Category: Latest News

Sterling Law at Jessup competition 2019

Very important event for Sterling Law will take place on the 15-16th of February. One of our Associates Nozima Rakhimjonova will be a judging at the United Kingdom National round of Phillip C. Jessup competition – the world’s largest moot court contest.

The Jessup competition has been held every year since 1960. It is designed for law students, where participants receive a hypothetical legal dispute between countries. Teams shall prepare written and oral pleadings for the applicant and respondent. It is a simulation of a real court hearing before International Court of Justice. Evidently, judicial organ of the United Nations consists of panel of judges, one of whom will be our prominent Associates Nozima.

Ms.Rakhimjonova holds a law degree from the University of Westminster and Master’s degree in International Business, Corporate and Finance Law at the Liverpool John Moores University, both courses were completed with distinction. Nozima deals with various cases in the sphere of commercial litigation, dispute resolution and contracting matter under supervision. Being an Associate for Sterling Law, Nozima successfully represented number of cases related to civil, commercial and immigration matters. She regularly produces publications for prestigious editions.Also, Nozima is a member of the Inner Temple – professional association for barrister and judges in London.

Sterling Law is proud to be working with such prominent legal team!

Legal impact of ‘Brexit’ on the United Kingdom

The result of the British referendum, also known as EU referendum, established a new reality, in which almost 52% of the British voted for “Leave” the European Union membership. However, the official withdrawal from the EU is planned on March 2019. Terms and conditions of ‘Brexit’ still remain unknown, but it obviously will be impossible to avoid significant changes in laws, regulations, taxes, court jurisdictions, whatever form ‘Brexit’ will take.

One of the AI legal companies has performed an interesting investigation using technical tools to measure the impact of hard ‘Brexit’ on British law. The results were overwhelmingly impressive.

  • Approximately 12% of UK case law will fall under reckless risk in comparison with the last year due to EU legal issues that became part of the UK cases.

  • Nearly 40-50% of UK Supreme Court judgements involve EU law, which clearly indicates that UK Supreme Court base its decisions on EU law, from which

  • over 6% of UK Supreme Court decisions were entirely based on EU law.

This was a complex research, which involved over 300,000 cases to be analyzed on the subject of EU law influence on British court system. Provided statistical results raise a considerable degree of uncertainty. However, data analysis obtained by using machine learning techniques serves as a progressive tool which can objectively improve the law.

Brexit may lead to the situation where EU case law, which British courts referred to before, will be invalid. This opens an enormous gap in litigation area. Nobody knows how long it will take to replace legal framework and judicial system in particular. The truth is that it may be very complicated to dispose of EU law, which along the decades has deeply rooted into the UK domestic legal system.

McDonald’s loses the ‘Big Mac’ trademark

The giant of fast-food industry McDonald’s has lost its trademark “Big Mac” in EU case in favor of Irish fast food chain called Supermac’s.

Managing director of the Irish food chain Pat McDonagh received his nickname Supermac back in 1960, while being a teenager he led his team to a victory in Gaelic football match.  It must be a taste of victory he felt back then which is guiding him through life till now.

Pat McDonagh brought the case before the EU regulator two years ago, claiming that McDonald’s had not properly registered its ‘Big Mac’ trademark. Last week the European Union Intellectual Property Office accepted the claim.

McDonald’s trademarked the “Big Mac” in Europe in 1996 as a burger or restaurant name. Even though McDonald’s representatives claimed that Supermac’s was too similar to the ‘Big Mac’ burgers, they failed to show that it had been “put to genuine use in the union for the goods or services for which it is registered”. McDonald’s was disappointed with the EUIPO’s decision and said that they intend to appeal the decision. It was an undesirable loss for a company with annual revenue of nearly $22.8 billion.

Supermac’s managing director proclaimed the “end of the McBully”. He stated that “this is a victory for all small businesses. It prevents bigger companies from hoarding trademarks with no intention of using them.” Also, Mr.McDonagh revealed that the US chain trademarked the term “SnackBox” – the Supermac’s most popular products, which McDonald’s does not use. “If you have a registered trademark, you have to use it or lose it,” said Glen Gibbons, an Irish barrister and expert on intellectual property.

This is not the first case that McDonald’s have to respond to. In 2009, a Malaysian chain won the right to be called McCurry, but it took them 8 years of continuous battle with the global fast-food chain.

