Category: Latest News

Settled Status for EU Citizens and Family Members in the UK after Brexit

Today, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid announced more details on the settled status for the EU citizens and their family members. In the official electronic notification, the Home Secretary stated that safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK has always been the first priority and the agreement reached with the EU earlier this year did just that. The rights that EU citizens and their families currently have are protected which include access to healthcare, benefits and pensions.

Away from the negotiations, my team in the Home Office have been working hard to develop the service that you’ll use to get your settled status. This work will continue as we make sure that the system and processes are rigorously tested and meet every requirement ahead of the launch. Sajid Javid

According to the statement, the scheme will open later this year and the Home Office is on track to open the scheme fully by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications to the scheme will be 30 June 2021.

More details of the suggested scheme including overview, eligibility requirements and application process have been released on the government’s website.

Settled Status Scheme for EU citizens and their family members living in the UK

The scheme will open fully by March 2019. The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021. You may be able to apply after this date if you’re joining a family member in the UK.

Rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are still being negotiated.

Getting settled status means you can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as you like. It will mean you’re eligible for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship, if you meet the requirements

Full details of the scheme are still subject to approval by Parliament.

Eligibility

To be eligible for settled status, you’ll need to:

  • be an EU citizen, or a family member of an EU citizen
  • have been living in the UK continuously for 5 years (‘continuous residence’)
  • have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020

If you’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years, you’ll generally be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’ instead.

If you’re a non-EU citizen, you will need to show your relationship to an  EU citizen living here.

Continuous residence

Continuous residence means you’ve been in the UK for at least 6 months in each of those 5 years, except for:

  • one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, to work or study)
  • compulsory military service

If you will not have 5 years’ continuous residence when you apply

You’ll generally get ‘pre-settled status’ instead. Pre-settled status means you can stay in the UK for a further 5 years. You can live and work here, and will have access to public funds and services on the same basis as you do now.

Once you have 5 years’ continuous residence you can apply for settled status.

Applying for settled status

The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021. You may be able to apply after this date if you’re joining a family member in the UK.

The application form will be online. You’ll be able to get support over the phone or in person if you need help doing things online.

Necessary Documents

When you apply, you’ll need proof of:

  • your identity
  • your residence in the UK, unless you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to remain
  • your relationship to a family member from the EU living in the UK, if you’re from outside the EU

Fees

The fee to apply (subject to approval by Parliament) will be:

  • £65 if you’re 16 or over
  • £32.50 if you’re under 16

It’ll be free to apply if:

  • you already have valid indefinite leave to remain or a valid permanent residence document
  • you’re applying to move from pre-settled status to settled status
  • you’re a child in local authority care

There will be support for the vulnerable and those without access to a computer.

Legal Assistance

 

New Fees: British Passport Applications
How to Apply for British Passport Online 
Apostille and Document Certification in London
Employment Rights in the UK

 

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: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

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.

Employee, Worker, or Self-Employed: Know your rights and liabilities

Are you an employee or worker? Are you a self -employed ‘contractor’?

Are you an employer? What are your rights and liabilities?

You may think you know the answer to these questions. But the answer may be different from what you imagine. Your position may be either better or worse than you think.

Difference in legal rights between ‘employees’ and ‘self-employed’

The former have certain rights such as the right to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy, maternity pay, holiday pay, statutory sick pay and others rights. The latter do not. Just to make things more confusing, there is a category in the middle, classed as ‘workers’, who have some of these rights, but not others.

Self-employed contractor recognised as a worker

In a leading case in the Supreme Court on 11 June 2018, it was decided that a plumber who had been working for Pimlico Plumbers Ltd apparently on a self-employed basis, paying with his own tax and NI, was still a worker for legal purposes.

He was therefore entitled to holiday pay and sick pay. This was mostly because of the degree of control exercised by the company over his work. He worked exclusively for Pimlico Plumbers Ltd, and drove their van, and wore the company uniform whilst at work. It was important that he was not acting as an independent entrepreneur, touting for work for himself for his own account.

This case reflects other decisions in this area involving drivers for Uber, Deliveroo, and Addison Lee.

In fact the Uber case is still continuing to the Court of Appeal and is yet to be heard. Other cases have been decided in favour of employers.

The crucial point of all of them, which should be borne in mind by businesses and individuals alike, is that the issue of ‘employment’ status is a factual decision in each case. It is a good idea to get professional advice about your position in good time, and have a reliable contract drawn up to reflect and solidify the true position.

However, even many lawyers who are not well-versed in employment law do not understand that even a contract cannot alter the legal position after the event, if the facts indicate that only a particular version of the legal position is correct on the facts.

