Category: Updates & Publications

Safe Returns Policy – New Policy Applicable to All Refugees in the UK

All those who applying for settlement protection after completing the appropriate probationary period of limited leave will be subject to a safe return review with reference to the country situation at the date the application is considered. Those who still need protection at that point will normally qualify for settlement.

In March 2017, the Home Office announced that a new policy regarding all individuals with the Refugee Status. The policy has an effect for all existing and future applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) as a Refugee (a further step after Leave to Remain application). In order to make an ILR application a refugee has to use ‘SET(P)’ form. The ILR allows refugees to have further access benefits which were granted under the Leave to Remain application, such as, access to public funds, education, or employment. 

Unlike the old policy, the new policy does not grant an automatic grant of settlement.

The exemptions when the automatic grant was not given to the applicant by the Home Office are the following:

Trigger 1: Review on the basis of information relating to actions (or alleged actions) of an individual refugee. In this section, any actions taken by the refugee to be against the security of the UK and/or any (criminal) allegations may take away the Refugee Status from a refugee.

Trigger 2: Review on the basis of a significant and non-temporary change in the conditions in a particular country (cessation). This is where the country from which the refugee is feared from persecution will no longer apply due to significant and non-temporary change in country. This trigger, the Home Office claims, to apply to all applicants of ILR regardless of the timing of their application. This is what is most importantly implied by the new Policy.

A “significant and non-temporary change in country situation” is described in the new policy:

In relation to changes to the country situation, this refers to changes that are significant and non-temporary such that a fear of persecution can no longer be regarded as well-founded. Caseworkers should note that the overthrow of one political party in favour of another might only be transitory or the election of a new government may not automatically mean that there is no longer a risk of persecution for the individual refugee. The changes must be such that the reasons for becoming a refugee have ceased to exist.

This implies that a change of personal circumstances may disqualify a refugee who faces a misappropriate impact on the refugee after they settle, for instance, women refugees who are at risk of domestic violence or FGM. The policy acknowledges such circumstances by stating: 

Caseworkers must consider whether the grant of refugee status was for more than one reason. For example, a woman may have been granted on the basis that she refused to agree to a forced marriage. If she is now married, she may still face a risk of persecution if she has married without the consent of her family. They may also fall within another category of risk and as such, revocation would not be appropriate. Revocation action on grounds that the protection need has ceased to exist should only be considered where there is no risk of persecution or serious harm on any grounds.

Trigger 3: Where the Secretary of State for the Home Department has announced to Parliament a review based on a significant and non-temporary change to a country situation. (No countries as of yet have been announced).

There are also other reasons to refuse settlement for a refugee:

  • There have been changes in personal circumstances
  • The refugee has returned to their country of origin or habitual residence
  • The refugee has obtained a national passport from their home country
  • There is evidence the original decision to recognise refugee status was incorrect
  • Any dependents of the refugee have travelled home or obtained a national passport

Within the application it is important for the refugee to be in the UK during the application period and the application should include all dependents living with the refugee including those who were born in the UK since the moment when the Refugee Status was granted.

The applications prior to March 2017, took under 6 months and resulted in a grant of ILR, however with the Brexit atmosphere and harsher Immigration Law changes, the new policy intends to demonstrate, as Immigration barrister Colin Yeo claims, “either that the Government does not want refugees to integrate or at least that there is no-one sufficiently senior at the Home Office who is responsible for thinking about integration”. In such hostile environment, it has been raised repeatedly that the right legal advice is mandatory to ensure the success of a refugee’s application, however there are a few changes that should be known about the new policy.

The “Great” Repeal Bill – and the implications for European Citizens

Some say the Great Repeal Bill will be a milestone on Britain’s journey to being a modern democracy. Some say not. One thing for sure is that the Great Repeal Bill will be the most influential single act of regulation in UK history.

