Immigration Advice Service
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Strategic Immigration Solutions for your Business

Immigration Advice Service has been providing professional immigration services for over 10 years in the public, private and corporate sectors.

A look at the real impact of the current Immigration climate on Businesses of all shapes and sizes. Steps can be taken to prepare and safe guard your staffing and recruitment needs post Brexit. In the first of a series of presentations, IAS [an OISC regulated firm of Immigration Advisors] will present a wider narrative, drawing on their practical experiences of managing Immigration for Businesses of all shapes and sizes, across many differing industry sectors.

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    Coronavirus and Home Office guidance for Visa holders

    The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Home Office has recently released a series of measures to protect and safeguard the health of those living in the UK.

    The recent visa concessions implemented by the Home Office are mainly targeted at those who are in the UK on an expiring permit, or are unable to leave the country because of travel restrictions. This include especially successful British Citizenship applicants, who are now granted more time to book their citizenship ceremony.

    If you are currently in the UK and you need help with any immigration issues, you can receive professional and immediate help from one of our immigration lawyers. Call us on 0333 305 9375  to discuss your case or to arrange a phone or Skype meeting with one of our immigration specialists.

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    What is British Naturalisation

    Naturalisation is the legal process by which a person becomes a national of another country, such as the United Kingdom. Once you become a British national, you will gain the same rights as anyone born in the UK. This includes living and working freely in this country and applying for a British passport.

    British naturalization requirements

    To be eligible for British naturalization, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Have spent at least 5 years of continuous residence in the UK
    • Be a settled person (meaning that you must hold Indefinite Leave to Remain)
    • Meet the B1 CEFR level English language requirements
    • Pass the Life in the UK Test, to demonstrate your knowledge of British customs, traditions and culture
    • Not have been in breach of any UK immigration rules.

    The criteria may vary based on your personal background.

    Can I still naturalise in the UK despite the Covid-19 pandemic?

    At present, the process of applying for British citizenship remains open to all eligible individuals.

    This means that applicants can still complete and submit their requests to the Home Office.

    Successful applicants have now six months to book their British citizenship ceremony, as opposed to the typical three-month period. This ceremony is essential, as it is the last step to legally complete your application and it validates your new acquired status as a British national.

    Currently, the Home Office is considering granting British Citizenship for migrant NHS workers.

    To discuss your options with one of IAS’ OISC-accredited immigration lawyers, you can contact our care team today and book your first advice session with your dedicated adviser.

    New guidelines for short-term visa holders

    The Home Office initially allowed non-EEA nationals who were in the UK during the pandemic and who had overstayed, to obtain an extension of stay until 31st May 2020. However, the Home Office has confirmed that the concession on short-term stays in the UK to Covid-19 came to an end on 21st July 2020. At the moment, it is no longer possible for a person to make an application to extend their stay from inside the UK using this concession.

    If your leave to remain in the UK expires between 24th January 2020 and 31st August 2020, and if you cannot live the UK or switch into another visa category, you will be given a grace period and be allowed to remain in the UK until 31st August 2020. If you cannot leave by this day, you can apply for an exceptional indemnity.

    New guidelines for long-term visa holders

    Those who are in the UK and are eligible to switch into another immigration category can make their application in the usual manner.

    Those who would ordinarily have had to leave the UK to submit their forms overseas because of the rules of their immigration route can benefit from a temporary concession by submitting their application from inside the UK.

    Additional information on the impact of coronavirus on UK Immigration Law

    Reuse of fingerprints

    The UKVCAS service was suspended in full on 27th March 2020, but centres in London and across the UK started to reopen on 1st June 2020.

    UKVI announced that, for some applicants, it may be able to reuse fingerprints previously provided.

    Meanwhile, the Home Office is finalizing a new app – “IDV app”, and eligible applicants should receive further communication from UKVCAS.

    Overseas applications

    It is still possible to submit an online UK Visa application, as several visa application centres overseas have now reopened.

    If your 30-day visa has expired

    If your application made from overseas is successful, you will get a visa which allows you to enter the UK within a 30-day window.

    However, if this timeframe expires before you can travel to the UK, you will have to wait until the end of 2020 to request a free replacement, which will be valid for 90 days.

    Leave to Remain extension for NHS Workers

    The Home Office announced on 31st March that international doctors, nurses and paramedics with a visa expiring by 1st October would get a free one-year extension. The scheme was then extended to cover other frontline workers.

    The Home Affair Committee has confirmed that the extension is available to anyone on the following list of professions:

    • biochemist
    • dental practitioner
    • midwife
    • nurse
    • occupational therapist
    • ophthalmologist
    • paramedic
    • pharmacist
    • physiotherapist
    • podiatrist
    • psychologist
    • social worker

    ILR applications: Excessive absences due to the pandemic

    Although the Home Office has not provided any specific guidance on how it will treat absences due to the coronavirus outbreak, it normally exercises discretion about absences due to exceptional or compelling circumstances.

    At this stage, it is expected that the Home Office will adopt a reasonable approach in cases where the applicant can demonstrate that their absences that exceed the requirements for ILR and British naturalization applications are due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, it is strongly advised a cautious approach, and to retain any evidence of applicants’ circumstances.

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    Advice Package

    Need help with an immigration issue? Book a one-to-one advice session with one of our legal caseworkers.

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    Application Package

    We can complete your visa application on your behalf, taking the stress and hassle out of the process.

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    Fast Track Package

    Need to submit an application quickly? We can help you complete and send it off in as little as 24 hours.

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    Appeal Package

    Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal with our legal support and guidance.

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    The Advice Package

    With our Advice Package, you can book a one-to-one session with one of our legal team and receive bespoke advice tailored for your situation. We will review your case and give you expert advice on how best to proceed with your immigration matter. Reach out to a member of our team and book your session today.

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      The Application Package

      Our Application Package is designed to help relieve the stress of immigration applications. One of our legal caseworkers will help you throughout the entire process, including establishing your eligibility for your chosen route, completing your application form to the highest standards and organising your documents. We will then submit it and monitor its status on your behalf.

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        The Fast Track Package

        Our premium Fast Track Package is ideal if you need to submit an application quickly, such as if you need to meet a tight deadline. Our lawyers will work closely with you to see that your application is completed to the highest standards and ensure you get your application in on time, helping to take the stress and pressure off you.

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          The Appeal Package

          Visa appeals can be a stressful process, especially if you’re relying on a specific visa to be approved. Our legal team can help you navigate the whole process and maximise your chances of a successful appeal, working alongside you to reach a favourable result. We can also represent you in immigration-related hearings and tribunals.

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            We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone. Learn more

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