9 TIPS HOW TO FIND A DECENT IMMIGRATION ADVISOR

There are the issues you never think about, until you face them personally. Looking for an immigration advisor is one of such cases. Despite the fact that in modern world all the information is available online, via free assessment or chat, we often come to the point when some regulations or rules are not quite clear and we do not know whether they are applicable to our situation. Here you realize that the consultation of an experienced advisor will be very helpful and start looking for one.

Useful guidelines how to find a relevant specialist are as follows:

1. Search Thoroughly

Of course, the easiest way is just to type ‘British citizenship lawyers near me’ online and look through hundreds of pages of contradictory information. Remember: there is always an official website/resource listing authorised advisors. Licenced specialists must be registered with the Regulatory Body.

2. Check Reviews

If a few companies are chosen after the research, check their websites and all available reviews. It will help to outline the experience and professional skills of the lawyer.

3. Rely on Referrals

If you have friends or relatives who recently addressed experts in the same field, ask them for their opinion.

4. Compare

Contact several advisors you chose as an option. Their communication manner, interest in you as a client will help you make a final decision.

5. Ask for a Consultation

Paying for a consultation will save your money and help to avoid stress in the future as you will know if this company is the one you are ready to continue with.

6. Pay Attention to Ethical Norms

A decent professional will never advise you to lie, conceal any information or provide forged documentation. Never work with such ‘specialists’.

7. Check the Fee Policy

Financial issues are to be the main concern, sufficiently discussed and accurately reflected in the contract. It is better when the prices are fixed. Ask if the consultation is deducted from the total price, what further stages will require new payments.

8. Discuss Risks and Guarantees

Nobody can give you a 100% guarantee, especially, if the decision depends on other level professionals: caseworkers, officers etc. Be on the alert if you are promised too much. A reliable lawyer will focus on the weak points and risks and advise under what conditions they can be disregarded.

9. Sign a Contract

In this case your rights will be protected. You may ask for a refund, check the company data, licence and regulatory body.

Authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner our experts at Master Legal Services meet all these requirements. We offer fixed fees, contract, deductible consultations for a variety of immigration services related to EU pre-settled and settled status, spouse visas or fiancee visas. Our work is highly assessed by our clients, who provide their excellent reviews after their visa or British citizenship is granted.

Please contact us for further assistance:

+44 771 098 7064

+44 20 8935 5205

a.s@master-legal-services.com

RESIDENT LABOUR MARKET TEST PECULIARITIES

Sponsoring Tier 2 qualified specialists is a complicated procedure that requires significant attention at all its stages. Conducting the resident labor market test is one of the most important and challenging parts of the whole process. The employer needs to keep to the rules as well as to save all the documentary proofs that everything was done correctly.

First of all, the obligatory sources of advertisement are official newspapers and professional journals.

As the Home Office advise “advertisement in a national newspaper or professional journal should be confirmed by a copy of the job advertisement as it appeared in the given medium. The copy must clearly show the title and date of the publication and the closing date for applications”.

A copy of the contents of the job advert must include the job title, the location of the job, the main duties and responsibilities of the job which must include the skills, qualifications and experience needed, an indication of the salary package or salary range and the closing date for applications.

The vacancy can also be advertised on the internet, including where it is advertised on the company website; in this case a screenshot from the website hosting the advertisement should be made on the day the vacancy is first advertised and kept for further steps. This copy should clearly show All of the following:

• name of the website;

• contents of the advert;

• the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) (website address);

• date the vacancy was first advertised (if stated);

• closing date for applications.

Where the advertisement is not on the company’s own website and does not show its name, a copy of a letter or invoice from the website will be required, to prove that an advertisement was placed.

Where the vacancy has been advertised online through Find a Job (or its predecessor, Universal Jobmatch), JobCentre Online (for jobs in Northern Ireland), or the GOV.UK ‘Teaching Vacancies’ service (for teaching jobs in England), keep a screen shot from the relevant government website on the day the vacancy is first advertised which clearly shows all of the following:

• logo of the relevant government website hosting the job advertisement;

• URL;

• contents of the advert;

• date the vacancy was first advertised (if stated);

• closing date for applications;

• any job reference number (if stated).