The European Communities Act (ECA) 1972 is a crucial legislation as it makes European Union law automatically binding in the UK. In the cases of any clashes with British law, the European Union law takes precedence. With Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Great Repeal Bill will transfer, copy or amend all existing European Union legislations into domestic UK law. Simultaneously, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will end its jurisdiction power in the UK.

The fundamental problem arises: when we go deeper into the discussion of Brexit, it seems more evident that there is no plan at all. Simply transposing all EU law into UK legislation will not be enough.

Theresa May published the Great Repeal Bill on July 13, 2017. David Davis, who is the Brexit Secretary, introduced the document and said: “this bill means that we will be able to exit the European Union with maximum certainty, continuity and control”.

However, ironically, the Great Repeal Bill grants the ministers with the powers to bypass the Parliament, the so-called Henry VIII powers which should not be acceptable in a democratic society. Parliamentary sovereignty is a fundamental principle in UK constitution.  Parliament must have a say in the progress of the Brexit negotiations.  It is argued that the government cannot be given the wide powers to alter the legislation without the scrutiny from Parliament.

Workers’ rights would be considered as the most crucial aspect which everyone concerns about the Great Repeal Bill. The government still retains the final right to amend or remove basic employment laws, for example, equal treatment for workers disregarding gender or ethnicity, excessive working hours, and redundancy protections.

Theresa May confirmed all EU citizens who have lived here for five years could apply for a “settled status”. This includes equal rights on healthcare, education and pensions. But here is the problem.

What about those EU nationals who have lived in the UK less than five years, but are currently working in the UK now? Does that mean they need to go back to their home countries and look for new jobs? What about the life they already settle here in the UK and already considered the UK as their homes?

It is necessary for the government to reassure the EU nationals which they would not be replaced if, in the future, they are required to obtain a visa to work in the UK.  They need to be given the confidence by the government which they would be still entitled to the same rights as the UK citizens. The implications of the rights for EU nationals further extend to equal pay, full holiday pay, anti-discrimination against sex, race, and disability, as well as agency workers protections. The proposals for the Great Repeal Bill did fall short of the promise made by Theresa May. No specific guidelines are being set out to adequately protect and maintain all workers’ rights that came from the EU.

Workers’ rights are not the only crucial aspect. The pharmaceutical industry is also at risk with Britain’s withdrawing from the European Union. With the toughening of immigration control, border checks for goods importing into the UK might create delays. Consequently, the supply of life-saving medicines could be severely disrupted.  For the pharmaceutical products which have a short expiration date, the cost might be significantly increased as well.  The negotiation of a new trade agreement between the UK and the EU would take several years beyond 2019. The two-year period is a tight period for Britain to reach a new trade agreement and smoothly exit from the EU.

Therefore, even if the Great Repeal Bill converts all EU law into UK law, there would be still a legal black hole the day Britain withdrawing from the European Union. People voted in the referendum was in the hope of making the UK better, but they did not vote to be worse off.  Assessing the potential problems facing right now, it seems that the Great Repeal Bill cannot actually guarantee “a maximum certainty, continuity and control within Britain”.  This will not be the desirable outcome as suggested by David Davis.

The question to be asked is: can the Great Repeal Bill really ensure a smooth transition as well as a thoroughly functioning legal system on the day Britain leaves the European Union.  The harsh truth is no.  According to the report issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the latest recorded Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.6% in June 2017. This figure is still above the Bank of England’s 2% target. With Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, for example, the export of livestock will be prohibited. Consequently, the inflation rate is bound to keep going up.  The living standards for UK citizens will be squeezed.

After all, the Great Repeal Bill is only the first Brexit-related bills. The remaining seven bills yet to be set out to put Brexit into practice are customs, trade, immigration, fisheries, agriculture, nuclear safeguards, and international sanctions. At this stage, it is still unclear how the negotiations will unfold.

Online Forms to Deal with Biometric Cards Issues

The Home Office recently introduced online forms for dealing with various types of issues with the biometric cards. The forms are publicly available and can be used by the applicants and their legal representatives to deal with following most common problems.

