NEWSLETTER No. 51 - April 2017
KINGDOM – EEA
permanent residence applications
In the last few months the numbers of EU / EEA citizens
living in the UK applying for permanent residence has
dramatically increased. The UK Home Secretary has mentioned
that post-Brexit, that EEA citizens will require some type
of documentation to continue to reside in the UK.
Many applicants are looking to apply soon in case
restrictions are introduced in relation to employment etc.
The increase in applications has led to a new online
application system and a new service called the “European
Passport Return Service” (EPRS)
This allows the applicant to instruct a local council to
witness their original passport, requiring only the
witnessed copy to be submitted to the Home Office. The
applicant can then retain their own passport for travel
during the application process.
The EPRS service has now been expanded to include family
members applying at the same time.
The Home Office have also started to issue confirmation of
the date on which the applicant is deemed to have acquired
permanent residence in the approval letter to the applicant.
This is a welcome development as it will allow applicants to
then know when they can apply for British citizenship. This
will be one year after the date confirmed in the Home Office
letter and not necessarily the date on the PR document
(applicants married to or in a civil partnership with
British citizens do not need to wait this one extra year).
Up to now applicants have been in the confusing position of
being able to provide 6 or more year’s evidence of being a
qualified person and then hoping that this was all accepted
by the Home Office in recording their date of acquiring
Furthermore, some EU citizens may well have an older status
marked as “Indefinite Leave to Remain” (ILR) in an expired
passport or through a Home Office letter. This status can
still be valid of the applicant has remained living in the
UK. The Home Office are now starting to accept historic ILR
stamps as being equivalent to permanent residence, thereby
allowing the applicant to apply for citizenship.
Permanent residence can be applied for after five continuous
years of possession of the right of residence. This means
being a “Qualified Person” for 5 years such as a Worker,
Self employed person, Jobseeker, Student, Self-sufficient
Those who have not lived in the UK for 5 years are being
advised to consider applying for EEA Registration
Certificates, which can confirm that the holder is currently
living in the UK legally in accordance with EU law. This may
well prove important in time to come.
Please note the exact evidence to support your status as a
Qualified Person will vary from person to person. We deal
with EEA Permanent Residence and Registration Certificate
applications regularly so please contact us if you wish to
discuss making an application.
English language rules changing in May 2017
Spouse / Partner applicants applying to extend their UK
visas from 1 May 2017 onwards must now meet a higher English
Currently, applicants only need to prove their English
language ability through an approved test at level A1 on the
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
This will change in May when applicants applying to extend
their UK spouse / partner visas must pass a test at the
higher A2 level.
Applicants who are from a majority English speaking country
or who have passed a degree qualification through English
can still meet the English requirement without having to sit
the test. Those over the age of 65 are also exempt from the
Please note – the new English test only applies to spouse /
partner applicants looking to extend their visas in the UK.
Those applying for entry clearance from overseas will still
need to meet the lower A1 level.
28 day rule abolished
The Home Office have changed the Immigration Rules to
prevent applicants applying for further leave in the UK even
though their current visa had expired by up to 28 days.
This concession was introduced a few years ago and in effect
it allowed an applicant to overstay their visa and still
make a new valid application in the UK within 28 days of the
visa expiring. This 28 day exemption did not need to be
justified or explained.
This has now been replaced by a new grace period of up to 14
“there is a good reason beyond the control of the applicant
or their representative, given in or with the application,
why an in time application could not be made”
No guidance has been issued on what constitutes a good
reason but one would expect this would include illness or
other compelling circumstances.
This is now a crucial practical point for all applications
submitted in the UK – you need to submit an in-time
application (unless you have a “good reason” not to) or else
your application will be returned as invalid.
UK Supreme Court - MM case
The recent Supreme Court case in the MM case has now finally
clarified the legal position of the financial requirements
for spouses / partners in the Immigration Rules (Appendix
The court has held that the £18,600 minimum income
requirement is lawful in principle and does comply with the
relevant human rights obligations of the UK government.
This means the general principle of the minimum income is
here to stay.
However, the court did find that Appendix FM did not contain
sufficient provision to consider the position of children in
spouse/partner visa applications. Currently the government
is failing in its legal duty to have due regard to
children’s best interests as a primary consideration in
The judges also ruled that, where the financial requirements
are not met, further consideration should be given to
alternative sources of income in spouse / partner
applications. This might include support from another family
member, the prospects of the applicant to find gainful
employment in the UK etc.
We now wait to hear from the Home Office as they consider
the ruling and make sufficient amendments to take into
account the court’s judgement.
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Migrants looking to move to Western Australia might need to
pause their plans temporarily as the state government have
announced a review of their state skilled migration
We anticipate that this will reopen in time for the new
financial year in Australia – 1 July 2017. In the meantime,
applicants might want to consider other states in Australia
who are actively competing for skilled migrants.
South Australia, Queensland and Victoria in particular are
continuing to offer state sponsorship for numerous
occupations leading to permanent residence.
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parent visa changes ahead?
A new Parent Class visa is earmarked to be introduced in
Australia in July 2017 following the launch of a detailed
This will be a new temporary sponsored parent visa. The
temporary sponsored parent visa will allow Australians to
sponsor their parents to stay in Australia for up to five
This would be very different from the current Contributory
Parent visa which leads to permanent residence.
The temporary visa wouldn’t be part of Australia’s annual
permanent migration stream.
Visa holders would be able to stay in the country for up to
five years before renewal.
The government says the visa would be available for periods
of one, three or five years, depending on the capacity of
the Australian citizen to support their parent, the health
and age of the applicant, and the length the applicant
No price has been set yet for the visa, but the government
has said it will be "more affordable" than current parent
visa options such as the expensive processing fees of the
Contributory Parent visa.
However, applicants would need to have private medical
insurance to cover themselves while in Australia.
For those planning to use the current Contributory Parent
scheme ahead of the anticipated significant increase in fees
you still have time to prepare and submit an application.
new Skilled Occupation List for July 2017
The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) for subclasses 189 and 190
(permanent residence) is being reviewed by the Department of
Each year a number of occupations are removed and added to
the SOL which takes effect on 1 July. Last year 9
occupations were removed and 2 occupations added.
The current review has flagged 52 of the 183 occupations for
possible removal. These include popular occupations for many
migrants such as Engineers (in certain fields), Accountants,
Actuaries, and Surveyors.
Generally, occupations are flagged when there is emerging
evidence of excess supply in the labour market in the
Applicants intending to migrate to Australia should consider
seeking advice as to starting an application if they are
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