Tag Archives: card

EEA PR & Comprehensive Sickness Insurance

March 2017
EEA PR – the Comprehensive Sickness Insurance Requirement – the Retrospective Effect!

With the Article 50 due to be trigger before the end of the month, many EEA nationals will be keen to file for a document proving their right to reside in the UK permanently as soon as possible.

The longstanding myth that permanent residence is acquired automatically by residing in the UK for a period of 5 years has rendered many EEA nationals oblivious to the true nature of their immigration status.

For many, the requirements to be met, the amount of documentation and information to be submitted in support of their EEA PR application, has come as a complete surprise.

With the Brexit in sight, they are now facing qualifying requirements that they have never been aware of, which are being applied to them retrospectively.

The most controversial of these requirements by far is the need to have held ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’ (CSI) when relying on periods of self-sufficiency or study.

As EEA nationals residing in the UK have access to NHS care, many will be under the impression that this access amounts to having CSI. Unfortunately this is not the case at present.

Realising that access to the NHS will not suffice, applicants will hope to be able to rely on a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by another state member as an alternative to the CSI. The Home Office policy document appears to suggest that in certain circumstances an EHIC (or E111) card would be acceptable as an alternative to having a private CSI when used to obtain a permanent residence document.

The CSI requirement is likely to impact most of the people who have spent all or part of their qualifying time in the UK in a self-sufficient capacity either studying or simply being inactive.

Many scenarios come to mind when considering the devastating effects the lack of CSI could have on applicants and their families.

These include EEA elderly parents who came to the UK to be near their EEA children. Most of them will not have ever worked in the UK and will not have been dependent on their children. Without CSI, the time spent in the UK is unlikely to count toward their permanent residence’s qualifying period. There will also be EEA nationals who took time off work to have a family or care for a loved one or to go on a retreat.
Unfortunately under the current rules, in most cases, the lack of CSI will prove to be an insurmountable obstacle.

Those who do not currently have comprehensive sickness insurance have the following options:

– purchase a Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now so that to start the clock again towards the 5 year qualifying period. This, of course, depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, could turn out to be a complete waste of money;
– become a self-employed person or a worker, again resetting the clock towards permanent residence ;
-stand your ground and wait to see what the Brexit negotations bring. This is by far the bravest option. Although it is likely that something will be put in place to protect EEA nationals who have resided in the UK without having the right of residence either temporarily or permanently, there is no guarantee that this will be the case.

If you need Immigration legal assistance with your EEA PR application, please do not hesitate to contact us.

EEA Permanent Residence

Fast and reliable EEA Permanent Residence Service

EEA Blue Card UK Residence Documentation for a National of an EEA State

EEA PR applications from EEA nationals are currently taking between 4 to 6 weeks from the day of filing.

We offer an express and reliable service which includes:

– checking you qualify under the EEA rules;
– checking that you have completed the form correctly;
– checking you have included the necessary supporting documents;
– drafting your personal statement as well as a covering letter highlighting when you are deemed to have obtain permanent residence in the UK;  and
– ensuring your application is valid.

As part of our service, we will address issues such as criminal records, prolonged and / or unpaid absences, maintenance, self-employment, missing documents, any discrepancies, etc.

Our fees for this service varies between £550 and £750.

This service is available by formal instruction only.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

Travelling without BRP

November 2016 –  The lack of clear published guidance on this particular problem has recently led us to approach the Home Office to seek clarification.

Below you will find verbatim extracts from their answers to our questions.

When asked about re-entering the UK without a BRP after the expiry of the temporary vignette, the Home Office stated: ‘The Border Force Officer (BFO) will undertake various mandatory checks including confirming the passenger’s nationality and identity as stated in a valid passport. The BFO, in absence of a BRP, can verify the immigration status of the passenger using the government database. It the officer is satisfied the passenger can be granted entry and the passport endorsed with an open date stamp and a manual annotation of the BRP’s unique number above the endorsement’…’the passenger will normally be encouraged to collect their BRP before travelling again’.

 Although this seems to indicate that travelling without BRP in these circumstances might be possible, in our experience most BFOs will strongly advise against it.

