Tag Archives: ukvi

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.

Additional Tax questionnaire for Tier 1 Self-Employed ILR applications

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.

April 2015 – NHS surcharge for applicants both inside and outside the UK

The government is set to recoup up to £1.7 billion over the next ten years to help pay for the cost of NHS treatment given to temporary migrants.

The Legislation that came into effect on 6 April means that going forward nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) coming to the UK for longer than six months will be required to pay a ‘health surcharge’ when they make their immigration application.  This surcharge must also be paid by non-EEA nationals already in the UK, who are applying to extend their stay. The surcharge does not apply to Tier 2 Intra-company transferees, Nationals of Australian and New Zealand – below is a detailed list of all exemptions .

The health surcharge is £150 per year for students and £200 per year for all other migrants to whom the surcharge applies. It is payable upfront and for the total period of time for which migrants are given permission to stay in the UK.

So who is to pay the NHS surcharge?

Considering that a migrant worker coming to the UK for 5 years with 2 dependants, is liable for a charge of £3000, which comes on top of the actual visa fees of £3384, the surcharge will act as a very strong deterrent on most migrants. Sponsors are very likely to have to have to pick up the bill which in most occasions will double their HR immigration budget. As the NHS surcharge is non refundable, sponsors may consider including a claw back clause in the migrant’s contract.

Many of our clients have already commented that Tier 2 migrants contribute to the UK economy through taxation. Bearing in mind that they are subject to NI contributions, with this surcharge they will end up paying for the service twice. The Home Office’s response to this is: ‘the intended effect of the surcharge is that a person’s access to healthcare should be in line with their immigration status in the UK. Temporary migrants have not built up the long term contribution to the UK that a British Citizen will have built up and will build up over the course of their lifetime.’

Who is exempt from paying the surcharge?

A summary of exemptions is listed below.

Visitors, and where the grant of entry clearance (permission to stay in the UK) is for 6 months or less.

Intra company transfers (Tier 2 skilled workers).

Children under 18 years taken into care or in the care of a local authority.

Migrants making an application for asylum, humanitarian protection, or a claim that their removal from the United Kingdom would be contrary to article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Victims of human trafficking.

A migrant who applies under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’.

Dependents of a member of Her Majesty’s Forces.

As a dependant of a member of another country’s Forces who is exempt from Immigration Control.

Those making an immigration application related to an EU obligation, such as an application under the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement, are exempt.

Nationals of Australia or New Zealand.

A British Overseas Territory citizen who is the resident of the Falkland Islands.

What about the tourists, do they have to pay the health surcharge too?

No, Tourists travelling on a visitor visa [or EEA nationals] are not be liable for the surcharge. In fact from April 2015 those entering the UK on a visitor visa will be charged 150% of the cost of any medical treatment they receive from the NHS.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on any of the above.

UKBA / UKVI / GOV.UK

On 1 April 2013 the UK Border Agency (UKBA) was split into two separate operational units within the Home Office. The units are:
• UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) – responsible for handling visa applications to come to the UK, applications to extend a stay in the UK on a temporary and permanent basis, applications for asylum, appeals, correspondence and Sponsor management.
• Immigration Enforcement – responsible for investigating immigration offences, detaining and removing individuals with no right to be in the UK, preventing abuse of the immigration system.
It is now anticipated that by March 2014 the unit dealing with UK Visas and Immigration will be have transferred to GOV.UK