Immigration

Business Immigration Lawyers

In today’s world in which people and their business affairs are increasingly international, immigration plays a critical role. However, the legal framework governing global mobility is constantly changing and, with Brexit adding another layer of complexity, it is becoming an ever more challenging field for individuals and organisations to navigate.

Introduction
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Make an enquiry Bespoke solutions to support global mobility

Whether you are a wealthy individual looking to move with your family, an entrepreneur choosing to expand your business, or an established organisation transferring employees from overseas, you should work alongside a team of immigration law experts who can provide creative, strategic guidance to make this process as smooth as possible.

Our team of immigration solicitors, based in London, offers a personal and tailored service to private clients and businesses. With a thorough knowledge of the UK immigration rules and by gaining a full understanding of your unique circumstances and priorities, we can determine the route which best fits your requirements from across the UK visa tiers. We then guide you practically and pragmatically through the immigration process, also advising on any relevant tax planning implications.

Immigration services for individuals

For high net worth individuals and their families making the decision to relocate, solutions may involve the Innovator, Start-up or Investor visa routes, student or working visas, and an application for a family visa for a partner and potentially children or other dependants. If you have already lived here for a time, our team can also advise on the extension of a UK visa or applications for permanent residence, indefinite leave to remain and citizenship.

Business immigration

We also provide innovative advice to businesses looking to recruit nationals from abroad or to transfer employees to the UK from an overseas office. This may include obtaining and managing a sponsorship licence for an employer, submitting applications for Tier 2 visas for sponsored employees under the points based system, arranging Tier 5 visas for temporary workers, or obtaining sole representative visas for companies sending their first employee to the UK to grow the business.

Brexit

For businesses employing people from the EU or EU nationals running businesses in the UK, Brexit will require changes to be made to how your business operates. Our team can ensure you understand how Brexit affects your business and that you have a plan to address it. For individuals, our team can support you and any dependants in applying for permanent residency in the UK.

Please visit our price & service information page for more information regarding these services.

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Make an enquiry Skilled Worker Visa

Post-Brexit, most businesses looking to hire non-UK residents will do so via the Tier 2 Skilled Worker route. This points-based visa is for workers who hold a skilled job that cannot be filled by a UK resident. The role itself must meet certain eligibility requirements, including:

  • Be an approved job with an occupation code
  • Be skilled to at least RQF level 3 (roughly equivalent to A-levels)
  • Pay the minimum salary threshold, currently £25,600 per year with a few exceptions, unless the going rate is higher.

There’s no longer an annual cap on the number of skilled worker visas. However, it is important that businesses obtain a valid sponsor licence from the Home Office and ensure their roles qualify as relevant jobs. We offer guidance for both employers and employees; please talk to us about your needs.

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Make an enquiry Start-Up Visa

The start-up visa program is designed to help foreign entrepreneurs launch a business in the UK for the first time. You do not need to have secured funding, but you will need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea that has been endorsed by a UK higher education institution or a business that has a record of supporting innovation. The visa allows entrepreneurs to live and work in the UK for two years. After this time, you can apply to switch to the Innovator Visa category or use the time spent towards permanent settlement in the UK.

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Make an enquiry Investor Visa

In February 2022, the UK government shut down the Tier 1 Investor Visa to new applicants. The visa was a popular option for foreign investors and high net worth individuals with capital of at least £2 million to invest in the UK. The government has yet to announce whether a new version of the Investor visa will be created.

If you were previously considering a Tier 1 Investor visa application, please contact our immigration lawyers for expert advice. There are other routes available for innovators and high net worth individuals and we are happy to walk you through your options.

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Make an enquiry Spouse Visa

The spouse visa allows foreign nationals who are married and in a genuine relationship with a British citizen to reunite with their spouse or civil partner in the UK. It lasts for 33 months and can be extended and used as qualifying time for permanent settled status. The spousal visa is a type of ‘family’ visa. As such, it is not points-based like work and study visas, although holders are eligible to take up work in the UK.

For unmarried partners, there are two routes to UK entry, the fiance visa or the unmarried partner visa. They function in a similar way to the spouse visa.

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Make an enquiry Permanent Residence/ Indefinite Leave To Remain

Permanent Residence is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This immigration status allows you to live and work in the UK free of immigration restrictions, with no time limits on your stay. If you are in the UK under a Tier 1 or Tier 2 work visa, you can generally apply for ILR after five years of continuous residence.

