Page 1

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

05

useful information

CHinese Visitors reaDY to Join olYmPiC PartY With the anticipated surge of spectators and visitors travelling to the UK for the London 2012 Games, the UKBA is looking forward to welcoming a high proportion of tourists from China. The United Kingdom is an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists and over the past 2 years there has been phenomenal growth in the number of visitor visas issued. In the first 9 months of 2011 the Visa Sections in China issued over 150,000 visitor visas to Chinese nationals – almost double the number issued in the same period in 2009. The vast majority of general visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals are genuine and therefore approved by the British authorities. In 2011, 94% of all visit visa applications were issued. For Chinese nationals planning to travel to the UK during the Olympic period as a spectator or visitor, a visa issued prior to travel is required (unless the individual is an ‘accredited member’ of the official Olympic delegation). The UK authorities have confirmed that there will not be any restriction on the number of visas issued during the Olympic period. Whilst all applications should be processed within 15 working days, Smith Stone Walters recommends that anyone wishing to visit the UK during this period do apply for their visa as soon as possible.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters today in relation to our visa management services including our management of inbound China and Hong Kong visa application processes.

smitH stone Walters HonG KonG – HaPPY BirtHDaY! Our Hong Kong-based company has now been established for 1 year. From offices based in Central district, our dedicated team of experienced staff are providing local and unrivalled immigration support services to those clients seeking to transfer to the UK, Hong Kong or the Chinese mainland. The team looks forward to supporting many more clients during 2012, the Year of the Dragon.

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

focus

To give clients clear and concise information every quarter we focus on a key issue of UK immigration law. Our focus for this quarter falls upon...

UK:

USA:

Hong Kong:

Smith Stone Walters Ltd Title House 33-39 Elmfield Road Bromley, Kent, BR1 1LT

Smith Stone Walters 111 John Street Suite 800 New York, NY, 10038

Smith Stone Walters Level 21 The Center 99 Queen’s Road Central Central, Hong Kong

Tel: +44 (20) 8461 6660 Fax: +44 (20) 8461 6661 Email: info@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +1 646 378 4406 Fax: +1 646 378 4409 Email: usa@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +852 3478 3757 Email: hk@ smithstonewalters.com

spring 12

Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

Settlement

Pick of the crop –

From 29 February legislation has taken effect to require all forms of leave to remain granted to non-EEA nationals to be evidenced by a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Effectively, this translates into meaning all migrant workers seeking to extend their stay in the UK will be issued a biometric ID card. This new ruling also applies to those applicants applying for settlement in this country.

UK Immigration gets selective

Settlement is the right to reside and work in the UK without restriction. Foreign nationals can apply to settle after residing here for a certain period – for economic migrants, usually five years. Settled migrants enjoy most of the same rights and access to services and benefits as British citizens (including the right to sponsor immigration applications). However, they cannot vote, and if they were to leave the UK for more than two years they would likely be required to apply for permission to return to this country.

When Can I Apply for Settlement? Foreign nationals must have spent a continuous period lawfully in the UK and must meet the criteria specified in the guidance. The application should be made before the individual’s current visa permission ends, but no more than 28 days before the end of the ‘five year’ qualifying period. When applying, the applicant will need to show a good knowledge of language and life in the UK.

Are Absences from the UK an Issue? When assessing whether an applicant has met the criteria for five years continuous residence in the UK, short absences abroad may be disregarded, provided the applicant has clearly

in tHis issue 01 02

03

What is Settlement?

04 continued to be based in the UK. For example: Holidays (consistent with annual paid leave) Short business trips (consistent with maintaining employment in the UK). Where there have been longer absences abroad, provided the absences were for compelling grounds either of a compassionate nature or for reasons related to the applicant’s employment or business in the UK, discretion may be applied. However, no single absence abroad must be for more than three months at a time and any periods of long absence must not total more than six months. If the example is work related, evidence will need to be submitted to show that it would have serious implications for the employer or business if the travel had not been undertaken.

