Clients should please take note of the following office hours for our London office and the affiliate offices in South Africa, during the Festive Season.
The office will be open during the Festive Season, but with limited hours on the following days;
24, 27, 28 & 31 December 2012, 09h00 – 13h00
Cape Town & Pretoria Affiliate Office
These offices will be closed from 17 December 2012 to 2 January 2013, inclusive. However, please note that the London office will be open during this time, and should be able to assist with most urgent queries.
London office contact details
+44 (0) 845 074 0514
There often seems to be confusion amongst clients about the length of time they are allowed to be abroad, in order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British Citizenship.
Currently, BIC advises that an individual is not absent from the UK for more than a total of 180 days over the five year qualifying period needed for ILR under most routes, with not more than 90 days continuous absence at any one time. At present the day of arrival and the day of departure does not count in adding up your total number of days.
Please note however, that these rules will be reviewed and a new guidance published by the UK Home Office on 13 December 2012.
Once you have obtained ILR, the absences allowed for British citizenship is at present more generous.
You can usually apply for British Citizenship via the naturalisation Route after 12 months on ILR(there are exceptions, notably if you are married or in a civil partnership with a British Citizen amongst other).
To demonstrate the residential requirements for naturalisation under the 5 year route, you must have:
• been resident in the UK for at least five years (this is known as the residential qualifying period); and
• been present in the UK five years before the date of your application; and
• not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the five-year period; and
• not spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months of the five-year period; and
• not been in breach of the Immigration Rules at any stage during the five-year period.
The rules are slightly different for British Citizenship if you are currently on ILR and married or in a civil partnership with a British Citizen. Then the following applies:
In order to demonstrate the residential requirements for naturalisation under the three year route you need to:
• have been resident in the United Kingdom for at least three years (this is known as the residential qualifying period); and
• have been present in the United Kingdom three years before the date of your application; and
• have not spent more than 270 days outside the United Kingdom during the three-year period; and
• have not spend more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom in the last 12 months of the three-year period; and
• have not been in breach of the immigration rules at any stage during the three-year period.
Please contact our offices for clarification re your unique circumstances.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has revoked the London Metropolitan University's licence to sponsor students from outside the EEA, under the Tier 4 of the points-based immigration system in August of this year. According to the UKBA the decision was made, as the university failed to address serious failings in its system, which had been identified more than six months ago.
The implication of this announcement is that London Metropolitan University can no longer sponsor students from outside the EEA with a Tier 4 Visa, as its 'Highly Trusted Sponsor' status are revoked.
London Metropolitan University however challenged the decision, and the High Court in London has ruled earlier this month, that the UKBA's decision was unlawful and a temporary injunction was granted.
This means that existing overseas students and ones who are due to start this term will be allowed to start or continue their studies as long as they are already in the UK and had full immigration status. The university will also be allowed to challenge the ban in court.
Following the decision by, the High Court in London the UKBA has agreed to allow existing genuine students to continue their studies at the London Metropolitan University, until their course has ended or the end of the academic year, whichever is the soonest, provided that the relevant criteria are met.
Concerned students are welcome to contact our offices for assistance. BIC will also update clients as more information becomes available.
Following our earlier warning on immigration scams in which supposed Tier 2 employment are being offered to non-EEA applicants, we would also like to extend the warning to more immigration scams that are coming to light.
The UK Border Agency has released a press release in which they warn persons about the following scams;
• Foreign criminals advertising fake UK jobs on the internet. Individuals that apply are told they have a job and are directed to a link to pay for visa and work permit fees. These websites are not operated by the UK Border Agency. Do not click on any of the links or pay over any monies
• Students at a number of UK universities have received calls from individuals who claim they work for the UK Border Agency, giving a false name and a return phone number. These calls are not from the UK Border Agency. The caller may appear to be genuine and convincing and explain that there is a serious problem with your immigration status, and that you need to send a payment as soon as possible to prevent further action including deportation.
