Category: Latest News

Family member of an EEA national: Residence Card

Delays in issuing a residence card to a family member of an EEA national exercising their treaty rights in the UK is a frequent problem. Immigration practitioners often face a situation when the Home Office takes more than six months to make a decision. 

Despite there is a directive (2004/38) requiring the decision within the six month period, this is not always the case. 

Such delays can negatively affect job and education opportunities, as well as family life. 

But what is the sanction against the Home Office for the delay? The CJEU takes a reference from a Belgian Court and states that the sanction for the delay is according to the national law. 

The Judgement and Facts

Article 10 (1) of Directive 2004/38/ states that a decision to grant a residence card to a family member of EEA national has to be made within the six month period.

The case concerned a third county national – Mr Diallo, a Belgium resident. He applied for a residence card on the basis of being a family member of his EU national child. 

The Belgian authorities took negative decision 5 months and 28 days after the application, and Mr Diallo appealed. The authorities adopted the new decision a month and a half later, after Mr Diallo appealed. 

The Belgian court then adopted a new decision a month and a half later rejecting Mr Diallo’s application. The court stated that he had failed to provide sufficient evidence. For example, his resources and that the child was dependent on him. Mr Diallo appealed again. 

The Reasoning 

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed the following:

The state authorities must reach a decision within 6 months. This is irrespective of whether it is positive or negative. 

Under the Belgian law, a failure of state authority to make a decision within the six months entitles the applicant for an automatic issue of the residence card. The court found that, it would be contrary to the requirements of the Directive 2004/38 to issue a residence card to a person who does not fulfill the necessary requirements. 

CJEU stated that in order to derive a right of entry and residence from a family member who is a EU national, Mr Diallo should show that he is dependent on his child who is a Dutch resident. 

The court also noted that if a decision is annulled (as what happened in Mr Diallo’s case) the state cannot restart the six months time process again from the start.  

The Directive remains silent on sanctions for failure to determine the relevant time period. CJEU held that the principle of effectiveness applies.

The court stated that the new six month period would

‘render excessively difficult the exercise of the right of the family member of Union citizen’

and therefore is not acceptable. 

Source: ILPA European Update


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 8599, Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477, e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.

Debt and Money Claims in the UK

Debt and Money Claims: personal or on behalf of businesses, whether you are pursuing or defending

We are accustomed to recovering money or defending claims for monetary sums on behalf of our clients.

Unfortunately, the fact that it is not possible to recover hardly any legal costs in cases in ‘small claims’ cases  means that it may not be worth instructing us unless, practically, the dispute involves a sum of at least £6,000.

Having said that, sometimes our clients want to pursue their debtor as a matter of principle, even if the net sum recovered for them is a small proportion of the total sum that was due. That is entirely understandable.

Not all debt claims end in success. There is often a lot of frustration along the way. The lawyer’s job is very difficult. But often, we are very successful.

Sterling Law have concluded a settlement in a case where we had been acting for an architect who had been dealing with a company in the building trade. Several of our client company’s invoices totaling almost £9,000 over the early part of 2018 had remained unpaid for 5-6 months, despite repeated demands for payment. The debtor had just completely ‘blanked’ our client.

We have now received the final instalment in payment from the debtor company in this case, against whom we obtained judgment. This has been paid to our client, the creditor company. Of course our client’s director has expressed his delight at the outcome. 


The defendant, despite being a highly qualified professional, ignored our two ‘letters before action.’ He then ignored our issue of the court proceedings. We then obtained ‘judgement-in-default’ against his company. He then sprung into action when was threatened to face enforcement of the judgement. Various excuses were made, including blaming his accountants for not receiving the letters and court papers on time, even though they were sent to the correct registered office of the company. Ultimately, the director threatened that he would dissolve his company unless we accepted half the sum due, in full and final settlement.

We were not going to be fobbed off by this nonsense and advised our client accordingly. We had no reason to believe that the defendant company was on the verge of insolvency, and if it was so, we questioned why the director had half the sum sitting in his bank account, available to be paid immediately.

Ultimately, we obtained agreement for half the debt under the judgement to be paid immediately (which it duly was, this week), and for the second half next month.

Our client was delighted with the result; a combination of litigation and tough negotiation achieved a great result. If we had merely launched into enforcing the judgment, it would have taken much longer to obtain the money and costs (payable by our client and not all recoverable from the other side) would have been higher.

