Category: Company News

Law Student Internship (Tagalog Speaker) – London

We are offering an unpaid internship for undergraduate and postgraduate law students with the interest in immigration law. The internship will 2-3 months.

Sterling & Law Associates LLP is a London-based immigration law firm accredited by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) at the highest qualification level 3. This level allows us to work on the most complex immigration and visa cases. The firm assists corporate and individual clients in all types of applications, as well as refusals and appeals.

Responsibilities and Duties

During the internship we try to expose interns as much as possible to the working practices of the firm in the area of immigration law and human rights. This will include administrative assignments, filing, contacting clients, legal research, and assisting immigration lawyers and partners of the firm with their casework.

A full-time job offer may result from a successfully completed internship. References will be provided at the end of internship.

Law Student Internship Applications

In order to apply for internship please send your CV by email contact@sterling-law.co.uk

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Vacancy: Experienced Immigration Solicitor (3 PQE) – IAAS Level 2, Supervisor level (Part-time)

We are looking for an experienced immigration solicitor (3 PQE) for a part-time position.

The successful candidate must be accredited to at least IAAS level 2 and IAAS Supervisor level.

The candidate will be expected to manage a heavy workload involving practical advice to individual  clients. This solicitor role will require you to handle a full range of immigration and asylum matters. The candidate will be required to handle own caseload without supervision.

  • Work schedule: 15 hours per week / flexible
  • Salary: Competitive
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
  • Experience: PQE: 3 years (Required)
  • Accreditation: IAAS level 2 or above and Supervisor level (Required)
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (Required)

About the employer:

Sterling Lawyers Ltd. is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (No.630147). The firm specialises in immigration, criminal and family law cases and assists corporate and individual clients.

How to apply:

For more details and to apply for this position “Experienced Immigration Solicitor (3 PQE)” please send your CV and cover letter indicating your expected salary and/or fee share, and availability by e-mail to ruslan@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

Law Society Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Achieved

We are delighted to announce that several members of Sterling Law team successfully completed assessment under the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme (IAAS) which covers all immigration and asylum advice and services work.

Our lawyers Josephine Smith, Jelena Ivanova, Nozima Rakhimjonova, Inna Semeniuk and Solomiya Boyar received their successful exam results from Central Law Training in August 2018 and now are in process of completing their membership registrations with the Law Society.

 

What is the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation?

This accreditation was introduced by the Law Society and is a mandatory requirement for immigration practitioners who wish to undertake publicly funded advice and receive payment under a Legal Aid Agency (LAA) contract in the immigration and asylum category.

The immigration and asylum law accreditation provides recognised quality standards for asylum practitioners. It is designed to cover all aspects of asylum law. Accreditation covers all practitioners providing advice under a legal aid contract and can be used as a quality mark for privately funded work.

By completing the assessment, the practitioners showed that they have achieved the required level of competence and knowledge in this area of law as defined by the Law Society.

Please follow our further updates on the immigration and asylum practice on our web-site and Facebook page.

Law Commission starts Major Smart Contract Scoping Study

The Law Commission has recently been aiding authorities in dealing with regulating technological innovations. The Law Commission is a legal advisory body, inaugurated in 1965 by the British government, and is currently dealing with significant matters concerning technology and its anticipated influence on the economic transformations arising as a result.

The increased adoption of the Blockchain technologies into the international trading platform is consequently requiring essential legal frameworks to govern its use worldwide. The UK is one of the developed countries where technology is widely accepted and adopted. The use of Smart Contract is utilised within the public and private sectors due to its attractive opportunities and has therefore triggered the attention of the authorities.

Law on Smart Contracts

There has not been a clear inclusion of Smart Contracting in the legal frameworks in the UK. It is apparent that the legislation processes for Blockchain adoption are long overdue and something needs to be done in order to bring it up to speed with the new technological developments. However, there are some firms that are already utilising the use of Smart Contracts in engaging their clients.

Smart Contracts have greatly revolutionised the role of Lawyers in authenticating contracts. It offers a great computerised transaction protocol through which the terms of a contract are executed. All users or stakeholders to the contract are able to view its contents from remote locations and can negotiate them in real-time. Ultimately, the parties reach an agreement and the contract is sealed and started. However, lack of legal frameworks has seen the abuse of security loopholes since there has not been any legal protection.