Note: if the website clearly shows the date the vacancy was first advertised, the screen shot can be taken at any point during the period the vacancy is advertised.

If the job was not advertised through Find a job, JobCentre Online, or the GOV.UK ‘Teaching Vacancies’ services because of Stock Exchange disclosure requirements, you must keep a copy of the formal announcement such as a screen shot of the published announcement, made via a regulated information service approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The employer will have to provide an evidence of the competitive process that took place. This could be an advertisement for the grant, a programme for the selection process, the judging criteria or any other evidence.

In addition, the following documents from any recruitment process must be retained:

• all applications short listed for final interview, in the medium they were received, for example, emails, CV’s, application form – this should include the applicant’s details such as name, address, date of birth;

• the names and total number of applicants short listed for final interview;

• for each settled worker who was rejected or did not take up the offer of employment, interview notes or other documentation which show the reasons why they have not been employed.

If you require support on other immigration related issues that do not hesitate to call our professional team which offers a variety of services including spouse visa applications, K1 fiance visa applications, British citizenship or settled status for EU nationals.

Published 31 March 2020

HOME OFFICE INFORMS ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Reportedly, there has appeared travel restrictions because of coronavirus. Due to this some individuals may be facing uncertainty in relation to the expiry date of their current visa or leave to remain in the United Kingdom. These circumstances are outside of your control.

Most people in the UK whose immigration status is affected by the coronavirus outbreak will get an automatic extension of their visa until 31 March 2020. Our immigration solicitors explain more…

Chinese nationals in the UK 

Your visa will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020 if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You’ll also get an automatic extension if you’re in the UK on a long-term standard visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years and you have reached the maximum stay of 180 days between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You will not automatically receive a new visa or Biometric Residence Permit card.

Non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China

If you are normally resident in China and your visa in the UK has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the authorities, namely the coronavirus immigration helpline, and the team will be able to extend your visa to 31 March 2020 if you can demonstrate you are normally resident in China.

UK Visa Application Centres in China are currently closed.

Published 13 March 2020

BRP Card lost, stolen or expired?

The biometric residence permit (BRP) can be reported lost or stolen from inside or outside the UK. A replacement can be ordered only from inside the UK.

The BRP card can no longer be used if found after reported lost or stolen.

If the BRP was valid for 3 months or more, report it and apply for a replacement. You must do this within 3 months of losing it, otherwise you can be fined up to £1,000 and made to leave the UK.

One more thing you can do is to apply to extend your visa if you want to stay in the UK after the BRP expiry date – if granted, you’ll automatically get a new BRP. We have asked our London based immigration advisors to explain in more detail:

If you’re outside the UK

You must report it lost or stolen;

You cannot apply for a replacement BRP outside the UK. Instead, you’ll need to apply for a ‘replacement BRP visa’, which lets you re-enter the UK once only.

You can apply for a replacement BRP when you return to the UK. You must do this within 3 months of reporting it lost or stolen unless you have a good reason, for example you were unable to return to the UK in that time.

Replace an expired BRP

How you replace an expired BRP depends on whether you are in the UK and what type of leave you have.

If you have indefinite leave to remain or enter

Use the BRP replacement service from within the UK.

If your visa is about to expire, the BRP expiry date is usually the same as the expiry date of the visa. To get a new BRP, first apply to extend your visa. If it is granted, you will automatically get a new BRP. You cannot use the BRP replacement service.

Replace your visa with a BRP

You can apply for a biometric residence permit (BRP) to replace the visa (or wet ink stamp) in your passport or travel document, for example if:

  • your passport or travel document has expired or it’s been lost or stolen;
  • the details on your visa (including your facial appearance) have changed.

You must apply from inside the UK.

You can replace your visa with a BRP if:

You have permission to settle (‘indefinite leave to remain’)

The decision will be made within 6 months in such cases.

If you want a faster decision you can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service.

You have temporary permission to stay in the UK (‘leave to remain’)

You’ll get a decision within 8 weeks.

£800 super priority service is also available here.

How can we help?

At Master Legal Services, an expert advisor will assess your specific circumstances and assist you with the correct application, a list of the sufficient documents for a successful application.

