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Hungary – Recent Updates In Regards To The Migrant Crisis

In today’s blog post we shall be continuing to comment and examine on the recent developments across Europe in regards to the migrant crisis.

The humantarian crisis has been unfolding across Europe over the past year and shows no signs of abating as politicians across the continent face renewed pressure to act. Many fear that governments are not doing enough to aid the wave of migrants from the Middle East and Nothern Africa whilst others have criticised leaders for failing to protect their countries’ boarders. The huge influx of immigrants fleeing poverty, persecussion and war has divided Europe and lead to crisis talks amongst top officials.

Whilst no one solution has been decided on, many countries have accepted refugees with Germany agreeing to accept some 800,00 per year over the next 5 years. The UK Government recently committed to accept more refugees following due to increased public pressure.

In today’s developments the Hungarian Government has announced plans to introduce increasingly strict laws to stop migrants from illegally entering the country and has announced an official state of emergency which would allow troops to be deployed.

In 2014, Hungary granted asylum to 260 people and protected status to a similar number out of 43,000 applicants. Since the start of September, 35,000 migrants have been registered by the police, bringing the total to more than 200,000 for the year.Hungary also warned that if refugees had not applied for asylum in Serbia, a country that it deems to be safe, then their application for asylum in Hungary would almost certainly be refused.

Pressure is growing across Europe for countries to be doing more to aid the refugees and the EU is exploring the idea of introducing mandatory quotas for states to accept a certain amount of refugees. Although imposing a temporary limit to entry, Germany in principal has agreed to this proposal and has suggested that should countries fail to meet these quoatas then EU funding should be reduced.

Refugees fear that Hungary’s latest clampdown will limit their ability to travel freely into western Europe where they feel that their claims will stand more chance of being accepted. The Austrian Government has refused to deport migrants to Hungary, where they can face potential arrest, citing that the situation is no longer safe for them.

With no clear end to the current refugee crisis in sight many across Europe is divided on the matter. The recent UK Government’s change in position has exemplified how many states are ramping up their efforts to assist refugees in response to very vocal, public criticism. Outside of Europe, Australia and the U.S.A have agreed to accept migrants as they scale of the crisis increases.

With news headlines set to be dominated by this story in the foreseeable future, migration is once again back on the political agenda of most Governments and public.

What do you make of the recent developments? Should Britain do more to aid refugees? Leave your comments below.

Westkin Associates

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Britain To Accept More Refugees

In today’s blog post we will be commenting on the recent decision by the U.K Government to accept a greater amount of refugees who are living in U.N camps from Syria, Jordan and Turkey. In addition to this, we will compare and examine this figure with that of other European countries.

This week the U.K government pledged to increase the number of Syrian refugees that it will accept to 20,000 over the next five years. Supporters have praised this step for a) increasing the number of refugees accepted into Britain and b) accepting refugees directly from U.N aid camps that will in turn (hopefully) discourage the dangerous journey they face in order to arrive in Europe.

Under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, which will be extended, those who are brought to the U.K are granted Humanitarian Protection, a status usually given to those who face a serious threat to their lives if they return to their country of origin. Under the VPRS, refugees can stay in the U.K for 5 years, have the right to work and have access to public funds. After 5 years they can apply for leave to remain in the U.K.

However, with Germany accepting 800,000 refugees this year and France accepting 24,000 in the next two years, critics have argued that this figure is insufficient and that more direct action needs to be taken. Since 2011, 4,980 Syrian refugees have been given asylum in the U.K and in the year ending June 2015 25,771 applications for asylum were made in the United Kingdom with roughly over half being granted.

However, in terms of foreign aid donated, the U.K ranks first in the E.U and second only to the United States globally. It is believed that the current government feels that foreign aid is the best measure to stabilise and aid these regions where many of the refugees are from. With the migrant crisis dominating headlines over recent weeks, public opinion may be a factor in the Government’s decision to bring more refugees to the United Kingdom. Interestingly, in a recent Yougov poll 51% of the Public said that the U.K should not increase the number of refugees with slightly over a third, 36%, saying they should.

The latest developments in the ongoing migrant crisis suggest that Europe remains divided on the issue. Headlines have been dominated by images of refugees boarding trains in Hungary, walking across Europe and, of course, the tragic images of those who have lost their lives at sea.

What is important to remember is the severity of the situation. Those who are undertaking such desperate journeys are often fleeing persecution and looking for safe refuge. European Governments are under pressure both domestically and from within the continent to control migration and the crisis calls into question the foundations of liberal democracy that many European countries are based on. Whether or not the U.K will raise the quota of refugees that it accepts remains unclear, however what does remain clear is that this latest wave of immigration does not look likely to slow down for the time being.

Should the U.K do more to assist refugees? Do we have a moral responsibility to do so? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

Westkin Associates

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Proposed Changes to RCoS System

In today’s blogpost we will be examining the recently proposed changes by the Home Office to the limit the number of places allocated under the Tier 2 General visa category.

This proposal, prompted by the maximum allocation being filled for the last three months, seeks to change the way in which the application is assessed and looks to amend the Points Based System that will be used to determine how the Certificates of Sponsorship should be allocated depending on the PBS score.

The limit to the number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship was first introduced in April 2011. These RCoS are needed to sponsor migrants who apply for a Tier 2 Working/General Visa from outside of the United Kingdom. However, potential employees who would earn over £155,300 or more are not subject to RCoS. RCoS also needed in order to sponsor Tier 4 migrants who apply to change from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa in the United Kingdom.

Due to the limited number of RCoS certificates being reached over the last 3 months, the Home Office has decided to introduce a PBS system in order to prioritise the way applications are processed. Points are awarded on a variety of criteria such as if the job is listed as a shortage application, the salary that it is linked to and if it is a PHD level job.

The number of salary bands have been increased because the current bands are quite wide e.g jobs that earn £32k to £45k score 15 points. See the revised table below:

Type of job Points Salary Points
Shortage occupation 130 £100,000 – £155,299.99 60
£75,000 – £99,999.99 55
PhD-level occupation code and job passes Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies 75 £70,000 – £74,999.99 50
£65,000 – £69,999.99 45
£60,000 – £64,999.99 40
£55,000 – £59,999.99 35
£50,000 – £54,999.99 30
Job passes Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies 20 £45,000 – £49,999.99 25
£44,000 – £44,999.99 24
£43,000 – £43,999.99 23
£42,000 – £42,999.99 22
£41,000 – £41,999.99 21
£40,000 – £40,999.99 20
£39,000 – £39,999.99 19
£38,000 – £38,999.99 18
£37,000 – £37,999.99 17
£36,000 – £36,999.99 16
£35,000 – £35,999.99 15
£34,000 – £34,999.99 14
£33,000 – £33,999.99 13
£32,000 – £32,999.99 12
£31,000 – £31,999.99 11
£30,000 – £30,999.99 10
£29,000 – £29,999.99 9
£28,000 – £28,999.99 8
£27,000 – £27,999.99 7
£26,000 – £26,999.99 6
£25,000 – £25,999.99 5
£24,000 – £24,999.99 4
£23,000 – £23,999.99 3
£22,000 – £22,999.99 2
£20,800 – £21,999.99 1

The RCoS application process remains unchanged and sponsors still will be able to use the Sponsor Managent System in the same way. The new changes are expected to be introduced at the RCoS meeting on the 12th of October subject to the new provisions being presented in Parliament.

