Free movement to be replaced by the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System

Points Based Immigration System Globe

The Home Office have published a policy statement today which sets out plans for a dramatic overhaul of the UK’s immigration system. Businesses who employ EU and non-EU staff will need to be aware of the proposals which will be passed through a new Immigration Act.

From 1 January 2021, EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally. Free movement for EU nationals will come to an end and will be replaced with the UK’s Points-Based System. Non-EU nationals by contrast will benefit from increased flexibility in how they can qualify for a work visa going forward.

One of the key announcements that has been made is that the UK government will not be introducing a new route for lower-skilled workers. The plans instead focus on allowing employers to bring skilled workers to the UK, although the government has indicated an intention to allow workers to come at lower skill levels than is currently permitted for non-EU nationals.  

EU citizens will be able to enter the UK as visitors for up to 6 months but if they wish to live, work or study in the UK, they will need to apply for a visa and will be subject to the same requirements as non-EU citizens.

So, what will the new Points-Based System look like?  

The new Points-Based System has been designed to attract to the UK “the brightest and the best” from around the world. Top priority will be given to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents including scientist, engineers, academics and other skilled workers.

Those offered jobs in January 2021 will need to score 70 points to be able to work in the UK with points being awarded as follows:

  • *Job offer by approved sponsor – 20 points
  • *Job at appropriate skill level – 20 points
  • *English language at required level – 10
  • Salary – up to 20 points
  • Job in shortage occupation – 20 points
  • PhD in subject relevant to job – 10 points
  • PhD in a STEM subject relevant to job – 20 points

*These requirements are mandatory and must be met by ALL applicants

There are some significant advantages to the new Points-Based System over the existing system which include the following:

1. The salary threshold for skilled workers wanting to come to the UK will be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600

2. The skill threshold will be reduced from jobs needing to be at degree level to jobs at the level of A-levels instead

3. The cap on the number of skilled workers that can come to the UK will be suspended

 4. The resident labour market test will be removed

Not much good news for business who rely on lower-skilled workers

The Government has confirmed that no route will be introduced for lower-skilled workers and that the UK businesses need to “adapt and adjust” and move away from “reliance on cheap labour from Europe”. There is a glimmer of hope for the agricultural sector as the pilot scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture will increase from 2,400 to 10,000. The government notes that UK businesses will be able to continue to rely upon EU nationals already in the UK, and that a large number of migrants already come to the UK each year from outside of the EU who end up in lower skilled work (such as dependents of migrant workers).

How can we assist your business so that you can continue to employ EU citizens after 1 January 2021?

  • To RETAIN your current EU employees, we offer seminars to HR professionals and employees on the EU settlement scheme and on-site visits to assist employees with their applications
  • To EMPLOY EU citizens post 1 January 2021, we can assist you with applying for a Sponsor Licence and advise you on the obligations imposed by the Home Office
  • To TRANSFER EU citizens post 1 January 2021 from your offices in other EU countries to the UK, we can assist you with applying for the type of Sponsor Licence which enables intra-company transfer
  • Director Aldijana Hoad said:
    "These changes to the rules make it very clear that businesses who employ international staff need to take urgent steps to consider how they will continue to do this after the end of this year. The sooner they start this process, the more time they will have to support their staff and HR teams. We urge businesses to act on this as a priority."

    OTB Legal are an award-winning firm of solicitors, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and ranked in the top 10 immigration solicitors in the UK. We offer an initial free and no obligation consultation  here and can be contacted  on or 0330 111 6682

    Challenging a decision by the Passport Office to refuse to issue a British passport

    British passport

    As an immigration lawyer I am used to challenging decisions by the Home Office to refuse my non-British clients permission to come to or stay in the UK. However, in recent times, it is becoming increasingly common for me to be instructed to assist British clients with a growing phenomenon – decisions are being taken by the Passport Office to cancel their British passports or to refuse to issue a new passport.

    Why are passports being cancelled?

    In December 2017, a long running legal battle finally concluded in the Supreme Court, the highest court in the UK. The case of Hysaj and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 82 ended abruptly when, after more than 4 years of Court Proceedings, the Secretary of State conceded that they had been unlawfully treating British Citizens as if they had never been British.

