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New Rules To How Biometric Information Are Managed

Avaris Law - Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Biometric InformationFrom 6 April 2015, all applicants who submit an application under the EEA Regulations as well as registering or naturalising as a British Citizen is required to submit their biometrics information (fingerprints and facial images). These changes will help align existing legislation and tighten up checks for those applying to stay in the UK. This will make it easier for the Home Office to verify migrants’ identities and their legal status in the UK. 

RESIDENCE CARD

Successful applicants will receive a residence card (RC) in a new biometric format showing your personal information and the right of residence in the UK under EU law. The cards are similar to the Biometric Residence Permits (BRP); however, the BRP is only issued to non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control.

BIOMETRICS SUBMISSION

If you submit your application in the UK, you will need to attend any local Post Offices to enrol your biometric information. The instruction will be set out in your Biometric Invitation letter that you will receive after you apply. 

If you are applying from overseas to become a British Citizen, you will be required to enrol the biometrics at the local Visa Application Centre. Alternatively, if you are travelling to the UK, you may enrol the biometrics information at a UK Post Office.

RETENTION AND USAGE 

Fingerprint information will normally be retained for up to 10 years. However, where a person is considered to pose a threat to the UK or for those who are permanently settled in the UK, information will be retained for immigration or nationality purposes.

Once an individual becomes a British Citizen, their biometric information will be deleted. However, their photographs will be retained until they obtain their first British passport.

If you would like any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0) 207 5962765.

New Legislation –UK Immigration Health Surcharge

Avaris Law - Thursday, March 26, 2015
UK Immigration Health SurchargeFrom 6 April 2015, all non-EU migrants coming to the UK to work, study or join family for a time-limited period of more than six months with be required to pay a ‘health surcharge’when they submit their visa application within and outside the UK. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that all migrant makes a financial contribution to the NHS care they have been received without charge currently.

SURCHARGE CALCULATION

The surcharge for temporary migrants and students per year will be £ 200 and £ 150, respectively. This total surcharge amount is required to be pay upfront, on top of the visa application fees, and it will be calculated based on the time a migrant would be permitted to stay in the UK under the relevant immigration route. Dependants will generally be charged the same amount as their main applicant.

PAYMENTOPTIONS

All applicant must ensure that the surcharge has been paid via online, in the same way the visa fee is paid, or offline payment beforesubmitting or sending the immigration application. If you chose to attend a Premium Service Centres (UK only) the payment must be made prior to attending the appointment.

REFUNDS

If an application is refused you will be automatically refunded without having to take any further action. However, if your visa application is granted and decide not to travel to the UK later, the surcharge payment will not be refunded. In addition, the surcharge will not be partially refunded if you leave the UK before the expiry of your permission to be in the UK; and if the applicant does not use the National Health Service.

PROCESSING TIME

The application processing time will be remain the same. However, in the event that the surcharge is not paid correctly when the application is made, the application will be delayed, while the Home Office contacts the applicant, until the correct payment is made.

EXEMPTIONS

Those who fall under the following category do not need to pay for the Health Surcharge:

* Visitors, and where the grant of entry clearance is for six months or less;
* Intra-company transfers;
* Children under 18 taken into care or in the care of a local authority;
* Migrants making an application for asylum, humanitarian protection or a claim that their removal from the UK would be contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights;
* Victims of Human Trafficking;
* A migrant who applies under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession;
* Dependants of a member of her Majesty’s Forces;
* As a dependant of a member of another country’s Forces who is exempt from Immigration control;
* Those making an immigration application related to an EU obligation, such as an application under the Turkish European Communities
* Nationals of Australia or New Zealand;
* A British Overseas Territory citizen who is the resident of the Falkland Islands.

If you are going to submit an Entry Clearance application or extending your current leave after 6 April 2015, please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further clarification and advice.

Visitor Visa Appeal Succeeds on Human Rights Grounds

Avaris Law - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

visitor visa refused

In a very unusual but pivotal determination that comes two years after the abolition of full rights of appeal for family visitor visa’s, is the case of Mostafa (Article 8 in entry clearance) 2015 UKUT 0012 (IAC) that succeeds on Human Rights Grounds.

A husband had applied to visit his British wife in the UK. His application was refused under the visitor rules by an Entry Clearance Officer as the Entry Clearance Officer was not satisfied that the husband intended a visit for the limited period stated by him or intended to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the period of the visit to return to Egypt.

The First-tier tribunal considered the refusal of entry clearance would have a significant impact on the husband’s right to enjoy family life as he had strong ties with Egypt including regular work, children living in Egypt and property.