The presence of thriving business in the UK private sector and beyond, triggers the necessity to review Smart Contracts applicability in the regional market. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been regulating financial undertakings, ensuring that all engagements are subjected to the legal system. Unfortunately, the legislation of Blockchain technology has not entered the legal letters.

Application of Smart Contract

Since the magical launch of Bitcoin and subsequent rise of cryptocurrencies, the use of Blockchain technology has proved inevitable in the financial system. Moreover, great companies such as Oracle and IBM have now brought about the use of ‘Blockchain-as-a-service’. This changes the way Blockchain will be operating. The platforms forming now differentiate the use of crypto currencies and the application of Blockchain technology for other purposes.

In the USA, the use of Propy, a Blockchain based company, is seen as a great real estate undertaking.  The organisation has been able to capture the market, with one of the landmark achievements being the sale of a home worth $60,000. The success of that transaction helped place the organisation on the global distributed ledger map. This is an example of numerous industries that are pioneering the use of Smart Contracting, others include sectors such as assets holdings, proof of identity, insurance, private consulting and handling general contractual engagements.

Law Commission Scoping Study

Retaining a mandate from the UK government, the UK Law Commission has a task to evaluate the essential elements in formulating a legal framework for adoption and use of Blockchain technologies in the market.

The scoping study was launched in July 2018, whereby the commission is expected to explore the use of Smart Contracts.

The Commission is expected to review what needs to the done to intake flexible legislation into current law so as to allow the adoption of digital contexts influencing the global financial industry.

One of the greatest tasks that the Commission is expected to undertake is a review of the current application of Smart Contracting. The scoping study will look at how the use of Smart Contracts came into play in the regional and global markets. This will be simulated and evaluated on the UK’s framework.

Expected Outcomes in Scoping Study by UK Law Commission

Ultimately, the Commission will then check the essential frameworks that would be used in ensuring authentic implementation of the Blockchain platform as a trading platform in the UK. The UK will be one of the few countries undertaking legislation of Blockchain technology. This will help the economy in moving to a new level of trading.

The Blockchain platform is more expansive than it appeared initially. The use of Ethereum based distributed ledger technology is now becoming a great changer in business. The ability to access a shared platform where everyone has the ability to connect to the same ledger from across the globe, has eased the processes of having to engage brokerage firms.

After the scoping study, the Law Commission will work closely with the Financial Conduct Authority in ensuring that the legal elements noted get embedded in UK Financial law. The Bill will then be evaluated in UK Parliament, firstly in the House of Commons and then the House of Lords for further legislation review.

Once there is a set framework, the UK residents and non-residents stand to benefit from an expansive investment market. They will be able to invest more in Blockchain technology investments. Others will be able to innovate in Blockchain technology and help place the UK on the Blockchain map.

Written by: Michael Iatsukha (e-mail: michael.iatsukha@sterlinglawyers.co.uk)

An Employment Law Victory – Substantial Compensation Achieved for Our Client

Sterling Law’s Employment Solicitor, Kuldeep Clair, dealt with a case over the past six months this year which resulted in a significant victory for our client.

Our British-born client had been working remotely in Latvia for a northern English company for almost 10 years. He resigned in December 2017 after serious allegations of negligence and incompetence were made, and his pay was cut by 25%.

We represented our client since after the resignation, and suspected that other motives were at play in the business’s very heavy-handed approach. The employer held out against any offer of compromise, and refused to take part in ACAS conciliation, both before and after tribunal proceedings were eventually issued.

The employer was represented by a large northern law firm; one of the most reputable and well-regarded commercial law firms in the country, and the tribunal hearing was set for today at Manchester Employment Tribunal. The employer resisted our claim with every argument possible, including the suggestion that English law did not apply to the employment contract, as our client was based abroad. This was legally nonsensical.

Eventually, we managed to obtain the five-figure sum satisfactory settlement that we were holding out for, at, would you believe, 5.55pm, two days before the hearing date. So the hearing did not prove to be necessary.