If you have received a decision from the Home Office but your biometric card or an EEA Treaty Rights document has not arrived within 10 working days after the decision was issued please complete the form at www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/not-arrived

If you were expecting to collect a BRP from a Post Office branch please complete the form at www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/collect

If you have received a biometric card but it contains a mistake please complete the form at www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/report-problem

If you have lost your biometric card, or it has been stolen please complete the form at www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/lost-stolen-damaged

If you have made an application that has not yet been decided by the Home Office and you have not received a biometric enrolment (barcode) letter to use at the Post Office, please send an e-mail to AppointmentExceptions@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

If you would like to ask the Home Office for your documents to be returned see the relevant guidance at www.gov.uk/visa-documents-returned

To obtain an update on the progress of your case or if you have a general immigration enquiry see the guidance at www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi

To notify the Home Office of a change of address for you or your representative please complete the form at https://eforms.homeoffice.gov.uk/outreach/AddressUpdate.ofml

Updated List of Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Authorised Endorsing Bodies – June 2017

In June 2017, the list of authorised institutions for Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa applications was updated by the Home Office.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route is for graduates who have an outstanding business idea that they wish to put into practice in the UK. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will have a central role in identifying graduates who have developed genuine and credible business ideas or entrepreneurial skills, and in endorsing and supporting them.

Only those institutions listed below are able to endorse graduates wishing to apply under this route:

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • Ashridge (Bonar Law Memorial) Trust
  • Aston University
  • Bangor University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Bournemouth University
  • BPP University Limited
  • Brunel University
  • Cardiff University
  • City University London
  • Coventry University
  • Cranfield University
  • De Montfort University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
  • King’s College London
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • London Business School
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science London
  • South Bank University Loughborough University
  • Middlesex University
  • Newcastle University
  • Northumbria University
  • Newcastle Norwich University of the Arts Nottingham
  • Trent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen’s University of Belfast
  • Regent’s University
  • London Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Agricultural University Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal College of Art
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • Southampton Solent University
  • Swansea University
  • Teesside University
  • University College London
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Derby
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of East London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter U
  • niversity of Glasgow
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of Roehampton
  • University of Salford
  • University Of Sheffield
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts London
  • University of the West of England
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Worcester
  • Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Full information is available on the UKVI web-site.

Leave to Remain under Tier 2 (General) Visa Category: Supplementary Work

An application for further leave to remain can be refused on many different grounds. Before applying for extension one must ensure awareness of all the rules and conditions.

Under Part 6A of the Immigration Rules, anyone can check the different set of circumstances that apply to these types of applications. In regard to this particular visa, the Tier2 (General), a future applicant has to pay attention to the paragraphs 245H to 245HH.

When referring to the more specific regulations or conditions, one may fall under the misinterpretation of the concept of “supplementary work”. While working for the sponsor for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned it is possible, under a number of provisions, to perform a supplementary work.

The conditions upon an employment is considered supplementary are the following:

  1. The employment must be at the same profession and at the same professional level as the one for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was initially issued. This means that the Applicant cannot enjoy two different jobs that vary greatly in responsibilities as well as in expertise.
  2. It will not be deemed supplementary employment if to perform this new job the applicant leaves, abandons or stops operating the position for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was granted.
  3. Such voluntary extra work cannot exceed 20 hours per week. It takes place outside the hours set to work for your sponsor in the employment for which your Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned. The time and hours stated to work for the sponsor cannot be modified due to the activity of such supplementary work.

If all the above-mentioned rules are satisfied one can have this supplementary work along the one for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned. In the matter, that you no longer work for the sponsor due to whatever reason (loss of the job, termination, bankruptcy of the company among others) or any of the conditions are no longer met. It is necessary to notify the Home Office what has changed within your personal situation.

The first step to take once these changes occur in your employment, is to report to the Home office about what has changed. Then, subsequently, submit a further application for leave to remain as well as a new Certificate of Sponsorship in order to stay in the United Kingdom under the new conditions.