Applying for Settlement Online filing of applications for settlement is now possible via the UKBA website, although a secondary part of this process still

requires applicants to book and attend an appointment to provide biometric data (i.e. fingerprinting). For an additional fee, the UK Public Enquiry Offices do offer a premium application processing service which usually allows the applicant to secure a decision (and new biometric ID card) within one week.

Contact Smith Stone Walters today for further information on services offered to clients seeking UK settlement

05

This publication is not meant to be used as a substitute for proper professional advice based on the facts of a particular transaction as it is not intended to be a complete coverage of the subject. Smith Stone Walters Limited accepts no liability for any action taken based on the contents of this publication.

04

editorial:

Move Toward a Selective UK Immigration Policy latest news:

Welcomed News! Graduates to Benefit from Tier 2 Concession New Post Study Entrepreneur Visa Category English Language Test Concession to End latest news:

Maintenance Requirements Set to Increase London 2012 Games – Temporary Heathrow Terminal useful information:

Chinese Visitors Ready to Join Olympic Party Smith Stone Walters Hong Kong – Happy birthday! focus on:

Settlement


spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

02

Image courtesy of UK Home Office

In a recent speech made by the Immigration Minister, the Government’s intention to create a selective immigration system was made clear. During his speech at the Policy Exchange, Damian Green said: “The main point I make today is that everyone who comes here must be selected to make a positive contribution. That is at the heart of our commitment to reduce net migration. We have talked in the past about a Points Based System; in the future it will be more accurate to talk about a ‘Contribution Based System’. Whether you come here to work, study or get married, we as a country are entitled to check that you will add to the quality of life in Britain.”

Most welcomed of all is the news that in these types of cases, employers will not be required to complete a resident labour market test and the jobs will not be subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 numbers.

Constant Theme The Government continues to maintain a vision of attracting just the ‘brightest and the best’ migrants. Whilst this rhetoric clearly gains support from the ordinary man on the street, such a policy should not become too exclusive. Since the introduction of the Tier 1 ‘Entrepreneur’ visa route last April, only a handful of overseas nationals have sought to gain entry via this particular visa category. The planned restrictions on residency and family admission will also deter or prevent migrants from making the UK their home. We therefore welcome the contrasting introduction of new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General) – see page 2 of this Insight. The Coalition would be wise to consider announcing other such policies to ensure UK businesses’ ability to employ talented skilled labour is not squeezed dry in the UK or abroad.

For advice in relation to all UK immigration matters, speak to Smith Stone Walters today.

Category

Existing level of funds required

New level of funds required

Tier 1 Migrants

£2,800 for entry clearance applications

£3,100 for entry clearance applications

Tier 2 Migrants and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrants

£800

£900

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Migrants

£1,600

£1,800

Dependants of Tier 1, 2 and 5 Migrants

£1,600 for dependants of Tier 1 Migrants who have been in the UK the UK for less than 12 months

£1,800 for dependants of Tier 1 Migrants who have been in for less than 12 months

£533 for all other applicants

£600 for all other applicants

The level of funds required for Tier 4 student applications are also set to increase. However, Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrants and their dependants will continue to be exempt from the maintenance requirement.

lonDon 2012 Games – temPorarY HeatHroW terminal

Whilst Mr Green stated ‘top of the range’ professionals would be welcomed from overseas, he chose in his speech to state middle managers were not the type of migrant workers needed in the UK. As expected, a definition as to what constitutes a middle manager was not forthcoming. However, this does suggest a rise in the Tier 2 qualifying criteria is imminent as well as a greater emphasis being placed on employers justifying the recruitment of qualified overseas staff. In line with the recent consultation on employment-related settlement, Mr Green also advised that the system will become more selective by breaking the link between coming to work in the UK and staying on permanently. In the future, we can therefore expect UK settlement status only to be offered to the brightest and best by using pay as the key selection criteria. Revised UK settlement qualification criteria will include the need for the migrant to evidence being in receipt of a minimum salary level of £35,000 from 2016.

