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CAREERS

 

 

Position: Immigration Lawyer or Senior Caseworker

 

Location:  Richmond

 

Salary:  According to experience

 

Contact: Lira Simon Cabatbat

 

Our practice: We are a regional practice with offices in Richmond Surrey and Earls Court. Our client base extends well beyond our locality, with clients from the Far East, South East Asia and the US.  We have been established for over two decades and have cultivated a strong reputation for frank advice and high quality work as is evident from judicial and client testimonials (please refer to our website). Our areas of work vary but with particular emphasis on Immigration law. Our Immigration department deal with both individuals and businesses. We cover the full range of Immigration and Nationality law, including Human Rights cases and Judicial Reviews. We are recruiting for a lawyer to join our niche practice who will be equally passionate about Immigration law and the challenges it presents.

 

Requirements: The successful candidate will have 1 – 4 years good experience in the field and be able to work independently.  The candidate should have a strong academic background. The post is open to Solicitors, Legal Executives and Senior Caseworkers. Experience in Asylum law is not necessary but a solid knowledge of Human Rights law is essential. We would be supportive of the successful candidate’s interest in other areas of work such as Family law.  Our Immigration work is solely privately funded but we also offer free legal surgeries in both offices. The successful candidate should be able to combine business acumen and organisational skills.

 

The post is based in the affluent town of Richmond which is conveniently served by public transport tube (District line). The candidate may, from time to time, be required to work at our London Office.

 

Prospects: Salary will depend on experience. The post is best suited to an ambitious lawyer who wishes establish a future in a niche and progressive practice.

 

Method of application: Covering letter and CV by email to cabatbat@douglass-simon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Articles:

  • EEA Permanent Residence

  • Government Turnaround on Immigration Appeal Fee Increases

  • English Language Requirement for Partners and Parents

  • Tribunal Fees to Increase

  • Brexit: What this means for Immigration

  • Changes to Immigration Rules for Domestic Workers

  • Home Office Increase Application Fees  

  • Points Based Immigration Update 

  • Changes to the Immigration Rules for Tier 4 Students 

  • New legislation requires Residential Landlords to conduct Immigration Checks

 

 

EEA Permanent Residence

 

There has been no change to the rights or status of EU nationals in the UK following the referendum on whether the UK should remain within the EU.  Once the UK Government triggers Article 50, changes to Law and Policy will be introduced but it will be some time until the changes are implemented.  We will advise you on any upcoming changes once these have been introduced.  

 

You are eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence Card once you have lived in the UK for over 5 years.  You would need to show that you are a ‘qualified person’ during the 5 year period.  You would be considered as a qualified person if you are, working, studying, self-employed or self-sufficient. 

 

You would be required to provide documentary evidence to the Home Office to prove that you are a qualified person for the entire 5 years period.  Any periods where you were a student or self-sufficient, you would also need to show that you had comprehensive sickness insurance.  This is a mandatory requirement and your application would be refused if you fail to provide evidence of your comprehensive sickness cover.      

 

Your immediate family and dependants are also able to apply for permanent residence at the same time as you subject to meeting all the requirements.  Evidence would need to be provided of the relationship.  If your family members or dependants wish to apply separately or without you, they would still need to show that you have been a qualified person for the 5 years period. 

 

British Citizenship

 

Once you have been granted Permanent Residence in the UK, you may apply for British Citizenship.  This is a separate application and a different process.  If you have completed over 6 years in the UK already, you may apply for Citizenship immediately after obtaining Permanent Residence.  If you have not yet completed 6 years, you will be required to wait one year after obtaining Permanent Residence. 

 

In order to satisfy the requirements for British Citizenship, you will be required to show that you meet the residency requirements as well as the Knowledge of English Language and Life in the UK requirement. 

 

Once you have been granted British Citizenship, you are then eligible to apply for a British Passport. 

 

If you would like to know more or need our help, please contact our offices. 

 

 

 

Government Turnaround on Immigration Appeal Fee Increases

 

The government have done a full turnaround on the fee increases introduced on the 10th October 2016 to First-tier Tribunal Appeal fees. All fees with immediate effect are to return to their previous rate.

 

The increase meant that the fee for an oral appeal increased from £140 to £800 and an appeal on the papers which had been £80 was £490.

 

Refunds are to be given automatically to those who paid the increased fees and it is expected that the Upper Tribunal Appeal fee increases will either not take place or the fee increase will be reduced.