If you have a dispute upon which you need advice, please contact us. We can either represent you in court or just provide advice at an initial consultation.

Please contact Kuldeep S. Clair, Consultant Solicitor and Advocate, directly:


Mobile: 07484 614090

Tel. 020 7822 8599

NHS Immigration Health Surcharge will increase to £400 a year from December 2018

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 is set to come into effect in December 2018 subject to Parliamentary approval.

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 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.

Asylum Appeal of a Member of LGBT Community Allowed by First-Tier Tribunal

Yet more success for our leading immigration lawyer Oksana Demyanchuk and her team. The First-Tier Tribunal allowed asylum appeal for a member of LGBT community.

The Client was a national of Russia and claimed asylum in the UK on the basis of the sexual orientation. The client was a member of the LGBT+ community and feared returning to Russia due to persecution from the state and society. 

Therefore, the client sought to claim asylum as a member of a particular social group. This is one of five categories that allow to claim refugee status. The other four being race, religion, nationality, and political opinion. 

Particular social group has been defined as having an innate immutable characteristic.

For example, sex or ethnicity, or sexual orientation. It can also have an immutable characteristic that is not innate but is unalterable for other reasons. These includes historical facts of a past association, occupation, or status. It can also be a characteristic that is so fundamental to human dignity that nobody can require a person to change it.

Asylum Refusal & Appeal

The Home Office initially refused the application. Oksana Demyanchuk and Michael Carter lodged an appeal against the decision.

They stated that the decision of the Home Office breached the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The evidence Oksana and Michael put forward served as the basis for the decision.

The Judge found that:

«Given the lack of toleration of same-sex relationships, as evidenced […] it does in my view amount to a significant barrier to a person in a same-sex relationship, to continue life in an integrated fashion in a society where such relationships are simply not accepted”. 

It was for these reasons that the Judge found that the Appellant qualifies for leave to remain under Article 8. In particular through paragraph 276 ADE (1) (VI) of the Immigration Rules as there are significant obstacles to Appellant’s re-integration into Russia.

Accordingly, the Tribunal allowed the appeal under the Human Rights Convention. 

Should you have any questions regarding claiming asylum in the UK, or would like a free assessment of your particular personal circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Oksana Demyanchuk


Tel. 020 7822 8535


Michael Carter


Tel. 020 7822 8535



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 8599, Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 73 0584 8477, e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.

Guide: What to expect during premium service appointment at Home Office (Croydon)

If you are already in the United Kingdom, you have an option to apply with your immigration application to the Home Office in person at a premium service (same day) centre to:

  • extend your stay (visa) – limited leave to remain
  • settle permanently (indefinite leave to remain)

Here is a brief outline of the procedure that all applicants have to pass through at the Premium Service Centre of the Home Office in Croydon. The process will take the following stages.

Premium Service Restrictions

There is a number of cases when the premium service cannot be used and we recommend to double check whether your particular application can be reviewed by the Home Office at the premium service centre on the same day.

For example, you cannot use the premium service if application is made under Tier 1 (Investor) visa category. Other cases when the premium service cannot be used can be found on this page.

Preparation for the appointment

Please make sure you complete and sign the application form and bring it to your appointment. You will also need to print our booking confirmation and checklist, and bring your supporting documents. Make sure have certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

You should also bring photocopies of your documents, as this will help speed up the application process.

Step 1: Arrival at Croydon Premium Service Centre

You must arrive to the Home Office Premium Service Centre 15 minutes before your appointment for a security check.


Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road

After the security check on the ground floor, you must report to the reception desk on the 3d floor.

Step 2: Reception (3d floor)

It is recommended to report to the reception desk not earlier than 10 minutes before the time of your appointment. At the reception desk all applicants have to provided completed application form together
all necessary supporting documents for your visa application.

At this stage the basic checks are done on the application to ensure it is ready for the Case Registration Officer. These checks consist of ensuring the application form is signed/valid, payment has been made, and that passport/visa information is available.

Once these checks have been done, you will be given a ticket number and advised to have a seat in the customer waiting area on the same 3d floor and listen out for your ticket number to be called on the automated system.

Step 3: Case Registration

Once your ticket number has been called please proceed to the relevant counter on the same 3d floor.

At this stage, the officers will upload your application onto immigration databases and you will be asked to arrange your supporting documentation for your application/photocopies in preparation for the Immigration Caseworker to review.

Once completed, you will be asked to take a seat and listen out for your ticket number to be called again.