Since the introduction of the points-based system, migrants have needed to demonstrate they can support themselves by showing they hold prescribed amounts of maintenance funds. These amounts are set to change from April 2012 to the following:

Graduates with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD, or a PGCE or a PGDE, from a UK recognised or listed body, shall be able to switch into Tier 2 (General) once they have been awarded their qualification. Normal Tier 2 requirements will of course apply (i.e. the candidate must hold an offer of a skilled job and be paid at least £20,000 or the minimum appropriate rate).

latest neWs

eDitorial

No More Middle Managers

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

maintenanCe reQuirements set to inCrease

With the imminent demise of the Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa route which shall no longer be available to overseas graduates from April 2012, the Home Office has introduced new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General).

The precise details of the selection criteria and policy of the new Contribution Based System is still being worked through. Nonetheless, in recent UK Border Agency led consultation exercises and in this speech, a clear message has been sent regarding the need for migrants to demonstrate financial independence. It is therefore clear that designated minimum salary levels will play a key part in determining whether:

In respect of spouses seeking to be reunited in the UK with their immediate family, a minimum salary requirement between £18,600 and £25,700 is likely to be set on the sponsor’s income. Considering recent Human Rights legal clashes, it takes a bold or foolish Government to now effectively decree that a lawful resident of this country is only entitled to live in the UK with his/her spouse so long as their income is above a certain level.

03

WelComeD neWs! GraDuates to Benefit from tier 2 ConCession

moVe toWarD a seleCtiVe uK immiGration PoliCY

Family members (including spouses) are allowed to enter the UK Skilled workers will be able to acquire UK settlement following a period of residence.

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

latest neWs

01

neW Post stuDY entrePreneur Visa CateGorY A new visa program, the Tier 1 Post Study Entrepreneur Visa, has also been unveiled by the UKBA. This new application type shall allow 1000 foreign students with proven entrepreneurial flair to remain in the UK for up to two years following graduation in order to develop their business ideas. Students who have been identified as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills will be able to apply for the new visa as long as they are sponsored by their Highly Trusted Sponsor (i.e. university) from which they graduated.

enGlisH lanGuaGe test ConCession to enD From 6 April 2012, Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 2 migrants will no longer be able to apply for permission to stay in the UK before they have taken or received the results of an English language test. Current policy permits migrants to make a visa application for leave to remain before they had taken an English language test or received the results. However, the UKBA now believe there to be sufficient English Language test availability to meet demand and migrants should now be able to take a test in good time before needing to make a leave to remain application. Visa applications made after 6 April 2012 must therefore be accompanied with evidence that applicants have passed an approved English language test.

Plans to build a temporary Games Terminal at Heathrow for use by Olympic athletics on departure from the UK have been announced. The £20 million Games Terminal will operate between 13th and 15th August, and is expected to divert up to 10,100 people and 37,900 bags from other terminals. Heathrow is predicting that the day after the Olympics closing ceremony, the 13th, will be the busiest in the airport’s history with an expected increase of 35% in passenger numbers.


spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

02

Image courtesy of UK Home Office

In a recent speech made by the Immigration Minister, the Government’s intention to create a selective immigration system was made clear. During his speech at the Policy Exchange, Damian Green said: “The main point I make today is that everyone who comes here must be selected to make a positive contribution. That is at the heart of our commitment to reduce net migration. We have talked in the past about a Points Based System; in the future it will be more accurate to talk about a ‘Contribution Based System’. Whether you come here to work, study or get married, we as a country are entitled to check that you will add to the quality of life in Britain.”

Most welcomed of all is the news that in these types of cases, employers will not be required to complete a resident labour market test and the jobs will not be subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 numbers.

Constant Theme The Government continues to maintain a vision of attracting just the ‘brightest and the best’ migrants. Whilst this rhetoric clearly gains support from the ordinary man on the street, such a policy should not become too exclusive. Since the introduction of the Tier 1 ‘Entrepreneur’ visa route last April, only a handful of overseas nationals have sought to gain entry via this particular visa category. The planned restrictions on residency and family admission will also deter or prevent migrants from making the UK their home. We therefore welcome the contrasting introduction of new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General) – see page 2 of this Insight. The Coalition would be wise to consider announcing other such policies to ensure UK businesses’ ability to employ talented skilled labour is not squeezed dry in the UK or abroad.

