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Tier 1 – High net worth clients
The UK Tier 1 visa routes are for investors and exceptionally talented individuals. The Tier 1 categories are as follows:
Tier 1 Investor Visa – a route available for individuals of substantial financial means making an investment in the UK. This route allows individuals to move to the UK with their family to live, study and work.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise Visa – for “exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts”.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa This category closed on 29 March 2019. The category remains open to existing entrepreneurs to extend their leave until 5 April 2023 and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain up until 5 April 2025, after which the category will close completely.
Tier 2 – Sponsorship by UK Companies
Tier 2 visas are available for skilled non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants seeking to enter the UK for the purpose of employment.
Tier 4 – Students
Tier 4 of the points-based system covers the different types of visas for students and is divided into the following two subcategories:
Tier 4 (General) Student.
For students aged 16 or over, this subcategory covers students for the duration of their course. The points for attributes under Appendix A of the Tier 4 policy guidance are awarded to applicants seeking entry clearance on the basis of their “Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies” which is issued by the sponsoring education provider.
Tier 4 (Child) Student.
For children aged from 4 to 16 who wish to be educated in the UK and are studying at a fee paying school. Children under the age of 16 will be granted up to six years leave to remain or the duration of the course.
Tier 5 – Temporary Workers
Tier 5 of the points-based system is for people travelling to the UK to work temporarily under a Temporary Worker visa or the Youth Mobility Scheme. This subcategory covers temporary workers from specialist professions to come to the UK to work for periods of both up to 12 months and up to 24 months.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa This category is for overseas national wanting to undertake unpaid voluntary work for a registered charity in the UK.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and sporting) visa This category is for temporary workers within the creative and sporting fields. Sportspersons need to make a significant contribution to their field of sport at the highest level to be eligible. Creative workers must make a unique contribution to the UK labour market – this includes models, musician, actors and actresses in film, television and theatre.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa This category can be used for those seeking entry to the UK for a short period of time to undertake a period of paid work experience such as an internship. There are various approved schemes in operation to facilitate this.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa This category is for those contracted to do work covered by international law while in the UK, for example working for a foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa You may qualify for this category if you want to do religious work, such as preaching or working in a religious order in the UK.
Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa This category is the replacement for the Worker Holidaymaker route. Enabling people from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, as well as British Overseas Territories Citizens or British Nationals (overseas) who are aged 18-30 to experience life in the UK for a period of up to two years.
The Start-up category is for early-stage but high potential entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time. Entrepreneurs in this category can work on their own or as part of an entrepreneurial team. The business may or may not already exist, but should not yet have started trading fully. Applicants can develop entrepreneurial projects in any sector provided the idea is sufficiently innovative, viable and scalable.
The category is not designed for those wishing to join a business already trading in the UK (the Tier 2 skilled work routes may be more appropriate) or to invest in an existing business (the Tier 1 (Investor) category may be more appropriate). Endorsement from an Endorsing body approved by the Home Office
Endorsing bodies consider early-stage proposals from entrepreneurs and provide long-term support to those they endorse. Some may offer financial assistance in exchange for a share in the business.
Endorsing bodies will stay in contact with the business founders they endorse to check on their progress. The endorsing body must be satisfied that applicants are continuing to work on their business ventures. This may impact the outcome of any subsequent Innovator applications.
Endorsing bodies may also withdraw endorsement if they consider progress to be unsatisfactory or find breaches of the conditions attached to the visa. No funds are required for investment in the business but sufficient maintenance funds must be shown for the applicant and their dependants.
The Innovator category, in contrast to the Start-up visa, is for more experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK.
What does the applicant need?
Endorsement from an Endorsing Body.
The criteria for this type of endorsement are similar to those for the Start-up category, although we expect successful applicants to be assessed in line with their greater levels of skill and experience.
Applicants will usually need a minimum of £50,000 available to invest in their business, which will need to be verified by the Endorsing Body. (Note that this funding does not have to come from their endorsing body, although some endorsing bodies may choose to offer it). In addition, the applicant will need to demonstrate maintenance funds for themselves and their dependants.
How long is the visa granted for?
Successful Innovators will be granted leave for 3 years at a time and can bring their family members to the UK. After 3 years, Innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further 3 years or to settle permanently in the UK. Each of these 3 stages (initial application, extension, settlement) requires endorsement from an Endorsing Body.