May’s proposal – Analysis of the policy paper on the safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU

The recent proposal of Theresa May from June 26th, 2017 has been quoted as a ‘generous offer’ to EU citizens offering everyone who had acquired permanent residence a new ‘settled status’.

 

At the face value, it appears to be a good deal, however when one reads the small print it becomes apparent that there is no value in the offer, and it lacks the certainty that Theresa May continuously refers to. The offer has come after the EU Council Decision of 22nd May proposing their policy on safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, therefore both sides have now adopted their position. However, the UK’s offer is nowhere close to what EU would like to secure as a part of the exit deal.

 

The Government website provides a short summary of their ‘promise’.

 

“Since the result of the referendum last summer, the UK Government has made it absolutely clear how important it is that we secure as early as possible both the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in EU member states. We are now seeking to provide EU citizens with certainty about their future by publishing a policy paper which sets out our offer to them.“

 

Theresa May has since triggering Article 50 made it clear that she wants nothing else but to provide the certainty for all EU citizens in the UK and for those Brits living in the Member States. However, the proposal offers no certainty and is lacking definitive answers and dates.

 

The UK continues to affirm that the rights of the EU nationals are protected and are to be complied with under the EU law until the official day of Brexit.

However, this gives little certainty as to the future rights of over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK even though the UK has proposed a new streamlined process for the European citizens to register in order to gain their new ‘settled status’ as per the generous offer of Theresa May.

 

This online application will apply to all EU citizens who have been continuously living in the UK for over 5 years. This requirement is the same as under current EU law where those with over 5 years of residence can apply for a document certifying permanent residence. Moreover, since the criteria that will apply are national, not based on EU law, the calculation of this period might differ. The proposals says ‘The type of application you’ll need to make will depend on your circumstances, when you moved to the UK and how long you’ve lived here’. The questions arise in terms of what type of circumstances an EU citizen needs to have in order to be able to stay?

 

While the UK promises to make the process as streamlined as possible for the EU citizens who already have the Permanent Residence Status, they will still need to apply for ‘settled status’ after Brexit in order to be able to remain in the UK. The UK position is that a document certifying permanent residence may mean nothing in the future. What is the reason for this? Does it mean that the future criteria will be certainty stricter?

 

Moreover, why the current permanent residence document under free movement rules is not sufficient to prove (for example, to employers or public service providers) that you have permission to continue living and working legally in the UK after Brexit. It seems that the criteria that are to be applied for the new ‘settled status’ will be much more stricter than under EU law if the Home Office cannot respect the now issued documents certifying permanent residence rights.

 

Further questions arise as to the cost of the new ‘settled status’.

Theresa May refers to a ‘reasonable’ cost but under the current British Immigration Rules the fee for indefinite leave to remain which is equivalent to the ‘settled status’ is set at £2,297. Will this be the price the EU nationals would have to pay in order to stay?

 

The offer gives some consideration to those citizens who will not qualify for ‘settled status’ as they will not complete their 5 years period before the ‘cut-off date’. However, nowhere in the proposal the date is mention. It may be the date of triggering Article 50 or the Brexit Day, but it could also potentially be historic.

If Theresa May wanted to give certainty to EU citizens she would have set the ‘cut-off date’. Those EU citizens who arrived and became resident before [un]specific date but who have not accrued five years’ will be able to apply for a temporary status. Moreover, those EU citizens that arrive after the [un]specified date will be allowed to remain in the UK at least temporary and may become eligible, however there should not have expectations of guaranteed settled status.

The proposal mentions ‘People who arrive after the cut-off date will be able to apply for a permission to remain after the UK leaves the EU, under the future immigration arrangements for EU citizens’.

What are the future immigration arrangements? Where is the certainty that Theresa May was offering?

