Jan 31, 2020 - Coronavirus

As was reported today by the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA), due to the actively spreading Coronavirus, the Home Office are preparing some short-term interim guidance on the implications for immigration of the Coronavirus outbreak.  The aim is to issue the guidance by the end of next week (to be issued by 07 February 2020). 

Therefore, the Home Office have advised that Chinese nationals whose leave to remain in the UK is expiring today (on 31 January 2020) and cannot return to China because of the Coronavirus, do not need to take any action and should wait inside the UK for ...

Jan 30, 2020 - Global Talent visa category will replace the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category

This new visa category has been enshrined into law by way of introducing the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules on 30 January 2020.


The new Global Talent category has been created for talented and promising individuals in specific sectors wishing to work in the UK, replacing the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category.


When it will come into force


  • The new visa category provisions shall take effect on 20 February 2020.
  • If any application for endorsement, entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain has been made before 20 February 2020, such applications will b...

Jan 30, 2020 - EU Settlement Scheme appeal rights introduced

The Immigration (Citizens’ Rights Appeals) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 come into force on Brexit day — tomorrow, 31 January.

They create a right of appeal to the immigration tribunal for people refused pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Note that this only applies to applications “on or after exit day”, which is 31 January 2020, but does allow people to appeal a grant of pre-settled status up to full settled status.

There are also appeal rights for various scenarios where settled status is being cancelled or revoked.

Appeals go to the First-tier Tribunal, unless certi...

Jan 27, 2020 - Boost for UK science with unlimited visa offer to world's brightest and best

A new, fast-track visa scheme to attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians will open on 20 February 2020.

This follows a commitment by the Prime Minister last summer to put science, research and innovation on the top of the Government’s agenda.

The bespoke Global Talent route will have no cap on the number of people able to come to the UK, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to supporting top talent.

The Global Talent route replaces the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and for the first time UK Research and Innovation will endorse applicants from the scientific ...

Jan 23, 2020 - Boris Johnson’s olive branch on family migration to Northern Ireland

The Irish Times has recently published its report on the recent visit of the UK Prime Minister to Belfast.

The text of this report states as follows:

The UK Government has reviewed the consistency of its family migration arrangements, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement and recognising that the policy should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship by those citizens who may wish to retain it.

The UK Government will change the rules governing how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK. This change will mean that el...

Jan 20, 2020 - New Home Office guidance on refusing settlement over tax discrepancies

The Home Office has published the specific guidance on settlement applications by migrants who previously held Tier 1 (General) leave and who declared different sets of earnings to the Home Office and HMRC. The document must be read alongside the more general guidance published in October, which covers the refusal of applications where the person has made a false representation.

Underlying principles of the guidance

Caseworkers are to use the guidance in all applications where there were earning discrepancies, even if declared in previous applications.

It is relevant not only to people who ove...

Jan 16, 2020 - Visa appointment fees rise with no warning

The cost of an appointment at visa application centres in the UK has risen with no warning given to applicants or their representatives.

Sopra Steria, the outsourcing company that runs UK Visa and Citizenship Services, has hiked appointment costs from £60 to £69.99 for a standard appointment and from £125 to £135 for appointments on Saturdays or out of regular office hours.

Solicitors John Vassiliou in Edinburgh, Bryony Rest in Newcastle and John Atkins in Exeter have all reported higher fees when attempting to book appointments for clients over the past 48 hours, so it appears to be applicabl...

