firm specialising in UK immigration, corporate immigration, visas for sport, nationality, European Union law, human rights law and extradition.
With over 26 years of experience, our London based team of immigration lawyers provide legal representation to international business executives, private and public companies, banks, investors and individuals on their often complex and contentious immigration matters.
Our immigration solicitors offer a comprehensive service for corporate and individual clients covering the full range of applications to enter or remain in the UK including visas for the UK and all applications under the Points-Based System.
The Home Office’s Points-Based System is the UK’s immigration regime relating to those wishing to apply to gain initial admission into the UK and permission to remain for all forms of business and employment related immigration, as well as those who wish to study in the UK.
The Points-Based System
Since its gradual introduction in 2008 and 2009, the Home Office’s Points-Based System has replaced the previous range of immigration routes for those seeking to enter the United Kingdom for employment, to invest in the UK, to set up in business or to study in the UK, although many of the criteria which used to be applicable to those routes continue to operate for qualification under the new system. With a few exceptions entry under the Points-Based System leads to eligibility to apply for settlement and thereafter for UK nationality.
The Points-Based System is comprised of five “Tiers” which are as follows:
Eligibility for entry under the Points-Based System is heralded as being genuinely objective. A key feature of this is the absence of any discretion exercisable by the Home Office’s staff when considering applications for entry clearance and for leave to remain. To this end applicants must prove their entitlement to leave to enter or remain by the production of documents specified by the Secretary of State in guidance published on the Home Office’s website. The Immigration Rules point out that if an application is not accompanied by these specified documents it will not meet the requirements of the Rules.
The requirements for eligibility under each Tier are subject to frequent variation. Keeping abreast of the law is therefore a fulltime occupation and there are many pitfalls for the unwary. Anyone making an application under the Points-Based System is strongly advised to obtain professional legal advice.
Visitors and family visas
There is an ever shortening list of countries from which people can come to visit the UK without having a visa. Even nationals of those countries which are currently not required by the UK to have a visa before they leave their own country are strongly advised to obtain a visa.
People wishing to visit the UK must apply in the category which applies to them individually. The Immigration Rules currently provide for the following twelve categories: general, child, business (which includes “academic visitors”), sports, entertainer, student, prospective entrepreneur, visitors in transit, visitors for private medical treatment, visitors for marriage or to enter a civil partnership, visitors as the parent of a child at school in the UK, and for nationals of the People’s Republic of China under the Approved Destination Status Agreement. Family visitors are included in the general category.
The Immigration Rules additionally provide for applications for visas from spouses, civil, unmarried and same sex partners of British citizens or of people who have indefinite leave to remain who wish to join them in the UK. Similar provisions are made for children of parents and relatives who are British nationals or who have indefinite leave to remain.
European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members
Nationals of the countries comprising the European Economic Area (citizens of the countries comprising the European Union as well as those of Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and their family members (whether or not they are themselves EEA nationals) are not subject to the UK’s Immigration Rules. Instead their admission into and stay in the UK is subject to European Union law, implemented in the UK by the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.