As airlines are not supposed to carry visa nationals without a valid visa, the guidance states that: ‘ visa nationals are likely to experience significant barriers to returning to the UK as carriers will be reluctant to provide carriage to an individual for whom they may be liable to a penalty. In the case of a isa national who arrives without their card or any other evidence of their continuing leve, unless there has been prior agreement by the port Border Force Higher officer or the Immigration Liaison Managers (ILM) for them to travel, carriers liability action must be considered.

If you need Immigration legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Delays with issuance of BRP cards

November 2016 – Tier 2 Sponsors: How to deal with delays with Biometric Residence Permit issuance.

Under the current process, a sponsor worker coming to the UK for more than 6 months will normally be granted a temporary vignette of 30 days during which they are expected to enter the UK.  Upon entering the country, they will have 10 days to collect their Biometric Residence Permit  (BRP).

Over the last few months we have seen an increasing number of cases when sponsored workers have been unable to collect their BRP before the expiry of the temporary vignette.

This has been particularly problematic for sponsors as they find themselves unable to carry out the right to work checks and as a result run the risk of being found non-compliant with the risks that this entails.

The other issue that has stemmed from the delays is the difficulty, if not altogether the inability, a sponsored migrant faces when travelling out of the UK once their temporary vignette has expired.

The lack of published guidance on this particular issues has led us to approach the Home Office to seek clarification. Below you will find verbatim extracts from their answers to our questions.

Right to Work Checks

 With regard to the Right to Work Checks, we asked the Home Office what their position was when the temporary vignette had expired and the BRP card had yet to be manufactured.  Their answers read as follows:

‘If a migrant has entered the UK with a 30 day vignette but this has expired before their BRP has been manufactured, an employer will be able to establish the migrant’s continuing entitlement to work by contacting the Home Office employer checking service. An employer who holds a certificate of sponsorship in respect of a migrant who has been admitted to the UK with a 30 day vignette will know that production of a BRP is in train’.

When we enquired whether a sponsor should consider suspending an employee until the card is manufactured / ready for collection / delivered, the Home Office re-iterated:

‘ The sponsor has a responsibility to ensure the migrants they employ have the right to work in the UK. In a case in which the manufacture of a BRP has been delayed beyond the expiration of the 30 day vignette, the employer will be able to confirm that the migrant has a continuing right to work in the UK by contacting the employer checking service. An employer who has sponsored a Tier 2 migrant worker to enter the UK will have issued a certificate of sponsorship, will know that production of a BRP is underway and may not therefore need to contact the employer checking service’ 

We also asked what would happen during a PBS audit if a sponsor was unable to produce a copy of the BRP as the result of the manufacturing delays.  The Home Office referred to the caseworkers guidance, which states:

Employers must keep copies of passports and biometric residence permits for all sponsored migrants to comply with their record keeping duties as a sponsor’.

Unfortunately, the guidance does not deal specifically with occasions where production and delivery of a BRP is delayed. The Home Office have however indicated that they encourage pragmatism in their officers when conducting visits and collating and gathering evidence of compliance.  They further commented:

‘ where there has been a legitimate delay we would seek to seeking to obtain evidence of that delay, for example by the way of correspondence and to ensure that the sponsor has a recordable audit trail of the issue. This would then be followed up by the visiting officer post visit. Verification of leave status is fundamental and standard part of all of our visiting activity’.

In terms of the Immigration status of a migrant once the temporary vignette has expired, the Home Office confirmed that:

‘if production of a BRP has been delayed beyond the expiry of the vignette, the migrant still has the benefit of the full period of leave granted to them’.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

British Citizenship for EEA applicants. Date of issuance of PR card not always relevant.

January 2016 – Under the British Nationality Act 1981 to qualify for British citizenship an applicant must show, amongst other things, that he or she is settled in the UK (i.e. he or she is free from any immigration restriction on the period for which he or she might remain in the UK).

Under normal circumstances, citizens of EU and EEA countries and their family members automatically gain permanent residence after exercising their treaty rights in the UK for 5 years.

Until November 2015, citizens of EU and EEA countries, who had automatically gained permanent residence in the UK, could apply for naturalisation providing that they could show that they had been free from immigration restriction for at least 12 months prior to filing for British citizenship.

Pursuant of British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015, citizens of EU and EEA countries are now required to apply for a permanent residence card before they can apply for British citizenship.  To do so, they are expected to complete the 85 page long EEA (PR) form and pay a processing fee of £65 per applicant.