Step 4: Biometric Enrollment

When your ticket number is called, you should proceed with all documents through the glass door at the end of the the room to the relevant counter. Biometrics consist of submitting your fingerprints, a signature and a photograph but the process will vary slightly for children under the age of 16. The biometrics you submitted will then be verified against immigration/police databases.

This process will takes less than 5 minutes. It doesn’t involve any ink or mess.

Then the Biometric Officer will take all your documents and pass them to the Immigration Caseworker for consideration and decision making.

After this stage you can either stay in the building in the waiting area or to go outside for a short time. If you wish to go outside, please make sure your leave your mobile phone number with the Biometric Enrolment Officer and keep your phone switched on so the immigration officers can reach you.

Step 5: Case Allocation and Consideration

Your application and supporting documents will be allocated to a Immigration Caseworker and a decision is normally made on the application during the day. The time for consideration varies depending on the type of the application, personal circumstances of the applicant and workload of the Immigration Officers at the premium service centre.

Step 6: Return of Documents

Once the decision is made, you will be called to collect your documents and application decision letter.

If your application has been approved, a BRP card would have already been ordered by the Immigration Caseworker and you can expect to receive it via nominated courier service within the next 10 working days.

If your application has been refused, the Immigration Caseworker will explain the reasons why.

Same Day Decision

As a Premium  Service Centre it aims to provide a SAME DAY DECISION to all applications. However, please note that under certain circumstances it may not be possible for the Immigration Caseworkers to make a same day decision. This can happen in case:

  • Home Office requires further documentation or information from the applicant in order to make a decision
  • Further checks are required or pending
  • IT issues are preventing the Home Office from making a decision.

If the Home Office is not able to make a same day decision, you will be notified of this as soon as practically possible.

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 8535, mobile: 07305848477 or by e-mail: or via our online appointment booking form.

UK Work Visas Tier 2: Monthly distribution of sponsorship certificates – September 2018

For the second month in a row a minimum wage of £21,000 offered to non-EU qualified workers was sufficient for the British employers to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from the Home Office.

After the exclusion of doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 quotas in July 2018, the Home Office is now able to accept all requests from the British employers for the restricted sponsorship certificates.

Moreover, according to the latest decision of the Home Office on distribution of the sponsorship certificates, 512 certificates of sponsorship were not allocated and as a remaining balance were carried over to October 2018.

Total number of certificates of sponsorship granted in September – 1671.

The September allocation meeting took place on 11 September. All valid applications received by 5 September were successful if they scored at least 21 points (minimum salary threshold – £21,000).

The next monthly allocation meeting date is 11 October 2018.

If you have any questions regarding the employment and sponsorship of foreign employees in the UK, please contact us directly:

Natalia Varahash, Immigration Lawyer (OISC Level 2)


Tel. +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

Mob. +44 (0) 73 0598 9936


Other updates:

Illegality of Employment Contracts

Employment Rights

Changes to the Immigration Rules 2018

UK Visa Fees 2018 

New Fees: British Passport Applications

Apostille and Document Certification in London

How to Apply for British Passport Online 

Case Studies & Successful Cases 

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 8599, Mobile / Viber: +44 (0) 74 6338 2838, or via our online appointment booking form.

EU workers will have no special rights after Brexit

According to the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, EU passport holders will face the same immigration policies as those from outside the bloc after Brexit.

The new immigration system will be based on skills rather than nationality. This will give preference to the highly skilled workers. 

There are however, fears that limiting low skilled EU migrants my damage UK economy. 

Some consider such policy to be a mistake, and argue that it would be more sensible to give the EU citizens a priority and special treatment.

The agreement means that there will be no nationality bias when granting permission to work and live in the UK. 

Currently passport holders of EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein can travel to the UK without any barriers, regardless of the skills. 

For those outside the mentioned countries strict immigration rules apply

Usually citizens of other countries need to apply for an entry permit before travelling to the UK. 

There are several visa categories, ranging from Tier 1 (Investors, Entrepreneurs and «Exceptional Talent») to Tier 5 for those seeking short term study or voluntary work. 

Tier 2 category is reserved for the skilled workers, and Tier 4 for long-term students. Currently no Tier 3 visas (unskilled labour) are being granted.

Visas are being given out on a points based system. For instance, those willing to work in the UK under the Tier 2 category need a minimum salary of £30 000, up almost £10 000 from 2011. People get more points for higher salaries, as well as for meeting other requirements. 