For advice in relation to all UK immigration matters, speak to Smith Stone Walters today.

Category

Existing level of funds required

New level of funds required

Tier 1 Migrants

£2,800 for entry clearance applications

£3,100 for entry clearance applications

Tier 2 Migrants and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrants

£800

£900

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Migrants

£1,600

£1,800

Dependants of Tier 1, 2 and 5 Migrants

£1,600 for dependants of Tier 1 Migrants who have been in the UK the UK for less than 12 months

£1,800 for dependants of Tier 1 Migrants who have been in for less than 12 months

£533 for all other applicants

£600 for all other applicants

The level of funds required for Tier 4 student applications are also set to increase. However, Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrants and their dependants will continue to be exempt from the maintenance requirement.

lonDon 2012 Games – temPorarY HeatHroW terminal

Whilst Mr Green stated ‘top of the range’ professionals would be welcomed from overseas, he chose in his speech to state middle managers were not the type of migrant workers needed in the UK. As expected, a definition as to what constitutes a middle manager was not forthcoming. However, this does suggest a rise in the Tier 2 qualifying criteria is imminent as well as a greater emphasis being placed on employers justifying the recruitment of qualified overseas staff. In line with the recent consultation on employment-related settlement, Mr Green also advised that the system will become more selective by breaking the link between coming to work in the UK and staying on permanently. In the future, we can therefore expect UK settlement status only to be offered to the brightest and best by using pay as the key selection criteria. Revised UK settlement qualification criteria will include the need for the migrant to evidence being in receipt of a minimum salary level of £35,000 from 2016.

Since the introduction of the points-based system, migrants have needed to demonstrate they can support themselves by showing they hold prescribed amounts of maintenance funds. These amounts are set to change from April 2012 to the following:

Graduates with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD, or a PGCE or a PGDE, from a UK recognised or listed body, shall be able to switch into Tier 2 (General) once they have been awarded their qualification. Normal Tier 2 requirements will of course apply (i.e. the candidate must hold an offer of a skilled job and be paid at least £20,000 or the minimum appropriate rate).

latest neWs

eDitorial

No More Middle Managers

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

maintenanCe reQuirements set to inCrease

With the imminent demise of the Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa route which shall no longer be available to overseas graduates from April 2012, the Home Office has introduced new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General).

The precise details of the selection criteria and policy of the new Contribution Based System is still being worked through. Nonetheless, in recent UK Border Agency led consultation exercises and in this speech, a clear message has been sent regarding the need for migrants to demonstrate financial independence. It is therefore clear that designated minimum salary levels will play a key part in determining whether:

In respect of spouses seeking to be reunited in the UK with their immediate family, a minimum salary requirement between £18,600 and £25,700 is likely to be set on the sponsor’s income. Considering recent Human Rights legal clashes, it takes a bold or foolish Government to now effectively decree that a lawful resident of this country is only entitled to live in the UK with his/her spouse so long as their income is above a certain level.

03

WelComeD neWs! GraDuates to Benefit from tier 2 ConCession

moVe toWarD a seleCtiVe uK immiGration PoliCY

Family members (including spouses) are allowed to enter the UK Skilled workers will be able to acquire UK settlement following a period of residence.

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

latest neWs

01

neW Post stuDY entrePreneur Visa CateGorY A new visa program, the Tier 1 Post Study Entrepreneur Visa, has also been unveiled by the UKBA. This new application type shall allow 1000 foreign students with proven entrepreneurial flair to remain in the UK for up to two years following graduation in order to develop their business ideas. Students who have been identified as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills will be able to apply for the new visa as long as they are sponsored by their Highly Trusted Sponsor (i.e. university) from which they graduated.

enGlisH lanGuaGe test ConCession to enD From 6 April 2012, Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 2 migrants will no longer be able to apply for permission to stay in the UK before they have taken or received the results of an English language test. Current policy permits migrants to make a visa application for leave to remain before they had taken an English language test or received the results. However, the UKBA now believe there to be sufficient English Language test availability to meet demand and migrants should now be able to take a test in good time before needing to make a leave to remain application. Visa applications made after 6 April 2012 must therefore be accompanied with evidence that applicants have passed an approved English language test.