You can trust that as a tailored immigration firm, we will always prioritise your needs and provide the best advice for your particular circumstances.

Published 15 January 2020

Contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: +44 7710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

SPONSORSHIP LICENCE FOR THE UK-BASED EMPLOYERS

To employ someone from outside the EEA and Switzerland to work for you in the UK, you might need a sponsor licence.

To get a licence, you cannot have:

  • unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering;
  • any history of failing to carry out your sponsorship duties.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will review your application form and the required documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.

The type of licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:

  • Tier 2 – skilled workers with long-term job offers;
  • Tier 5 – skilled temporary workers.

You can apply for a licence covering either Tier or both.

Tier 2

Tier 2 is for skilled workers who you want to employ long-term or permanently. It can be:

  • General – the role must meet the job suitability requirements;
  • Intra-Company Transfer – for multinational companies i.e. IT companies which need to transfer employees to the UK;
  • Minister of Religion – for people coming to work for a religious organisation (for up to 3 years);
  • Sportsperson – for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK.

Tier 5

Tier 5 is for skilled workers you want to employ on a temporary basis. It’s split into:

  • Creative and Sporting – to work as a sportsperson (up to 1 year), entertainer or artist (up to 2 years);
  • Charity Worker – for unpaid workers (up to 1 year);
  • Religious Worker – for those doing preaching, pastoral and non-pastoral work (2 years);
  • Government Authorised Exchange – work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge;
  • International Agreement – where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, for example employees of overseas governments.

Sponsorship management roles

You need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence.

These roles are:

  • authorising officer – a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS;
  • key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI);
  • level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS.

These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

You can also appoint an optional level 2 user once you have your licence. This is an SMS user with more restricted access than a level 1 user, for example they cannot withdraw a certificate of sponsorship.

Suitability checks

You and your staff will be checked to make sure you’re suitable for these roles. You may not get your licence if anyone involved in sponsorship has:

  • an unspent criminal conviction;
  • been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months;
  • been reported to UKVI;
  • broken the law;
  • been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months;
  • failed to pay VAT or other excise duty.

You and your allocated staff must also:

  • be based in the UK most of the time;
  • not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project;
  • not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking;
  • not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements.

Your allocated staff must usually be paid members of staff or office holders. Do contact our immigration specialists in London for an initial free consultation!

HR contractors and agency staff

You must have at least one level 1 user who is your employee. You can have other level 1 or level 2 users employed by third-party organisations contracted to provide you with HR services. Your level 2 user can be a temporary member of staff supplied by an agency.

UK-based legal representatives

You can allocate any of the roles to a UK-based legal representative, apart from the authorising officer role. Your representative must be qualified to give immigration advice or services.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business to check it’s suitable.

After you apply

You’ll be given a licence rating if your application is successful.

You’ll be able to issue certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable for sponsorship.

Your licence will be valid for 4 years. You may lose your licence if you do not meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.

How can we help?

At Master Legal Services, an expert advisor will assess your specific circumstances and assist you with the correct application, a list of the sufficient documents for a successful application.

For more immigration-related issues such as applying for UK marriage visas, applying for fiance visas, EU settlement scheme or UK naturalization please contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: +44 7710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

Our Fees

Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.

Published 23 December 2019

SEASONAL WORKERS IN THE UK

People from outside the EEA or Switzerland who want to come to the UK to work under a pilot seasonal worker scheme under Tier 5 temporary worker route, can apply for a Tier 5 Seasonal Worker visa, which is issued for up to 6 months to do farm work.

Certificate of sponsorship is the essential document required for the visa to be granted. It means that the first thing to do is to find a sponsor in the area who is ready to employ seasonal workers.

This visa can be applied for 3 months before the due work start date, usually indicated on the certificate of sponsorship. Currently the fee is £244; a decision is made within 3 weeks.

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months.

You can enter the UK as soon as your visa is valid (up to 14 days before the start date of your job).

Unfortunately, you cannot extend your stay under this category.

Under this visa you can:

  • work in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship;
  • study.

You cannot:

  • take a permanent job;
  • work in a second job or a job that isn’t described in your certificate of sponsorship;
  • get public fundss;
  • bring family members.