Current policies limit the annual number of Tier 2 to 20 700, meaning that every year hundreds of specialists are not able to receive an entry permit. 

Should the same rules apply to EU citizens after Brexit, securing UK visa will become even more challenging.


The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. The «implementation period» will follow, lasting until 31 December 2020. 

During this transition, EU citizens arriving in the UK will have the same rights as those came beforehand. The same would apply to the UK citizens travelling to Europe. 

However, this transition period is a subject to negotiations, and will only happen if Europe and the UK achieve an agreement.

Unfortunately, news coming from the government do not indicate any positive outcome yet. Considering the UK is leaving the block in a just few months, we recommend all our clients to apply for British citizenship as soon as possible to avoid uncertainty and long waiting lists.

UK Immigration 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. 020 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +4474 6338 2838, or via our online appointment booking form.

Appeal withdrawn by the Home Office after reviewing the grounds and supporting documents

Due to the outstanding work of Oksana Demyanchuk and her team, another client of Sterling Law was saved from going through the lengthy and stressful appeal process. The Home Office withdrew the decision that was to be subject of appeal.

The appeal was due to be heard in November 2018. However, 3 months prior to the scheduled hearing date (in August 2018), the Home Office withdrew their decision. This was done upon reviewing the documents submitted in support of the appeal.

In doing so the Home Office instructed that leave to remain should be granted to our clients.

The Home Office conceded that the original decision was not appropriate and appeal should be withdrawn accordingly. It was down to the strength of the grounds of appeal drafted by Oksana Demyanchuk and her team.

The clients had originally applied for leave to remain in the UK on private and family life grounds. Their 2 children were born in the UK and have lived in the country for over 7 years continuously. The parents therefore asserted that it would be unreasonable for the family to leave the UK.

The initial application was refused and an appeal against the decision was lodged

The grounds asserted that in particular, there were no powerful reasons that required the removal of the children and so the decision was unlawful. An appeal bundle with countless documentary evidence was provided to the Home Office. Upon review of the documents together with the grounds of appeal, it was decided that a grant of leave was appropriate.

This excellent news mean that the clients will not be required to go through the costly and stressful process due to the hard work and dedication of Oksana Demyanchuk and her team.


Should you have any further questions, or would like to discuss your personal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Oksana Demyanchuk


Tel. 020 7822 8535




UK Immigration 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 / Viber: +447463382838, or via our online appointment booking form.

Tier 1 Investor Visa Granted to Unmarried Partners

Aliya Rimshelis, Corporate Immigration Lawyer at Sterling Law, has reached a successful result in a complex Tier 1 Investor visa application.

Tier 1 Investor Visa Complexities

As a result of her efforts, our client from Kazakhstan together with his unmarried partner and their four young children were all successfully granted entry clearance to the UK under the Tier 1 Investor visa.

Such applications, arguably, have difficult requirements to fulfill.

In this particular case, unmarried partnership of the applicants was one of the crucial elements. Sterling Law were able to collect evidence to prove that our client’s relationship with his partner is genuine. The presented evidence was accepted by the Immigration Officers and the partner is now, therefore, eligible to enter the UK as a dependant, together with the children.

Investment Bank Account

Another important element of the application process was opening a bank account in the UK. When the client instructed us he did not have a UK bank account, which added complexity to the case.

One of the key requirements is the following:

In addition to the evidence relating to money to invest, the applicant must provide an original letter issued by an authorised official of a UK regulated bank, on the official letter-headed paper of the institution, which:

(a) is dated within the three months immediately before the date of the application;

(b) states the applicant’s name and account number; and

(c) confirms that:

(i) the applicant has opened an account with that bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2 million in the UK; and

(ii) the bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the purposes of accepting deposits.

The applicant had enough funds to meet the Tier 1 Investor visa requirements but those were kept on his Swiss bank accounts. As stated above, in accordance with the Immigration Rules, the applicant must open a bank account in the UK for the purpose of investment.

We advised our client to open up an account with the same bank but in its UK division, which allowed him to meet all the relevant requirements. This procedure involved months of waiting, however, eventually all bank account formalities were sorted and all family was granted UK entry clearance.

Should you require any assistance or have any questions regarding entrepreneur and investment visa routes in the UK, please feel free to get in touch with us directly:


Aliya Rimshelis

Aliya Rimshelis, Corporate Immigration Lawyer


Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8535


UK Immigration 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 / Viber: +447463382838, 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.

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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.