March 2016 – The statement of changes of the Immigration Rules, which are due to come into effect on 6 April 2016, could bear bad news for those planning to extend their leave or apply for settlement under the family route.
Up to now, when considering the suitability of a FLR (M) / SET (M) applicant, the Home Office would have had to disregard previous ‘deception’ in line with S-LTR.2.2 / S-ILR.2.2.
With so many Tier 1 General ILR applications being refused on the grounds of deception due to discrepancies between earnings declared to the UKVI and earnings declared to the HMRC, we see many applicants choosing to vary their leave under the family route rather than taking the chance of getting their settlement application rejected.
Unfortunately under the amended rules this option may no longer be ‘bullet proof’.
Indeed S-LTR.4.1 and S-ILR.4.1 provide that an application may be refused on the ground of suitability if ‘the applicant has made false representation or failed to disclose any material fact for the purpose of obtaining a previous variation of leave, or in order to obtain a document from the Secretary of State or a third party, required in support of a previous variation of leave’ or ‘the applicant has made false representation or failed to disclose any material fact for the purpose of obtaining a document from the Secretary of State that indicates that he or se has right to reside in the UK …’
With the noose tightening, applicants who may have committed deception unknowingly- which will be the case for most Tier 1 General applicants whose tax declaration would have been made following the recommendations of their accountants without realising the potential repercussions, will find their immigration options limited even further.
March 2016 – Tier 1 G applicants applying for settlement through the Premium Service Centre (previously known as Public Enquiry Office or PEO) may be required to complete an additional form when attending the Centre. Based on our clients’ personal experience, the additional form/questionnaire is issued mainly to self-employed applicants. It is interesting to note that not all self-employed applicants are requested to complete the said questionnaire. The questionnaire is likely to be requested when the Home Office has noted a discrepancy between the amount of tax declared on the applicant’s SA and the amount of earnings declared when first applying or later extending under the Tier 1 G scheme. We find that when an applicant is required to complete the additional questionnaire the application is often referred for further checks.
Home Office Tier 1 SET (O) application tax questionnaire:
The questions asked on the form are as follows:
– 1 During your residence in the UK, have you worked in a self-employed capacity and been registered as self-employed or worked as the director or share-holder of a limited company?
– 2 What is/was the nature of your business as a self-employed person – select between sole trader/contractor/Limited company director or shareholder/ other?
– 3 Please confirm the financial years in which you were registered as self-employed in the UK?
– 4 For the financial years in which you have been registered as self-employed in the UK, please confirm the financial years for which a self-assessment tax return was submitted to the HMRC by you on on your behalf?
– 5 Please specify the type/nature /field of business you engaged in to generate income?
– 6 Did you use an accountant to assist in submitting your self-assessment tax return(s) to HMRC?
– 7 What is the name of the accountant you used?
– 8 Please confirm the type of documents that were used in order for yourself or your accountant to prepare your self-assessment tax returns? invoices/bank statements/ dividend vouchers/ payslips / other
– 9 Are you satisfied that the self-assessment tax returns submitted to HMRC accurately reflected your self-employed income?
Discrepancies between the amount declared to the HMRC and the amount declared to the UKVI are likely to result in an application being rejected on ground of deception.
Future applications for entry clearance or leave to remain is likely to be refused under 320(7b) immigration rules following a refusal on the ground of deception. The ban, which lasts for 10 years, does not apply to family application.
For further information or a copy of the entire questionnaire please contact us.