Plans to build a temporary Games Terminal at Heathrow for use by Olympic athletics on departure from the UK have been announced. The £20 million Games Terminal will operate between 13th and 15th August, and is expected to divert up to 10,100 people and 37,900 bags from other terminals. Heathrow is predicting that the day after the Olympics closing ceremony, the 13th, will be the busiest in the airport’s history with an expected increase of 35% in passenger numbers.


spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

02

Image courtesy of UK Home Office

In a recent speech made by the Immigration Minister, the Government’s intention to create a selective immigration system was made clear. During his speech at the Policy Exchange, Damian Green said: “The main point I make today is that everyone who comes here must be selected to make a positive contribution. That is at the heart of our commitment to reduce net migration. We have talked in the past about a Points Based System; in the future it will be more accurate to talk about a ‘Contribution Based System’. Whether you come here to work, study or get married, we as a country are entitled to check that you will add to the quality of life in Britain.”

Most welcomed of all is the news that in these types of cases, employers will not be required to complete a resident labour market test and the jobs will not be subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 numbers.

Constant Theme The Government continues to maintain a vision of attracting just the ‘brightest and the best’ migrants. Whilst this rhetoric clearly gains support from the ordinary man on the street, such a policy should not become too exclusive. Since the introduction of the Tier 1 ‘Entrepreneur’ visa route last April, only a handful of overseas nationals have sought to gain entry via this particular visa category. The planned restrictions on residency and family admission will also deter or prevent migrants from making the UK their home. We therefore welcome the contrasting introduction of new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General) – see page 2 of this Insight. The Coalition would be wise to consider announcing other such policies to ensure UK businesses’ ability to employ talented skilled labour is not squeezed dry in the UK or abroad.

For advice in relation to all UK immigration matters, speak to Smith Stone Walters today.

Category

Existing level of funds required

New level of funds required

Tier 1 Migrants

£2,800 for entry clearance applications

£3,100 for entry clearance applications

Tier 2 Migrants and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrants

£800

£900

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Migrants

£1,600

£1,800

Dependants of Tier 1, 2 and 5 Migrants

£1,600 for dependants of Tier 1 Migrants who have been in the UK the UK for less than 12 months

£1,800 for dependants of Tier 1 Migrants who have been in for less than 12 months

£533 for all other applicants

£600 for all other applicants

The level of funds required for Tier 4 student applications are also set to increase. However, Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrants and their dependants will continue to be exempt from the maintenance requirement.

lonDon 2012 Games – temPorarY HeatHroW terminal

Whilst Mr Green stated ‘top of the range’ professionals would be welcomed from overseas, he chose in his speech to state middle managers were not the type of migrant workers needed in the UK. As expected, a definition as to what constitutes a middle manager was not forthcoming. However, this does suggest a rise in the Tier 2 qualifying criteria is imminent as well as a greater emphasis being placed on employers justifying the recruitment of qualified overseas staff. In line with the recent consultation on employment-related settlement, Mr Green also advised that the system will become more selective by breaking the link between coming to work in the UK and staying on permanently. In the future, we can therefore expect UK settlement status only to be offered to the brightest and best by using pay as the key selection criteria. Revised UK settlement qualification criteria will include the need for the migrant to evidence being in receipt of a minimum salary level of £35,000 from 2016.

Since the introduction of the points-based system, migrants have needed to demonstrate they can support themselves by showing they hold prescribed amounts of maintenance funds. These amounts are set to change from April 2012 to the following:

Graduates with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD, or a PGCE or a PGDE, from a UK recognised or listed body, shall be able to switch into Tier 2 (General) once they have been awarded their qualification. Normal Tier 2 requirements will of course apply (i.e. the candidate must hold an offer of a skilled job and be paid at least £20,000 or the minimum appropriate rate).

latest neWs

eDitorial

No More Middle Managers

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

maintenanCe reQuirements set to inCrease

With the imminent demise of the Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa route which shall no longer be available to overseas graduates from April 2012, the Home Office has introduced new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General).