Our client was delighted with the outcome, although it was a pity that he had already made the journey all the way to Manchester from Latvia, and we had allocated our time for the hearing, and made our travel plans, bought our train tickets etc, by then.

It shows the value of tough negotiations where you have a good claim, which is presented and argued well by your lawyer, both in the documentation and the witness statements.

If you have any employment disputes and require a top quality legal advice on any employment matter, whether you are an employer or employee, please contact Kuldeep S. Clair, Consultant Solicitor and Advocate, directly:

Email: Kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

Mobile: 07484 614090

Tel. 020 7822 8599

Spouse Visa

Sterling Law Influence Home Office’s Investor Visa Policy Change

On 15 June 2018, the Home Office announced introduction of the new changes to the Immigration Rules which will affect a number of categories including Tier 1 Investor Visa.

The changes address our previous requests for clarification of the Immigration Rules. Owing to our persistence on getting the Home Office’s business helpdesk to clarify whether invested bonds from a bank loan can be used to score points as collateral for a further loan for a Tier 1 investor, the Home Office has now incorporated this into the new statement of changes.

It is, perhaps, not exactly the results that we hoped for when making a request on such a clarification, but the Home Office has been prompted due to our team’s unyielding actions to ensure that the scope of the Immigration Rules have everything covered.

Now, the answer to whether invested bonds from a bank loan can be used to score points as collateral is that it is not permissible for a migrant to use funds invested in bonds as collateral for further loans. The Home Office makes reference to paragraph 61A with the requirement of the money to be under the migrant’s control and therefore, excludes money that a loan has been secured against.

Thus, the following changes are introduced to the Tier 1 Investor Visa rules:

  • Applicants are required to maintain their investments. While the investors (applicants) may withdraw interest and dividend payments generated by their qualifying investments from their portfolios, they may not do so if these were generated before the applicant purchased the portfolio.
  • As evidence of their investment, applicants must currently submit portfolio reports signed off by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A technical change is being made to require institutions to confirm that the funds have only been invested in qualifying investments, and that no loan has been secured against those funds.
  • This change will put a further obligation on financial firms to scrutinise the suitability of applicants’ investments, in addition to their own due diligence.

Aliya Rimshelis, Corporate Immigration Adviser, raised this issue before the Home Office on behalf of Sterling Law and assisted in filling a gap which previously existed.

These changes to the Immigration Rules will come into effect on 6 July 2018.

More information is available in the statement of changes.

For more details, please feel free contact our please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

New UK start-up visa introduced by the Home Office

The new visa route was announced by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, during London Tech Week on 13 June 2018. According to the statement, the UK start-up visa route 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.

People who want to start a business in the UK will be able to apply for a new “start-up” visa, the Home Secretary has announced. 

According to the Home Secretary, new start-up visa will help to ensure that the UK continues to attract the best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs.

It will require applicants to have acquired an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor, including accelerators. This start-up visa has been designed following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee and feedback from the tech sector and other stakeholders.

This initiative builds on other recent reforms to the visa system – including doubling the number of visas available on the Exceptional Talent route to 2,000 per year – and shows the government’s commitment to making the UK a dynamic, open, globally-trading nation.

The expanded UK start-up visa route will launch in Spring 2019, further details will be announced in due course.

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Successful Application for Administrative Review of Refusal in Tier 1 Investor Visa Extension

Our team is delighted to share the latest news that our client’s application for administrative review of the refusal of  leave to remain a s a Tier 1 Investor has been successful.

Administrative review is a procedure that allows your visa application to be reviewed if it has been refused.

The administrative review is carried out by a different department of the Home Office. It should be successful if any procedural errors made by an original decision maker will be identified. If that is the case, the original decision will be withdrawn and your visa application reconsidered.

Tier 1 Investor Visa Extension

The Applicant is a Kazakh national, who has been issued with entry clearance as a Tier 1 Investor, entered the UK with her dependants. On the expiration of her visa, she applied for further leave to remain as a Tier 1 Investor, with her dependants applying for an extension of their leave. This application was refused on several grounds.