Indeed, this case is significant as it shows that the EU ensures a fair hearing, no matter how many billions the Corporation’s annual income and influence in the world are.

Source: The Guardian

Please contact Katsiaryna with any IP related matters:

 Katsiaryna Pazniak

+44 (0) 207 822 8535




Using unauthorised immigration services

We would like to warn our clients that there are many visa companies offering their services, however, unfortunately, not all of them are operating lawfully. 

Here at Sterling Law we are dealing with an increasing number of visa refusals issued because of our clients trusted such companies to submit documents on their behalf.

Unfortunately, many agencies find it acceptable to alter documents, such as bank statements without event telling their clients. 

Shakir Hussain assisted by Aliya Rimshelis, Immigration Lawyers at Sterling Law, resolved a spouse visa refusal at the appeal stage. 

Background of the Case:

Our client applied for the UK visitor visa 9 years ago. She sought advice from a visa agency in Ukraine as her English was not good enough to complete the online application form herself. The agency assisted her with documents preparation and completion of all the relevant papers. Her application was however refused. The agent collected documents from the visa centre and explained to our client that they refused solely because she did not have enough evidence. The refusal letter was not provided to our client. Like others who thought that the Home Office could refuse without a reason, just because they are not satisfied with your documents, our client thought the same.

When we assisted this client later on with the spouse visa application to join her settled partner, it turned out that the real reason of her previous application being refused is because the agency altered her bank letter in order for her to demonstrate that she has sufficient funds to support herself in the UK.  This was a main ground for refusal. 

As a result, our client’s immigration history was damaged, which resulted into expensive and time consuming process of appeal. Likely the appeal was allowed at the hearing and this client finally joint her partner in the UK.

This is not the only case of fraud. We also received a number of similar complaints from our clients who used such unprofessional services.

We recommend to only seek legal advice from accredited firms as doing otherwise may lead to unnecessary expenses, stress and wasted time.

UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and to enquire about the legal fees, please contact our lawyers on

Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477


or via our online appointment booking form.

Shakir Hussain, Senior solicitor


Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

Aliya Rimshelis, Corporate Immigration Lawyer


Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

UPDATE: NHS Immigration Health Surcharge will increase to £400 a year from 8 January 2019

On 11 October 2018, the Home Office laid an order before Parliament in accordance with section 38 of the Immigration Act 2014, ‘The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018’  seeking to double the NHS immigration health surcharge paid by temporary migrants to the UK.

The surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 per year. The discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme will increase from £150 to £300.

The increase will come into effect on 8 January 2019.

The annual charge is paid by people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are seeking to live in the UK for 6 months or more to work, study or join a family.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) estimates that the NHS spends £470 on average per person per year on treating surcharge payers. Projections suggest that the increased charges may provide around £220m extra every year, with this money going to NHS services.

Current NHS Immigration Health Surcharge Requirements

Some immigration applications are subject to the payment of the immigration health surcharge (IHS).

The applicants who are making immigration application online or through a premium service centre, have to pay the IHS as part of the application or when booking an appointment.

If application is made by post, healthcare surcharge is paid online before the application is sent (the IHS reference number must be indicated in the application form).

Amount of NHS Immigration Health Surcharge

  • £150 per year for a student or Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, eg £300 for a 2-year visa
  • £200 per year for all other visa and immigration applications, eg £1,000 for a 5-year visa
  • Dependants usually need to pay the same amount as the main applicants.

Only half of the yearly amount should be paid if the application includes part of a year that is less than 6 months. The migrant will have to pay for a whole year if the application includes part of a year that is more than 6 months.

EU Settlement Scheme will Open to Public from 21 January 2019

EU citizens living in the UK who have a valid passport will be able to take part in a public test phase of the EU Settlement Scheme.

From 21 January 2019, EU citizens, as well as their non-EU citizen family members who hold a valid biometric residence card, will be able to apply for the immigration status they will need once the UK has left the EU. By applying during this test phase, they will also provide valuable insight into how the system is performing so that further improvements can be made before the scheme is fully rolled out from March 2019.

EU Settlement Scheme Details

The public testing follows a successful private beta phase with employees in higher education, health and social care sectors.

The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019, and EU citizens will have until 30 June 2021 to apply, in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

The expansion has been announced through changes to the Immigration Rules. The Rules are accompanied by some initial findings of how the scheme performed during the second private beta test phase. Feedback during that phase, which ends on 21 December 2018, has so far been positive.