    The case involved different individuals with similar circumstances – they had all come to the UK and made claims for asylum between 1998 – 1999, and they had all made the false claim that they were from Kosovo. As a result of those false claims, the individuals concerned were granted refugee status and then applied for and were granted British citizenship under their false details. In this case, the claimants were Albanian nationals although the principle would apply to nationals of any country.

    Over time, the Home Office became aware that the nationality of these persons had been acquired through deception. There followed a lengthy period of time whilst the Home Office considered what it would do.

    Taking away someone’s citizenship

    Eventually, the Home Office decided that everyone who had acquired British nationality through deception in this way, should have their citizenship treated as a ‘nullity’. This was a technical term for saying it was as if those persons had never been British. The result of this was that many nationals who had acquired British citizenship as a result of a false claim made around 1998, started receiving letters around 2012 / 2013 telling them that it was as if they had never been British, and asking for their passports to be returned.

    In the Supreme Court case of Hysaj the approach of the Home Office was challenged. It was argued that the proper approach for the Home Office to take was to deprive a person of their nationality rather than treat it as a nullity. There are two very significant differences with a deprivation approach rather than a nullity approach:

    • Firstly, if a decision is taken to ‘deprive’ someone of their nationality they have a right to appeal that decision. By contrast, if a decision is taken to treat someone’s citizenship as a ‘nullity’ then the only option they have is to pursue complex judicial review proceedings;
    • Secondly, if a decision is taken to deprive a person of their citizenship, it is accepted that they have been British from when they were naturalised up until that point, and they would also continue to be British whilst any appeal was ongoing. It is only at the point that their appeal is unsuccessful and they have no further appeal rights that the Secretary of State could then cancel the person’s citizenship.

    In December 2017, in a sudden U-turn, the Home Office accepted that they should not have been making ‘nullity’ decisions and instead should have been deciding whether to ‘deprive’ nationality. A lot of individuals who had been written to by the Home Office in 2012 / 2013 and told they were not British, were now told that they had been British all along, but the Home Office were considering taking away that citizenship.

    Despite the new approach of the Home Office, it continued to be the case that the Passport Office was actively seeking to cancel the British passports of those caught up, even though it was now accepted that they remained British.

    Can a passport be refused to a British citizen?

    The decision as to whether a passport should be issued to a British citizen is within the royal prerogative. However, the Government have issued special guidance which explains what factors will be considered when deciding whether a British passport should be issued to someone or not. In essence, three factors will be looked at:

    • Are the Passport Office satisfied as to the identity of the individual?
    • Are the Passport Office satisfied as to the British nationality of the individual?
    • Are there any other reasons for refusing to issue a passport such as whether it is not in the public interest?

    The guidance gives clear examples of when it would be appropriate to refuse to issue a passport to someone as a result of the public interest, and makes it clear that it is only in extreme cases that a passport would be refused:

    “For example, passport facilities may be refused to or withdrawn from British nationals who may seek to harm the UK or its allies by travelling on a British passport to, for example, engage in terrorism-related activity or other serious or organised criminal activity.

    This may include individuals who seek to engage in fighting, extremist activity or terrorist training outside the United Kingdom, for example, and then return to the UK with enhanced capabilities that they then use to conduct an attack on UK soil. The need to disrupt people who travel for these purposes has become increasingly apparent with developments in various parts of the world.”

    When looking at these factors, it is difficult to see on what basis a British passport could lawfully be refused to an individual who continues to be British acquired through deception. Nevertheless decisions are being taken by the Passport Office to refuse to issue passports to Applicants who are being investigated for deprivation purposes. Those decisions are being subject to challenge by way of judicial review and in at least one instance, have resulted in a British passport being issued whilst an appeal against a deprivation decision was ongoing.

    What is so important about having a passport?