• A request for payment of a deposit as proof that you have sufficient funds to support your arrival in the UK until your first salary is received
The UK Border Agency further said that should you receive a suspicious call, email or come across a suspicious website you can report the matter online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call the Action Fraud line in the UK on 0300 123 2040.
If you are unsure or wary for any reason, please feel free to contact Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants to check out the situation for you.
Our South African clients are often unsure about the amount of money that they are allowed to bring to the UK. Below are some rough guidelines for temporary migrants.
Persons that are leaving South Africa as temporary migrants, i.e. persons who have not formally emigrated through the SA Reserve Bank are inter alia allowed the following:
• R1m per person per annum discretionary allowance in the year they leave, no tax clearance required;
• R4m per person per annum foreign investment allowance subject to tax clearance;
• R4m can be increased on request i.e. to value of new foreign property acquired; and
• A once off R2m relocation of SA movable assets to new country
Please note that there are different allowances for persons immigrating on a formal basis, i.e. obtained a second passport and emigration tax clearance.
As there are various rules and regulations in this regard, we advise that you contact our offices for further assistance.
The UK home secretary, Theresa May was forced to take emergency action after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this week threatened to render illegal thousands of decisions made under Britain's skilled migrant programme.
The Guardian newspaper quoted immigration lawyers as saying that the court ruling represented a 'wholesale collapse of the legal framework of immigration policy in the UK'.
The Supreme Court declared unlawful all the recent changes to the points-based system of skilled migration, visitor visas and family migration rules because it has not been directly approved by Parliament. Changes to lists of shortage occupations, salary and skill levels, as well as advertising requirements are also affected by the ruling.
In reaction to the ruling, the Home Office has put a statement of immigration rule changes before Parliament on 19 July, in order to come into effect on 20 July 2012, in order to safeguard their lawful operation. A guidance will also be issued on visa applications that were refused under the unlawful rules, which could involve cases that date back as far as 2008.
The BBC quoted the Migration Observatory think-tank at Oxford as saying that it was a potentially very significant development that could call into question the validity of immigration rules as a whole.
It is clear from the court ruling that rather than a simplified system that the UK Government was aiming to achieve, the current UK immigration rules are in shambles and more difficult to interpret and apply than ever before. In the light of this, BIC would like to urge clients to now more than ever before seek help with new applications. Furthermore, clients who feel that their visas might have been refused due to the unlawful rule changes must contact BIC for assistance and clarity on the issue.
The UK Home Office has announced that a targeted interview system for students will be introduced during the British Summer that will concentrate on high-risk student visa applicants.
The Home Office said in a statement that students may be interviewed and asked a number of questions about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, as well as financial circumstances. It is expected that up to 14,000 students will be interviewed in the next 12 months and that visas will be refused if the Home Office is not satisfied that someone is a genuine student.
Under the current immigration system UK Border Agency officers are unable to refuse some applications even if they have serious concerns over the credibility of the student. The new system will aim to prevent persons from entering the UK on student visas whom the UK Home Office does not believe to be genuine students.
The UK Home Office has announced that it will accept visa applications for Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme from South Korean nationals from 6 August 2012.
This will enable successful South Koreans nationals between the ages of 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.
500 certificates of sponsorship will be made available.
According to the latest information from the UK Home Office there are 3,989 Tier 2 sponsorship certificates available for allocation in July 2012.
The annual limit of 20,700 certificates of sponsorship (CoS) for Tier 2 are divided in 12 monthly allocations, of 1,725 certificates per month. Unused places are rolled over to the next month.
Due to this roll-over system 2,264 certificates of sponsorships are being rolled over to July 2012, bringing the total number of available certificates for July 2012 to 3,898!
This is thus a golden opportunity for employers who would like to employ non-EU workers on the Tier 2 scheme, as well as for prospective Tier 2 candidates!
Please contact our offices for assistance with your application.
The UK Home Office has announced that from 1 October 2012, the application for any further leave will be refused of persons who have overstayed their leave in the UK by more than 28 days.
This will affect applicants applying for further leave in any of the following categories; the UK points-based system; all working and student routes; visiting routes; long residency routes; discharged HM Forces; and UK ancestry routes.