Eligibility

Be 18 or over when applying and have both of the following:

  • a certificate of sponsorship reference number from the UK sponsor (valid for 3 months from the date it’s assigned); sometimes it can be a multiple entry certificate so the employee can leave and return to the UK.
  • at least £945 that’s been in the bank account for 90 days before application – to prove a person can support themselves.

Documents required

  • a current valid passport or other valid travel identification with enough space for the visa;
  • bank statements showing at least £945 in savings in the bank account for 90 days before application;
  • tuberculosis test results (for residents of countries where this test is needed).

Any documents that are not in English or Welsh, must be accompanied with a certified translation.

Published 6 December 2019

Living and in the UK – Important Visa Rules to Know

The United Kingdom is among the world’s most popular destinations with its diverse array of job opportunities. For individuals who have plans to relocate to the UK, the capital city of London sits at the top of the list as one among the world’s global cities and is also an international financial capital though the average cost of living is rather high.

Most of the big cities in Britain can boast of a substantial population of foreign inhabitants. It comes very high in the ranking of OECD quality of life index with quite excellent scores in the areas of community, environmental quality, job opportunities as well as an admirably publicly-funded nationwide health service. However, with the Brexit vote of 2016, pressures began to mount on tightening up immigration controls in a bid to make it more difficult for foreigners to come into the United Kingdom and have access to its services. Below are some vital rules for living and working in the United Kingdom.

Before embarking on a UK journey

You have to make sure that all your documents are in order, EEA nationals or people from Switzerland need to have a valid passport, in the absence of which they can make use of their national ID issued by any country in the EEA areas.

People outside the EEA areas need a valid passport which validity should last for the duration of your stay. A visa may be required but this depends on your country of origin.

On Arrival

Checks will be conducted on your passport upon arrival at the airport or port to ensure that you were granted leave to visit the UK. No changes will be administered to the status and rights of European Union nationals in the UK till the 30th of June 2020 which may extend to 31st of December 2020 if Britain was to exit from the EU with no deal. You can submit applications to the EU Settlement Scheme along with the members of your family for a continued stay in Britain.

What you are allowed to come with is dependent on your country of origin, and all must be declared to custom. They include;

  • Any luggage above your duty-free allowance
  • Banned goods in Britain
  • Commercial goods
  • Above €10,000 or its equivalent in cash, individuals from outside the EU may have their baggage checked to ascertain all that was declared.

Already in the UK

Individuals who are residents in Britain need to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) or Permanent Residence. This grants you the right to live as well as work in the United Kingdom free of any immigration restrictions. The criterion to qualify for an ILR differs depending on your visa status.

Minimum Period of uninterrupted stay in the UK

There is a minimum period that you must stay in the UK in order to qualify for ILR; it is possible to combine two different types of visa. In explanation, individuals who came into the United Kingdom with a Tier 2 Work Permit may decide to switch to Tier 1 General Visa and both periods will be taken into consideration when processing your ILR. The only status that calls for 10 years qualifying period is the Legal stay on any basis, all other status like Ancestry, Tier 1 General, Tier 2 General / Work permit and Investors call for five years qualifying period. It equally takes five years for Writers, composers and artists, Sole representatives, Business – Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Unmarried partners as well as Spouse Visa / Civil Partner / EEA Family Visa.

While observing your qualifying period, you should endeavor not to spend over 180 days in any 12-month period outside the UK prior to your application submission.

Economic Activity

Added to the above requirements are a few economic activities which are largely dependent on your visa status as at the time of ILR application. Holders of Tier 2 Visa status which also means work permits will be faced with the need to prove that their earnings exceed a certain level of income.

Other Requirements

Apart from individuals covered by the HSMP Judicial Review, all applicants also need to pass the Knowledge of Life in the UK Test as well as a recognized English language test. Those that will be exempted are the people holding degrees taught in English and certain English speaking nationalities. The Criminality section comes to play here and states that you should be completely free from any unspent convictions.

British Citizenship

Beneficiaries of Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Permanent Residence will become eligible to submit applications for British Citizenship after one year of holding an ILR.

