Feb 06, 2020 - Somaliland marriages are valid

The case of MM v NA (Declaration as to Marital Status) [2020] is very niche, but may be of interest to practitioners with clients who got married in Somaliland (or in other non-recognised countries) and wish to rely on that marriage for immigration purposes.

Immigration lawyers must think about a marriage’s validity whenever they are making a visa application on the basis of a relationship. Although more often than not the answer is straightforward, there are some tricky cases. Examples we have seen include whether a marriage is valid if it was entered into relying on a fake identity, or wheth...

Feb 02, 2020 - New EU visa rules

New EU rules on short-stay visas apply worldwide from 2 February 2020. They make it easier for legitimate travellers to apply for a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business, while providing more resources for countering irregular migration risks and threats to internal security.

Which non-EU countries do the new rules apply to?

The changes apply to travellers from all countries which need visas to travel to the EU. Currently, citizens from 105 non-EU countries or entities are required to have a visa. Nothing changes for countries benefitting from visa-free travel to th...

Jan 31, 2020 - How things will look like in the United Kingdom from 31 January 2020 because of Brexit

What has changed


1. The UK's passports have changed colour

Blue passports have made a return, more than 30 years after they were replaced by the current burgundy design.

Announcing the change in 2017, then Immigration Minister, Brandon Lewis, praised the return to the "iconic" blue-and-gold design, first used in 1921.

The new colour will be phased in over a number of months, with all new passports issued in blue by the middle of the 2020 year.

Nevertheless, existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid.


2. Brexit coins

About three million commemorative 50p Brexit coins bearing the ...

Jan 31, 2020 - Free movement continues past Brexit day, but only until the end of the year

From 11pm today, the United Kingdom will no longer be a member of the European Union. This momentous event has both geopolitical and psychological ramifications, but for now some narrow legal points on what it means in practice.

The transition period during which free movement continues can be extended until either 31 December 2021 or 31 December 2022, but this must be agreed by 1 July 2020. The UK legislation that implements the divorce deal says that British ministers cannot agree to an extension, although that section could be repealed if the government changed its mind.

People who move to ...

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...