 

New legislation will need to be prepared in order to bring the change into force officially but for now the Tribunal is using the Lord Chancellor’s discretionary power to remit the fees.

 

It is expected that when new legislation is provided that there may be some increases of a less drastic nature. However, for now the old fees apply again while the broader fee exemptions introduced will continue to apply meaning that more people may be eligible for fee exemptions.

 

 

 

English Language Requirement for Partners and Parents

 

 

The Government has introduced a new English language requirement to take effect from 1 May 2017 for applicants applying for further leave in the UK as a partner or parent, after completing 30 months here on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM.  A new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is being introduced for non-EEA partners and parents.

 

The changes to the law will affect only those applicants wishing to extend their stay in the UK after 2.5 years and also those applying for settlement.  All applicants whose leave is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017 must produce an A2 English language test certificate from an approved college.  A list of approved college can be found at Appendix O of the Immigration Rules.  Failure to produce a valid English language certificate or to provide a certificate from a college that is not approved will result in applications being refused by the Home Office.    

 

For further information, please contact our offices.  

 

 

 

 

Immigration and Asylum Tribunal Fees to Increase Significantly

 

 

The Government recently announced their intention to make major increases to Tribunal Fees to take effect as soon as possible.

 

Despite significant opposition to the increases when the new fees were circulated for consultation the Government has decided to press ahead with the fee increases. Therefore from Monday, 10th October 2016 fees at the First-tier and Upper Tribunals will be increasing as follows:

 

Appeal Type

Current Fee

New Fee

First-tier Tribunal (FTT)

Application for decision on papers

£80

£490

Application for oral hearing

£140

£800

Application to the FTT for permission to appeal to Upper Tribunal

Nil

£455

Upper Tribunal (UT)

 

 

Application to UT for permission to appeal to the UT

Nil

£350

Appeal Hearing

Nil

£510

 

There will be limited exemptions to the fees including those who received a Home Office fee waiver when making their initial application, those who qualify for legal aid or asylum support and those appealing against a decision to deprive citizenship. For the vast majority the full fee will be required and only in exceptional circumstances will a fee remission or reduction be granted by the Lord Chancellor.  Where appeals are successful litigants can recover their Tribunal Fees.

 

Strict time limits will continue to apply and it is expected that in many cases this will deter litigants from appealing and make them more likely to pursue a fresh application rather than an appeal, even where the appeal stands a very good chance of success, particularly in the case of EU Migrants.

 

Although this is likely to reduce the workload of the Tribunals it is unimaginable that this will not have grave and very harmful consequences to the justice and fairness of the Immigration system in the UK. 

 

 

 

BREXIT: What this means for Immigration

 

 

Britain has voted to leave to European Union by 52% to 48%.  Following the announcement of these results, PM David Cameron has also resigned.  The government will now trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon to formally notifying their intention to withdraw which would commence the two year negotiating period for the UK to leave the EU.  The terms of the exit will be negotiated between Britain’s 27 counterparts and each will have a veto over the conditions. 

 

The law, policy and procedure are all expected to change.  Parliament could simply change all EU laws to British statutes or alternatively opt for something more radical by re-regulating Britain.  However, all EU law will remain binding until we have completed the two year negotiation period. 

 

The government will have to address the concerns of British citizens living in other EU countries and similarly EU citizens living in Britain.  People would need reassurance that the status of nationals of other EU countries living in the UK is unchanged. The leave campaign has previously confirmed that until negotiations are not complete those who are already in the UK would be allowed to stay. For the two years of negotiations, free movement of EU workers would still apply, so people could still come from elsewhere in the EU, but their immigration status after would be uncertain. 

 

EU workers who are already in Britain could consider applying for Permanent Residency, however this application is made under EU law and therefore it is uncertain what status these visas would hold after Brexit.  The alternative is to apply for British Citizenship which may be applicable to EU nationals already in the UK. There are a number of requirements including five years residence in the UK. Please contact our offices for more information.  

 

 

 

 

Changes to Immigration Rules for Domestic Workers

 

The government has announced changes to the Immigration Rules in their Statement of Changes dated 11 March 2016.  These changes are due to be implemented on 6 April 2016. Overseas Domestic Workers will be able to change employers under the new laws.  The previous Rules state that Domestic Workers are only permitted to work with the employer for which they applied for entry clearance.  This will allow more flexibility and ensure that those who are mistreated or abused have the option to change their employer.  The changes apply to all applications submitted after the law has changed.  All applications submitted prior to 5 April 2016 will be subject to the previous Immigration Rules.