 

The most troublesome part of the proposal is the lack of consideration for a Non-EU family members of EU nationals. What will happen with them since they no longer be able to live in the UK under the more lenient regulations of the EU. Those Non-EU nationals who have divorced their EU partners may also not be eligible to stay. The offer also fails to consider whether a UK citizen who currently is residing in Spain will retain their full free movement rights to move to Germany for example in the future.

 

Moreover, there is also no certainty as to what the ‘grace period’ will be for the EU citizens to apply for their new status. This will ‘be confirmed during negotiations’ and ‘if you haven’t received a document confirming your new immigration status by the end of this [again unspecified] period you will no longer have permission to remain in the UK. What if some EU citizens do not meet their future immigration requirements of which we have no mention whatsoever?

 

The UK offer fails to discuss the judicial enforcement, and while the EU wants the rights of EU nationals to be enforced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and the rules in the withdrawal agreement in accordance with pre-Brexit case law of the Court, the UK rules out the jurisdiction of the CJEU.

 

Much of the proposal uses words like ‘seek to ensure’ or ‘akin’ which does not by definition refer to certainty. It is clear that the UK position indisputably offers worse terms both for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. The EU proposal asked for the permanent residence documents to be respected without the need of ‘transferring’ of the status.

 

While the UK will exempt people from the requirement to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance, it has been argued that the current UK law breaches EU law anyway. Therefore, it may seem like a ‘generous offer’ but in reality is nowhere close.

 

The proposal also is silent on British Citizenship, it does not mention anywhere how a ‘settled person’ can acquire British citizenship in the future. It only mentions that it will be possible. Does it mean that the criteria will be different and/or more expensive to those currently under EU law?

 

At the moment, it seems that the only way to completely guarantee your continued right to live and work in the United Kingdom is to become a British citizen. In order to do this, the first step is to acquire Permanent Residence.  Although, becoming a British citizen may also be a disadvantage for some nationals or if you have non-British family members living with you in the UK who are relying on your status under EU law. While, we are still awaiting a decision of CJEU in Lounes, the Advocate-General has said that non-EU nationals may be given the right to reside in a Member State in which an EU family member lived before the family member acquired the nationality of that country. However, since the UK wants to rule out the jurisdiction of the CJEU, there would be little time to benefit from any positive upcoming decision.

By Ilovetheeu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Theresa May’s proposal – Analysis of the policy paper on the safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU

The proposal of Theresa May was quoted as a ‘generous offer’ to EU citizens offering everyone who had acquired permanent residence a new ‘settled status’.

At the face value, it appears to be a good deal, however when one reads the small print it becomes apparent that there is no value in the offer, and it lacks the certainty that Theresa May continuously refers to. The offer has came after the EU Council Decision of 22nd May proposing their policy on safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, therefore both sides have now adopted their position. However, the UK’s offer is nowhere close to what EU would like to secure as a part of the exit deal.

The Government website provides a short summary of their ‘promise’.

Since the result of the referendum last summer, the UK Government has made it absolutely clear how important it is that we secure as early as possible both the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in EU member states. We are now seeking to provide EU citizens with certainty about their future by publishing a policy paper which sets out our offer to them.

Theresa May has, since triggering Article 50, made it clear that she wants nothing else but to provide certainty for all EU citizens in the UK and for those Brits living in other Member States. However, the proposal offers no certainty and is lacking definitive answers and dates.

The UK continues to affirm that the rights of the EU nationals are protected and are to be complied with under the EU law until the official day of Brexit.

However, this gives little certainty as to the future rights of over 3 millions EU citizens living in the UK even though the UK has proposed a new streamlined process for the European citizens to register in order to gain their new ‘settled status’ according to the ‘generous’ offer of Theresa May.

This online application will apply to all EU citizens who have been continuously living in the UK for over 5 years. This requirement is the same as under current EU law where those with over 5 years of residence can apply for a document certifying permanent residence. Moreover, since the criteria that will apply are national, not based on EU law, the calculation of this period might differ. The proposal says ‘The type of application you’ll need to make will depend on your circumstances, when you moved to the UK and how long you’ve lived here’. The questions arise in terms of what type of circumstances an EU citizen needs to have in order to be able to stay?

