Immigration and Asylum law is one of the most technically complicated areas of law. There have been rapid changes in this area, affecting the criteria for success and making it very difficult to understand. The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) agency will often reject applications without a right of appeal if just one technicality is unfulfilled. This can have a devastating impact upon people’s lives, families, work and education.
Kings Cross Barristers is a London immigration law firm with a wealth of experience in making applications to the Home Office, appeals at the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, and challenging decisions by way of judicial review. Having an experienced immigration lawyer by your side throughout the process can be the difference between success and failure. Our immigration barristers are public access barristers, meaning a member of the public can instruct them without having to go through an immigration solicitor.
Many people aspire to bring their business ideas and expertise to the UK. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is designed for individuals who seek to set up or take over an existing business in the UK. Successful applicants can be granted up to 3 years and 4 month’s stay in the UK. This can be extended and after 5 years the visa holder can apply for settlement in the UK. The visa allows the individual to work for their company and bring family members into the country with them. Normally, an applicant for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is required to have access to at least £200,000 of investment funds. However, under certain circumstances this can be the lower sum of £50,000. There are different eligibility requirements depending on the applicant’s funds.
If you are seeking to invest money in the UK, you may be eligible to come to the UK under a Tier 1 (Investor) visa. You can be granted a maximum of 3 years and 4 months stay and apply to settle in the UK after a certain amount of time, depending on how much money you are investing in the UK. You will also be able to work and study in the UK during your stay. In order to be eligible for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, you must have access to at least £2,000,000 in investment funds and can invest the funds in UK registered companies, government bonds, share capital or loan capital.
To acquire a Sponsorship Licence you must submit evidence regarding the Resident Labour Market Test, demonstrate there is a need for recruitment of foreign nationals, comply with the minimum income threshold and have in place a human resources system to monitor employees. The Home Office Sponsorship Compliance Unit can investigate licenced employers to ensure they are complying with their sponsorship duties. Licence can be downgraded, suspended or revoked. This can be hugely destabilising, and in some cases, fatal for a business. At Kings Cross Barristers, our team has a wealth of experience in matters concerning Sponsorship Licences. We can assist you with the complex initial application for a licence, improving your chances of success
If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you will need to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa. You will also need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK, who will assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship. Successful applicants for a Tier 2 (General) visa can be granted up to a maximum of 5 years and 14 days stay in the UK. You will be able to work for your sponsor, perform a second job in certain circumstances, do voluntary work, study, and bring family members with you to the UK.
Many individuals seek to come to the UK to study at the world-class educational institutions. People from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland who wish to study in the UK must apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa. This visa allows people to study, work in most jobs and possible bring dependent family members with them. It is also possible to apply to extend their stay. To gain a Tier 4 (General) Student visa, you must meet the eligibility criteria. This includes holding an unconditional offer for a course with a licenced Tier 4 sponsor, demonstrating a sufficient understanding of the English language and having enough funds to pay for the course and support yourself and any dependants.
Naturally, many people wish to bring their spouse to the UK to share their lives with them. However, spouse visa applications can be a complicated procedure. In order to obtain leave to remain in the UK for a spouse, it is necessary to fulfill the requirements under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules on income, maintenance, accommodation and a demonstrating a genuine and subsisting relationship.
If you want to visit the UK but are not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you may need to apply for a Visitor Visa. The Standard Visitor Visa has replaced the previous categories of visitor visas. This includes visits to the UK for leisure, business, participation in sporting and creative events, visiting family members or receiving private medical treatment. Rights of appeal have been withdrawn for refusals unless the decision interferes with Article 8 ECHR. The drafting of the application is therefore important in order to ensure that a refusal has a right of appeal. You will usually be granted 6 months stay in the UK. This can be extended under certain circumstances.
Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) are eligible for residence in the United Kingdom based on the EEA Regulations. In addition, the EEA Regulations contain provisions allowing for family members and extended family members of an EEA National to reside with them in the United Kingdom. The criteria for each application are complex and require specific documentation to be provided in any application. Failure to comply with even one formality can result in a refusal.
The UK is obliged under international law to provide protection to individuals facing a real risk of persecution in their country of origin. The process for seeking such protection is to apply for asylum. Asylum applicants will be invited to an initial screening interview followed by a full asylum interview where a representative for UK Visas and Immigration will conduct an in-depth investigation into the basis for the individual’s fear of persecution. The asylum interview can last many hours and is often a very stressful process for the applicant, who has to provide a detailed account of the persecution they have suffered to the interviewer. The applicant is welcome to have a lawyer present during this interview.
The Home Office has the power to detain people who are liable to be removed or deported from the UK. The experience of being held in an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) can be highly distressing for the detained individual, as well as their friends and family. The UK currently practices indefinite detention of migrants, and sometimes people are deprived of their liberty for months or even years. If you are seeking to challenge your detention status, it is recommendable to have to have an immigration lawyer by your side. The Home Office will always be represented by a lawyer arguing for your continued detention.
Individuals without status in the UK may be liable to removal from the country. Foreign nationals who have committed serious criminal convictions may be liable to automatic deportation. This can be a hugely stressful period as individuals may be separated from friends and family members and forcibly relocated to a country they may not have lived in for many years. There is often very little time to challenge a removal or deportation decision. Legal action must be swift but also careful. Our immigration and asylum law barristers have successfully challenged many removals and deportations, and can provide advice, representation and advocacy in challenging these decisions.
The UK is signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which currently has direct effect in the UK by virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998. This means that the government must act in accordance with the articles of the ECHR, including a right to respect for family and private life, liberty, and prohibition on torture, ill and degrading treatment. If the UKVI makes a decision which appears to breach a convention right, it may be possible to challenge the decision by appealing to the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal or by way of judicial review.
Human trafficking is the use of violence, threats and deception to coerce people into a variety of activities, including forced labour, criminal activity, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Survivors of trafficking have often been brought from other parts of the world, sometimes through illegitimate channels. Many have been forced to engage in work of a criminal nature. They may not be aware of their location and be unable to speak the local language. These factors make the prospect of going to the local authorities very intimidating. At Kings Cross Barristers we have experience of working with victims of trafficking, handling cases with sensitivity and professionalism. If you think you are a survivor of trafficking, we can alert the National Referral Mechanism process on your behalf