Newsletter – Immigration Update May 2015‏

UK visas – New “Biometric Residence Permit” introduction to overseas applicants

Applicants in the UK will be familiar with Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) in applying for a UK visa.
These are ID cards (same size as a driving licence or credit card) with all the applicant’s key personal details and visa grant details. These are used together with the applicant’s passport to travel in and out of the UK – in effect the BRP is the visa document.

Now the UK government is introducing Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) to visa applicants OUTSIDE the UK. This is being introduced country by country in a phased rollout during 2015.

The introduction is to allow the UK to comply with EU regulations on uniformity of immigration documents.

All successful applicants for a UK visa (longer than 6 months in duration) will now be issued a 30 day “visa sticker” to then travel to the UK to collect their new BRP.

If the applicant does not travel to the UK within the 30 days, they will need to resubmit their biometric details and be issued a new 30 day visa sticker (at additional cost).

This means applicants need to be very accurate about their intended travel date and proposed UK address and postcode at the application stage. This then determines when and where the BRP needs to be collected in the UK.
This is very different from the current system which allows applicants to be given the full visa term as a visa label in their passport.

UK – Recent Developments in EEA Applications

In January 2015, the UK Home Office introduced totally new applications forms for all EEA categories. The new forms are much more extensive and up to 3 times longer than the previous editions.

In April 2015, a new process was introduced for EEA applications in the UK requiring the submission of biometric details (including fingerprinting). EEA residence cards are now to be issued as Biometric Residence Permits (like a small ID card) to be carried with one’s passport.

Original passports or National Identity Cards need to be submitted in EEA applications (for the EEA national and the EEA Family Member). However, these can be returned during processing if needed for travel or identification. Even after requesting the return of passports, the application can still continue to be processed as normal.
There is a specific procedure to notify the Home Office for the return of passports.

In 2014, judges in the UK Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber extended the Surinder Singh principle to unmarried partners. This is the legal ruling which allows British citizens to use EEA law to bring their family members to the UK. However, as of yet the UK government have not amended the EEA regulations to reflect this judgement on unmarried partners.

UK –citizenship now open for children of British citizen fathers

This new route to UK citizenship has now been commenced by the UK government and applications are being accepted.
Since April 2015, UK citizenship is now possible for those born to British citizen fathers – where the father was not married to the mother when the child was born.

Before 1 July 2006 a child could only obtain citizenship through his or her father if the parents were married. The law changed on 1 July 2006 to allow a person to acquire citizenship through his or her father, regardless of whether the parents were married. That change was not made retrospective, leaving those born before 1 July 2006 still not entitled to British citizenship.

However, this has now been introduced to ALL such applicants – either as children or as adults regardless of when one was born. New applications are being accepted since April 2015.

If you believe you may qualify for British citizenship through this new route then please contact us.

UK – meeting the financial requirements through “NON-EMPLOYMENT INCOME”

Since July 2012, applicants applying to move to the UK as the spouse / partner / fiancé of a British citizen or settled person, have been required to meet the financial requirements as set out under the Immigration Rules.

This is often met through income from employment but for some applicants the requirements can be met through “non-employment income”.

This includes income from investments, property rental, dividends, and maintenance payments from a previous spouse / partner. Non-employment income can be combined with other sources such as employment income and savings.
Property rental is increasingly popular for some applicants who intend to rent out their home before moving to the UK. The evidence for this source of income includes;
• Proof of ownership of property
• Proof of actual rental income through bank statements
• Tenancy agreement

The rules as outlined in Appendix FM 1.7: Financial Requirement allow the gross amount of rental income to be used in meeting the financial level. There is nothing in the guidance to state that mortgage repayments on the property or management fees need to be deducted.

If you think you might be interested in using non-employment income such as property rental to meet the financial requirements and need further guidance then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Australia – Focus on Contributory Parent visas

The Contributory Parent visa category is one of the most popular family migration categories that can lead to Australian residence based on a relationship with an adult son or daughter living in Australia.

Processing times in 2014 – 2015

Recently processing times for many of these family subclasses have increased. For instance, offshore applications submitted through the main Parent centre in Perth, Western Australia can take 18-20 months.
It is therefore more important than ever to plan well in advance and also to look at routes of entering Australia temporarily, while an offshore application is progressing. This is possible to do as long as the correct procedures are followed.

Who can sponsor ?

Your application must be sponsored by your adult son or daughter who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Your sponsor must live in Australia and be settled there. This usually means that the sponsor has lived there for the last 2 years but this timeframe can be reduced if the right evidence is included.

Balance of Family Test

The Balance of Family Test is one of the most important criteria to be met in an application for a parent visa. The idea behind the test is to determine how extensive your links are to your children in Australia compared to your other children in other countries.

The balance of family test requires that at least half of your children live permanently in Australia, or that more of your children live permanently in Australia than in any other country.

You will meet the balance of family test if either:

at least half of your children live in Australia (so for example, if you have five children, at least three of your children must be living in Australia);

OR

if more of your children live in Australia than in any other country (so for example, if you have five children and two of your children are living in Australia, each of your other children must be living in different countries)

Application Fees

Unfortunately, applications fees for the Contributory Parent visa are very very high. Although, this visa does allow access to Medicare in Australia, the cost of this visa needs to be effectively planned.
Please contact us for more information on the up to date application fees.

Criminal Convictions

Australia screens all applicants for Contributory Parent residence visas as to whether or not they can meet the “character” requirement.
This requires a full declaration of all criminal convictions, regardless of whenever such convictions occurred.
Applicants also need to provide Police Record Checks for every country one has lived in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years since turning 16
Even if you have criminal convictions Australia can still determine that you meet the character requirement. This really depends on the dates of conviction (s) and most importantly the nature of the conviction.
Applicants need to provide detailed written statements and sometimes character references to support any application in which criminal convictions are declared.
In many cases, applicants with criminal convictions can still be referred to the specialist Visa Applicant Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) for more detailed scrutiny.

Annual quotas in these visa categories

Unlike other countries, Australia operates an annual migration programme, which places quotas on the number of visas that can be issued in any particular category (or subclass). Parent visa subclasses are subject to this annual quota or cap.

Therefore, every year there is a cap on the number of such visas that can be issued. Recently, the numbers of such visas have been reduced, leading to the situation where processing times are increasing for such applicants.

Also, remember the Australian visa year runs from 1 July to 30 June, so as the end of the year approaches the number of available visas can be reduced rapidly.

Our service in applying for Australian Contributory Parent visas

We have many years experience in securing Australian residence visas, such as Contributory Parent visas, for our clients.
We can handle the whole application from start to finish. The service includes everything from pre-application advice, document review, completing forms, covering letter, drafting your personal statements, submission to the government and bringing to a successful conclusion. This continues throughout the whole process until your application is approved.
You will only deal with one dedicated immigration adviser to provide you with a focused one to one service.
Our success rate is second to none and we can provide numerous verifiable references from satisfied clients for you to review and inspect. We are immigration consultants based in the UK, assisting applicants all over the world.
At this stage, we just need you to complete this quick registration form on our website;

http://www.commonwealthimmigration.com/assesment_form.html

This should give us all the information we need to give you the correct advice.

We can then review in full and get back to you

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