    The Windrush scandal has proved how difficult life can be in the UK if a person is not able to prove their status. Over the years, the government have pushed an agenda of creating a ‘hostile environment’ for those who are unlawfully in the UK. The consequence of this agenda is felt by everyone who is unable to prove that they are lawfully in the UK, including British citizens who do not have a British passport. Proof of status is required to live a normal life, and must be provided to carry out activities such as:

    • Working
    • Travelling
    • Renting a Property
    • Owning a Bank Account
    • Holding a UK Driving Licence

    The consequences of a passport being revoked can be enormous, for example impacting on a person’s ability to earn money and provide for their family, or travel to visit a sick relative. Whilst British citizens have the right to do these things, the lack of any documents proving that status can leave individuals in limbo and unable to exercise basic rights.

    Common Reasons for refusing a passport

    The Passport Office may state that they are unable to issue a British passport to someone if the details do not match those held on the person’s naturalisation certificate. It is possible to apply to amend a naturalisation certificate, and a passport application may be stronger if the Home Office agree to amend it, or you can show that you have tried to amend it but this has been ignored or refused.

    How to apply for a British passport if citizenship is being investigated

    A British passport application will be stronger if it is prepared so as to meet the guidance. This means:

    • Providing lots of evidence to establish the identity of the Applicant – for example an original Albanian passport, a birth certificate, a family certificate, a driving licence and a national ID card.
    • Proving the Applicant is a British citizen – including copies of previously issued passports and naturalisation certificates; and
    • Showing there are no public interest factors which would justify refusing to issue a passport Evidence should be provided of the negative impact that a refusal to issue a passport would have – for example if a person has lost their employment – or if there is an urgent need to travel.

    The stronger the evidence put forward in support of an application, the more likely it will be possible to challenge the decision if a passport is refused.

    If you have any questions on this subject or other immigration related topics, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mark Lilley-Tams of OTB Legal. Mark has assisted a number of clients in deprivation of Citizenship cases and in challenges against the Passport Office where they have refused to issue a British passport and will be able to provide you with clear advice on your own particular circumstances. OTB Legal offer a free initial consultation to discuss your circumstances and provide clear advice on what options are available to you.

    OTB Legal Immigration Solicitors – A Review in Numbers

    OTB Legal Numbers

    OTB Legal immigration solicitors are now proudly 6 months old. We thought it would be interesting to give a review of how far we have come through an analysis of the numbers behind what we do. So here goes..

    3  -       Founding Directors: Aldijana Hoad, Mark Lilley-Tams, Sally McEwen.

    6  -       Months trading for OTB Legal since we launched in April 2019.

    300 –   Enquiries from potential clients across the world.

    100 –   The percentage of successful outcomes on completed cases we have taken on.

    1 -        Ranked first locally for immigration law by Review Solicitors.

    10 –     Ranked in the top 10 out of 2196 law firms nationally for immigration law by Review Solicitors.

    4.96 – Average score out of 5 feedback from our clients.

    935 –   Twitter followers.

    2 –       Watch this space for exciting news about a couple of national awards we have been recognised with...

    To speak to us about any aspect of immigration law then please do contact us on or 0330 111 6682.

    Choosing an Immigration Lawyer – 10 Questions to Ask

    10 questions to choose an immigration lawyer

    Choosing an immigration lawyer can be a difficult task. Once you have made the decision to get specialist help with your immigration application you will be faced with a dizzying choice of available lawyers. So how can you decide who is best suited to take on your case?

    In this article we look at 10 questions you can ask to help choose the individual to give you the greatest chance of a successful application.

    1. Is your immigration lawyer professionally regulated?

    To be able to provide immigration law advice in the UK all advisers need to be either working for a firm of solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or for non-solicitors be regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

    It is a criminal offence for anyone to provide legal advice and assistance with making an immigration application without being regulated. This ensures that all advisers remain up to date with this complex and ever-changing area of law as well as having necessary procedures and insurance in place to cover those occasions when things go wrong.

    • You can check if a firm of solicitors is regulated here.
    • You can check if an individual is OISC regulated here.

    2. Do they offer free initial advice?

    Many companies offer free initial advice before charges commence to give clients the opportunity to be completely sure that there is a valid application which can be made and also to give both the client and adviser the chance to get to know each other. Some companies will charge you from the moment you talk to a lawyer.