The precise details of the selection criteria and policy of the new Contribution Based System is still being worked through. Nonetheless, in recent UK Border Agency led consultation exercises and in this speech, a clear message has been sent regarding the need for migrants to demonstrate financial independence. It is therefore clear that designated minimum salary levels will play a key part in determining whether:

In respect of spouses seeking to be reunited in the UK with their immediate family, a minimum salary requirement between £18,600 and £25,700 is likely to be set on the sponsor’s income. Considering recent Human Rights legal clashes, it takes a bold or foolish Government to now effectively decree that a lawful resident of this country is only entitled to live in the UK with his/her spouse so long as their income is above a certain level.

03

WelComeD neWs! GraDuates to Benefit from tier 2 ConCession

moVe toWarD a seleCtiVe uK immiGration PoliCY

Family members (including spouses) are allowed to enter the UK Skilled workers will be able to acquire UK settlement following a period of residence.

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

latest neWs

01

neW Post stuDY entrePreneur Visa CateGorY A new visa program, the Tier 1 Post Study Entrepreneur Visa, has also been unveiled by the UKBA. This new application type shall allow 1000 foreign students with proven entrepreneurial flair to remain in the UK for up to two years following graduation in order to develop their business ideas. Students who have been identified as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills will be able to apply for the new visa as long as they are sponsored by their Highly Trusted Sponsor (i.e. university) from which they graduated.

enGlisH lanGuaGe test ConCession to enD From 6 April 2012, Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 2 migrants will no longer be able to apply for permission to stay in the UK before they have taken or received the results of an English language test. Current policy permits migrants to make a visa application for leave to remain before they had taken an English language test or received the results. However, the UKBA now believe there to be sufficient English Language test availability to meet demand and migrants should now be able to take a test in good time before needing to make a leave to remain application. Visa applications made after 6 April 2012 must therefore be accompanied with evidence that applicants have passed an approved English language test.

Plans to build a temporary Games Terminal at Heathrow for use by Olympic athletics on departure from the UK have been announced. The £20 million Games Terminal will operate between 13th and 15th August, and is expected to divert up to 10,100 people and 37,900 bags from other terminals. Heathrow is predicting that the day after the Olympics closing ceremony, the 13th, will be the busiest in the airport’s history with an expected increase of 35% in passenger numbers.


spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

05

useful information

CHinese Visitors reaDY to Join olYmPiC PartY With the anticipated surge of spectators and visitors travelling to the UK for the London 2012 Games, the UKBA is looking forward to welcoming a high proportion of tourists from China. The United Kingdom is an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists and over the past 2 years there has been phenomenal growth in the number of visitor visas issued. In the first 9 months of 2011 the Visa Sections in China issued over 150,000 visitor visas to Chinese nationals – almost double the number issued in the same period in 2009. The vast majority of general visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals are genuine and therefore approved by the British authorities. In 2011, 94% of all visit visa applications were issued. For Chinese nationals planning to travel to the UK during the Olympic period as a spectator or visitor, a visa issued prior to travel is required (unless the individual is an ‘accredited member’ of the official Olympic delegation). The UK authorities have confirmed that there will not be any restriction on the number of visas issued during the Olympic period. Whilst all applications should be processed within 15 working days, Smith Stone Walters recommends that anyone wishing to visit the UK during this period do apply for their visa as soon as possible.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters today in relation to our visa management services including our management of inbound China and Hong Kong visa application processes.

smitH stone Walters HonG KonG – HaPPY BirtHDaY! Our Hong Kong-based company has now been established for 1 year. From offices based in Central district, our dedicated team of experienced staff are providing local and unrivalled immigration support services to those clients seeking to transfer to the UK, Hong Kong or the Chinese mainland. The team looks forward to supporting many more clients during 2012, the Year of the Dragon.

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

focus

To give clients clear and concise information every quarter we focus on a key issue of UK immigration law. Our focus for this quarter falls upon...