We can help with either:

  • advising on how the law applies to your particular circumstances
  • drawing up a suitable agreement /contract
  • a dispute that has arisen on employment issues

If you would like advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact us directly by phone or email.

Contact our employment solicitor Kuldeep Clair directly:

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile: +44 (0) 7484 61 4090

Fax: +44 (0) 870 23520 4427

E-mail: kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

Changes to the Immigration Rules: Tier 2 (General) Visa

The Home Office announced on 15 June 2018, changes to the Immigration Rules will affect a number of categories including Tier 2 of the Points-Based System.

Changes are being made to exempt doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 (General) limit. This is in response to the particular shortages and pressures facing the NHS at the current time, and the fact that the limit has been oversubscribed in each month since December 2017.

The changes will mean that health sector employers will be able to sponsor doctors and nurses without requiring restricted Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship or putting pressure on the limit. This will free up places within the limit for other key roles which contribute to the UK economy and other public services. The changes will be kept under review.

In all other respects, the change preserves the existing arrangements. This means that all applications for nurses, and all applications for doctors not currently recognised on the Shortage Occupation List, will continue to be required to demonstrate that they have met the requirements of the Resident Labour Market Test.

Doctors currently recognised on the Shortage Occupation List will continue to be exempt from the RLMT.

The following additional changes are being made to Tier 2 Visa category:

  • Amendments are being made so that applications for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship for Croatian nationals no longer count towards the Tier 2 limit. This is because Croatian nationals will no longer need to apply for work authorisation in this category, owing to the lifting of transitional controls on the work rights of Croatian nationals on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Croatia’s accession to the EU.
  • From 14 June 2012, the skills threshold for jobs sponsored under Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) increased from Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 4 to RQF level 6. The transitional arrangements, for those previously in these routes to extend their stay, are no longer needed and are being closed. Provisions for these migrants to apply for indefinite leave to remain are being retained. The Government signalled in March 2016 that this closure would take place in July 2018, and set this out in the published guidance for Tier 2 sponsors.
  • A change is being made to expand the restriction on Tier 2 migrants holding more than 10% of shares in their sponsor so as also to restrict such ownership being held indirectly, such as via another corporate entity.
  • A change is being made to the evidential requirements for Tier 2 migrants applying for settlement, who have been absent from work on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave. These applicants are additionally required to provide evidence of the underlying adoption or birth that necessitated their leave. These changes bring the requirements in line with similar requirements elsewhere in the Immigration Rules.
  • References to Find a Job, the service replacing Universal Jobmatch, have been included for the Resident Labour Market Test.
  • Minor drafting corrections are being made to correct the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code used for midwives. These corrections have no impact on the way applications for midwives are considered.

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 changes in the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Category

New changes to the Immigration Rules were prepared and laid by the Home Office before Parliament on 15 June 2018. These changes will come into effect on 6 July 2018.

In addition to the removal of doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 visa cap there are a number of changes to other UK’s visa routes, including Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Changes

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category is for talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology to work in the UK without the need to be sponsored for employment in a specific post. The applicants must be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body.

The following changes are being made to this category:

  • Opening up the exceptional talent visa to include leading fashion designers. The endorsement of arts applicants is being widened to include those in the fashion industry who are operating leading designer fashion businesses. These applicants will be assessed by the British Fashion Council operating within the endorsement remit of Arts Council England.
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route has also been opened up to a wider pool of TV and film applicants, under the remit of ACE. This is due to the changes to the criteria and list of eligible awards for applicants in film and television.
  • Other changes are being made to the criteria for endorsement by each Designated Competent Body, at those bodies’ requests. These include changes to the evidential requirements for applicants holding a peer-reviewed research fellowship; and changes for digital technology applicants to reflect the rebranding of “Tech City UK” as “Tech Nation”.
  • Amendments are being made so that endorsements for Croatian nationals no longer count against the number of allocated endorsements available to each Designated Competent Body. This is because Croatian nationals will no longer need to apply for work authorisation in this category, owing to the lifting of transitional controls on the work rights of Croatian nationals on the occasion, this July, of the fifth anniversary of Croatia’s accession to the EU in July 2013.

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.

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.

Is your business compliant with the New Data Protection Regulation?

What is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

In short, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of European regulations on how EU citizens’ data is handled. In general, the rules are more strict than before and there are significant fines and penalties if you do not take care to familiarise yourself with the new legislation.

Does it apply to my business?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply from 25 May 2018.