There are various routes to achieving ILR status. For instance, you may be able to use the time accrued on a Skilled Worker Visa or Startup Visa towards your permanent residence, or you can apply on a Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa if you meet the requirements. Different requirements apply depending on the type of visa you currently hold; please speak to our team about your situation.

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Make an enquiry Citizenship

If you have held Indefinite Leave to Remain or EU Settled Status for a minimum of 12 months, then you may be able to apply for British Citizenship. This entitles you to the full rights of a British person including the right to live, work, study and vote in the UK, access public services and funds, and apply for a British passport. You can also spend as much time as you wish outside the country without compromising your citizenship status.

You may also be eligible for citizenship if you have a British parent or are married to a British citizen and have three years of continuous residence as a settled person.

The process of applying for citizenship is known as Naturalisation. You’ll need to provide various documents in your application to prove you meet the requirements, which vary depending on your current status. Our immigration lawyers can guide you through the process and ensure that if you’re eligible, your application will succeed.

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Make an enquiry Post-Brexit Immigration

Post-Brexit, any EU or EEA national who wants to work in the UK must apply for a relevant visa and meet all the criteria before they work in the country. This will be a Skilled Worker Visa in most cases. Businesses that rely on foreign workers from the EU must now take on additional responsibilities as a visa sponsor and ensure that a certificate of sponsorship is correctly assigned to the relevant employee. Our immigration lawyers can guide your business throughout the process. We can also advise on the best way to structure your business in order to minimise the impact of Brexit.

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Make an enquiry EU Settlement Scheme

The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. However, it may still be possible for EU nationals to achieve settled status if:

  • You have ‘reasonable grounds’ for why you missed the deadline (this is assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  • You are in a category of people to whom the June 2021 deadline did not apply, for example, spouses who joined their partner in the UK after the deadline and those in the UK on a work or study visa that expires after this date
  • You have pre-settled status that has not expired.

EU Settlement Scheme applications can be difficult now the primary deadline has passed. For expert support, please get in touch with our business immigration team.

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Make an enquiry Sponsor Licence

Businesses that are located in the UK must obtain a sponsor licence from the Home Office to employ foreign nationals under Tier 2 or Tier 5 points-based visas. This includes both skilled and temporary workers. Once approved, you will have the power to grant Certificates of Sponsorship for specific employees.

Once an employee is sponsored, the business becomes wholly responsible for ensuring that the migrant adheres to the conditions of their visa and does not overstay their visa period. This presents certain risks and responsibilities for businesses, so it’s important to take specialist advice.

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Make an enquiry Skills Threshold

Post-Brexit, access to most UK visas is via the points-based system. Under this system, points are awarded for relevant job offers, education and English language competency. Businesses can sponsor jobs that have a suitable skill level and pay rate, and meet the other criteria needed for the visa.

The skills threshold is constantly being reviewed to ensure that it remains effective in meeting the needs of the UK economy while protecting domestic workers from competition from overseas. Currently, to secure a Skilled Worker visa, workers have to qualify for 70 points and be skilled to at least level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework. This is roughly equivalent to A-levels.

If you hire from overseas, please talk to us. We can help you establish an appropriate strategy for your business in line with all the necessary Home Office requirements to ensure the smooth running of your business in the UK.

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Make an enquiry Immigration For HNWI And UHNWI

The UK government recently shut down the Tier 1 Investor visa, which was a popular immigration route for high net worth individuals and ultra high net worth individuals looking to settle in the UK. It is not yet known whether a new version of the Investor visa will be created or whether an alternative scheme will arise in its place.

For HNWI and UHNWIs, there are other attractive immigration categories that can ensure your ability to live and work in the UK. These include the Global Talent visa for leaders with exceptional credentials and the Innovator visa for those who wish to set up and run a new and innovative venture in the UK. We can advise on the best options based on your individual circumstances and needs.

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Make an enquiry Recruiting From Abroad

To recruit from abroad as a UK-based business, you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor with the power to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship. The job you offer must meet the minimum salary and skill threshold, as well as any other requirements that apply. These will vary depending on whether you bring people in through the Skilled Worker route, which is the main route through which British businesses recruit overseas workers, or you are facilitating secondments or transfers from an overseas division.