While, the UK promises to make the process as streamlined as possible for the EU citizens who already have Permanent Residence Status, they will still need to apply in order to be able to remain in the UK. The UK position is that anyone with the document certifying permanent residence may mean nothing in the future. What is the reason for this? Does it mean that the future criteria will be certainty more stricter?

Moreover, why the current permanent residence document under free movement rules is not sufficient to prove (for example, to employers or public service providers) that you have permission to continue living and working legally in the UK after Brexit. It seems that the criteria that are to be applied for the new ‘settled status’ will be much more stricter than under EU law if the Home Office cannot respect the now issued documents certifying permanent residence rights.

Also, what will be the cost of the new ‘settled status’? Theresa May refers to a ‘reasonable’ cost but under the current British Immigration Rules the fee for indefinite leave to remain which is equivalent to the ‘settled status’ is set at £2,297. Will this be the price the EU nationals would have to pay in order to stay?

The offer gives some consideration to those citizens who will not qualify for ‘settled status’ as they will not complete their 5 years period before the ‘cut-off date’. However, nowhere in the proposal the date is mention. It may be the date of triggering Article 50 or the Brexit Day, but it could also potentially be historic.

If Theresa May wanted to give certainty to EU citizens she would have set the ‘cut-off date’.

Those EU citizens who arrived and became resident before [un]specific date but who have not accrued five years’ will be able to apply for a temporary status. Moreover, those EU citizens that arrive after the [un]specified date will be allowed to remain in the UK at least temporary and may become eligible, however there should not have expectations of guaranteed settled status.

The proposal mentions ‘People who arrive after the cut-off date will be able to apply for a permission to remain after the UK leaves the EU, under the future immigration arrangements for EU citizens’. What are the future immigration arrangements? Where is the certainty that Theresa May was offering?

The most troublesome part of the proposal is the lack of consideration for a Non-EU family members of EU nationals. What will happen with them since they will no longer be able to live in the UK under the more lenient regulations of the EU. Those Non-EU nationals who have divorced their EU partners will also not be eligible to stay. The offer also fails to consider whether the UK citizen who currently is residing in Spain will retain their full free movement rights to move to Germany in the future.

Moreover, there is also no certainty as to what the ‘grace period’ will be for the EU citizens to apply for their new status. This will ‘be confirmed during negotiations’ and ‘if you haven’t received a document confirming your new immigration status by the end of this [again unspecified] period you will no longer have permission to remain in the UK.’ What if some EU citizens do not meet the future immigration requirements of which we have no mention whatsoever?

The UK offer fails to discuss the judicial enforcement, and while the EU wants the rights of EU nationals to be enforced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and the rules in the withdrawal agreement in accordance with pre-Brexit case law of the Court, the UK rules out the jurisdiction of the CJEU.

Much of the proposal uses words like ‘seek to ensure’ or ‘akin’ which does not by definition refer to certainty. It is clear that the UK position indisputably offers worse terms both for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. The EU proposal asked for the permanent residence documents to be respected without the need of ‘transferring’ of the status.

While the UK will exempt people from the requirement to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance, it has been argued that the current UK law breaches EU law anyway. Therefore, it may seem like a ‘generous offer’ but in reality is nowhere close.

The proposal also is silent on British Citizenship, it does not mention anywhere how a ‘settled person’ can acquire British Citizenship in the future. It only mentions that it will be possible. Does it mean that the criteria will be different and/or more expensive to those currently under EU law?