Can the successful applicant work to support themselves?
Innovators must work entirely on developing their business ventures and may not take on other employment outside of their business. This includes anything which effectively amounts to employment, such as using their own business to hire out their labour to another employer.
Although the Endorsing Bodies have been nominated, so far very few of them, if any, are actually geared up to scrutinise and endorse projects.
Representatives of Overseas Businesses
A sole representative is an employee of an overseas employer who intends to be the ‘sole representative’ of that employer in the UK. This individual must intend to establish a commercial presence in the UK by operating a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK. This UK branch will be expected to operate the same type of business activity as its overseas parent.
This is an employee of an overseas media company, such as a newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organisation, who is being posted by their employer on a long-term assignment in the UK. A media company can have more than one representative in the UK at the same time.
For both categories of applicant, the individual must have been recruited and employed outside of the UK, and must intend to work full-time for their employer whilst in the UK. It should be noted that the applicant must not be a majority shareholder of their employer’s business.
Should the application be successful, the applicant will be granted permission to enter and remain in the UK for up to three years, with the option to extend this leave for another two years. After this five-year period the applicant may wish to consider applying for indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”).
Encouragingly, successful applicants for this visa are allowed to bring dependants (such as a spouse and/or children under the age 18) to the UK with them. This will of course entail various financial requirements, not least because the applicant will not have recourse to public funds.
The applicant will be required to show that they meet the English language requirement. We would be happy to discuss and provide details of what this requirement entails.
Visiting the UK
The requirements for a visit visa depend on the purpose for which you are visiting the UK. You may be required to apply for a visit visa if you are coming to the UK for leisure, to visit friends and family, for business, or to take part in creative or sporting events, to receive private medical treatment or other reasons.
Whether you are required to apply for a visit visa before you travel to the UK depends on your nationality. Not everyone who is coming for a short holiday or to visit friends or family requires a visa. Nationals of countries who do not require a visa to visit the UK are known as non-visa nationals.
If you are a non-visa national you must ensure that you have all of the documents required for a visit visa with you to present at the border.
Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America are eligible to use the e-gates when traveling to the UK as a visitor. However, even if you are a national of one of these countries you must ensure that you still comply with the visit visa rules.
EU nationals and their family members currently benefit from differentarrangements.
Individuals who require a visa before travelling to the UK are known as visa nationals. A list of visa nationals can be found here. It is vital you check whether you require a visa before you travel or you will not be allowed to enter the UK as a visitor.
Ensure you comply with the visit visa rules
In order to obtain a visit visa an applicant will need to show, amongst other things, that they are a genuine visitor. There is often confusion surrounding the visitor visa category – for example, in what circumstances is a visit visa appropriate, what exactly a visitor is able do in the UK and how long a visitor can spend in the UK. Getting this wrong can have serious consequences including stopping the migrant from coming to the UK for up to 10 years.
Working in the UK
The different categories under which an immigrant can work in the UK have been subject to regular change. The current categories are explained below.
Commonly, people still talk of obtaining a “work permit”, however this terminology is now obsolescent, with work permits being for the most part superseded by Tier 2 of the Points-Based System. Some work permits still exist but these are exclusively limited to legacy cases – those who were already on a work permit before the new system was introduced.
These apart, non-UK citizens allowed to work in the UK are split into the following categories:
European Economic Area (EEA) and Icelandic/Norwegian/Swiss Nationals, which includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Points-Based System Workers. This is the main category under which non-EEA citizens can work in the UK.
Turkish Nationals. Although not part of the European Economic Area, Turkish citizens can apply to establish themselves in business in the UK by virtue of the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA). To do so they must apply in the ECAA business category.
Ancestry visas. Commonwealth citizens over 17 with at least one British-born grandparent can apply for an ancestry visa, which allows the applicant to work in the UK.
Visitors. Business visitors, permitted paid engagement visitors, prospective entrepreneurs, entertainers and sportspeople may all obtain short-term visas for entering the UK to conduct limited amounts of work, subject to certain conditions. These visas do not provide long-term employment.