Bearing in mind that the EEA Caseworking is taking on average 6 months, this additional requirement is going to extend the naturalisation process, which is by nature already a very protracted exercise, considerably.

Over the last few months, many of our clients were advised by the UKVI’s helpline and some of the Nationality Checking Centres that they would have to wait 12 months from obtaining their PR card before being able to file for naturalisation. The rational being that the PR card would in essence recognise their permanent residence only from the date of the card’s issuance rather than from the date they became permanent resident automatically by operation of EU law.

For instance, a Spanish national working in the UK since 2000 but issued with a PR card in 2015 would have to wait until 2016 to qualify for British Citizenship.

This interpretation of the regulations seemed to be at odds with EU Free movement law and needed to be clarified.

Following a recent FOI request the nationality policy team have now confirmed that permanent residence is acquired following 5 years of residence in accordance with the EEA Regulations and not on the date the residence card is issued. The date an applicant is deemed to have acquired permanent residence is recorded on the UKVI’s database and will be noted by the caseworker processing the naturalisation application.  It would appear that this information has yet to filter down to the army of staff dealing with ad-hoc enquiries.

 

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Risks of travelling to the UK without your BRP card

 August 21015 – BRP Holders beware! 

 

With the in-country BRPs taking between 3-10 working days to be issued and overseas applicants having 10 days from arrival in the UK to collect their BRPs, many of you may be tempted to travel prior to receiving your card. This may also be the case when your card has been lost, stolen and as a result of work commitments you simply have not had the time to request a replacement card before travelling. For those in this situation, your main concern will be whether or not you will be allowed to re-enter the UK and if so, will it be in your given immigration category rather than as a tourist. This is, of course, very pertinent, since should you be allowed back in the country as a tourist, your previous leave would be superseded and the permission (to work for instance) attached to it would lapse.

 

According to the current Border Force Manual, passengers arriving without BRPsshould be issued with form IS81 and be required to provide their fingerprints…… Upon verification of the individual’s identity and status their passport can be endorsed with an open date stamp…If the passenger has had their BRP stolen or lost, they do not hold any evidence of the leave they have been granted or the conditions of their leave and under the UK Borders Act 2007 are required to obtain a replacement BRP, within three months of notification. Those individuals who do not apply for a replacement BRP may be subject to a civil penalty of up to the maximum of £1000 if they do not comply. ‘

 

Based on the Manual’s instructions, as long as your ID and status can be verified you should be allowed back into the UK without jeopardising your immigration status. That is, of course, not guaranteed as ultimately the decision will be at the discretion of the IO at the port considering the particulars of your circumstances. In any case those who reported their card as lost or stolen over 3 months ago, will still run the risk of being fined up to £1000.

 

Visa nationals, however, are very likely to experience significant barriers to returning to the UK, as carriers will be reluctant to provide carriage to an individual for whom they may be liable to a penalty.

 

Indeed, the Border Force Manual provides that: ‘In the case of a visa national who arrives without their card or any other evidence of their continuing leave, unless there has been prior agreement by the port HO or the ILM for them to travel, Carriers Liability action must be considered.’

 

BRP holders are recommended to keep their passports and BRP cards secured at all times. It would also be highly advisable to carry a copy of their documents when travelling abroad as well.

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general guidance on matters of interest only. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Accordingly, the information on this site and in this article is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice and services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult Entry Clearance Services Ltd.

EEA Premium Service Centre Appointments

Urgent Home Office appointments for EEA / Croatian applicants – Registration Certificate – Yellow, Purple and Blue certificate for Croatian nationals.

Biometric premium appointments can be obtained by an applicant via  the UKVI’s website. If you are unable to secure a premium appointment, we may be able to assist. Our fees to secure an appointment on your behalf is £250 per person plus disbursements (mainly the UKVI’s fees), if applicable. As the Home Office only release 7 EEA premium appointments per day, EEA appointments are often extremely scarce. Accordingly you will need to be willing to attend any appointment we manage to secure on your behalf as cancelling is not an option.

We would advise you to please only consider using this service where you are certain that you will be able to keep to the appointment allocated.

Family/multiple slots are extremely rare, accordingly clients are advised to contact us as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Securing an appointment is only part of the service we offer. Additional costs will occur if  you need Immigration Legal advice as well.