Conditions for ILR

It is imperative to note that your visa is revocable, but this only happens when you spend lengthy period of time outside the shores of the United Kingdom which makes it appear that Britain is no longer your primary residence. Recommendations are that you do not exceed two years outside of the UK and ideally, you should submit applications for Naturalization as a British Citizen just as soon as it becomes a possibility.

ILR Applications

The process of application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK may take as much as six months and for this duration, you will not be with your passport. Individuals with urgent cases or those who cannot be without their passports within this period can go ahead and book appointments for same-day decision. For an appointment of this kind, the waiting period is usually from four to six weeks.

Working in Britain

With the exception of few people, a work permit is a requirement to be able to get employment in the UK. The work permits are granted on a points-based system. For instance, individual who entered the UK on expat assignment, Intra-Company Transfers or perhaps have a job offer in Britain will have their employer as their sponsors. You sponsor can put in an application for a work permit on your behalf, however, it is your duty to make sure that you meet all the requirements for holding employment in Britain.

How Our UK Immigration Advice Service Works

Master Legal Service’s team of experts are affordable immigration lawyers in London We are readily accessible to you for all your immigration concerns and work visa applications wherever you are in the world. Should you physically be in the UK, do drop by our office and tap into that expertise we are known for.

How can we help?

Migration can be quite a harrowing experience with the many laws surrounding many types of visa and specific circumstances. It need not be though with Master Legal Services helping you through the process. We will help you make sense of it all, providing the best advice and support for your particular circumstance.

Contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: 07710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

Our Fees

Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.


Business Visitor Visa UK: Rules for Business

Many employees travelling for business tend to opt for a UK business visitor visa since its process of application is less difficult than the other work visa routes. However, there are very restrictive rules on allowable activities under this kind of visa. Officials at the border are charged with the responsibility of questioning travelers under the business visitor visa and they have the discretion to refuse entry once they establish that the visa conditions will not be adhered to.

What is Business Visitor Visa?

In explanation, this type of visa is also known as a ‘Standard Visitor Visa’ and it is mainly for individuals who wish to visit the United Kingdom for business-related purposes, usually for a short period of time which can be up to six months.

Business Visitors

People who have plans to visit Britain on business like attending interviews, signing contracts, participating in conferences, arranging deals, conducting site visits as well as delivering international goods or even passengers from overseas will be required to submit applications as a business visitor.

Apart from the aforementioned, there other categories of people who need to submit their applications as business visitors include;

  • Academic visitors
  • Medical practitioners who wish to take PLAB test
  • Medical practitioners who are on clinical attachments
  • Dentists who are on observation
  • Visiting professors who come as companion for their students who are on study abroad programmes
  • Movie crews who are on location shoots (provided they are employed and paid abroad)
  • Overseas new media reps (provided they are employed and paid abroad)
  • Overseas companies secondees.
  • Religious workers  (provided they are based abroad and have no plans to take up any position in the United Kingdom)
  • Translators as well as interpreters who come as companion to business visitors (provided they are under the employment of an overseas company)
  • Consultants, advisers, trouble shooter and trainers employed overseas by a company which has a branch in the UK.
  • People embarking on some specific, one–off training in areas of technique as well as UK work practices.

It is always best to go for immigration advice when you are unsure if your purpose for visiting the UK falls under the “business visitor” category.

What are the requirements?

  • There should be a comprehensible demonstration that you only wish to stay in the UK for a short period which should not exceed six months.
  • You should be able to prove that your visit to the UK is for a genuine business purpose or activity. A wide range of activities are permitted under this category and they are listed above.
  • You should have the intention of leaving the UK at the expiration of your visa and you should be able to prove that you are capable of meeting expenses for your return or onward journey.
  • There should be proof that you have enough funds to be able to accommodate and maintain yourself and any dependant without having to take up paid employment in the UK or receive any form of assistance from the British public funds. Alternatively, there should be a clear demonstration that your UK friends or relatives or even the company you work for will be financially supporting or even accommodate you throughout your stay.

What activities are not permissible on a business visitor visa?