To recruit from overseas, the job must pass the Resident Labour Market Test, proving that there is no applicant among the domestic workforce. Certain roles included on the Shortage Occupation list may be offered directly to non-resident employees. Our team of expert lawyers are experienced in all aspects of overseas recruiting. We can help assess the role and the individual you intend to hire, ensure the employee meets all the necessary requirements and you are fulfilling your sponsorship duties correctly.

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Make an enquiry Innovator visa

Experienced entrepreneurs who wish to start or pursue a business idea in the UK can apply for an Innovator Visa. Eligibility turns on the viability and innovation of the business idea; it must be something entirely new, which means that you cannot simply invest in an existing business. The business idea must be endorsed by an approved body listed on the government website. You’ll also need proof of funds to invest in the business. Currently, this is £50,000.

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Make an enquiry Corporate Immigration

Obtaining immigration clearance is vital for businesses that rely on foreign workers to meet their business needs. Our corporate immigration team advises national and international businesses on skilled worker visas, sponsor licences and temporary worker applications, and provides strategic guidance on the best route for bringing overseas workers into the UK. Alongside visa applications, we can support you with legal compliance, extensions of stay, right to work consultancy, human resources training, and challenging Home Office rejections and enforcement action.

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Make an enquiry Personal Immigration

Understanding the ever-changing immigration rules can be challenging for businesses, let alone individuals. We cover the full spectrum of immigration services for people who are going through the process of immigrating to the UK. We can advise you on the best strategies for relocating to the UK, applying for visas and appeals against rejected applications, as well as start up, innovator and spouse visas, settled status confirmation and citizenship applications. Our dedicated team offers a bespoke service with the aim of making the process as straightforward and hassle-free as possible.

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Make an enquiry Global Business Mobility Visa

The Global Business Mobility sponsored visa is an important and flexible tool that allows businesses to move their key personnel to the UK. It can be used for a variety of purposes including training and development, setting up a new business, or expanding an existing business to the UK. The scheme has five different subcategories aimed at different types of employees, including:

  • Senior or Specialist Workers
  • Graduate Trainees
  • UK Expansion Workers
  • Service Suppliers
  • Secondment Workers

There are various eligibility requirements for each role, for both the employer and the employee. For specialist advice, please speak to our business immigration team.

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Make an enquiry Expansion Worker

The UK Expansion Worker is a subcategory of Global Business Mobility visa. It is intended to help businesses who wish to set up in the UK by making it easier for them to bring in senior managers or specialist employees who already work for the overseas business on a temporary basis. If the business is already established in the UK, then employees should apply under the Senior or Specialist Worker route instead.

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Make an enquiry Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

Senior managers and specialist employees who are temporarily assigned to a UK business that’s linked to their employer overseas will enter the UK via the Senior and Specialist Worker route. This route replaces the existing Intra-Company Transfer visa which closed to new applicants on 11 April 2022.

Eligibility stems from the role, salary and previous work history with the company. Generally, a person becomes eligible after working for their employer for 12 months above an appropriate skill level. The sponsored job must pay at least £42,400 annually or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher.

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Make an enquiry ICT Visa

The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa closed to new applicants on 11 April 2022. Companies wishing to transfer existing staff from overseas should instead use the Global Business Mobility – Expansion Worker or Global Business Mobility – Senior and Specialist Worker as appropriate. Anyone already in the UK under an ICT visa can apply to renew as a Senior and Specialist Worker to switch into the Skilled Worker route. Please contact our team for tailored advice.

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Make an enquiry Family Visa

You may qualify for a family visa if you wish to join your spouse, partner or other relatives in the UK, either permanently or for shorter visits. There are many types of family visas that fall under different immigration categories. Each varies in eligibility, cost and complexity – as a minimum, you will need to prove your relationship to your UK relative. To find out more about the different types of family visas, please call our expert immigration team.

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Make an enquiry Graduate Visa

A graduate visa allows international students to stay in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies. To be eligible, you must already hold a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa and apply for a Graduate visa before your current visa expires. If you successfully completed a PhD program, your Graduate visa may last for up to three years. The Graduate visa category is seen as a valuable pathway to long-term settlement in the UK. For more information, please speak to a member of our business immigration team.

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Make an enquiry High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual visa is designed to attract top graduates from around the world in order to boost talent in the UK. Applicants do not need a job offer or points to be eligible, but they must hold the equivalent of a UK bachelor’s degree or higher from an eligible global university, earned within the past five years. The application process depends on whether you are outside the UK or already in the UK and planning to switch from another visa route. Our expert immigration team can provide guidance.

