (eg wageslips/bank statements) are kept, and records of travel history are retained.

Q: If you provide evidence for more than 5 years continuous residence, does this make for a stronger application?

Answer: It is better to provide evidence of a longer period of qualified status where possible. If the Home Office do not accept that you are a qualified person during certain periods, they may still accept the application if they can rely upon other periods of 5 years qualified status.

Q: Can dependents be included on the permanent residence application?

Answer: Yes, dependents can be included on the EEA (PR) form.

Q: If you are overseas for more than 6 months in 1 year for business purposes, would this prevent my residence being considered ‘continuous’ for acquiring a right of permanent residence?

Answer: A single absence of more than 6 months (but not more than 12 months), is permitted for good reasons. If the absence is in connection with an overseas posting then this is likely to be considered a good reason, although evidence of the necessity of the trip should be provided.

Q: Does travel history include work?

Answer: Yes all travel history must be included, whether for work or personal travel.

Q: What is the difference between a document certifying permanent residence and a permanent residence card.

Answer: The Document Certifying Permanent Residence is for EEA nationals who have acquired a right of permanent residence. The permanent residence card is issued to family members of EEA nationals who have acquired a right of permanent residence

Q: Is it possible to apply for permanent residence documentation 1-2 months before a continuous period of 5 years?

Answer: Whilst with many type of immigration applications it is possible to apply up to 28 days before reaching the residence requirement, in the context of EEA applications this is dangerous as it would mean that at the point of application you could not prove your continuous qualified status for a period of 5 years. I would advise that you wait until having evidence to cover a full 5 year period before making an application.

Q: In order for a husband and wife to both get permanent residency do they both need to be in the UK for 5 years?

Answer: Yes – each applicant must establish they have been present in the UK for 5 years under the regulations.

 

British Citizenship

Q: If I apply for UK citizenship, can I still have other citizenships?

Answer: UK allows dual citizenship but other countries have their own set of rules. It is therefore important that you check the rules of your country of nationality to see what impact obtaining British Citizenship may have.

Q: My partner has a residence card which she will need to hold for another 4 years. Should I apply for citizenship?

Answer: Your partner may lose her status as being a dependant of an EEA national if the main applicant becomes a British Citizen.

Q: When I acquire a right of permanent residence how long do I have to wait to apply for naturalisation?

Answer: In most circumstances, you need to have held permanent residence for 1 year. However, you can apply without waiting 1 year if a) you are married to a British citizen; or 2) an Irish citizen.

Q: Do I need to wait for 1 year after being issued a Document Certifying Permanent Residence/Permanent Residence Card before applying for naturalisation?

Answer: Although you must have held a right of permanent residence for 1 year (unless married to a British citizen/an Irish citizen) you do not need to have held the permanent residence documents for 1 year. If you can evidence you acquired your right of permanent residence more than 1 year previously, you can apply for naturalisation immediately after acquiring your permanent residence documents.

 

Other Questions

Q: What happens if original documents get lost by the home office?

Answer: The Home Office have improved processes over the last few years which mean that we are seeing fewer original documents being lost, however the loss of original documents is always a risk. Take a copy for your records as a precautionary measure. You are entitled to financial compensation for any financial loss incurred as a result of the Home Office losing your original documents, and could pursue the formal complaints procedure if this were to occur (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration/about/complaints-procedure).

Q: Would you recommend sending a National ID card for the application?

Answer: In order to evidence the nationality of the EEA national it is a requirement that you send in their original valid passport or valid national ID Card. If the passport is required for travel purposes it is acceptable to submit the National ID card for this purpose. You may also in some circumstances be able to request the passport of the EEA national back for travel purposes, however the Home Office may decide to treat the application as withdrawn.

Q: Is comprehensive sickness insurance needed?

Answer: For those who are attempting to establish that they are qualified as a student or a self-sufficient person, it is necessary to hold comprehensive sickness insurance. Access to the NHS does not satisfy this requirement.

The principle way of establishing this would be through holding a private medical insurance policy which covers the majority of threats. However, where you are staying in the UK on a temporary basis, an EHIC card (issued in a member state outside of the UK) may be relied upon although it must be valid during the relevant periods.

It may also be possible in limited circumstances to establish that through a reciprocal healthcare agreement between your country of nationality and the UK, that you satisfy this requirement.

Q: If you are the family member of an EEA national but were married outside of the UK, can you still rely upon the marriage?

Answer: As long as the marriage is valid according to the laws and customs in the place that the marriage took place, then you can rely upon that marriage to establish a family member relationship.

Q: Does 16 hours of work per week class as genuine and effective to establish a right of residence as a worker?

Answer: Whilst 16 hours could arguably constitute ‘genuine and effective’ work, it would be preferable if 20 hours per week or greater were involved. There is no set definition of ‘genuine and effective’ for this purpose.

Q: Can you send in a passport about to expire?

Answer: It must be a valid passport at the date of application. If the passport expires shortly afterwards, that should not affect the application.

Q: I am trying to evidence my qualified status as a worker. If I do not have all of my wage slips, are bank statements acceptable?

Answer: It is ideal to have wage slips but if this is not possible then the application should be supported by other corroborative evidence including bank statements, employer’s letters, an employers contract, P60s etc.

Q: Can I rely upon online bank statements?