One other change that is being discussed is the returning of unallocated RCoS back to the pot meaning that if they are not allocated then they will reenter the system thus increasing the number of available RCoS. Previously, the sponsor had up to 3 months to assign the RCoS before it would expire.

So, overall these new proposals basically mean that there will be more flexibility in granting the RCoS, that occupations and salaries will carry different weightings and that if a RCoS is not allocated then it is feed back into the system allowing it to be reallocated more easily.

What do you think of these changes? What do they mean for Sponsors and employers? Do you agree? Let us know by leaving your thoughts below!

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
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0207 118 4546

The UK is set to be the most populous country in Europe

In today’s blog post we will be commenting on the repercussions of a recent report by the Statistical Office for the European Union that suggests that the United Kingdom will be the most populated country in Europe by the year 2050.

Currently, the U.K population stands at almost 65 million people, this figure is expected to rise (if current trends continue) to 77.2 million in 2050. Germany is the most populated country in Europe yet the U.K may overtake Germany with their population expected to decline to around 74 million over the same period.

The rise in the U.K’s figures is predominately fuelled by a huge increase in immigration. These figures follow on from the recent Home Office statistics that confirmed not only a 5th consecutive rise in migrations figures but also a net migration figure of 320,000.  With an all time low public opinion of migrants it will be interesting to see what is made of these latest figures.

The latest wave of migrants have travelled from North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe and, with no sign of the current humanitarian crisis abating in Calais, Britain is bracing itself for further waves of migrants attempting to illegal enter the United Kingdom.

Eurostat further projected that by 2080 the United Kingdom’s population will have continued to rise to around 85 million whilst Germany’s will have steadily declined to around 65 million (the current U.K population’s level).

The United Kingdom is no stranger to immigration. Historically, it has witnessed immigration from its former colonies over the past century. More recently, and with the opening of EU boarders, new waves of migrants have came from across Europe.

Immigration is a very polemic topic in the United Kingdom and the past few months have seen it take a direct spotlight once again. New measures by the government are seen as a direct result of the target of 100,00 net migration being massively missed. Raising salary limits for Tier 2 migrants, increasing immgration checks and making it harder for students to change their visa in the U.K are all aimed to lower the number of migrants in the country. Whilst the direct benefits or consequences of immigration can be hard to measure, those in favour argue both the economic and cultural advantages. However, critics have highlighted a dilution of British Identity as well as drawing attention to a percieved lack of economic opportunities for British workers due to migrants.

Another fear is the stress that such an increase in population would place on current infastrucutre. Schools, hospitals and other state social services are expected to suffer as a result of such a boom in population.

Overall, immigration once again remains a divisive and polemic subject and these latest statistics do nothing to change this. Whilst non-EU and EU migration continue to rise the current worry is the U.K government’s inability to control migration from within the E.U. This is one of the contributing factors in the rise of right wing, anti-EU parties such as Nigel Farage’s UKIP and today, the 1st September, Home Secretary Theresa May outlined proposals to only allow EU migrants who have jobs lined up entry to the UK.

What do you make of these latest statistics? Can anything be done to limit migration? What should be done? Or is this just a natural consequence of globalisation? Let us know your thoughts below?

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

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1 Maddox Street
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UK Home Office’s Quarterly Migration Statistics

In today’s blogpost we will be examining today’s release of the Home Office’s quarterly migration statistics, specifically looking at the top 10 nationalities granted Tier 2 work visas, Tier 4 Student visas and asylum.The government records cover the period between April to June 2015.

Today’s latest figures show a net rise in migration to 330,000 beating the previous record of 320,000 in 2005 by 10,000. James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, described the figures as ‘deeply disappointing’ as the government’s target of 100,000, shattered by 230,000, lies in tatters. On top of this the number of foreign born nationals living in the UK has also now surpassed the 8 million mark although 3 million of them have since claimed British Citizenship. Today’s figures show a 5th consecutive quarterly rise in net migration.

Work –

Labour market figures show that the growth in employment levels, by 324,000 in the year ending March, were fueled by migrants with 75% of the jobs being filled by non British nationals. According to the Home Office

Including dependants and short term visas, there were 168,544 work-related visas granted in the year ending June 2015, up 6% (+9,313) compared with the previous year. There were increases in Tier 2 skilled work (+7,977) and Tier 5 Youth mobility (+2,679 main applicants) as well as a reduction in the number of dependants in routes now closed to new applicants (Tier 1 General -1,779; Tier 1 Post Study -1,141)

Interestingly, the government is looking to resistrict Tier 2 visas by introducing tough new measures that raise the miminum salary requirements for workers. Below we have documented the top 10 nationalities who are granted tier 2 work visas.

India 15809
USA 12090
Australia 6337
Philippines 3714
Canada 3587
China 3524
Pakistan 2368
South Africa 2202
New Zealand 2064
Russia 1760

Study –

Figures for students also increased, with the majority of foreign students coming from China (accounting for nearly a third of all total student visas) Again, the government is looking to make it harder for foreign students to enter the UK and the last few years have witnessed increased restrictions and clampdowsn on ‘bogus universities and colleges’ Below we have documented the top 10 nationalities for tier 4 Student visas.

China 18559
Thailand 1262
United States 1120
Taiwan 669
Saudi Arabia 598
Japan 399
India 323
Nigeria 297
Korea (South) 292
Brazil 276

Asylum –

Always a controvertial issue, asylum figures make for surprising reading. Despite the increasingly hostile rhetoric of right wing politicians and a low public opinion of migrants, asylum seekers made up a tiny fraction of the UK bound dispora. The year ending June saw a total number of 25,771 asylum applications, up 10,000 compared to the previous year yet far behind the peak number of applications in 2002 that saw a record (84,132) applications. According to the Home Office, the UK had the seventh highest number of asylum applications in Europe with Germany, Hungary and Sweden receiving the most. Below we have produced a table for the top 10 nationalities to be granted asylum in the UK in the last quarter.