If you are processing (handling) or controlling (making decisions about) any personal data (for example names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, IP addresses etc.) of an EU citizen, then you will be affected by these changes. This includes businesses that are not necessarily based in the EU and the data is not limited to your clients but also includes employees, suppliers and other partners. There is a separate group of ‘special categories’ of personal data for things like ethnic background or religious views.

Furthermore, the government has indicated that this legislation and the Data Protection Regulation will remain in full force after Brexit.

What do I have to do?

There are 11 chapters and 99 separate articles in the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. There are various legal reasons you can have for processing data (contract/legal obligation/vital interests/public task/legitimate interests), but generally speaking, the most important one for most small businesses is that of consent.

Consent to handle data needs to be clear, specific, explicit and freely given, so it cannot be hidden in small print or involve a default ‘opt-in’ position.

Additionally, data must be deleted or anonymised after a certain period of time. People will also have the right to access all the personal data you hold on them at any time, or request that you delete the data you are storing on them, so it is important that it is stored in an organised and comprehensible fashion to be accessed quickly and easily.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Businesses that breach the new Data Protection Regulation are open to substantial fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your company’s annual global turnover (whichever is larger), so clearly these rules are not to be taken lightly. It is also worth bearing in mind that an individual who suffers as a result of poor data management can sue you for damage.

How can we help?

If you are unsure about what steps to take next, our lawyers are on hand to point you in the right direction.

Our comprehensive and competitive advice on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance includes, but is not limited to:

  • Update your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to comply with the GDPR
  • Update your website to comply with GDPR
  • Provide a list of action points to anonymise online payments
  • Advise on anonymising inactive customers and prospects
  • Consult on data mapping
  • Provide full-scale, comprehensible information about “Right to Access” and “Right to be Forgotten”
  • Additional services, such as training your staff

For expert advice and assistance, please contact our lawyers on tel. +44(0)20 7822 8599 and by e-mail: info@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

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 their 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:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Kosovo
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand (except for nationals of certain countries)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (only for nationals of countries entitled to visa free entry) *

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.

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
appropriate

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)

 

Legal Assistance

 

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 

 

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

New Premium Visa Upgrade Service: Indefinite Leave to Remain Granted within 5 Days

The Premium visa upgrade service has been introduced by the Home Office recently. It allows the applicants in a limited number of Indefinite Leave to Remain visa routes to upgrade their applications to the premium service. This allows to receive a quicker consideration of their application for an additional fee.

Indefinite leave applications submitted with the following types of the forms can only be upgraded:

  • SET (M)
  • SET (LR)
  • SET (AF)
  • SET (F) and
  • NTL (No Time Limit).

This means that if you are settled in the UK with no time limit, if you are applying for indefinite leave to remain as a child under 18, as a former member of HM Forces, on the basis of long residence, or as a partner or parent of a child present and settled in the UK, you will be able to upgrade to the Premium Service.

How to Apply

In order to apply, you must download and fill in TWO separate forms. One form is regarding payment details and another is with regards to your personal details and application that you submitted. Both forms will then be submitted by email to the Home Office.

Please note that you can choose to upgrade to premium service by post, at a lower cost, or attend a premium service centre in person at a higher cost. Attending a premium service centre may take longer than the normal service standard depending on the appointments available at the premium service centre.

Moreover, it is important to note that only the first 5 requests received each day between 8.00 am and midday on Mondays to Thursdays only are accepted. If you have been accepted, you will receive an email by 5.00 pm the same day.

Once you are accepted for the faster service, you must give your fingerprints and photograph (biometric enrolment) if you haven’t already done this.

 

Benefits and Timing

When you apply to the Premium Service, the normal service standard is five working days, and this is from the day that an upgrade request is accepted.

Moreover, your documents and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) cards will be sent to you separately within 7 to 10 days after your request has been accepted. You will need to sign for them upon receipt.

Fees

The costs of upgrading your indefinite leave application to the Premium Service depend on whether you are attending in person or not attending in person.

Postal application

Single Applicant – no dependants £510
Main applicant & 1 dependant £1,020
Main applicant & 2 dependants £1,530
Main applicant & 3 dependants £2,040

Attending in person

Single Applicant – no dependants £610
Main applicant & 1 dependant £1,220
Main applicant & 2 dependants £1,830
Main applicant & 3 dependants £2,440

If you have more than 3 dependants add £510 for each additional dependant (if you are not attending in person) and add £610 for each additional dependant (if you are attending a premium service centre in person).

The Premium visa upgrade service is ideal when you want a faster decision on your indefinite leave to remain application, particularly if you need to travel urgently, need your documents back or want to receive a quicker decision.

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: 074 6338 2838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.