By 13 December 2018, more than 15,500 applications had been made and more than 12,400 of these had been concluded. 71% of the concluded applications were granted settled status and the rest were granted pre-settled status. Many of the applicants received their decision within 24 hours. We will publish a full report in January 2019.

The new, wider test phase will again require applicants to prove their identity by using the EU Exit: Identity Document Check app which is part of the integrated online application process. There will also be support for EU citizens who might need additional help in making their application.

Read further information on the EU Settlement Scheme.

New UK Visa and Citizenship Application System: FAQs

New UK Visa and Citizenship Application system was launched by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in November 2018.  New UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service Centres (UKVCAS) were opened for all customers in the UK applying to extend their stay, or applying for citizenship.

When will the new services start?

The majority of customers who are applying to extend their stay in the UK, or applying for citizenship, are able to use the new UKVCAS core centres now, or the Premium Lounge in London.

42 of the 50 enhanced service centres are open; the remaining 8 will be open by early 2019. Customers can choose to continue using the existing process of submitting their biometrics at their local post office during the transition phase. A small percentage of customers who may require more support with their application will continue to use the existing process until new Service and Support Centres open in early 2019.

Why has there been a delay in roll-out?

During early roll-out of VCAS centres, some centres were performing sub-optimally. We have therefore revised the roll-out plan and extended the transition phase to allow us to work with Sopra Steria to address these issues.

What is the main change for customers?

The main change is that customers will now have a streamlined online journey, transitioning seamlessly from their application form on Access UK to our partner Sopra Steria’s website, where they can book their appointment; add services to tailor their experience; and upload their supporting documentation. The new process is quicker, secure and easier for customers.

Why have you made this change?

This is part of a global programme to improve the operations and delivery of UKVI services. These new services will deliver an improved experience to customers, such as allowing customers to retain their supporting evidence, and choose services to tailor their experience; as well as enabling UKVI to step towards a fully digital process, bringing efficiencies. The new service is more in line with the experience we offer to customers overseas when they make an initial application for a visa to travel to the UK for a visit, or to work or study.

Where are the core UK VCAS centres?

The core centres are in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Croydon, Cardiff and Belfast. There is a Premium Lounge in London; and an additional 50 enhanced service centres across the UK, available to customers for a £60 charge.

Will customers know what to do and where to go?

Yes. Customers will be guided through the new process online and transitioned to the Sopra Steria website if appropriate, or directed to the existing process for the small number of customers unable to use UK VCAS.

Will processing times or priority services change?

Service standards for standard applications will not change.

Current Super Premium applications will be delivered by Sopra Steria and be known as On Demand VIP or pop-up services. UKVI will continue to review service standards while opportunities to extend priority services will be explored.

How long will customers have to wait for an appointment? Customers can choose a core UK VCAS centre to attend for a free appointment within 5 days of their application being submitted.

I have heard some customers are having to wait longer than 5 days, why is this?

This has been the case unfortunately but this has now been resolved. During the transition phase our partner, Sopra Steria, did not have capacity to meet demand. We have worked with them to increase capacity since then. We are committed to ensuring all customers are offered an appointment at a core service centre within 5 days of submitting their application.

Can customers bring a legal representative to the appointment?

Yes, customers can bring a representative to the appointment. Applications may or may not require an interview – customers will be informed whether this is required after they have submitted their application. If an interview is required, customers can bring a lawyer or representative if they choose to.

Will this make it harder for customers to remain in the UK?

No, these new services are about supporting UKVI’s vision to be a world-leading immigration service. There is no change to the decision-making process or criteria as a result of this new process. The new process will make it easier for customers to apply to remain in the UK, or apply for citizenship, with an easier, more accessible online application form; ability to upload supporting documentation from home, or take it to their appointment; continued free appointments; and additional services for convenience or ease.

Will all UKVI customers use this new system?

No. In reviewing our services we recognised that some customers may require more support from UKVI, including during the application process itself. Therefore, in early 2019 we will be opening dedicated Service & Support Centres (SSCs) for customers whose applications or circumstances mean they need more assistance with their application.

Which customers will use the Service & Support Centres?

Some customers applying under family and private life routes; to join as a dependant; for Family Reunion; on the basis of statelessness; those who qualify for a fee waiver or fee exemption; and some customers who are required to only enrol their biometric information.