Syria 625
Sudan 461
Iran 408
Eritrea 303
Albania 99
Pakistan 91
Stateless 87
Afganistan 76
Ethiopia 72
Sri Lanka 42

With the migrant crisis in Calais seeming to be without resolution, it will be interesting to compare these stastics in the following quarter’s release. Overall, the stastics do not come as a surprise to some. The past year has seen consecutive rises in net migration to the UK. However, the real impact remains to be seen. Obviously immigration brings both advantages and disadvantages but these are not always easy to measure. Indeed, a common concern is that immigrants are occupying the UK labour market and are taking benefits. However, The ONS states that 61% of EU migrants have a job arranged in the UK before they arrive, the figures, however, for non EU nationals remain harder to judge. Overall, the old argument of how to reduce immigration will rear its head. In reality though, what will the consequences of this be? One important distinction to be made is the difference in migratory figures for both EU and non EU nationals. The government cannot limit EU migration and therefore is trying to impose tougher restrictions on non EU migration. What would be interesting is a comparison between the perecentage of EU compared to non EU migration.

What do you think of these latest figures? Is immigration your number one concern? Should more be done to halt the current ‘wave’? Leave your thoughts below.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
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0207 118 4546

Illegals face jailtime

In today’s blog post we will examine the new proposals that are to be included in the new immigration bill set out by Immigration Minister James Brokenshire.

The new bill which is to be introduced in the coming months will specifically contain measures against takeaways and restaurants who are found guilty of employing illegal immigrants. If a business is found to be guilty of employing illegal migrants then they may be temporarily closed down, have their licences removed or suspended and employers could be prosecuted under new powers to be given to UK immigration officials.

It is thought that these new stricter, tougher measures are being created in response to the ongoing immigration and humanitarian crisis that is developing in Calais. Over the past 2 to 3 months Calais has found itself to be the centre of a migrant crisis with increasing numbers of migrants stretching the already limited migrant camps and facilities in the area. The past few weeks have witnessed a growing number of migrants desperately trying to enter the UK by concealing themselves in trucks and even walking through the Channel tunnel.

The idea behind the new proposals is to desmonstrate that the UK is tough on illegal immigration and is supposed to act as a deterrant to would be illegal immigrants who seek to enter the UK and work illegally.

Workers who are found to be illegally working in the UK could face a 6 month prison sentence and have their wages confiscated. Whereas those who are found to be guilty of employing illegals could face jail time of up to 5 years as well as substantial fines if it is found that the relevent background checks were not properly undertaken.

As growing pressure mounts from the public to combat what is seen as a wave of illegal immigration, ministers are eager to announce the new immigration bill to show that they are attempting to tackle the issue. The latest immigration figures are to be released by the Home Office this week and will make interesting reading as to the claims of various politicians that immigration is indeed out of control.

We are introducing a new feature here at Westkin Associates where we will be using the quarterly Home Office data to compile handy infographics breaking down the various immigration categories. We previously provided information relating to the top 10 nationalities for Tier 1 entrepreneur and investor visas as well as Tier 2 General visas.

These latest proposals form the backdrop to a range of new measures that aim to show that the Conservative government is tough on immigration and that the UK is in no way soft towards both legal and illegal immigration. Over the past few months the government also announced that it is looking to raise the minimum salary requirements for Tier 2 general workers as well as additional measures to combat illegal immigrants who rent properties in the UK. Whether or not these measures will be successful or not remains to be seen but whatever the outcome it is clear that the government is looking to establish a no nonsense approach to immigration.

What do you think? Will these measures truely discourage illegal immigrants from entering the UK? Or is it simply more anti-immigration posturing from the UK government?

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

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1 Maddox Street
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New salary thresholds | New Minimum Salary For Tier 2

In today’s blogpost we will look at the MAC report on proposed changes to the minumum salary requirements for migrants on a Tier 2 General visa. On the 13th of August, the Migration Advisory Council (MAC) published its Review of Tier 2: Analysis of Salary Threshold. The review warned that the UK Government needs to rethink their proposed plan to raise the minimum salary requirements for Tier 2 skilled migrant workers.

Migration Advisory Commitee to Analyse Proposed Tier 2 Salary Threshold Increases

On the 10th of June the Home Office commissioned the MAC to create a report on the amount of migrants who work in the UK through the Tier 2 visa route. The government’s reasoning behind the report was to analyse the economic justification and the impact that the net migration of workers on Tier 2 visas have on the UK labour force. The findings would then be used to consider creating a new minimum salary to ensure that Tier 2 migrants are not undercutting the UK’s own labour force. In the report, the MAC have been asked to consider the impact of the following:

  • Increasing the Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold of £20,800 and the Tier 2 (ICT) minimum salary thresholds of £24,800 for the short-term category and £41,500 for the long-term category to a level that better aligns with the salaries paid to highly-specialised experts or individuals filling skills shortages skilled to NQF level 6 or higher;
  • Increasing the Tier 2 minimum salaries per occupation for experienced workers from the 25th percentile to the 50th or 75th percentiles; and
  • Increasing the Tier 2 minimum salaries per occupation for new entrant workers from the 10th percentile to the 25th or 50th percentiles.

In their early advice, the Committee has urged the UK Government to be cautious over any early decision to raise the minimum salary requirements for skilled migrant workers until the MAC’s full review of the Tier 2 visa is published in December this year. The MAC  goes on to say in its report that occupation-specific salary thresholds should still exist, but (at the moment) hasn’t made any specific recommendations as to minimum salary thresholds for individual jobs. Overall, the MAC believe that is makes sense to increase the minimal salary threshold for worker’s on Tier 2 General visas, the salary was originally decided in 2009 when the skill requirements for workers were lower than now.

However, the Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, Katja Hall argues that the proposed rise in salary thresholds could potentially have a negative effective on the UK and warned against knee jerk implementation of a threshold that could damage the UK economy.

Skilled migrants bring huge benefits to the UK, making sure businesses have access to the specialist expertise they need to succeed, helping the economy to grow. That’s why it’s right that the Migration Advisory Committee is arguing against any hasty decisions and urging caution on raising salary thresholds for skilled migrant workers. It’s also noteworthy that the committee found little evidence to support the misplaced view that skilled migrants undercut the wages of UK resident workers. We hope the Government now heeds the advice of its own experts to ensure the UK remains a great place to invest, do business and create jobs.

However, according to the Home Office statistics for the first quarter of 2015 (compared to the first quarter of 2014) the number of non-EU workers only increased by around 1% or by 11,000.  The increase in EU workers working in the UK increased dramatically by up 283,000 or 17.4%. The Home Office concludes that “The total growth in employment over the last year was 576,000, and around half (48.7%) of this growth can be accounted for by UK nationals”

Therefore, looking at the statistics, if the government are trying to control migration to the UK would there be any real impact on overall migration when Tier 2 workers migrating to the UK is a small percentage of overall migration to the UK. What do you think? Would raising the salary threshold for Tier 2 Workers really make a difference?

