24-02-15 – General Election 2015 – Immigration

As you will be aware the general election will be held on Thursday 7th May 2015. It is anticipated to be one of the closest since 1945 with opinion polls and commentators at odds as to which party will win or whether there will be another coalition government. Given the importance of immigration and the ever changing immigration rules, we thought that it would be important to highlight the key immigration policies of the main political parties, which may give an insight into the new immigration changes that could take place after the general election depending on the party/parties elected: L...

19-02-15 – With effect from April 2015 the annual change of Home office fees is expected

Basically, the fees will increase by an average 5 to 10 per cent. However, some prices will change significantly, and not only upwards. For example, the charge for a Representative of an overseas business (in-country extension application) will decrease from £1,093 to £651. Also there is good news for applicants under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) – The Home Office fee will decrease from £1,093 to £562. For applicants under this category applying from abroad the fees will decrease not so significantly, but still considerably: from £874 to £56...

12-02-15 – Home Office Minister admits that spouse migration rules are ‘unfair’ to UK citizens

It is well known how strict and unfair the financial requirements are under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules (earnings of at least £18,600/savings of at least £62,500 for at least a six month period) if a person who is British or holds permanent residence wishes to bring their non-EEA partner to the UK. Unfortunately, an appeal challenging this decision was unsuccessful in July of last year. It is also well known that EEA nationals have far more rights and far less stringent Regulations to meet in order to bring their family to the UK, indeed the Surinder Singh route, whereby...

11-02-15 – Exchange of information and voluntary disclosure

We are now at the start of an era where unprecedented levels of information will be supplied to HMRC in respect of UK residents who have overseas interests.   This will have a major impact on UK tax resident non domiciled individuals 

09-02-15 – New Visit Visa System Announced

Home Secretary, Theresa May, has just announced an overhaul of the visit visa system that will be introduced in April 2015. At present the full Immigration Rule changes have yet to be announced, however the changes can be summarised as follows: The current system of the 15 types of visit visa will be scrapped and will be replaced by 4 types of visit visa; The first type of new visit visa will cover tourists; The second type of new visit visa will cover those wishing to undertake paid engagements, such as appearing in concerts and the theatre; The third type of new visit visa will cover t...

01-02-15 – Biometric Residence Permits for entry the UK

From March 2015 new requirements for non-EEA nationals applying from overseas to enter the UK for more than six months will be introduced. The applicants will need to apply for Biometric Residence Permits (BRP).  The visa application procedure will not change significantly. The only change is that instead of having a visa vignette affixed to the passport showing the full leave period granted, there will be a short validity "travel" vignette. With such vignette the applicant will be able to travel to the UK and collect their BRP. The applicants will receive a letter informing them of the...

29-01-15 – Immigration Act 2014: marriage and civil partnership

We would like to remind you that from 02 March 2015 the marriage and civil partnership notice period will be extended from 15 days to 28 days. All proposed marriages and civil partnerships involving a non-EEA national with limited or no immigration status in the UK, will be referred to the Home Office. If the Home Office has reasonable grounds to suspect a sham marriage or civil partnership, they will be able to extend the notice period in these referred cases to 70 days in order to investigate and take appropriate enforcement or casework action. 

20-01-15 – FOI release: Applications for British Citizenship

In accordance with Freedom of Information Act 2000 the British Government, has published recent  statistics on the number of applications for naturalisation as a British citizens received in the last 5, 10 and 15 years. The following figures are stated: from January 2010 to June 2014 – 899’045 applications from January 2005 to June 2014 г – 1’781’201 applications from January 2000 to June 2014 г – 2’177’440 applications The largest groups of applications by citizenship were from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa...

08-01-15 – Devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

As most clients will have seen in the financial news the Chancellor recently announced that the Government has agreed to the devolution of more powers, including the setting of tax legislation, to parts of the UK. Draft clauses are expected to be published soon; however the types of changes are already known: Scotland will have the control of Income Tax rates and thresholds for income other than dividends to all Scottish taxpayers. The Personal Allowance for UK residents, however, will not be affected. Wales will gain the full devolution of non-domestic (“business”) tax rates wit...

02-12-14 – Autumn Statement: Reform of structure Stamp duty land tax and Non-domiciled individuals

In his Autumn Statement today George Osborne made the following announcements: - He has scrapped the single flat rate system on stamp duty for residential property and moved to a simple progressive system. From midnight tonight each rate will only apply to the part of the property price that falls within that band. The new bands will be: no tax on first £125k 2% on portion up to £250k 5% up to £925K 10% up to 1.5m 12% on everything over that The Chancellor says the changes will benefit 98% of homebuyers. However anybody about to purchase a high value property in ex...