  1. Firstly, the Respondent was not satisfied that the funds loaned to the Applicant were under her control in the UK, which was against the provisions of paragraphs 2, 6 and 11 of the loan agreement. This allegation was founded upon the basis that the requirement of the Applicant to invest the loan in an Authorised Investment Destination (AID) Company was not satisfied, thus resulting an agreement to ‘lose its force’. The Respondent assumed that the reference to an ‘AID Company’ must refer to a specific company. However, this was not specified in the loan agreement and the Respondent’s claim was argued to be unreasonable, whist lacking any objective evidence.
  2. Secondly, the Respondent was not convinced that the Applicant’s investment was This was argued to be outside of the Respondent’s concern with the regards to the merits of the investment. The investment of 1 million pounds in the company is one of the main requirements to obtain a Tier 1 Investor Visa, which was done in accordance with the rules and regulations according to the facts.
  3. Thirdly, the Respondent referred to the Articles of Association of the company, alleging that its provisions prevented the funds from being under the Applicant’s control and disposable in the UK. However, the Articles of Association guaranteed that the funds would be redeemed to the Applicant, making them consistent with the fact that the Applicant had a sufficient control over them.
  4. Finally, the Respondent alleged that the Applicant’s investment was not within the category of paragraph 65(b) of Appendix A, namely ‘open-ended investment companies, investment trust companies, investment syndicate companies, or pooled investment vehicles’. However, no clear evidence was provided regarding this matter. The Respondent was concerned about a disclosure of the company’s principle business by its Accountants. This evidence was argued to be insufficient to assert the company’s activities at the time of the investment. Additionally, the Respondent referred to the information given by the Applicant during her interview, particularly that the Applicant exercises powers to control the company’s future investments, which was again argued to be lacking any reasonable basis on which to determine the applicability of paragraph 65(b) of Appendix A.

Success of the Application

Sterling Law, defined against all odds, provided all the necessary arguments in favour of the Applicants. Accordingly, the Administrative Review was successful on the grounds of paragraph AR2.11(d) of the Immigration Rules, particularly that the ‘original decision maker failed to apply the Secretary of State’s relevant published policy and guidance in relation to the application’.

The arguments presented by the Home Office authorities were made on the basis of their subjective and unreasonable assumptions, rather than relying on the objective evidence.

This is but a mere example of how passionate and dedicated Sterling Law is to fight for a just and unbiased bureaucracy.

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Home Office Unreasonable Conduct Incites Award of Costs Claims

The award of costs, though not a relatively new scheme is one that has recently had its scope expanded thanks to a court decision made at the end of last year. This time with an expert panel of senior judges stepping in to give their determination on whether Home Office officers can be held to account for unreasonable behaviour by way of an order of costs.

In the last few years, it has become unclear whether an order of costs can be made against Home Office officers who are not considered regulated legal representatives per se.

However, owing to Awuah (No2) an unpublished follow-up to its predecessor, Awuah and Ors [2017] UKFTT 555 (IAC), the Tribunal has positively determined that awards of costs can be made against the Home Office. Though, this power, granted by Rule 9 of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014 and Rule 10 of the Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal Rules) Rules 2008, remains a power to be exercised with significant restraint. Perhaps a necessary constraint to prevent a colossal flood gate from being opened in claims against the Home Office. Nonetheless, it remains to be said, I am quite sure there are many.

Case Study

Sterling Law have recently acted as legal representatives to the Appellant – a Ghanaian citizen, refused a visa as a partner of a British citizen by the Home Office. The Home Office had claimed – as they too often do in assuming that in such cases sham marriages are predominantly made in order to obtain a British visa – that the appellant’s marriage was not a genuine and subsisting one. This, of course, turned out to be a false allegation and as the appellant’s legal representatives, we served several documentary evidences including DNA reports during the appeal in April which strongly contradicted such claims.

The Ghanaian appellant continues to be engaged in a genuine marriage and has borne a young child with his British wife, which overwhelmingly indicates an individual’s serious and sincere commitment to the development of his family life. A commitment that also entails the creation of the individual’s sustaining and long-lasting family-unit.  As such, all of this detail was assertively provided to the Home Office in evidence of the Appellant’s relationship with his wife and child. However, the Home Office not only and resoundingly failed to make a proper assessment of this case in our submission of the initial application, but there were also several incidents of negligence and unreasonable behaviour displayed throughout the duration of the appeal.