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

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1 Maddox Street
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0207 118 4546

Calais Crisis Continues

Welcome to our latest blog post where we will discuss the ongoing migrant and humanitarian crisis that is currently happening in Northern France. The news story that has dominated headlines has been the situation that immigrants from Northern Africa, the Middle East and Asia are facing in Northern France.

Currently, the situation that the migrants are facing is said to be deteriorating rapidly as they seek increasingly desperate ways to enter the United Kingdom. The last two weeks have witnessed migrants attempting to walk through the channel tunnel as they scale over fences around both established detention centers and makeshift migrant camps.

The tragic reality of the situation is plain for all to see. Whilst it is important to understand that there must be limits to immigration and certain controls in place, ultimately the victims of the crisis are the migrants who are being treated as political footballs on both sides of the English channel. The view from the United Kingdom is that France should be doing more to control the migrants e.g housing them and providing them with adequate living conditions whilst they are in the detention camps. In addition to this, many feel that France should be stricter in regards to policing the migrants and preventing them from from entering the channel tunnel or trying to stow away on lorries bound for Britain.

In a recent yougov poll 40% of the British public feel that the responsibility for the migrants lies with the French government with only 5% thinking that it is the British government’s responsibility. Interestingly, 48% feel that the responsibility is shared between the French and British governments.

On the other side of the channel, 41% of the French public said that the responsibility is shared between both sides of the channel, 33% believe that neither government’s responsbility (only 2% of Brits agree with this) with 11% believing that the responsibilty falls directly on number 10.

SOURCE

In another development relating to the matter, some 67% of Brits would support deploying troops in Calais and 54% of the French public agreed. However, how effective would deploying troops be? Whilst this is obviously difficult to measure there is no doubt that a greater presence of patrols would make it harder for immigrants to try to enter the United Kingdom via the channel tunnel and it is true that the United Kingdom does have a responsibility to protect its boarders.

Having said that, surely, as previously mentioned, the real victims are the migrants themselves? Waiting in poor conditions in migrant camps does not reflect badly on the British and French governments and obviously is no doubt a horrific experience for the migrants themselves.

What conclusions can we draw? Firstly, that more needs to be done to assist the migrants in their current state. A greater humanitarian effort should be made by both governments to ensure that whilst the migrants are awaiting deportation or asylum that they at least can be provided with adequate provisions and living conditions. Secondly, that the French and British governments need to work more closely to try and solve the crisis and not blame each other and, finally, perhaps troops can be deployed but in a humanitarian role to reduce the suffering of the migrants.

Westkin Associates

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Right to Rent

In a new scheme launched by the government this year, illegal immigrants face eviction without a court order as part of a wider government clampdown on illegal immigration. In today’s blog psot we will examine the policy itself as well as analyse the repercussions of this new legislation.

The new law has an impact on both the landlord who is renting the property and the illegal immigrant who would potentially rent the property. The main point is that landlords could be fined or face up to five years in prison for failing to check potential tenants immigration status in a new offense under the new immigration bill. Landlords who repeatedly fail to check the immigration status of their tenants could potential find themselves on council blacklists that would effectively stop them from renting out their properties.  An additional side effect would also be that this new piece of legislation would prevent landlords from renting out substandard properties thus potentially protecting vulnerable people who seek accommodation.

Indeed, under the new immigration bill, landlords, after being informed by the Home Office that their tenant has the right to rent in the UK, may be able to evict illegal immigrants. In some cases landlords will be able to do so without the need for a court order.

The scheme for landlords to check whether or not their potential tenant has the right to rent in the UK has been trialed in the midlands for the last year. It has been met with mixed success with critics citing the low number of actual arrests as proof that the scheme is and will be ineffective.

It is thought that these new laws have been designed to make it easier to evict illegal immigrants without the need of a court order is part of a wider clampdown on immigration and is a response to the ongoing immigration crisis in Calais. The idea behind these tough new laws it to show that Britain is not easy place for illegal migrants to settle in and to discourage them from coming here. The government want the United Kingdom to be seen as a country that is strict on asylum appeals and is not an easy place for illegals to settle in.

However, the new rules raise quite a few issues both morally and legally such as:

  • What happens to immigrants?
  • How do we monitor how many illegal immigrants there are?
  • How does the new law comply with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act?
  • Who pays for the bailiffs to evict the tenets?

We are unsure as to the potential of success of this scheme. Is it clearly just another government scheme to appear tough on immigration and to be seen to be proactive or will it reduce the numbers of illegals?. Morally what position should we as a country take? Is it not the government’s job to monitor illegal immigration rather than relying on landlords to do this for them? Obviously, landlords are effectively the front line of contact with potential illegal immigrants but should the government be more understanding to these people?

What are your views? Do you agree? Let us know below

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
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0207 118 4546

ai weiwei

Immigration has been in the spotlight once against this week following the ‘migrant crises’ unfolding in Calais (as covered in our previous blog entry) and in the last few days an interesting news story has emerged concerning Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. For those who are not familiar with the story Ai Wei Wei’s application for a 6 month business visa was refused and he was only issued a 20 day visa for failing to declare a previous ‘criminal conviction’. However, Ai Weiwei has never been charged or convicted of a crime in China although he was detained for 81 days in 2011. In today’s blog post we will examine other high profile cases of celebrities who have had difficulties in entering the United Kingdom.

Snoop Dogg. In 2006 the then Home Office Minister John Reid banned the Los Angeles rapper from entering the United Kingdom after his involvement in a brawl in Heathrow airport which saw several police officers injured. However, after a review of surveillance footage it was found that Snoop Dogg was not directly involved in said brawl and has subsequently since been allowed entry into the United Kingdom. Snoop, who has a previous criminal record, had previously been refused entry into the United Kingdom and in 2007 was banned from hosting the Australian MTV awards after failing to pass a character test. (source)

In 2010 U.S singer Chris Brown had to postpone his U.K after he was refused entry to the United Kingdom on the grounds of being guilty of a serious crime. Brown was found guilty of assaulting his then girlfriend the Barbadian singer Rhianna. The Home Office said in a statement “We reserve the right to refuse entry to the U.K. to anyone guilty of a serious criminal offense. Public safety is one of our primary concerns. Each application to enter the U.K. is considered on its individual merits.” (source)

2008 saw the rapper Busta Rhymes, who has previously been charged in the U.S with assault and the possession of weapons, temporarily detained for “unresolved convictions”. However, the incident was resolved and Busta was able to enter the country on his temporary visa and perform at the Rockcorps concert at the Royal Albert Hall. (source)

Finally, in 2008, despite not being a rapper or singer, Martha Stewart was refused entry to the U.K due to her 2004 conviction of obstructing justice. Martha Stewart had planned to visit the Royakl Academy of Arts as well as participate in other arrangements. (source)

Whilst our list is by no means extensive all 4 have previous criminal records that have directly influenced the decision of the Home Ofifce. What is interesting about the case of Al Weiwei is that he was detained and charged due for tax evasion in 2011 yet maintains that this was politically motivated . Certain critics of the Home Office’s decision believe that the U.K government feel under pressure to limit his stay in the U.K due to the impending visit of the Chinese PM in October.