 

Overseas Domestic Workers who have been victims of slavery or human trafficking may apply for extend their visa for up to 2 years in the United Kingdom. 

 

Our senior Partner, Ms Lira Cabatbat shall be delivering a presentation on this topic at her free surgery on Sunday, 10 April 2016 at around 2.00pm at our London (Earls Court) office.  Please contact our offices to confirm your attendance.  

 

 

 

Home Office Increase Application Fees

 

On 11th January 2016 the government announced the introduction of new legislation which makes changes to the current immigration application fees. These new fees will now come into effect from the 18th March 2016.

 

Applications made from abroad as well as those made within the United Kingdom have been affected by these changes.  Example of some of the fee increases are:

 

·         Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) applications fee will increase from £1,500 per applicant to £1,875, a fee increase of £375.

·         Leave to remain – Other application fees will be increased from £649 to £811.

·         Naturalisation application fees will increase from £1,005 to £1,236.   

·         Applications in person at a Premium Service Centre are now subject to an extra charge of £500, an increase of £100 from the previous charge of £400.  

 

The full list of the new fees can be found at:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/503658/Fees_table_18_March_2016_PDF.pdf

 

A new £25 fee is to be implemented for processing an application which is subsequently rejected. Applicants will no longer receive a full refund of the application fees paid; instead they will have the £25 fee deducted from the amount paid.

 

The Home Office has justified  these changes stating that they are to ensure that ‘the Home Office can achieve a self-funding system, whilst continuing to provide a competitive level of service, and a fees structure that remains attractive to businesses, migrants and visitors’.

 

Source:

Website - www.gov.uk

 

 

 

Points Based Immigration Update

 

According to the Office for National Statistics net migration reached an all-time high of 336,000 in the year to June 2015. Immigration remains a politically sensitive issue and the government has turned their interest to the Tier 2 entry route into the UK. They have commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the visa category with the view of further restricting the category. Results of this review are due to be published this month.  Until then, you can find the recent changes to the Tier 2 category, implemented thus far this year, below: 

 

·         Nurses were recently added to the Shortage Occupation List.  
This is an interim measure while the MAC reviews the Tier 2 category. However, in the meantime this means that applications for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship will be prioritised by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) points allocation system, meaning applications submitted by nurses are likely to be granted. These applications will be considered a part of the shortage occupation list by the December 2015 allocation panel. Secondly, a potential employer can issue a migrant with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) without having to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test. With regards to settlement (Indefinite Leave to remain) the addition of nursing onto the Occupation Shortage List means that when applying for settlement the migrant will not be required to earn in excess of £35,000 per annum to qualify, provided that nursing was on the Occupation Shortage list while the migrant was employed as a nurse under Tier 2.

 

·         Addition of four digital security jobs to the Occupation Shortage List

Applications from product managers, data scientists, senior developers and cyber security specialists will also be prioritised by the Home Office during monthly Tier 2 visa allocations. 

 

 

·         The minimum salary threshold was increased to £20,800

The salary threshold for Tier 2 migrants is increased annually. The thresholds relating to individual occupations, as outlined in the Codes of Practice, have also increased this year in the majority of cases. It is therefore important to confirm that your salary meets the required level stated on your Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code before submitting an application.

 

·         Tier 2 Cooling-off period

Previously, a Tier 2 migrant who left the country was required to wait for a ‘cooling off’ period of 12 months before they were able to apply for a new Tier 2 visa. The new changes to the Tier 2 category now allow for UK sponsors to employ migrants for a period of three months or less. To clarify, the rules regarding the ‘cooling off’ period remain the same for all Tier 2 migrants except for those who are granted Tier 2 leave to remain for three months or less. This will mainly allow employers to sponsor interns and then be able to bring them back to the UK for a permanent job within a 12-month period.

 

·         Entry clearance

Entry clearance can now be post-dated to correlate with the applicant’s date of travel to the UK. The migrant’s visa can be issued 7 days before their intended date of travel provided this is not over 14 days after their employment is due to commence. The Home Office’s intention is to make it easier for individuals to collect their Biometric Residence Permits within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

 

 

Points Based System

What does the future hold?