As the Tribunal judge noted in the Appellant’s decision, the Home Office officer neglected to file important documentation in compliance with the procedural rules of the Tribunal prior to the Appellant’s appeal hearing. Notably, incidents which do not fully comply with the rules that the Tribunal has in place for all parties to a legal proceeding, can often prove to be an obstacle to the progress of the case. As such, the nature of this documentation was Home Office interview records that the Home Office used almost exclusively as their evidence against the appellant to incriminate and delegitimise his credibility. Considering the weight of this evidence, which allegedly fortified the Home Office’s position against the appellant, they absurdly ‘forgot’ to submit these records on time for the appeal hearing and despite several letters sent by us prompting them to do so. These records were only properly acquiesced to both Sterling & Law and the Tribunal upon the Home Office representative being found to carry it on-file on the date of the hearing.

Unfortunately, this is not all of such irresponsible acts to have taken place during the appellant’s appeal.

On the day of the hearing, the Home Office had also foregone their obligation to cooperate with the Tribunal by failing to turn up without any explanation or prior notice for the absence. This is despite being appropriately notified of the hearing date well in advance by the Tribunal. Positively, the appeal continued to proceed despite this setback. Therefore, it proves how the Home Office continues to show much disregard and indifference for a large number of the immigration cases it oversees. Even more so in this case where the Home office has clearly shown irresponsibility, unreasonable and even unprofessional conduct that does nothing but further damage the image of the Home Office and its officers.

Appeal Success

Sterling Law proudly states that the Tribunal has granted this appeal on the proper consideration of all the evidence we have provided as the Ghanaian appellant’s legal representatives. The appeal has subsisted against the Home Office upon the grounds of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), preventing the unnecessary interference to the extant family life and private life between the Ghanaian appellant, his British wife and their child. An interference which is only really justified and serves as the exception and not norm in the event it contravenes with the law, is for the legitimate public end necessary in a democratic society, or is an interference which is ardently necessary to protect the economic well-being of the country.

Finally, this case has shown clear faults in the way the Home Office operates. It is clearly unlawful for the Home Office not to have full regard for the appellant’s circumstances before deciding whether to exercise their discretion in favour or against granting the applicant’s entry into the country. It also exudes of unreasonable conduct when the Home Office either fail to consider all the documentary evidence submitted to them or fail to appropriately present evidence as per the rules and regulations of the Tribunal, or both. Such as in this case.

As such, to continue to demerit such acts of negligence by the Home Office, Sterling Law will be pursing more relentlessly, claims for the award of Costs where cases are, prima facie, handled with unreasonable conduct.

As a law firm specialising in immigration and human rights, we continuously strive to protect the best interests of our clients.

Workshop Invitation: Employing Foreign Workers and Sponsor Licence Pitfalls, 27 June 2018

Sterling Law and Drystone Chambers invite for the workshop for the UK employers and business owners to discuss practical issues of “Employing Foreign Workers in the UK, Sponsor Licence Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them”. The workshop will be held at the office of Drystone Chambers on Wednesday, 27 June 2018.

Date and time:

Wednesday, 27 June 2018 at 6.00 PM (followed by Q&A and wine reception)

Location:

Drystone Chambers, 35 Bedford Row, London, WC1R 4JH (MAP)

In order to hire a worker from outside of the EEA countries, the UK employer needs to obtain a Sponsor Licence from the Home Office. Although the process of obtaining a Sponsor Licence might seem straightforward, there are many peculiarities and practical issues that the British employer must take into account. Even once the Licence is granted, employers may still face additional checks and audits from the Home Office and will be required to comply with the numerous legal requirements.

To help the UK employers to deal with the practical issues of employing foreign workers and applying for a sponsor licence, we are organising this workshop.

Speakers:

Agenda:

  • Prevention of illegal working & sponsoring foreign skilled workers
  • UKVI compliance visits
  • Issuance of sponsorship certificates
  • Revocation of sponsor licence
  • Q&A session

The workshop will be followed by a networking reception.

Registration:

Admission is free by registration is required via Eventbrite.

If you have enquiries please contact: enquiries@sterling-law.co.uk or tel. 02078228535.