Whilst publishing this blog Ai Weiwei has since been granted a full 6 month visa.

Westkin Associates

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Asylum Chaos In Calais

Asylum Seekers in Calais

The news headlines this week have been dominated by the story of a new wave of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United Kingdom via the Channel tunnel. In today’s blog post we will examine the story itself as well as the reasons behind illegal immigration to the United Kingdom and potential solutions to combat this.

According to The Guardian (Source) ‘On Monday, about 2,000 attempts were made to get to the tunnel, then 1,500 more on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning’. Whilst illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United Kingdom via the channel tunnel is not a recent phenomenon this year has seen an increase with an estimated 185,000 migrants entering Southern Europe from Nothern Africa with many settling across Europe and others moving through the continent aiming to reach Britain.

Why do immigrants attempt to enter the United Kingdom Illegally?

This question is rather difficult to answer as there are often a myriad of complex factors that contribute to an individual’s reasons for attempting to enter the United Kingdom illegally. However, one of the main factors is undoubtably of a humanitarian nature. Many who attempt to enter the United Kingdom are often fleeing war torn countries, genocide and religious or political persecussion, others migrate for economic reasons (trying to find work) and others simply are looking for a better life (escaping from poverty and economic hardship).

Where do Asylum seekers in the United Kingdom come from?

According to the U.N Refugee Agency asylum seekers in the U.K for the first quarter of 2015 come from the following countries (Source)

  • Eritrea (3,239),
  • Pakistan (2,711),
  • Syria (2,081),
  • Iran (2,011),
  • Albania (1,576),
  • Sudan (1,449),
  • Sri Lanka (1,282),
  • Afghanistan (1,136),
  • Nigeria (875),
  • India (689)

Are there solutions to what is occurring in Calais?

As seen by the diverse motives of asylum seekers and illegal attempts to enter the United Kingdom, there is no one real solution to this complex and sad situation. However, I believe that the answer can be divided into two parts.

Firstly, is there a solution to actually physically stopping a person who tries to illegally enter the United Kingdom through Calais and the Euro tunnel? Yes, increased police or miltary patrols will clearly catch more immigrants who are trying to enter lorries or the Channel Tunnel. In addition to this an increase in surveillance cameras and the construction of, not only more fences, but biggger fences would make it more difficult to reach the United Kingdom. However, these migrants are in such a desperate situation that any physical deterrent will not stop them.

The second solution however is much more complex and involves huge geopolitical changes that are difficult, if not impossible for any one country to implement. In order to tackle the flow of illegal immigration the root causes of why immigrants flee their country need to be tackled. Of course, wars, persecussion and economic disaprity cannot be solved overnight but to truely tackle illegal immigration these reasons need to be discussed. Therefore, the sad reality is that there will always be illegal immigrants who attempt to enter the United Kingdom as there will always be global conflict, wars and economic hardship. Obviously these numbers increase when there are global conflicts and, as previously discussed, the root causes of this type of migration are, sadly, almost impossible to stop.

One thing that must change is the lack of compassion and human kindness shown towards these people. Many have left their lives, homes and family in other countries and are in need of help desperately. Whilst we may not be able to stop the causes of illegal immigration we can certainly show more understanding and compassion towards those who walk its perilous path.

Westkin Associates have experience in dealing with Asylum cases in the United Kingdom and our team of specialist lawyers can assist you in exploring your available options. For more information contact us on 0207 118 4546 or via info@westkin.com

What do you think of today’s post? Leave your comments below and let’s start a discussion!

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Quicker fast track service for visa applications to the UK

In today’s blogpost we will be looking at the recent success of the UKVI’s visa waiver program for Emariti citizens who wish to visit the United Kingdom. We will be discussing the successes and improvement of the program, the type of visas that said visitors require.

Whilst the service was launched on the 1st of January last year, recent campaigns by the British Embassy in Dubai have seen this exciting new project back in the news. Under the Visa waiver program clients can pay an additional £600 for the British Embassy’s Super Priority Visa Service to have their application processed more quickly.  To use the service the applicant must book an appointment when they apply for their Visa. Those who have their appointment before 09:00 will most likely be able to collect their visa after 16:00 on the same day. However, those who make their appointment after 10:00 will have to wait a little bit longer and collect their visa the following day.

The UK and the UAE have long had close ties. Indeed, over the last 10 years the number of UAE citizens visiting the UK for tourism and business has increased greatly. According to www.visitbritain.org in the year 2014:

9/10 visitors made repeat visits to the U.K

The majority of visitors were male

75% of visitors were very or extremely likely to recommend the U.K as a Holiday destination

Source

In 2005 UAE residents and citizens spent £150.16 Million in the UK, this figure rose to an eye watering £436.6 Million in 2014 (Peeking at 609.12 Million in 2013) Please see table below for more information.

Overview of UAE visitor statistics in  2014 Change from previous year
Number of visits 259,541 -14.51%
Total expenditure (GBP) £436.6 m -28.39%
Total nights spent 2.57 m -33.26%
Average length of stay (Nights) 9.9 -21.91%
Average spend per visit (GBP) £1,682 -16.25%

Economically speaking, the UK and the UAE have diverse trade links. According to http://exportbritain.org.uk/market-snapshots/uae.html The UK’s trade with the UAE consists of:

  • 59% Machinery and Transport Equipment
  • 26% Manufactured Goods
  • 9% Chemical and Related Products
  • 5% Food, Beverages and Tobacco
  • 1% Commodities

As we can see the UK imports a variety of different goods to the UAE which will no doubt increase following a resurgent UK economy. In the coming years we expect to see these figures rise as both countries seek to strengthen trade ties. Whilst this service initally had teething problems these have since been resolved and clients seem to be happier to choose a more efficient service.

The visa types that request this service are surprisingly diverse. It has been reported that the most popular visa application under the new service is the General visitor visa although Work visas (Tier 1 investor and Entrepreneur as well as Tier 2) are becoming increasingly popular.

What can we take in conclusion from the Visa Waiver Fast track Service? That this service will undoubtablely entice more UAE residents to visit the UK! A huge area of our business is comprised of UAE citizens and residence and in the past 2 years we have witnessed a year on year increase in clients.

Westkin Associates are specialist immigration lawyers in London. We work across all areas of UK inbound law and pride ourselves in the excellent customer service we provide. We work to the exacting standards of the OISC and offer efficient, clear and results focused service. 