Will customers who are not able to use the UK VCAS centres still be able to use the 24-hour service?

Customers who are applying online for leave based on family or private life who are not able to use the UK VCAS centres but would like to use UKVI’s 24-hour decision service will have access to a limited number of appointments at existing Premium Service Centres until January 2019.

Are fee waivers available?

Yes. Customers will be able to apply for a fee waiver on particular routes using an online form. If a customer’s application for a fee waiver is granted, UKVI will send the customer a digital code that allows them to complete their online form without paying. Guidance is available on

What if customers don’t have digital access or lack confidence applying online?

The Assisted Digital Service aims to ensure that nobody is excluded from making an immigration application due to lack of digital skills or access to a computer. Eligible customers are offered telephone support, or face to face support at a library or their home, to help them access and complete the online form. This service does not provide immigration advice. Further information is available online.

UK Immigration Updates

UK Visa Requirements: Who needs a visa to enter or transit the UK 
New Fees: British Passport Applications
How to Apply for British Passport Online 
Apostille and Document Certification in London
Employment Rights in the UK

Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and relevant immigration law requirements, please contact our immigration lawyers on tel. +44(0)20 7822 8599, mobile: 07305848477 or by e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.

Refugee Travel Document

Travelling with UK Refugee Travel Document: Visa Requirements and Restrictions

The holders of the Refugee Travel Document issued by the United Kingdom under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees can travel visa free to many countries all over the world. However, many counties have their own restrictions and require the Refugee Travel Document holders to obtain visas even for short-term tourist visits.

As the entry rules change frequently, the travellers should always check visa requirements of the country of their destination prior to the trip.

Also, a valid UK residence permit confirming your refugee status in the UK must be taken for the overseas trips together with the Refugee Travel Document. Some countries also require confirmation of the reservation of the return tickets and proof of the purpose of the trip to allow a visa free entry.

The following countries require visas for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

The following countries DO NOT require visas for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

List of Countries that DO NOT ALLOW ENTRANCE for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

  • UAE – Dubai
  • Qatar – Doha

This list is subject to changes so we recommend to double check information on the current visa requirements before your travel arrangements.

Follow our Facebook page and YouTube Channel for latest UK immigration and legal updates

Validity of the Refugee Travel Document

1951 UN Convention Refugee Travel Document (blue) is issued by the United Kingdom to:

  • A refugee who has been granted asylum in the UK. If you have been recognised as a refugee under the terms of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, you may apply for a 1951 UN Convention refugee travel document (blue).
  • A person who has come to the UK on a Family Reunion visa to join a refugee who is present in the UK.

The Refugee Travel Document Normally is normally issued for up to 10 years for adults and for up to 5 years for children, or in line with limited leave. It also may be issued with a shorter validity if considered

All travellers should note that many countries require that the Refugee Travel Document is valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into the country. If validity of the travel document is less than six months, a refugee should apply for renewal. It is also important to apply for apply for extension of the UK residence permit prior to its expiry date.

Some countries, e.g. Denmark, require that the travel document (passport) should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay only and you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.



Requirements for Refugees to Become Settled in the UK (video)


Other updates:

Employment Rights of Refugees in the UK

Illegality of Employment Contracts

New Rules for Refugees: Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) Applications 

Changes to the Immigration Rules 2018

New Fees: British Passport Applications

Apostille and Document Certification in London

How to Apply for British Passport Online 

Legal Assistance in the UK

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and relevant immigration law requirements, please send your enquiry by e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.


Sterling Law to Exhibit at Moscow International Emigration & Luxury Property Expo

Sterling Law are delighted to take part in the The Moscow International Emigration and Luxury Property Expo 2018, a large-scale conference and exhibition dedicated to immigration and international real estate, that will be held 29-30 November 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton Moscow.
The event will be attended by leading companies from more than 30 countries.
The delegation of Sterling Law will join other leading international law firms, developers, personal financial consultancies, as well as  immigration services and real estate industry professionals from all over the world.

Find us in Moscow:

We invite invite you to join us at Conference & Exhibition at The Ritz-Carlton Moscow during 29-30 November 2018. This is a brilliant opportunity to ask all the questions you have about immigration and other legal services in the UK.
To arrange a meeting please contact: 
We look forward to share our experience with you and answer all your questions.