At the moment, it seems that the only way to completely guarantee your continued right to live and work in the United Kingdom is to become a British citizen. In order to do this, the first step is to acquire Permanent Residence.  However, becoming a British citizen may also be a disadvantage for some nationals or if you have non-British family members living with you in the UK who are relying on your status under EU law. While, we are still awaiting a decision of CJEU in Lounes, the Advocate-General has said that non-EU nationals may be given the right to reside in a Member State in which an EU family member lived before the family member acquired the nationality of that country. However, since the UK wants to rule out the jurisdiction of the CJEU, there is a little time to benefit from the upcoming decision.

If you would like to find out more about your rights in the UK or apply for the Permanent Residence/British Citizenship you can contact Angelika at 020 7822 1866 or email: angelika@sterling-law.co.uk

Client Alert: Application Status Check Service Introduced

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has been experiencing unprecedented increase in some application categories workload. According to the statistics, the most affected category is the European applications. In view of this, application status checks became a crucial issue.

UKVI openly admits lack of caseworkers and staff in general and is, therefore, sometimes unable to make a decision within its published timeline of 15 working days for entry clearance applications, and 6 months for all the in-country applications. Sometimes UK Visas and Immigration notifies us or our clients that the delay occurred, but unfortunately in some cases no information is provided.

Application Status Check

In such cases, Sterling and Law Associates LLP offers application status check service which helps evaluating the progress of the case.

However, we find it necessary to mention that from the 1 June 2017, the Home Office imposed a levy of £5.48 for out of country application updates, which is to be paid by the applicants for every single enquiry.

If there are any questions or in case additional information is required, please do not hesitate to contact our office administration or your assigned caseworker for more details.

Contact UK Visas and Immigration about your application

 

The Home Office disabled its online portal providing information on the current application status which was introduced in early 2017. Now, it is offered to follow this link to get the details of the phone line and respective charges: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk/y/inside-the-uk/application-status

Application Review Delays

If your application has been pending for more than 6 months we are able to submit a request on behalf of the client.

If your application is pending for a considerably longer period, we are able to chase the Home Office, complain to the relevant department and if needed complain to the Ombudsman depending on your circumstances.

Our sister solicitor company Sterling Lawyers is also able to offer judicial reviews services if the delays are unreasonable and unlawful.

Please contact us at 020 7822 8535 or at contact@sterling-law.co.uk if you have any queries or you contact your assigned caseworker directly.

In the meantime, we will continue to update you on the progress of your case accordingly.

 

Successful Asylum and Article 2& 3 ECHR Claim for Egyptian National

Tribunal Court Decision

The Appellant, and citizen of Egypt, appealed against the decisions to refuse to grant him asylum in the UK. The Appellant appealed on the grounds that he is a refugee and that to return him to Egypt would place the UK in breach of its obligations under Regulation 2 of the Refugee or Persons in need of International Protection Regulations 2006. The Appellant claims that he fears persecution on his return to Egypt on the basis that he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On the basis of the evidence provided by Sterling and Law Associates, the Court found that there was a reasonable degree of likelihood that the Appellant would be persecuted on return to Egypt. Therefore, the Court was satisfied that the Appellant had established a well-founded fear of persecution for the purposes of Regulation 2.

Additionally, Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR fall within the Appellant’s asylum claim and, as such, removing him to Egypt would be contrary to the ECHR.

Appeal Allowed for Ukrainian on Proof Marriage was Genuine

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Another successful appeal for Sterling and Law Associates at the First-Tier Tribunals.

The Appellant, a citizen of Ukraine, made an application for entry to the UK to join her husband – who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The application was refused on the basis that the Entry Clearance Officer was not satisfied that the relationship was genuine and subsisting, concluding that the marriage was entered into to facilitate the Appellant’s return to the UK. Sterling and Law Associates appealed the decision of the Home Office on the basis that the marriage was genuine.

The Court agreed, noting evidence demonstrating the husband’s ongoing visits to Ukraine since his wife left as evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship. Additionally, in the opinion of the Court, the fact the couple had a child together was significant evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship.

Therefore, The Court held that, on the balance of probabilities, the relationship between the Appellant and her husband was genuine and subsisting and therefore the appeal was allowed.