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Tier 1 Applicants expected to undergo a Criminal Record Check before applying to come to the UK

Tier 1 Applicants expected to undergo a Criminal Record Check before applying to come to the UK

Yesterday the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, announced additional requirements for those applicants applying under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Investor routes. These requirements are aimed to crackdown on applicants with criminal records outside the UK, however the effect of the new changes will affect all applicants coming to the UK.

The application process for criminal records checks or ‘Certificates of Good Character’ for someone from overseas varies from country to country. You’ll have to apply in the country or to the relevant embassy in the UK.

If you are applying for entry clearance under any of the following visa routes, you must provide a criminal record certificate for any country (excluding the UK) where you have lived for 12 months or more (whether continuous or in total), in the 10 years before your application, while aged 18 or over.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

Tier 1 (Investor)

Tier 2 (General) Worker in education, health or social care sectors (see below)

Dependent partner (over 18 years old) of the main applicant in any of the above routes, either together with the main applicant or separately

The Key Facts:

– Applicants applying from outside the UK on or after 1st September 2015 will be expected to provide a criminal record certificate with their application

– Their dependants over the age of 18 will also be expected to provide the same

– A certificate will be needed from any country the applicant has resided in continuously for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to your application

– Each certificate will have to be dated within the 6 months before the application date and be translated if not in English

– Should an Applicant fail to provide a certificate, they must provide evidence as to why they could not provide the certificate, it will then be at the UKVI discretion whether to waive the requirement to obtain the certificate

– Failure to produce a certificate when required will result in the application being refused

  • Producing a false certificate or submitting false information can result in the applicant facing a 10 year entry ban for the UK

– All Tier 2 (General) visa applicants who want to work in specified health, education or social care sectors must provide a criminal record certificate.

This is a new requirement being implemented as part of a trial measure and it is expected to be rolled out to other applicants in the following months.

This change marks yet another requirement for a person seeking to move to the UK. Westkin Associates have over 16 years experience working acoross all areas of immigration law.

Our immigration lawyers are happy to provide a full application service to ensure that your move to the UK is as stress-free as possible. Contact us today on 0207 118 4546, via info@westkin.com or using the enquiry box on this page.

We can assist you with getting the necessary paperwork in order to support your visa application. Our team of expert lawyers and solicitors at Westkin Associates have a wealth of experience in working on difficult cases and have seen much success in helping applicants with these. If you are concerned about your visa application, please do get in touch with us and we will be happy to further assist you.

What do you think of in the new criminal record checking proposals? Let us know your thoughts below.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Changes to Tier 4 Student Visas as of July 2015

As of the 13th of July 2015 the U.K government announced new changes to Tier 4 Visas. The Tier 4 visa category is often referred to as a student visa. In this blogpost we will guide you through a summary of the changes, what they mean on a practical level and offer some key insights into the changes.

What is the idea behind the changes?

The changes are set to only target non EU-students who accounted for roughly 121,000 immigrants last year with only 51,000 of these non-EU students leaving the country after they finished their course. According to the Home Office the fundamental idea is to stop immigrants from entering the UK on a certain visa (student Tier 4 Visa) and using this as a backdoor to working in the U.K. Additionally, it will limit the ability of bogus univiersites and colleges to attract immigrants who would seek to work in the United Kingdom rather than use their Student Tier 4 visa for the intended purpose of study. However,  critics argue that these changes would starve the U.K of the best and brightest foreign students who would be legible to work once their course has ended. Many students choose to work after their period of study and end up settling in the U.K.

What are the changes to Tier 4 visas?

According to the official government website the changes are as follows:

The main changes will:

  • stop new students at publicly funded colleges from working, bringing them in line with those at private colleges (from August)
  • allow university students to study a new course at the same level but only where there’s a link to their previous course or the university confirms that this supports their career aspirations. There will be credibility interviews and sanctions against universities who abuse this rule (from August)
  • ban college students from extending their Tier 4 visas in the UK unless they are studying at an ‘embedded college’, one which has a formal, direct link to a university that is recognised by the Home Office. This will require them to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK if they wish to study another course (from November)
  • ban college students from being able to switch visas to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK, and require them to apply from outside the UK (from November)
  • reduce the time limit for study at further education level from 3 years to 2 years. This brings the maximum period into line with the length of time British students generally spend in further education (from November)
  • stop Tier 4 dependants from taking a low or unskilled job, but allow them to take part-time or full-time skilled work (from the autumn) SOURCE

What does this mean for future students?

Quite frankly, students will have to be careful about their working status and may need to seek detailed legal advice in order to plan out their immigration goals for the upcoming years. Students will have to decide if they want to settle in the U.K and start to make provisions for this as their student visa expires.

With over 16 years experience in UK bound immigration Westkin Associates can advise you on how these new changes may effect you, contact us today on 0207 118 8005 or via info@westkin.com

 Your views:

What do you think of these changes?

Are you less or more likely to choose they U.K as a place to study and live?

Do these changes go to far?

Let us know below!

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Choosing the right lawyer

Our top 7 tips for choosing the right lawyer!

Choosing the right lawyer or solicitor is one of the most important decisions that you will have to make. The right or wrong choice can end in two very different ways! We have produced this easy to go to guide to help you find the right firm. We are publishing this in order to help raise the standard of immigration law practicioners across London. We are passionate about what we do and what to help you to make the right choice!

1. Do I need a lawyer?

This is probably the most important question you can ask yourself! It may sound crazy but it really is true. Do you need a lawyer? On quite a few occasions your own research and the ease of the application means that you may be able to submit it yourself. However, we do say that maybe you don’t need a lawyer but friends and forums are no replacement for a good lawyer! If at any point you do NOT understand something then you should GET A GOOD LAWYER!

How can you judge if you do not need a lawyer? If you have had previous success in the application then you probably do not need a lawyer. If after going through all the necessary paperwork and forms you do have a few questions then it is probably best to at least seek a consultation with a lawyer. This will allow you to clarify some points however, never feel under pressure to choose a lawyer to handle your entire case. Often a consultation will be enough to answer specific questions relating to your application. Form checking services can also be useful if you are not looking for a lawyer to handle all of your case. In certain cases however, we recommend the use of a lawyer. For example, appeals, particularly oral hearings can be tricky. If you have had a failed application, are dealing with complex immigration matters or an application that is outside the rules then we would recommend that you instruct a lawyer.

2. Should you choose an OSIC representative or a Solicitor?

Which is best? Which is worse? Which is right for you? Generally speaking, OSIC only deal with immigration and have regular audits and competency. Solicitors often can do judicial reviews (However the vast majority of cases never go that far!) and they practice various areas of law and may not be specialists but solicitors can work across different types of law. Regardless of the path you take, make sure they are regulated!

3. Location

Location is important but it isn’t as important as the quality of the firm you choose to represent you. It is always better and more advisable to go for a firm that is a bit further away than to go to a local firm who may not be as qualified or experienced! What you will save in petrol money by not having to travel far you will spend much more in having to resubmit an application!