Moscow International Emigration & Luxury Property Expo 2018

AGENDA: Full programme for 29-30 November 2018

The Expo combines a conference on the first day (29 November), with an exhibition, workshops, and networking opportunities on the second day (30 November).

The conference will be held on the first day of the Moscow International Emigration and Luxury Property Expo (IELPE). It will feature keynote speakers from 30 countries, including representatives of immigration companies, property developers, and governmental authorities from EU countries, the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean.

The speakers will share exclusive insights into the latest legislative developments and provide hands-on advice based on actual cases.

Sterling Law team will present on 29 November at 18.35 on the UK Investor, Entrepreneur and Exceptional Talent visas. Our representatives will be happy to see all visitors and advise at the stand during the 2nd day of the event on 30 November. 


Registration is open for individual and professional visitors with special packages available. To apply for a two-day pass please click here.

UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case and to inquire about the immigration and legal fees, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8599, Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477, e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.

Follow by Email

UK Visa Premium Service Centres will close from 29 November 2018

The Home Office announced introduction of the new in-country visa application system from November 2018. The system is be based on the online application functionality and operation of the new UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UK VCAS) Centres.

The first VCAS opened around the UK from 5 November and current Premium Service Centres will close on 29 November 2018.

The applicants now have the choice to use one of 57 Service Points throughout the UK. It is also expected that more flexible “on-demand” (formerly known as Super Premium) and mobile application services will be available, for example at university campuses, employers’ offices or individual customers’ homes.

Application Routes

The applicants in the UK seeking to remain in the UK or to settle permanently on the following routes are eligible to use the new service UK Visa Citizenship Application Service (UK VCAS) from 5 November 2018:

  • Tier 1 (Investor)
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer): graduate trainee Tier
  • 2 (Intra-Company Transfer): long term staff
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • Tier 4 (General) student
  • Tier 4 (Child) student
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker)
  • PBS Dependant – partner
  • PBS Dependant – child
  • Member of HM forces or their dependants
  • Turkish Businessperson or Worker
  • Dependant partner of a Turkish Businessperson or
  • Worker (ECAA 3 – Dependant Partner)
  • Dependent child of a Turkish Businessperson or
  • Worker (ECAA 3 – Dependant Child)
  • Settle or extend your leave in the UK – Turkish ECAA categories only
  • Settle in the UK – long residence
  • Settle in the UK – child
  • Settle in the UK – partner of a person or parent of a child already settled in the UK
  • Settle in the UK – HM forces category
  • Settle in the UK – refugee or humanitarian protection
  • Settle in the UK – certain categories only
  • Registration certificate as an EEA or Swiss national
  • Document certifying permanent residence as an EEA or Swiss national
  • British citizenship by naturalisation
  • Register for British citizenship as a child under 18
  • Register as a British citizen
  • Update, replace or transfer – biometric residence permit
  • Other leave to remain applications within the rules (unless noted below)
  • Apply for a Home Office travel document

Applicants on the remaining routes will continue to need to use the existing service until January 2019.

This includes most customers applying:

  • To join family members in the UK as a dependant, other than a PBS dependent, armed forces dependent or ECAA dependent
  • For family reunion with a refugee or person with humanitarian protection
  • On the basis of statelessness
  • On the basis of domestic violence under the specific route for that
  • Making further submissions after a failed protection claim to only enrol your biometric information
  • For a fee waiver or fee exemption
  • For British citizenship
  • For a certificate of right of abode

New UK Visa Application System Timeline

  • 2 November: appointment booking tool went live
  • 5 November: new UK VCAS centres started to open around the country and all locations will be open by 29 November 2018
  • During the period of 5 – 29 November 2018, the majority of applicants can choose whether to enrol their biometrics and submit their documents via these new centres or use the existing processes via Premium Service Centres.
  • 29 November: Premium Service Centres will close
  • January 2019: Service and Support Centres will open.

NOTE: New Visa Centres’ staff are NOT authorised immigration advisers and, therefore, will not be able to provide advice on the applications and immigration requirements. In the past,  we experienced many situations where applicants took advice from the clerks of the overseas visa centres which was inaccurate and led to the refusals. 


UK Immigration & Legal Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case and to enquire about the immigration and legal fees, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8535, Mobile: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477, e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.

UK Immigration Updates

UK Visa Requirements: Who needs a visa to enter or transit the UK 
New Fees: British Passport Applications
How to Apply for British Passport Online 
Apostille and Document Certification in London
Employment Rights in the UK