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Make an enquiry Minister of Religion Visa

If you are looking to work full-time in the UK as a religious worker or missionary, then you can apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa, which is a type of Skilled Worker visa. You will need a points score of 70, of which 50 may come from a relevant job offer from a registered UK Sponsor. Minister of Religion visas are typically valid for up to three years.

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Make an enquiry Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa provides a fast-track route for world-leading doctors, scientists, engineers, academics and other professionals to live and work in the UK, as either employed or self-employed. The application can be rigorous and requires an endorsement from an appropriate body, such as the Royal Academy of Engineering or the British Academy. Our specialist immigration team can prepare your visa application, endorsements and evidence at the highest standard to maximise your chances of a successful application.

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    Recent experience

    • Wealthier individuals can use the Tier 1 Investor visa route to come to the UK.  By investing a minimum of £2m in UK trading companies, successful applicants can live, work and study in the UK.  The rules governing these visas have been subject to recent revisions, so we advise applicants in navigating a course through the latest changes.  We also combine this advice with careful estate planning, to minimise the exposure to UK taxes once the applicant is in the UK. Other recent changes have ended the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category, replacing it with new Innovator or Start-up visas.  These visas are nascent concepts, so it is important that careful advice is sought to ensure a successful application.

      IMMIGRATION

      Tier 1 visa applications

      Case study

      Wealthier individuals can use the Tier 1 Investor visa route to come to the UK.  By investing a minimum of £2m in UK trading companies, successful applicants can live, work and study in the UK.  The rules governing these visas have been subject to recent revisions, so we advise applicants in navigating a course through the latest changes.  We also combine this advice with careful estate planning, to minimise the exposure to UK taxes once the applicant is in the UK. Other recent changes have ended the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category, replacing it with new Innovator or Start-up visas.  These visas are nascent concepts, so it is important that careful advice is sought to ensure a successful application.

      Read more

    • Where a UK business holds a sponsor licence, it can employ overseas workers in the UK to carry out specific skilled roles.  We advise employers on obtaining the relevant ‘certificate of sponsorship’ required for each visa holder and guide them and their future employees through the application process.  Where necessary, this involves advising on compliance with the ‘resident labour market test’, whereby a role must first be offered to a worker from the UK or the EU, unless an exception applies.  We also advise on ‘intra-company transfer’ visas, where employees of an overseas business come to work for a group company in the UK.  These applications commonly involve contemporaneous applications from family members accompanying the main visa holder to the UK.

      IMMIGRATION

      Tier 2 visa applications

      Case study

      Where a UK business holds a sponsor licence, it can employ overseas workers in the UK to carry out specific skilled roles.  We advise employers on obtaining the relevant ‘certificate of sponsorship’ required for each visa holder and guide them and their future employees through the application process.  Where necessary, this involves advising on compliance with the ‘resident labour market test’, whereby a role must first be offered to a worker from the UK or the EU, unless an exception applies.  We also advise on ‘intra-company transfer’ visas, where employees of an overseas business come to work for a group company in the UK.  These applications commonly involve contemporaneous applications from family members accompanying the main visa holder to the UK.

      Read more

    • Where UK businesses want to employ nationals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, they are likely to need a sponsor licence to be able to do so.   To be successful in applying for the licence, an employer must be able to show that it is a genuine and legitimate organisation, that it poses no risk to immigration control, and that it has robust systems in place to be able to comply with its sponsorship duties.  We regularly advise employers on these applications, ensuring that they have the correct supporting documentation in place, that they appoint the relevant key personnel required for the licence, and that they have the necessary monitoring and record-keeping systems in place to meet their sponsor requirements.

      IMMIGRATION

      Sponsor licence applications

      Case study

      Where UK businesses want to employ nationals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, they are likely to need a sponsor licence to be able to do so.   To be successful in applying for the licence, an employer must be able to show that it is a genuine and legitimate organisation, that it poses no risk to immigration control, and that it has robust systems in place to be able to comply with its sponsorship duties.  We regularly advise employers on these applications, ensuring that they have the correct supporting documentation in place, that they appoint the relevant key personnel required for the licence, and that they have the necessary monitoring and record-keeping systems in place to meet their sponsor requirements.

      Read more

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