4. The first step – Your first phone call with your lawyer!

Are they the right firm for me? What should you look out for when you call? Ideally, you should you sbould speak to the right person! An expert who specialises in the particular area you are looking for, if they are not available then wait! Try and book a phone appointment so that you and the lawyer can set aside enough time to go through your case (20 minutes roughly). Remember to explain your situation in as much detail as you can. Sometimes you may have to scan or fax your papers over too, so check that before. The purpose of the call is a quick assessment of the case and the inital call can inform them of the details of the case.

Find out how they work: in terms of their fees as well as how you can work together going forward. It is vital that you have good communication with your lawyer in order to put yourself in the best position to achieve the outcome that you want!

I don’t know is a good answer as it shows that the lawyer is being honest. I don’t know is a valid answer as the lawyer may have to look into a particular element of your case further. Also, is if they ask to see more documents it suggests that there is a particular detail that they are looking to find out more about.

In addition to this, it is vital to see how they are going to win, what relevent law/rules and guidance are they focusing on?If the lawyer cannot quote or refer back to a specific law in a verifiable way e.g emailing you the relevent part, then that is not a very good sign… Remember to ask WHY! So they can say this is the law I will use and quote you!

5. Consultations

Should you pay? Is a free consulation really free? Probably not, a free consultation is usually a sales pitch! If you want good legal advice you SHOULD have to pay for it. A good consulation will go through immigration history for about 30 minutes then advise your accoringly. After around 45 minutes the lawyer will go through your options and explain the good and bad about your case. Finally at the end they should go through cost. Make sure you know:

  • All your options
  • All the next steps
  • The chances of success
  • The timescale

6.The Client Care Letter

Make sure you get what you discussed in writing! If the lawyer gives you chances of success of 90% and doesn’t put it in writing then you will know that they are probably not the most reputable. A good client care letter should cover the following:

  • Match exactly what was agreed before
  • Contain the price (look for VAT)
  • Explain what exact service that is for
  • Set out the chances of success
  • Explain the advice exact given

Remember if you are not happy, don’t sign it!!

7. Clients

Remember, to get the outcome that you want it is important to be as prepared as possible and cooperative with your lawyer. Below, from our 16 years of experience, we have listed some of the most important factors that clients should consider.

  • Honesty. Be honest with your lawyer!
  • Costs. Our transparent and fair costs means that you understand where your money goes.
  • Information overload. Often clients have spent a lot of time on forums, speaking to fiends and family and have a bit of information overload. Work through this with your lawyer and trust their professional opinon!
  • Race. You may be drawn to a lawyer who shares a similar culture and background but remember, a good lawyer is a good lawyer regardless of race!

We hope that you have found our blog post useful and that you have a better idea of what to look for in a alwyer as well as the process and steps that you should go for.

Your thoughts

Have we missed any points you feel are important out?

What do you look for in a lawyer?

What do you agree with or even disgree with?

Let us know!

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Surinder Singh route for families of British citizens

This immigration route, which is aptly named after the applicant who filed the court case, can be applied by non-EU family members of British citizens to obtain a UK visa – but under European Regulations.

Usually, family members of EEA nationals would apply using EU law. The family member would normally get an initial family permit for 6 months if they are abroad, or would get a 5 year residency card if they are already in the UK.

The case states that British citizens, who have exercised their EU treaty rights in another EU country, such as France for a certain period of time, may trigger their right to free movement, which includes family members. Although this “period of time” is not set in stone, the general consensus is that the UK citizen will need to be exercising their EU treaty rights for at least 3 months in the non-UK EU country.

This route allows for non-EEA family members of British citizens to apply for a UK visa using the European law, as opposed to applying under the UK Immigration Rules. Applicants will now need to fulfil the easier requirement under EU legislation, rather than having to meet Appendix FM of the UK immigration rules.

There are a number of benefits when applying under the European regulations, for example, there is no English language test, no minimum salary requirement, plus the government fees are also less. The difference is £885 to £55, which is a major gap. Furthermore, the UK will only give the visa for an initial 2.5 years, whereas a residence card is for 5 years straight. The high cost will apply again under the UK rules when it is due for extension.

Further court rulings of clarification have since arisen, such as O v The Netherlands (Case C-456/12), which states the following:

1. A residence period of three months is required (para 54)

2. Weekend visits and holidays do not count as residence for this purpose (para 59)

3. Any citizen of the Union can potentially benefit from this right, not just workers and the self employed (references to Article 7 of Citizens Directive 2004/38 , e.g. para 56, and to Article 21 of the TFEU, e.g. para 54)

4. During the period of residence family life must have been “created or strengthened” (para 51)

5. Abuse is impermissible (para 58)

http://www.freemovement.org.uk/surinder-singh-immigration-route

To conclude, British nationals need to strengthen their family ties, such as living together abroad, and to have worked abroad for at least 3 months.

Our team of expert lawyers and solicitors and Westkin are on hand to help you with your case, no matter how complex. Our team have worked across a wealth of cases, from simple and straight forward application processes, to more complicated claims. We are on hand to assist you with your needs, whatever those may be. We make a promise to our clients that we will offer them with a fast, honest and reliable service and we endeavour to offer this in all that we do. If you are interested in discussing your immigration queries with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to assist you. You can email us, give us a call or use the contact form at the top of the page to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

EU nationals – what are your rights while in the UK?

Update: As of January 2021, the rules for EU nationals living in the UK will change. To find out the latest information not covered in this blog post, please look at an up to date guide on our blog here.

As EU nationals, European members can benefit from full freedom of movement in the UK and in most cases, the right to work and study as well.

Only with ascension states will foreign nationals from these countries be required to apply for permission in order to work or study in the UK in the form of yellow and blue cards.

In all other cases, the EU national is entitled to work and live in the UK, with access to the NHS and other benefits that the country has to offer. There is debate at the moment as to whether or not this will be the case in the near future.

Normally, applicants will be granted a registration certificate that will confirm when they first arrived in the UK, after which, they may then be eligible for Permanent Residence. After a year of permanent residency, the applicant may then be eligible for UK naturalisation.

During the initial 5 years, EU nationals need to demonstrate that they are “exercising their EU treaty rights”. They can do this by working, being self-sufficient by holding comprehensive medical insurance, studying amongst a number other ways.

EU nationals also have the right to bring their family to the UK, as well as extended family members in some instances. This can include their durable partners and parents. Such applications can be quite complicated and it would be well-advised to instruct specialists to assist with the process.

It should be noted that applicants who wish to apply for Permanent Residence, they are not required to pass an English language test or pass the Life in the UK test; however they will need to pass these tests for the purpose of UK naturalisation.