Jan 14, 2020 - Law Commission Recommends a Complete Redraft of Immigration Rules

The Law Commission suggests that redrafting the current overly complex and impracticable document of Immigration Rules would enhance legal certainty and transparency for potential applicants. Such overhaul would also build a more economical route for the courts and the Home Office. The Immigration Rules that can be found on website online are the documents that lay out the exact requirements for granting or refusing migrants’ applications to enter and remain in the United Kingdom. These documents have long been criticised to be confusing and unclear for users of all levels. Accordingly, the Law Commission, which is an independent law reform body, recommends a redraft of the 1,100 pages of the Rules. Improved drafting and smaller number of changes that are added on ad hoc basis as ‘statement of changes’ in future would complement the complete restructure. The last complete restructure took place in 1994, which is over 25 years ago and the current version of the rules has since grown hugely and chaotically which therefore emphasizes the need of another restructuring. In terms of restructuring the Rules, two possible approaches are set out in the report: Firstly, the “common provisions” up front, followed by the particular rules for each route. The second approach would be to put all the rules that apply to a given route under one heading, even if that means numerous repetition throughout the Rules. Although the Law Commission’s remit does not extend to varying any of the Immigration Policies, the report does recommend that “suitability for the non-expert user” be among the foundation principles of the redrafting of the Rules. The report also recommends making the lists of evidence contained in the Rules non-exhaustive, which would provide more flexibility on the evidence required in support of the application.

Jan 13, 2020 - Effects on Ms Meghan Markle’s route to British Citizenship if moved abroad

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have recently revealed that they intend to step down as senior royals and intend to ‘balance their time between North America and the UK’. How would such a change affects the Duchess’ eligibility to obtaining indefinite leave to remain?

One of the requirements of applying for indefinite leave to remain obligates ‘the applicant and their partner to have intend to live together permanently in the UK’ ‘… or there is a good reason, consistent with a continuing intention to live together permanently in the UK, for any period in which they have not done so’.  This mean...

Dec 13, 2019 - The Conservative plan for immigration after Brexit

The Conservative Party has confidently won the December general election and a mandate for their policy of an “Australian-style points based system” for immigration. Here are the following key changes the Conservative government plans to make after Brexit: 1. A points-based system The single new system will allocate points on a range of criteria. It will categorise newly arrived immigrants into three separate categories: • ‘Exceptional talent / contribution – highly educated migrants who have received world-leading awards or otherwise demonstrated exceptional talent, sponsored entrepreneurs setting up a new business or investors. These will not require a job offer and will receive fast-track entry. • ‘Skilled workers’ – workers who meet the criteria of the points-based system and have a confirmed job offer. Special types – such as our NHS Visa – will also receive fast-track entry and reduced fees. • ‘Sector-specific rules-based’ – made up of specific temporary schemes such as for low-skilled labour, youth mobility or short term visits (e.g., touring). These will be revised on an ongoing basis based on expert advice from the MAC. These visas will be time-limited and will not provide a path to settlement. Once the free movement is ended and electronic travel authorisation (ETAs) is introduced, all prospective migrants will be screened on the basis of previous criminality, and those with serious convictions will be barred from coming to the UK. 2. A new role of the Migration Advisory Committee (‘the MAC’) The MAC will be required to publish an annual report via a public letter to the Home Secretary, advising the Government on how to deliver on its objectives – i.e. to get net migration down while addressing emerging gaps in the labour market – including sector specific advice. The MAC will continue to perform advisory functions and the Home Secretary will have full discretion over decisions related to the future immigration system. The MAC will also be required to monitor the needs of the labour market on an ongoing basis to ensure that the Home Secretary has the information needed to make decisions rapidly. Once the new digital immigration status is in place, this will enable the MAC to better understand the impact of immigration on specific communities. 3. A digital immigration status to combat illegal overstaying beyond 2022 Beyond 2022, all migrants will have a full digital status, making it easier for legal migrants to prove their status, as well as allowing for improved enforcement. All visas will be time-limited, with usual indefinite leave to remain rules applying for those who are identified as ‘exceptional’ or ‘high-skilled’. In-country switching between visas will be allowed, but overstaying a visa will count against an individual in their new application. All migrants will pay the health surcharge for every year of their visa, unless and until they have gained settled status – usually not before they have been here for five years. There is a provision for equal treatment of EEA and non-EEA migrants’ regarding access to benefits, making sure people pay in before they can take out. In order to achieve the government will: • Immediately begin work to set up a formal exchange programme with the Australian and Canadian governments to allow experts to come to the UK and share best practice with officials during the development of the system. • Appoint an expert implementation group to ensure roll-out of the new immigration system from January 2021.