Changes to be introduced in 2016

 

Minimum salary for ILR applications from April 2016

Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) migrants who wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain, after spending at least five years in the Tier 2 category, will need to demonstrate to the Home Office that they are earning a gross salary of at least £35,000 per annum, or the specified appropriate amount for the job as set out in the Codes of Practice Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), whichever is higher.  However, migrants who are sponsored in a job listed in the Shortage Occupation List or are listed in the PhD level occupation list, at any point during the migrant’s sponsored employment, will be exempt from this requirement.  Migrants in these two lists will need to meet the salary requirements published in the Codes of Practice SOC for their particular job. 

 

Tier 4 switching to Tier 2

There have been reports in the media that the Home Office plans to stop Tier 4 migrants from switching into Tier 2 or Tier 5 categories after graduating. The possible changes will require the migrant to return to their home country in order to make an entry clearance application under the Tier 2 or Tier 5 category. If this in implemented it will further limit opportunities to current students regardless of their skill set.

 

How we can help?

If you have any questions or queries, please contact Douglass Simon Solicitors.  Your matter will be dealt with by an experienced solicitor who can assist you with your Tier 2 visa as well as assisting your employer in obtaining a Tier 2 Sponsorship License. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tier 4 Immigration Rule Changes for Students

 

On 13 July 2015 Statement of Changes HC 297 was presented to parliament.

 

It introduces changes that became effective on the 14th July 2015, 3rd August 2015 and 12th November 2015.

Changes effective from 14 July 2015

 

Applicants who made an application prior to the 14th July 2015 that are still pending will also be subject to this change.

 

Entry clearance start dates

 

• Entry clearance will now be granted to a Tier 4 student starting one month before the course start date specified on the student’s CAS or seven days before the intended date of travel, whichever is later.

 

Changes effective from 3 August 2015

 

Banning students at publicly-funded colleges from working

• Work rights have been removed from new Tier 4 students applying to study at publicly-funded further education colleges. 

 

Academic progression

• Students who wish to extend their Tier 4 (General) leave must be moving up a level on the National Qualifications Framework, unless they are a university student and their new course is related to their previous Tier 4 study, or the previous course and new course in combination support the applicant’s genuine career aspirations.

• Applicants applying to complete a PhD or other doctoral qualification can still apply to extend their leave in order to complete their course.

 

Changes affecting Tier 4 (Child) students

 

• Tier 4 (Child) students can be sponsored by Independent Schools (which must not be Academies) only. Tier 4 cannot be used by Academies or schools maintained by a local authority.

• The Tier 4 (Child) route is only for use by children attending Independent Schools, and not by those aged 16 or 17 coming to the UK for further education courses designed to prepare them for entry to higher education, such as degree pathway programmes. Applicants for such courses should use Tier 4 (General).

Time limit calculations

• The Tier 4 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance, sets out a new method for calculating time spent in the UK counting towards time limits under Tier 4. This takes into account all leave granted including leave before and after the course dates.

 

Changes effective from 12 November 2015

 

These changes take effect from 12 November, and will apply to applications made for entry clearance or leave to enter or remain on or after this date.

 

Time Limits

• The length of time that a Tier 4 (General) student may spend studying further education courses (i.e. courses at National Qualifications Framework levels 3- 5 and equivalents) is being reduced from three years to two years. This brings the maximum length of time a Tier 4 (General) student may spend on these courses in line with the length of time spent by most British students on such courses.

 

Preventing college students from extending their Tier 4 (General) visa or switching to other points-based routes

• Tier 4 (General) students studying at colleges cannot extend their stay in Tier 4 or switch into any other points-based route, unless they are studying at a college which the UKVI classes as an “embedded college offering pathway programmes", designed to prepare students for entry to a higher education course.

• Students at other colleges, who wish to go on to study at a college or a university, may do so by applying for leave to enter from outside the UK.

 

Maintenance Requirements

• The level of funds that Tier 4 (General), Tier 4 (Child) and Tier 4 dependants must demonstrate for living costs have been increased to the following:

 

Tier 4 (General)

• £1,265 in London/£1,015 outside London per month of study, up to a maximum of 9 months.

 

Tier 4 (Child)

• Studying at a non-residential Independent School, in private foster care or staying with a close relative: £560 a month per month of study, up to a maximum of 9 months.


• Studying at a non-residential Independent School, under 12 years old and accompanied by a parent: £1,560 per month of study for main student up to a maximum of 9 months, and £625 per month of study for each additional student.


• Studying at a non-residential Independent School, 16 or 17 years old and living independently: £1,265 in London/£1,015 outside London per month of study, up to a maximum of 9 months.