  • You shouldn’t have any intention of studying in Britain.
  • You should have no intention of providing goods and services to the public for a fee.
  • You must be based overseas and should be able to demonstrate that you have no plans of attempting to set up a base in the UK.
  • Your salary or income must come from overseas.
  • You must have no intention of embarking on marriage or registering a civil partnership in Britain.
  • You must have no plans of receiving private medical treatment throughout your visit to Britain.
  • You must not be on transit to another country or nation outside the Common Travel Area.

What are the required documents?

If your UK application falls under the Business visitor visa, there are some basic documentation that you need to arm yourself with, they include:

  • Invitation letter from the British company, establishment or business
  • Confirmation as well as the details on your purpose for coming to the UK
  • If an employee: Letter from your employer, showing your leave approval for a specific period. The letter should also include details like your position in the company, duration of employment as well as salary etc; it should also state your resumption date at work.
  • Self employed people should provide evidence of their business activities, financial credibility and accounts.
  • You should also present evidence of ties or attachment to your home country – this can come in the form of ownership of property, employment ties or family ties and responsibilities
  • Confirmation of your travel plans – which include hotel bookings, ticket bookings and itinerary.
  • Three to six months bank statements
  • Evidence of some extra savings

Possibility for Extension of leave

In the business visitor visa category, the maximum you can get is six months at a single time. However, if your visa is for a period below six months, you can submit application for an extension which will take you to the maximum period of six months. The only exception is when you are an Academic Visitor as they can be granted up to 12 months of leave.

You should understand that it is important to leave the UK upon the expiration of your visa. If you continue to stay after your visa has expired, you will be an illegal immigrant in the UK and thus be considered as an” overstayer”. This is likely to have an adverse effect on your immigration record and any future British immigration applications will be affected.

Right of Appeal

Applicants can be refused visa to visit the UK as a business visitor. In that case, you will receive a detailed letter which explains the reasons for the denial. Unfortunately, the right for appeal is only granted to individuals visiting their friends and close families. Others are not entitled to appeal when they are faced with a refusal decision. The only option open to you as a business visitor visa applicant is to submit fresh applications.

How Our UK Immigration Advice Service Works

Master Legal Service’s team of experts are affordable immigration lawyers in London We are readily accessible to you for all your immigration concerns and work visa applications wherever you are in the world. Should you physically be in the UK, do drop by our office and tap into that expertise we are known for.

How can we help?

Migration can be quite a harrowing experience with the many laws surrounding many types of visa and specific circumstances i.e. EU citizens. It need not be though with Master Legal Services helping you through the process. We will help you make sense of it all, providing the best advice and support for your particular circumstance.

Contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: 07710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

Fees

Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.

What are the Employer Duties & Penalties on the Immigration Act 2016?

The 2016 Immigration Act was enforced to frustrate the effort of illegal immigrants who wish to live, as well as take up paid employment, in the United Kingdom.

The act does not only tighten already existing provisions targeted at people who abuse the system and defy the British immigration controls, but it also encompasses measures intended to check the exploitation of immigrants, especially the vulnerable ones. Our British Citizenship solicitors provide a more in-depth conversation on this matter.

Employer duties & penalties

The 2016 Act was built on existing measures in the Act of 2014, by establishing a few changes which have a direct impact on British employers as well as their obligations with respect to hindering illegal employment with major penalties, if employers fall short of expectations.

The latest penal measures for illegal employment are binding on company owners who either intentionally or inadvertently violate their responsibilities. This means that even employers with very good intentions may fall into the trap if they don’t comply.

Penalty or punishment for unlawful working

Considerably for British company owners, the 2016 Immigration Act initiated a new criminal offence where workers are found in illegal employment. In addition, it increased the punishment for employers who deliberately and frequently give work to illegal immigrants.

New offences for unlawful employees

Section 34 of the 2016 Immigration Act launched a new criminal offence of “unlawful work” with the insertion of another session 24B as part of the 1971 Immigration Act.

As a migrant, you will be culpable when you accept employment at a period when you are well aware or have logical cause to believe that you are not qualified to work in the UK as a result of your immigration status. 

This way, the offence of unlawful working is likely to be committed where an immigrant is employed at a period when they have not received leave to enter or leave to remain in Britain, or their leave for both options is invalid and is no longer effective. This also applies if they are subject to any situation stopping the person from undertaking work of the kind that he or she is doing.

