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Tier 1 Investor visa route has been closed

Posted on: February 18th, 2022 by SvetlovaWeb

Tier 1 Investor visa route has been closed to new applicants irrespective of nationality due to security concerns. Home Secretary Priti Patel made the announcement via Twitter on 17 February 2022 taking the unusual step of implementing the change with immediate effect.

People who already have leave to enter or remain as a Tier 1 Investor will be able to extend their stay, if they apply by 17 February 2026, and apply for settlement, provided they do so by 17 February 2028.
 
The findings of the UK Home Office review into the Tier 1 Investor visas issued between 2008 and 2015 have not been published yet. We are expecting the rationale behind the decision.
 
There are suggestions for improvements to the Innovator route which would work more effectively in support of the UK’s economy. The changes to the route are not expected until Autumn 2022, so we continue to exercise caution when advising our clients on alternative routes in order to ensure their relocation plans will be realised efficiently.

If you are impacted by today’s news and need advice on your current Tier 1 status or alternative options, please feel free to reach out to our immigration team.


ЗОЛОТЫЕ ВИЗЫ TIER 1 INVESTOR Прекращены

Posted on: February 18th, 2022 by SvetlovaWeb

«Золотые визы Tier 1 Investor» в Великобританию прекращены. О намерении завершить выдачу Золотых Виз заявили источники в МВД страны.

Британские власти решили таким образом бороться с отмыванием капиталов, а также прекратить проникновение средств и активов, связанных с российскими и другими властями.

«Золотая виза» выдавалась иностранным гражданам с 2008 года. Нужно было инвестировать в экономику Великобритании как минимум 2 млн фунтов стерлингов. Через пять лет, при соблюдении условий проживания и других правил в Великобритании, инвестор получал постоянный вид на жительство, а затем мог податься на гражданство.

С 2015 года с целью борьбы с незаконным капиталом, а также на фоне обострившийся политической ситуации Лондон потребовал аудиторских проверок капиталов, переводимых в Великобританию инвесторами.

Также объявляли о ревизии разрешений, выданных золотых виз с 2008 года. Если находили, что владелец «золотой визы» заработал деньги нечестным путем, его ПМЖ и паспорт аннулировались.

После Brexit привлекательность «золотой визы» упала. С Британским паспортом теперь можно пребывать в странах ЕС без визы лишь с краткосрочными поездками, то есть не более 90 дней за полгода. Если работать в ЕС, то нужно подаваться на рабочую визу и также диплом, полученный в Великобритании нужно подтверждать в органах страны ЕС.

Раньше с инвестором могли претендовать на ПМЖ и гражданство только зарегистрированный супруг или супруга и финансово зависимые дети. Для сравнения, на Мальте вид на жительство и гражданство получает вся семья инвестора, даже бабушки и дедушки.

Ежегодно количество отказов в «золотой визе» британскими властями существенно росло и 17.02.2022 данную визу закрыли.

На данный момент самые привлекательные «золотые визы» сегодня — португальская и мальтийская. Взносы меньше, опций больше.

Если вас затронули сегодняшние новости и вам нужен совет по вашей золотой визе или по альтернативным вариантам, обратитесь к нашим иммиграционным юристам.


Stamp Duty holiday extension

Posted on: March 3rd, 2021 by SvetlovaWeb

As Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his budget today, the stamp duty holiday on house purchases has been extended until the end of June 2021.

Since last summer, property buyers have benefitted from the suspension of stamp duty land tax on the first £500,000 of all sales in England and Northern Ireland. Anyone completing a purchase on a main residence costing up to £500,000 before 30 June 2021 will not pay any stamp duty. More expensive properties would only be taxed on their value above that amount.

The tax break was due to end on 31 March 2021. Under the new extension, it will continue until 30 June 2021.  After this date, the starting rate of stamp duty will be £250,000 until the end of September 2021. Stamp duty will then return to the usual level of £125,000 from 1 October 2021.

The SDLT holiday extension provides significant relief for both buyers and sellers, especially people who have been rushing to complete prior to the end of the SDLT holiday. It will hopefully boost enthusiasm for property purchases again.


The UK’s new points-based immigration system

Posted on: February 5th, 2021 by SvetlovaWeb

Freedom of movement between the UK and EU ended on 31 December 2020. Under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, EU and non-EU citizens are treated equally. With the exclusion of Irish citizens, anyone to be hired from outside the UK will need to apply for permission in advance.*

To hire most eligible workers from outside the UK under the Skilled Worker route, employers need to have a sponsor licence. A total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK. Visa applicants will need to demonstrate that:

  1. they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
  2. the job offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent);
  3. they speak English to the required standard; and
  4. the job offer meets the applicable minimum salary threshold. (Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-further-details-statement/uk-points-based-immigration-system-further-details-statement#annex-e–eligible-occupations-and-going-rates-for-the-skilled-worker-route – Annex E of the UK points-based immigration system: further details statement.)