Students. Students come to the UK primarily to study, not to work. A student visa should not therefore be treated primarily as a work visa. Whether or not they can work whilst studying will depend on when they applied for the visa, the level of the course of study, the work they wish to undertake, when they wish to do it and for how long. Conditions attached to working are strictly controlled and the authorities take a very dim view of those who breach the terms of their student visas. The normal rule is that students cannot work full time during term-time, but may do so in vacations. The hours they can work and in what capacity will depend on the course they are undertaking. Those attending NQF Level 6 or above courses at UK higher education institutions can usually work for 20 hours a week in term-time, those studying below that level – for 10 hours a week. Rules are subject to change and students must check the terms attached to their visa when it is granted.
Representative of an Overseas Business. This category is for foreign workers who will act as the sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company or as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK.
UK Ancestry Visas
Commonwealth nationals over the age of 17 who have at least one grandparent who was born in the UK may be eligible to apply for a UK Ancestry visa. If you are intending to apply for a UK Ancestry visa, you must demonstrate that you are able and planning to work in the UK and that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and any dependants without recourse to public funds. You must apply for an Ancestry visa from outside the UK, from the country in which you are usually resident.
A UK Ancestry visa is initially issued for 5 years. At the end of this period, you can either apply to extend your visa, or, if you satisfy the requirements, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (otherwise known as Permanent Residence).
Elite level sport is as diverse as ever in the UK, and our team is on hand to advise clubs, individuals and sports agents on all aspects of the UK’s complex immigration legislation.
Visas for Sportspersons and Coaches
In most instances a non-EEA sportsperson or coach will need to be sponsored by a club under the Home Office’s Point Based System under either Tier 2 or Tier 5. The club will need to have a Sponsor Licence to be able to sponsor a non-EEA sportsperson or coach and for most sports the individual will need to be internationally established and contribute to the ongoing development of sport at the highest level.
Before a club can sponsor a sportsperson or coach under either the Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the Points Based System the individual will need to be endorsed by the Sport’s Governing Body in the UK prior to submission to the Home Office. The individual Sport’s Governing Body determine how internationally established the individual needs to be to be granted an endorsement to play or coach in the UK for that particular sport. The more popular the sport the more internationally established the individual will need to be.
In some instances a professional or amateur sportsperson or official, and personal or technical staff of the sports person or official may be able to enter the UK as a sports visitor, depending on what they will be doing whilst in the UK.
You can apply to bring your dependent family members (i.e. your spouse and any dependent children who are under the age of 18 at the time of application) with you, but you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support them.
We are experienced in advising and acting for our clients in all areas of family law matters with a particular focus on resolving financial matters and protecting the welfare of children during divorce and separation process. We have an excellent team of lawyers who have a reputation for being excellent litigations. We are providing the following services to our loyal clients:
Our legal team have a vast experience in welfare benefits appeals to the First Tier Tribunal and application for leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal. Our dedicated team can assist with reviews, appeals and disputes against any decision made by Jobcentre plus or Tax Office or Child Support agency office or Benefit office.
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We can guide you in any matter or issues arising with local housing authorities, housing applications, tenants, landlords, ownership, repairs and many more. This department also regularly represents clients in the courts, ensuring they receive the highest quality assistance throughout their case.Services for Individuals and/or Landlords:
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A lease (offices and factories etc.) is fairly a specific type of legally binding contract between a business tenant and their landlord. The lease offers the tenant with the right to use the property for a business or other commercial purpose, for a specified period. Business or commercial tenant usually pays rent under this type of contract. We can guide you in any matter or issues arising with local housing authorities, housing applications, tenants, landlords, ownership, repairs and many more.
We have a specific department formed with some skilled and experienced people who have been providing this kind of service to our clients with great successful for long. This department also regularly represents clients in the courts by our instructing Counsel, ensuring they receive the highest quality assistance throughout their case.
The Skilled Worker visa, which has replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa, is the main UK immigration route for non-UK resident workers. Whether you are an employer looking to hire a skilled worker from overseas or are an individual applying for a sponsorship visa, it will be important to understand the Skilled Worker visa eligibility and application requirements to avoid issues or delays with the Home Office application. A refused application will mean you lose the application fee. For skilled workers and their sponsors, with so much at stake, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the migration options available and that the Skilled Worker visa is the correct route. As specialist UK immigration lawyers, we bring substantial experience and recognised expertise in advising employers and workers on UK employment sponsorship and the Skilled Worker visa application. For specialist immigration advice, please contact us.