It has already been made a criminal act not to observe a condition of leave as stipulated by the 1971 Immigration Act. It is also criminal for an individual without rational pretext to fail in observing whatever restriction they have upon them, so the authority to prosecute immigrants who worked without the necessary authorization was already in existence.

However, the 2016 Immigration Act listed unlawful working as a criminal act in its own right.  By so doing, wages received by unlawful immigrants can be confiscated as a proceed from crime. Those caught holding paid employment in violation of the circumstances of their legal leave could have their income confiscated but individuals caught working while staying in Britain unlawfully could not.

Illegal workers in the United Kingdom can now be convicted with a max imprisonment term of up to 51 weeks or alternatively a fine or even both. The 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act stipulate that migrant guilty of unlawful working can have their income confiscated.

Consequences of giving employment to unlawful workers

Before the 2016 Immigration Act, criminal sanctions exist for bosses who intentionally employ workers without leave to work in Britain or take on the job in question. In section 35, the Act of 2016 extended the already existing crime of giving employment to unlawful immigrant under Section 21 of the 2006 Act of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality to comprise business owners who had logical cause to think that a migrant lacked the authorization to take up paid employment by the virtue of his or her immigration status.

Before this change, crooked bosses only faced prosecution upon proof that they were aware that an unlawful migrant lacked the authorization to hold employment. However, practically, it was very difficult to prosecute since the situation is difficult to establish.

The Act of 2016 considerably reduced the test for guilt, from genuine awareness of unlawfulness to reasonable cause. In addition to increasing the extent of prosecution, the 2016 Act widened the max punishment. Upon conviction, employers may get up to five years in a sentence, which was previously two years with the possibility for limitless fine added to the sentence unchanged.

Extra search as well as seizure power

The 2016 Immigration Act also extended the powers of immigration workers considerably. This gives the immigration worker, on lawful duty, the right to search and confiscate any documents in establishing culpability for any civil penal – anywhere they have logical grounds to believe that an employer is in violation of their duties to thwart unlawful working.

Previously, this authorization to search must be backed by a warrant. Our London based immigration lawyers point out that the employer of an individual found working unlawfully in Britain faces a civil penalty up to £20,000 for each employee, if he or she falls short of carrying out an approved authority to work check. This is stipulated under the 2006 Act of Immigration, Asylum, and Nationality.

Consequences of the 2016 Act

In addition to minimizing unlawful immigration, the Act of 2016 had the intention to seek a balance in shielding defenseless immigrants from exploitation. Many have found the changes too draconian because arguably, they engender human right violations and consequently create bigger defenselessness for immigrants.

The implication of the Act for the immigrant includes;

  • Exploitation risk, it gives rise to the risk whereby victims of human trafficking will be averse to coming forward, thus arming their traffickers with a tool for further control.
  • The likelihood of Proceeds of Crime Act prosecution with the resultant effect of loss of income for low skilled employees already earning very low wages.
  • A lasting criminal record, in addition to the consequences it may have for applications in the future, like naturalization as a British national or additional leave to remain.

In an attempt to apprehend unlawful immigrants, the measure brought in by the 2016 Immigration Act is likely to unintentionally impact negatively and in a big way on the immigrants who require protection the most. However, the new measures have come to stay at least for the present time.

How can we help?

Migration can be quite a harrowing experience with the many laws surrounding many types of visa and specific circumstances. It need not be though with Master Legal Services helping you through the process. We will help you make sense of it all, providing the best advice and support for your particular circumstance regardless of whether a K1 visa, UK spouse visa applications, applications for British citizenship, or for EU settlement scheme.

Contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: 07710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

Fees

Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.

UK Landing Cards Scrapped – What to Expect

Vital Information on UK Landing Cards

International passengers coming into the United Kingdom will no longer be required to fill out a UK landing card to be handed over to immigration alongside passports. Our experienced immigration lawyers received confirmation from UK Border Force, emphasizing the effective date as 20th May 2019 when non-European passengers won’t have the need to complete the paper form onboard any aircraft before arrival in the UK.