In cases whereby EU nationals have committed a crime, the UK Home Office have the authority to remove them from here if their crime was of a more serious nature, often involving a custodial sentence. Often, the applicant will be given the right to appeal before removal.

For those who require further information on applying for a Registration Card, Family Permit, Residence Card, Permanent Residence or UK Naturalisation, please do not hesitate to contact one of our UK immigration specialists.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

What if I am stuck in the UK due to the Ebola crisis?

This blog post looks at old changes announced within immigration law. Take a look at our blog to read some more recent updates.

Over the last 6 months, the Ebola crisis have hit large parts of West Africa, in particular Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea and Nigeria.

It is estimated that hundreds of visitors from this region have visited the UK just before the outbreak, but due to the flight restrictions, have not been able to return back to their home country.

According to UK immigration rules, foreign nationals are required to leave the UK before their visa expires; however if there are exceptional and compelling circumstances, the Home Office may exercise discretion to extend the visa further.

In order to apply for an extension as a visitor, applicants will need to complete an FLR (O) visa application and to explain their predicament in a covering letter. If possible, supporting documents should also be provided to confirm their arguments.

Because the application will be submitted outside of the normal rules, there is not a set time for the Home Office to decide on an application; however it is often between 3 to 6 months.

If the visa is granted, the amount of time the visa may be valid for will vary from case-to-case and it will depend on the most current circumstances at the time of application. It may be that the outbreak is still on-going, in which case a longer-length visa should be expected, or if the outbreak has passed, then applicants may need to make travel plans back to their home country as soon as possible.

Recently, a few of the flight restrictions have been lifted and we are aware that UK airports and international airports have included a number of safety precautions in their procedures, such as screening and health checks of visitors from “high risk” countries. This has now become a standard procedure for safety reasons and travellers who do not cooperate with authorities may be returned to their last destination. Meanwhile, those who are permitted entry to the UK is deemed safe by the health officials but would face an issue if the crisis exceeds past their visa expiry date.

It would be well-advised that, those in the UK who are unable to return home should contact a UK immigration specialist in order to ensure they do not fall foul of the law. For further information or for any immediate queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

European Residence Programmes

As one of the key participating member within the European Union, the United Kingdom is part of a consort of countries that intertwine with each other in terms of economics and politics. Currently, there are 28 member states with many more countries, such as Albania, Iceland and Turkey seeking to join the EU in the near future.

The focus of this short article is to highlight some of the ways EU nationals can come to the UK to live, work, settle and perhaps even to acquire British Citizenship.

One of the key Articles under European law is the Right to Free Movement. EU nationals are permitted to enter the UK without having to apply for “entry clearance” or a visa. In order for the time spent in the UK to count towards permanent residence or a British passport, EU nationals need to demonstrate to the UK Home Office that they are exercising their EU treaty rights. It should be noted that simply living or studying in the UK does not constitute as exercising EU Rights.

In order to qualify for a British passport, EU nationals must first have acquired Permanent Residence status for at least one year. Permanent residence itself takes five years of exercising EU treaty rights before it can be obtained. Here are the ways which an EU national can exercise their EU treaty rights in the UK:

1)       Working as a self-employed person;

2)       Working as an employee;

3)       Studying in the UK (with private medical insurance);

4)       Economically self-sufficient (with private medical insurance).

An EU national will need to be doing one or a combination of the above for five continuous years in order to qualify for permanent residence in the UK. Do note that if there is a significant gap in the five years, the applicant may need to start their five years again.

Sometimes, EU nationals will find it more convenient to carry an identity card in the form of a Registration Certificate instead of their passport. Employers often ask for evidence of their new hire’s identity and their right to work in the UK, therefore EU nationals can make an application to the Home Office for the purpose of confirming their right to live and work in the UK.

Often, EU nationals may have family members who are non-EU nationals, such as their husbands or wives for example. Although family members of EU nationals automatically have the right to reside and work in the UK, in practice, non-EU family members are often questioned about their immigration status by potential employers etc.

As such, family members of EU nationals who are not European themselves would apply for a residence card as confirmation of their status. This may eventually lead to permanent residence in the UK after five years. A further year after that, the non-EU national may even be eligible to apply for UK Naturalisation.

For further information on how we can assist you confirm your status in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact one of our expert UK immigration lawyers.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Tips for Planning a UK Immigration Visa from Overseas

Applying for any UK visa can be a daunting task. This short guide will help you plan out in advance what you need to focus on when preparing and eventually submitting your visa application at your nearest British Embassy in your home country. The purpose of this guide is not to replace a good immigration lawyer, but instead, should serve as an introduction on what to look out for before you make your journey.

UK Visa applications often follow a similar pattern when it comes to requirements. You need to show evidence of sufficient finances, evidence of adequate accommodation and demonstration of your intentions to come to the UK, whether it is for work, study, investment, family, or visit.

In some instances, you will also need to demonstrate evidence of English language as well as passing a TB (tuberculosis) medical examination. A list of the authorised medical centres can be found on the Home Office’s website.

Below is a list of top 5 tips for planning a UK visa application from abroad:

1) All documents not in English must be translated and certified by a professional translator;

2) All documents submitted to the British Embassy must be original;

3) If you need to take an English language exam, note that only a selected few test centres in the world are recognised by the UK government;

4) In a number of cases, online application forms will need to be accompanied by a corresponding appendix form; and

5) All paperwork should be submitted – even if the agent at the British Embassy receiving the application bundle says there are too many documents, you should still submit everything. You cannot be refused for having “too much” relevant paperwork, whereas you can for not having enough of it.

Once the application is submitted, the British Embassy will often take a number of weeks (sometimes even months!) to process the visa. During this period, all your original documents will remain at the embassy whilst being considered. When they do reach a decision, the Embassy will arrange for all your original paperwork to be returned back to you – no matter the outcome. Your visa (or biometric residence permit) will be included in the bundle.

Sometimes, the Embassy will require you to attend an interview so that they can ask some further questions on clarification before reaching a decision. A while ago, an interview was very rare; however more recently, we have found that this is increasingly becoming the norm. Applicants may find this part of the process particularly stressful; however a good immigration lawyer can often help with preparing their clients for this particular stage of the process by running mock interviews.

If in the unfortunate event your visa application were to be refused, it would be well-advised for you to seek expert immigration advice about potentially making an administrative review application, an appeal application and going to court, or to submit a fresh application. There may even be scope to make a request for reconsideration outside the formalities of the Immigration Rules. Whichever the case, solid legal representations will need to be made alongside the application so that the chances of a successful outcome are increased.

Should you have any immediate queries or if you require assistance with your UK visa application, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers on +44(0)207 118 8005 or e-mail us at info@westkin.com. You can also contact one of our expert immigration appeal lawyers regarding any refused applications so that we can consider whether there would be sufficient grounds for an appeal, administrative review or reconsideration.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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