Although, there has been a recent change in Egypt as the Entry Clearance Officer argued, evidence showed that the husband lived safely in a tourist area that was unaffected and continued to attract tourists.

The issue was that the appeal was allowed under the “Immigration Rules” by the First-tier tribunal and not on the grounds that the refusal by the Entry Clearance Officer decision was incompatible with the husbands Convention rights (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ECHR).

Subsequently, the original appeal by the husband was reconsidered on the reliance of Article 8, right to a private and family life as the tribunal followed the approach outlined by the House of Lords in R v SSHD ex parte Razgar [2004] UKHL 27 to determine the Human Rights issues that were engaged on the facts of the case.

For those of you who do not know, Article 8 entry clearance is to promote family life and the refusal decision had a material impact on their right to enjoy family life.

The tribunal stated that “the Entry Clearance Officer must justify the interference and satisfy us that the interference is proportionate.” The tribunal went on further and stated that “if they had contributed to the application being refused by presenting inaccurate information or by omitting something material…. We can accept that it might be proportionate to refuse entry clearance.”

The tribunal is prepared to clarify that it will only be in very unusual circumstances that a person other than a close relative will be able to show that the refusal of entry clearance comes within the scope of Article 8(1). In practice, this is only likely to be in limited to cases where the relationship is that of husband and wife or other close life partners. Therefore, the appeal was allowed against the decision of the Entry Clearance Officer under Article 8 ECHR.

If you believe this applies to you and you require further clarification and assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The Latest Immigration Rules Changes – April 2015

Avaris Law - Tuesday, March 03, 2015
latest uk immigration changesRecently, the Home Office has published the Statement of Changes which will come into effect from 6 April 2015. The main changes are summarised below:

TIER 1 (ENTREPRENEUR)

1. Government funding by way of an intermediary public body may be accepted, providing that body confirms that the funds were made available by a UK or Devolved Government Department for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.

2. Genuine Entrepreneur Testwill now also apply for Extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.

3. Tier 1 (General) migrants will only be able to switch into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category if they have already established a UK business before 6 April 2015; or they have funding from a government department or endorsed seed funding.

4. If the investment funds have been held for less than 90 days before making an initial application, the Applicant must provide evidence confirming the source of those funds.

5. A business plan is now a mandatory document to be submitted for all initial Applications.

TIER 1 (INVESTOR)

1. Investors are required to have a UK bank account opened before making an initial application so that the UK banks may carry out due diligence checks. 

2. The minimum age of Applicants in this category is being increased from 16- to 18-years old. 

3. Changes are being made to the requirement for Applicants to maintain their investments. The changes will mean applicants will no longer need to invest additional capital if they sell part of their investments at a loss, but they will be required to maintain all their capital within their investment portfolios. Buying and selling investments will continue to be permitted, providing the investor does not withdraw any capital. 

TIER 2

1. Shortage Occupation List has been amended and the jobholder will be exempted from the earning threshold when they apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, although they must still be paid the appropriate rate for the occupation. 

2. The occupation of Paramedic will be classified as being skilled to NQF Level 6, rather than NQF Level 4. 

3. The annual salary threshold will be increased as below:
 

CATEGORY

NEW THRESHOLD

Tier 2 (General)

£ 20,800

Tier 2 (General)

*Jobs are exempted from advertising in Jobcentre Plus (or JobCentre Online if the job is based in Northern Ireland)

£ 72,500

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer: Short Term Staff, Skills Transfer or Graduate Trainee categories)

£ 24,800

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer: Long Term Staff)

£ 41,500

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)

*Jobs which qualify for transfer of up to 9 years and are exempted from the 12-month cooling off period.

£ 155,300



4. The 12 month cooling off period will not apply to previous grant of Tier 2 leave of three months or less. 

5. The Settlement earning threshold only applies at the time the application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is made.

Furthermore, there are currently 15 different visitor routes set out in the Immigration Rules. From 24 April 2015 onwards, there will only have 4 visitor routes as below:

a. Visitor (standard)
b. Visitor for Marriage /Civil Partnership
c. Visitor for permitted paid engagements; and 
d. Transit visitor

This Visitor (standard) category consolidates the following existing routes: General, Business, Child, Sport, Entertainer and visitor for private medical treatment, visitor under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement with China, prospective Entrepreneur; and visitor undertaking clinical attachments.

In addition, Administrative Review will be available for all Points Based System applications that were made on or after 2 March 2015. From 6 April 2015, this will also be available for all decision on applications for leave to remain under the Immigration Rules (excluding Human Rights, Visitor and short term student applications as well as those who have given notice of liability for removal).

Accordingly, if you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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