UK:

USA:

Hong Kong:

Smith Stone Walters Ltd Title House 33-39 Elmfield Road Bromley, Kent, BR1 1LT

Smith Stone Walters 111 John Street Suite 800 New York, NY, 10038

Smith Stone Walters Level 21 The Center 99 Queen’s Road Central Central, Hong Kong

Tel: +44 (20) 8461 6660 Fax: +44 (20) 8461 6661 Email: info@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +1 646 378 4406 Fax: +1 646 378 4409 Email: usa@ smithstonewalters.com

Tel: +852 3478 3757 Email: hk@ smithstonewalters.com

spring 12

Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

Settlement

Pick of the crop –

From 29 February legislation has taken effect to require all forms of leave to remain granted to non-EEA nationals to be evidenced by a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Effectively, this translates into meaning all migrant workers seeking to extend their stay in the UK will be issued a biometric ID card. This new ruling also applies to those applicants applying for settlement in this country.

UK Immigration gets selective

Settlement is the right to reside and work in the UK without restriction. Foreign nationals can apply to settle after residing here for a certain period – for economic migrants, usually five years. Settled migrants enjoy most of the same rights and access to services and benefits as British citizens (including the right to sponsor immigration applications). However, they cannot vote, and if they were to leave the UK for more than two years they would likely be required to apply for permission to return to this country.

When Can I Apply for Settlement? Foreign nationals must have spent a continuous period lawfully in the UK and must meet the criteria specified in the guidance. The application should be made before the individual’s current visa permission ends, but no more than 28 days before the end of the ‘five year’ qualifying period. When applying, the applicant will need to show a good knowledge of language and life in the UK.

Are Absences from the UK an Issue? When assessing whether an applicant has met the criteria for five years continuous residence in the UK, short absences abroad may be disregarded, provided the applicant has clearly

in tHis issue 01 02

03

What is Settlement?

04 continued to be based in the UK. For example: Holidays (consistent with annual paid leave) Short business trips (consistent with maintaining employment in the UK). Where there have been longer absences abroad, provided the absences were for compelling grounds either of a compassionate nature or for reasons related to the applicant’s employment or business in the UK, discretion may be applied. However, no single absence abroad must be for more than three months at a time and any periods of long absence must not total more than six months. If the example is work related, evidence will need to be submitted to show that it would have serious implications for the employer or business if the travel had not been undertaken.

Applying for Settlement Online filing of applications for settlement is now possible via the UKBA website, although a secondary part of this process still

requires applicants to book and attend an appointment to provide biometric data (i.e. fingerprinting). For an additional fee, the UK Public Enquiry Offices do offer a premium application processing service which usually allows the applicant to secure a decision (and new biometric ID card) within one week.

Contact Smith Stone Walters today for further information on services offered to clients seeking UK settlement

05

This publication is not meant to be used as a substitute for proper professional advice based on the facts of a particular transaction as it is not intended to be a complete coverage of the subject. Smith Stone Walters Limited accepts no liability for any action taken based on the contents of this publication.

04

editorial:

Move Toward a Selective UK Immigration Policy latest news:

Welcomed News! Graduates to Benefit from Tier 2 Concession New Post Study Entrepreneur Visa Category English Language Test Concession to End latest news:

Maintenance Requirements Set to Increase London 2012 Games – Temporary Heathrow Terminal useful information:

Chinese Visitors Ready to Join Olympic Party Smith Stone Walters Hong Kong – Happy birthday! focus on:

Settlement


spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

05

useful information

CHinese Visitors reaDY to Join olYmPiC PartY With the anticipated surge of spectators and visitors travelling to the UK for the London 2012 Games, the UKBA is looking forward to welcoming a high proportion of tourists from China. The United Kingdom is an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists and over the past 2 years there has been phenomenal growth in the number of visitor visas issued. In the first 9 months of 2011 the Visa Sections in China issued over 150,000 visitor visas to Chinese nationals – almost double the number issued in the same period in 2009. The vast majority of general visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals are genuine and therefore approved by the British authorities. In 2011, 94% of all visit visa applications were issued. For Chinese nationals planning to travel to the UK during the Olympic period as a spectator or visitor, a visa issued prior to travel is required (unless the individual is an ‘accredited member’ of the official Olympic delegation). The UK authorities have confirmed that there will not be any restriction on the number of visas issued during the Olympic period. Whilst all applications should be processed within 15 working days, Smith Stone Walters recommends that anyone wishing to visit the UK during this period do apply for their visa as soon as possible.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters today in relation to our visa management services including our management of inbound China and Hong Kong visa application processes.