In addition to the Skilled Worker route, there are other immigration routes to hire workers from outside the UK. Under the Global Talent route, the most highly skilled will be able to enter the UK without a job offer if they are endorsed by a recognised UK body as approved by the Home Office. Employers do not need a sponsor licence to employ a migrant under the Global Talent route. Examples of the approved endorsing bodies are The Royal Society for science and medicine, Arts Council England for arts and culture and UK Research and Innovation for science and research.

Under the Graduate route, international students, who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021, can apply for the Graduate visa to remain in the UK and work at any skill level for two years after completion of their studies. This will be an unsponsored route.

*The new system will not apply to EU employees already working in the UK. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Those eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply by 30 June 2021.


Buy-to-let sales boom before stamp duty holiday ends

Posted on: January 8th, 2021 by SvetlovaWeb

Reaping the benefit of the temporary reduced rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax, Buy-to-let landlords are eager to complete their property purchases before the end of the SDLT holiday on 31 March 2021.

 

Investors have taken up the largest proportion of property sales in four years. According to research conducted by the estate agent Hamptons, in November 2020 landlords made up 15% of buyers in Great Britain, the highest figure since December 2016.  Research shows that the rush to beat the stamp duty holiday has been concentrated in the Midlands and Northern England. As we see the strength of investor purchases up north, during November 2020 just under a quarter (22%) of homes sold in the West Midlands were bought by an investor, followed by 18% in both the North East and North West. In London, the figure stands at 15% in December 2020, up 2% from September 2020.

 

Blackpool was the most popular local authority area for investors, followed by St Helens in Merseyside (where investors made 50% of property purchases), Liverpool (39%), Calderdale in West Yorkshire (36%), and Nottingham (35%).

London did not feature in the top 10, although Lewisham, in the south-east of the city, took top spot in the capital, where 20% of property sales were agreed with investors. (The Guardian)

 

Under the SDLT holiday scheme, stamp duty is exempt on all properties up to £500,000. However, investors are required to pay a 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes worth more than £40,000. Nonetheless, landlords have still been able to reduce their overall bill. Hamptons researches found that as over half of investor purchases were made in cash in November 2020, it appears larger investors were expanding portfolios rather than new investors starting out.


UK Police Registration

Posted on: November 19th, 2020 by SvetlovaWeb

Part 10 of the Immigration Rules requires foreign nationals over the age of 16 from specific countries to register with the police if their visa is issued for longer than six months. Those who are required to register, must go to the police within seven days of arriving in the UK or of obtaining their BRP cards.

You must register with the local police station in your area, and if you live in an area of London which is covered by the Metropolitan Police, you must register your details with the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO).

It is vital that you inform the police if any of the information recorded on your police registration certificate changes. This includes changes in name, address, nationality, employment and passport or identity card details. It is also imperative that the police registration certificate is updated after the issue of any new BRP card. Please note that the above-listed circumstances are not exhaustive.

Nationalities that usually need to register

Nationals of the following countries are usually required to register their details with the police: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Yemen. (Please note that this list changes and is updated from time to time. It cannot therefore be regarded as exhaustive or accurate and you must check the up-to-date list at the relevant time).

You will not need to register if you have dual nationality with one of the listed countries and another country which is not on the list.

You may also need to register if you are stateless, or if you hold a non-national travel document.


The Home Office announced a new Priority service for expedited processing of sponsor licence applications.

Posted on: November 19th, 2020 by SvetlovaWeb

Are you an employer and considering applying for a sponsor licence to enable you to sponsor migrant workers? Good news: Home Office announced a new Priority service for expedited processing of sponsor licence applications.

On 12 November 2020, the Home Office introduced a new paid service for expedited processing of sponsor licence applications,

Once the service is launched, businesses applying for a sponsor licence will have the option to pay an additional fee of £500 to have their application processed within 10 working days.

Under standard processing times, businesses can expect to wait up to eight weeks to receive a decision on their sponsor licence application.

This is the first time a priority service has been offered for sponsor licence applications. Demand for the service is likely to be high as employers start to prepare their business for hiring global talent under the new Points Based immigration system launching on 1 January 2021.

Get support for your sponsor licence application

If your business has not yet applied for a sponsor licence and you think you will want to hire skilled EU or non-EU workers in 2021 and beyond, the Home Office therefore recommend that you apply for a sponsor licence as soon as possible.

Svetlova LLP is experienced in helping businesses in a wide range of sectors. If you wish to apply for an initial sponsor licence or have any questions about your existing licence, please do not hesitate to contact us.

To speak to a member of the team, please contact us on +44 (0)207 129 129 6 , or by email at tsvetlova@svetlovallp.com.

 


The Job Support Scheme (“JSS”)

Posted on: October 23rd, 2020 by SvetlovaWeb

In response to the challenges faced by businesses during the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK Rishi Sunak announced on 22 October 2020 additional governmental support to help employers retain their employees through the Job Support Scheme (JSS) during this winter from 2020 to 2021.