This decision to have the landing card scrapped came after an announcement from the government of Britain that it was set to extend the use of e-gates at the United Kingdom borders to citizens of the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, and Singapore. Presently, the gates whose main purpose is to scan e-passports are reserved exclusively for EEA (European Economic Area) national.

UK Landing Cards Scrapped – the Background

Right from 1971, travelers coming into the United Kingdom by air or sea from outside the EEA were expected to complete landing cards on arrival. The number of landing card issued annually is around 11 million which the cost is estimated at about £3.6 million to the public on an annual basis.

The major reason for issuing the cards is to get the basic information about the passengers as they arrive. This information includes some essential details like name, address in the United Kingdom as well as date of birth. The card also records other details like conditions of entry, reasons for travelling and what was said to the border staff upon arrival.

According to the Home Office, The United Kingdom is now lenient in matters concerning automated passenger clearance, permitting more nationalities to make use of ePassport gates than any other country in the world. By September 2018, ePassport gates were used across Britain and “juxtaposed controls” by 51.9 million passengers. The gates compare a passenger’s face to the digital image captured on their passports with the aid of facial recognition technology. This is done under close monitoring by the United Kingdom Border Force officers and when you get rejected at the gates, you will proceed to a manned passport check where your passport and identity will be thoroughly checked.

The people who are eligible to make use of the gates are adults from 18 years and above and who are traveling with a chipped or biometric passport. Another eligible set of people are those between the ages of 12 to 17 who are traveling in the company of an adult. 264 ePassport gates are currently in operation at 15 rail and air terminals in Britain.

Do I Need a Landing Card to Enter the UK?

The proposal to remove the ‘outdated’ UK landing cards first came in 2017 through an announcement by the Home Office as part of a “digital border transformation”. June 2018 saw the Home Office withdrawing the cards for seven countries, notable among them were the United States and Australia.

According to Paul Lincoln – Border Force director general, the withdrawal of the UK landing cards would allow the frontline officers to channel more of their time and skills to border security issues. They can take advantage of the freed time to closely monitor the activities of cohorts who present the highest risk of immigration abuse.

Another benefit from the withdrawal of the cards is that staff will be free to focus on interactions with the travelers. The department laid emphasis on the fact that landing cards are primarily meant for statistical purposes and never for routine security checks, with much of the information gathered by landing cards soon to be accessible digitally.

The new rules have been initiated to accommodate bigger massive numbers through British airports. The scrapping of the landing cards has been met with the concerns of union over weakened British borders and immigration controls.

What to expect at the UK border

Under the new rules, if you happen to be a citizen of a non-EEA country, while it will no longer be required of you to fill a UK landing card, you may still be requested to give your reasons for traveling by border officials. You will need to submit any documentation evidencing the purpose of your stay or visit, whether it relates to business, work, study or just for a visit.

The fingerprint of travelers with UK biometric visa will be checked at the border, your identity or passport will also be checked upon arrival to the UK.

If you are a member of the Registered Traveler Service, you are free to use the UK/EEA channels or automatic e-passport gates if your passport happens to have a ‘chip’. They are planning on extending the use of e-gates to nationals from The United States, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Singapore from June 2019.

Business travelers to the UK

Brexit uncertainty, the onset of the European Union settlement scheme and a forthcoming revamping of the United Kingdom immigration regime are currently applying more pressure on border checks to confirm traveler status against the new rules as they currently apply.

With rising dependency on the online systems to verify passengers’ permissions to board aircraft to Britain and to come into the country, business travelers are advised to make sure that they have secured the proper leave to carry out their business activities while in Britain (They shouldn’t just assume that a business visitor visa applies), and that they should arm themselves with adequate documentation to prove their status in order to avoid delays or issues at the border.

How Our UK Immigration Advice Service Works

Master Legal Services team of expert yet affordable immigration lawyers in London We are readily accessible to you for all your immigration concerns and visa applications wherever you are in the world. Should you physically be in the UK, do drop by our office and tap into that expertise we are known for.

How can we help?

Migration can be quite a harrowing experience with the many laws surrounding many types of visa and specific circumstances. It need not be though with Master Legal Services helping you through the process. We will help you make sense of it all, providing the best advice and support for your particular circumstance.

Contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: 07710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

Fees

Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.