 

Tier 4 Dependant

• £845 in London/£680 outside London per month of study, up to a maximum of 9 months.


• The ‘established presence’ provision is being removed, so that all students must show they have sufficient funds to support themselves throughout the duration of their remaining study, or for up to a maximum of nine months. This is to ensure that all migrants can demonstrate they can maintain and accommodate themselves for the full duration of their course, or up to nine months, whichever is shorter.

• The area in which Tier 4 students have to demonstrate a higher level of funds is being expanded to include the University of London or institutions wholly or partly within the area comprising the City of London and the Former Metropolitan Police District. This is to bring the definition into line with that used in the Education (Student Support) Regulation 2011 to determine the rates of support for English students.

• The maximum amount already paid for accommodation which can be offset against the maintenance requirements is also being increased to £1,265 in line with these changes.

 

The full statement of changes in immigration rules HC297 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/…/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigratio…

 

 

New legislation requires Residential Landlords to conduct Immigration Checks

 

The new legislation requiring residential landlords to conduct checks as to the immigration status of all new tenants of residential premises is currently being piloted in West Midlands. The pilot of the new immigration rules has been taking place since 1st December 2014 and currently only applies in the areas of:

 

·         Birmingham,

·         Walsall,

·         Sandwell,

·         Dudley; and

·         Wolverhampton.

 

 Landlords in these areas, who let private rented accommodation to tenants on or after the 1st December 2014, must check that the tenant(s) and all other occupiers of the property who are adults have immigration status in the United Kingdom.

 

Landlords will be expected to check original documents in the presence of the person and keep copies of these documents. A Landlord may receive a fine of up to £3,000 if it is found that they have rented a property to an adult without immigration status.

 

All occupiers will be subject to follow up checks which must be done every 12 months. Relevant nationals (British Citizens, EEA Nationals and Swiss Nationals) will not be subject to follow up checks.

 

The Landlord must report the occupier to the Home Office where they are not able to produce valid original immigration documents. However a landlord is not required to evict an occupier from the property.

 

Proposals in new immigration bill targeting residential landlords

 

The Department for Communities and Local Government announced on 3rd August 2015 that new measures are to be introduced to target landlords who rent properties to immigrants without required legal status to remain in the country.

 

The forthcoming Immigration Bill will introduce a new criminal offence aimed at landlords who repeatedly fail to conduct the necessary “right to rent” checks or fail to take steps to evict occupiers that do not have immigration status from their property. The offence will carry a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

 

The new Immigration Bill will enable landlords to evict illegal immigrant tenants without requiring a court order. A Home Office notice will be issued to the landlord when a tenant no longer has the right to rent in the UK and the landlord would then be expected to take action to ensure the illegal immigrant tenant or occupant leaves the property.

 

The specific details of the proposals are included in the governments’ consultation paper – Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector: a technical discussion paper.

 

The paper proposes:

 

1.      Creating new property offences (as detailed above);

2.      Creating a blacklist for landlords (to be used by local authorities for enforcement action); and

3.      Requiring a fit and proper test to be passed before landlords can obtain a property licence.

 

Current position for residential landlords

 

In March 2015 the maximum fine cap of £20,000 for a housing offence dealt with by the magistrates’ courts was lifted, so magistrates’ courts can now impose unlimited fines. However as fines within the magistrates court continue to be means tested it is unlikely that many residential landlords will be impacted by this change.

 

Currently the rules only apply to landlords or agents who let private rented accommodation to someone as their only or main home in the areas mentioned above in the West Midlands.

 

In order to be considered as the only or main home the accommodation should be:

 

·         the only property that the tenant or occupant lives in, or

·         the property that they use for personal, legal or family matters.

 

Existing tenants and renewals of tenancy agreements

 

The rules do not apply to existing tenants where the rental agreement started before the 1 December 2014, or renewals of those tenancies, as long as any renewed agreement is between the same people and there is no break in the tenancy.

 

A landlord can receive a civil penalty of £3,000 for each adult living in their property who isn’t a relevant national and does not have a right to rent.

 

A landlord may object to a civil penalty notice within 28 days of the date of the notice by writing to the Home Office. There is no right of appeal.

 

As yet there are no details available regarding the implementation of the rules outside of the specified West Midlands areas and the new proposals regarding targeting landlords is in the consultation phase. It therefore appears likely that it will be some time before further implementation takes place.

 

Sources:

Home Office Website

EIN Website  

 

 

 

 

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