 

The government has implemented new rules by creating a three-tier system with increasing restrictions depending on the designated alert level of the local area. Subject to the eligibility criteria (see below), the JSS is available to small businesses and larger businesses across the UK that can show an impact on revenues. It is specifically aimed at addressing the gap in support for businesses in tier two restrictions such as London and Birmingham.

 

Under the JSS, employers of eligible businesses will have to pay for a minimum of 20% of usual hours worked, and 5% of hours not worked. The government will now fund 62% of the wages for hours not worked. In contrast to the measures announced at the launch of the Winter Economic Plan in September 2020, the JSS more than doubles the maximum payment of the government to £1,541.75 a month. The taxpayers will now go from funding up to 22% of wages to just up to under half of wages.

 

For more information on the eligibility criteria for the JSS and further information, please refer to the policy paper published by the HM Revenue & Customs on 22 October 2020 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme.

 

Svetlova LLP has a wealth of experience advising start-ups and small businesses. Should you require any legal advice in relation to the JSS or your businesses, please contact us on +44 (0)207 129 129 6 and by email at tsvetlova@svetlovallp.com.

 

 


Delayed Increase In Immigration Health Surcharge

Posted on: September 29th, 2020 by SvetlovaWeb

The Immigration Health Surcharge (“IHS”) is a fee levied on the majority of UK visa applications. You are required to make this payment as part of your application or when you book an appointment.

The IHS was meant to increase from  £400.00 to £624.00 per year, effective from 1 October 2020.

However, the original draft order has now been replaced by a new draft order which states that the increase will be effective 21 days after the order takes legal effect. The new draft order has not yet been made, therefore, the increase will certainly not take place on 1 October 2020.

The amended draft order provides an exemption from the IHS for Health and Care Visa applicants. Students, dependants of students, Youth Mobility Visa holders, and anyone under 18 will be eligible to pay a reduced IHS fee of £470.00.

Who has to pay the IHS and who is exempt?

The surcharge must be paid by most applicants and their dependants seeking leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK.

Certain categories of applicants are exempt from paying the IHS, however, including the following:

  • visitor visa or a short term visa holders valid for 6 months or less;
  • those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain;
  • diplomats or a member of visiting armed forces and not subject to immigration control;
  • dependants of a member of the UK armed forces or of an EEA national; or
  • asylum seekers or those applying for humanitarian protection.

If you have any questions in relation to IHS or your visa application please contact Svetlova LLP on +44 (0)207 129 129 6.


Student Route to replace Tier 4 Student visa

Posted on: September 14th, 2020 by SvetlovaWeb

Yesterday, the Home Office announced its plans to close the Tier 4 Student route and replace it with the ‘Child Student’ and ‘Student’ routes.

The changes are being introduced to give effect to the Government’s plan to create a global visa system which applies equally to all individuals coming to the UK to work or study, including EEA nationals. Tier 4 is the first route to be simplified and streamlined.

Student Route will replace the current Tier 4 visa in the new UK’s Points-Based Immigration System on at 9:00 am (British Time) on 5 October 2020.

It will affect Student and Student dependant applications made on or after then, regardless of the date on which a CAS was assigned. Applicants who have a valid CAS issued before 5 October at 9:00 under the Tier 4 route will be able to use it for an application under the Student route.

The Student and Child Student routes will apply to both EEA nationals (as of 1 January 2021) and non-EEA nationals.

What is new?

  1. EEA nationals will be incorporated into a global application system. EEA nationals will be required to meet the same requirements to study within the UK as non-EEA nationals and will need to apply under the Student rules;
  2. Students at higher education providers with a track record of compliance will not routinely be required to provide evidence of academic qualifications used to obtain the offer of sponsorship;
  3. The eight-year time limiton studying courses at postgraduate level has been removed. There is no longer a limit on the time that an individual can spend studying postgraduate courses;
  4. There are increased switching permissions within the study route and increased switching between routes within the Points Based Immigration System. Students will be able to apply for further permission from within the UK, provided they meet the Academic Progression requirement and the new course of study commences within 28 days of the expiry of the current leave;
  5. New Rules on English Language and Finance:
  • Applicants will only be required to prove the required level of English Language once;
  • The Majority English Language country list will also include Malta and Ireland;
  • Applicants who have gained GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK can rely on this to prove their English Language;
  • Maintenance – applicants will no longer be required to meet the maintenance requirement for an extension of their leave if they have been supporting themselves in the UK for more than one year;
  • Applicants will be able to rely on electronic bank statements and they will be able to meet the maintenance requirements by relying on a wider range of accounts; and
  • EEA nationals will be added to the list of those not required to provide documentation to show maintenance from the outset.

A student will be required to meet a minimum of 70 points in order to be awarded Student/Student Child status, i.e.

  • Sponsorship – 50 points;
  • Financial Requirement – 10 points;
  • English Language – 10 points.