Answer: Online Bank Statements should preferably be stamped on each page by the issuing bank, or be accompanied by a covering letter from them on letterhead paper confirming the statements are genuine and accurate.

Q: Are copies of documents accepted?

Answer: For passports, national IDs and marriage certificates originals must be sent. For pay slips and other evidence, original documents should be provided unless there are good reasons that the original documents are not available.

Q: What happens if my EEA application is rejected?

Answer: If an EEA application is rejected, in most circumstances the Applicant will have a right of appeal to the Tribunal. However, current listing times can be 12 months or more for a hearing. It may therefore be preferable to make a fresh application depending on the grounds provided for the refusal.

Q: Is it better for a family member to obtain a residence card or if they qualify in their own right in a different category to go for this?

Answer: This will depend upon the particular circumstances of the individual and the costs involved. An application under the immigration rules is likely to be more expensive. If there is an application that can made under EEA regulations then this may still be preferable as it may lead to settlement earlier and involve less cost in the long run.

Q: I have indefinite leave to remain but the country that I am from has since

joined the EU will my rights as someone who holds a indefinite leave to remain in

the UK remain in place ?

Answer: Yes your rights as an individual who holds indefinite leave to remain will remain in place.

Q: If I have already provided certain documents to establish something for example permanent residence, does these documents have to be submitted again for another application?

Answer: Yes, it is generally required and advisable to provide evidence of the matter again.

Q: What happens if you don’t do anything?

Answer: Potentially nothing will happen and there will be no negative consequences. However, there is uncertainty for the future so applying now may result in your acquiring a better status in the future. It may also potentially save you money in the long run. There is a possibility that Home Office practice may become tougher going forward.

If you do obtain documents establishing a right of permanent residence, the expectation is that those people will be treated in the future in the same way that those with indefinite leave to remain are currently treated in the UK.

Should you require specific advice then contact the Paragon Law team at enquiries@paragonlaw.co.uk or call 0115 9644 123.

house analysisThe latest Immigration Bill is continuing to work its way through the Commons and House of Lords. The Bill will introduce tough new criminal sanctions for Landlords and their Agents under the right to rent rules. At present Landlords and Agents face fines of up to £3,000 per tenant where the right to rent rules have not been followed. However, the new law makes it a criminal offence (attracting a custodial sentence of up to 5 years or criminal fines) to rent out to a tenant who is disqualified as a result of their immigration status.

Following lobbying of the government from various interest groups the Bill has been amended and now includes a new defence for Landlords (although not their agents). Landlords will now be protected from prosecution where:

  1. They can show that they have taken reasonable steps to terminate the tenancy;
  2. Those steps were taken within a reasonable period of time following the Landlord first becoming aware, or having reasonable cause to be aware, that the premises were being occupied by a tenant without the right to rent.

The Bill also confirms that new guidance will be published to clarify what are considered ‘reasonable steps’ and what will be a ‘reasonable period of time’. Courts will have to take into account this guidance when deciding whether Landlords have made out a defence against prosecution under the new provisions.

The transition of the right to rent scheme from one of imposing civil penalties to criminal prosecution, shows the seriousness with which the government are pursuing their agenda of creating a ‘hostile environment’ for those without immigration status in the UK.

Mark Lilley-Tams, Immigration Lawyer at Paragon Law who provide a service to check tenant’s right to rent, said ‘The concern is that Landlords are getting caught in the firing line as they are being forced to carry out a role of immigration enforcement without having been given any training in the area. Landlords will now be required to familiarise themselves with another set of rules and further guidance published by the government, this time with the risk of criminal prosecution if they get it wrong.’

It is unclear at this stage when the new criminal rules will come into force. At present the Bill only proposes that the new laws will apply within England, although the government will have the discretion to extend them to Scotland and Wales in future.

They say legends from Nottingham wear green tights, but sometimes, very occasionally, they wear red shirts.

Whilst Robin Hood’s outlaws famously lived in trees, Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest squad of the late 70’s and 80’s pulled a few up in their epic journey towards being crowned champions of England and Europe as well as seemingly having their own season tickets to play at Wembley finals on a regular basis.

Two players who perhaps define that era more than any others, and for that reason are revered by Forest fans as giants of the game, are John “Robbo” Robertson and Des “you’ll never beat Des Walker” Walker.

On Friday 30 October 2015, Paragon Law was proud to sponsor a table at the “Legendary Evening” within the photo-adorned rooms of the Nottingham Forest Robin Hood Suite to raise funds for the John Van Geest Cancer Research Centre. Following an inspiring talk on the work on the of the Research Centre from Professor Robert Rees we were treated to a full hour of anecdotes from Robbo and Des about their respective careers under “Cloughie” and how the great man had inspired them in different ways and at different times, instilling a mixture of fear, awe and respect in varying measures. In many ways the lessons learnt were applicable to management techniques from all sectors and certainly not limited to football in any way.

With a clear mutual respect between Des and Robbo as well as a shared love of a cigarette or 20, the evening was a great success raising close to £5,000 for the Cancer Research Centre, topped only by seeing Des join the band on stage for a cover of the Bob Marley Classic “Redemption Song” at the end of the night.

And, of course, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass by without us having photographs taken with the undoubted stars of the show, Robbo and Des, as well as another legend; the High Sheriff of Nottingham.

Paragon Law with Nottingham Forest Legends