smitH stone Walters HonG KonG – HaPPY BirtHDaY! Our Hong Kong-based company has now been established for 1 year. From offices based in Central district, our dedicated team of experienced staff are providing local and unrivalled immigration support services to those clients seeking to transfer to the UK, Hong Kong or the Chinese mainland. The team looks forward to supporting many more clients during 2012, the Year of the Dragon.

spring 12 INSiGHT from Smith Stone Walters

focus

To give clients clear and concise information every quarter we focus on a key issue of UK immigration law. Our focus for this quarter falls upon...

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spring 12

Immigration News & Views from Smith Stone Walters

Settlement

Pick of the crop –

From 29 February legislation has taken effect to require all forms of leave to remain granted to non-EEA nationals to be evidenced by a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Effectively, this translates into meaning all migrant workers seeking to extend their stay in the UK will be issued a biometric ID card. This new ruling also applies to those applicants applying for settlement in this country.

UK Immigration gets selective

Settlement is the right to reside and work in the UK without restriction. Foreign nationals can apply to settle after residing here for a certain period – for economic migrants, usually five years. Settled migrants enjoy most of the same rights and access to services and benefits as British citizens (including the right to sponsor immigration applications). However, they cannot vote, and if they were to leave the UK for more than two years they would likely be required to apply for permission to return to this country.

When Can I Apply for Settlement? Foreign nationals must have spent a continuous period lawfully in the UK and must meet the criteria specified in the guidance. The application should be made before the individual’s current visa permission ends, but no more than 28 days before the end of the ‘five year’ qualifying period. When applying, the applicant will need to show a good knowledge of language and life in the UK.

Are Absences from the UK an Issue? When assessing whether an applicant has met the criteria for five years continuous residence in the UK, short absences abroad may be disregarded, provided the applicant has clearly

in tHis issue 01 02

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What is Settlement?

04 continued to be based in the UK. For example: Holidays (consistent with annual paid leave) Short business trips (consistent with maintaining employment in the UK). Where there have been longer absences abroad, provided the absences were for compelling grounds either of a compassionate nature or for reasons related to the applicant’s employment or business in the UK, discretion may be applied. However, no single absence abroad must be for more than three months at a time and any periods of long absence must not total more than six months. If the example is work related, evidence will need to be submitted to show that it would have serious implications for the employer or business if the travel had not been undertaken.

Applying for Settlement Online filing of applications for settlement is now possible via the UKBA website, although a secondary part of this process still

requires applicants to book and attend an appointment to provide biometric data (i.e. fingerprinting). For an additional fee, the UK Public Enquiry Offices do offer a premium application processing service which usually allows the applicant to secure a decision (and new biometric ID card) within one week.

Contact Smith Stone Walters today for further information on services offered to clients seeking UK settlement

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This publication is not meant to be used as a substitute for proper professional advice based on the facts of a particular transaction as it is not intended to be a complete coverage of the subject. Smith Stone Walters Limited accepts no liability for any action taken based on the contents of this publication.

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editorial:

Move Toward a Selective UK Immigration Policy latest news:

Welcomed News! Graduates to Benefit from Tier 2 Concession New Post Study Entrepreneur Visa Category English Language Test Concession to End latest news:

Maintenance Requirements Set to Increase London 2012 Games – Temporary Heathrow Terminal useful information:

Chinese Visitors Ready to Join Olympic Party Smith Stone Walters Hong Kong – Happy birthday! focus on:

Settlement

INSIGHT SPRING 2012  

INSIGHT SPRING 2012

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