    It is important that you are aware of this difference in approach before you make an appointment with your immigration adviser to avoid surprise costs being asked from you in the future.

    3. What have others said about them?

    The internet has a wealth of information to help with choosing an immigration lawyer from Google reviews to client testimonials. In our experience it is always worthwhile taking some time to dig beneath the surface with these reviews to ensure they are up to date, accurate and reflect the services that you wish to purchase.

    Personal recommendations from your personal network are also an excellent way of getting a true assessment of their experience of instructing a particular immigration lawyer.

    4. Are their prices published?

    Immigration advice can be expensive. With this in mind, it is important that you know how much you are going to pay and what work it covers. Solicitors are required to publish all of their prices for immigration law advice with the exception of asylum advice and corporate services.

    In our experience, the more open and transparent lawyers are about pricing (including details as to whether the price includes VAT or not) the easier it is for clients to make an informed decision about whether they wish to proceed with an immigration application. It is not unusual for a lawyer to need to have an initial meeting with a prospective client before giving detailed costs information to enable them to be equipped with all the details about the complexity of the case.

    Free initial advice sessions can generally be sufficient to enable lawyers to give an accurate price for their work without clients having to incur any costs. It pays to shop around before choosing an immigration lawyer.

    5. Are their fees fixed/agreed?

    There is a growing trend in the provision of legal services for lawyers to offer fixed or agreed fees rather than the more traditional model of charging by the hour. Fixed fees offer clients certainty over the amount they will have to pay to get assistance with their immigration application. You will also need to ask whether the fixed fee includes VAT and whether there are additional costs known as disbursements which need to be paid for in addition to the fixed fee.

    6. Are they experienced in your particular type of application?

    The term immigration law is a broad term and covers everything from helping large corporations comply with immigration rules, to helping families live together and assisting asylum seekers fleeing war. It is a complex area of law and for this reason you need to be certain that your lawyer has experience of dealing with your particular type of application.

    Feel free to ask them how many cases of your type they have dealt with and what their success rates are like. The more information you have, the more informed you are when making a decision about who the right lawyer is for you. 

    7. ​Does the relationship feel right?

    Even after an initial meeting it is not too late to change your mind when choosing an immigration lawyer to take on your case if you felt in anyway uncomfortable with them. You need to feel relaxed and confident that you are dealing with a professional and that you have a genuine connection with your lawyer to allow them to represent you to the best of their ability. Without this, it places additional pressures on what can already be a stressful environment. It is never too late to change your mind and find someone new.

    8. Is your immigration lawyer accredited?

    For solicitors there is an accreditation scheme with three different levels which is administered by the Law Society but this is only mandatory for those undertaking publicly funded (Legal Aid) work. Despite this, it is generally seen as good practice among many solicitors to gain Law Society Accreditation for all types of immigration law as it gives clients the assurance that there is regular assessment of their work.

    Those regulated with the OISC need to be accredited by the OISC to be able to assist with immigration applications and there are a number of different levels against which they can be assessed.

    9. Do they offer “unbundled” services?

    Another big change in the provision of legal services in recent years has been the growth of “unbundled” legal services. Traditionally, if you instructed a lawyer to represent you in your case they would deal with all stages of the application.

    Unbundled services allow clients to break down the service received into smaller bundles. By way of example, some clients want to complete an immigration application themselves but to have a lawyer check over the documentation before being submitted to look out for any obvious errors.

    This is particularly appealing for those on limited budgets as prices can be kept low, but not all lawyers offer this way of working as they feel that it is difficult to give an objective opinion on the accuracy of documentation if they have not been involved in the application process.

    10. Do they have a published complaints policy?

    Hopefully your immigration application will proceed smoothly to a successful conclusion. Sometimes, however, things can go wrong and at this point it is important that you have a lawyer who can take all necessary steps to protect your interests and make recompense for your losses where this is appropriate.

    A published complaints policy is generally seen as a good sign that lawyers have high quality systems in place as they are a requirement of externally assessed management systems such as Lexcel and the Specialist Quality Mark which set out a wide framework for delivering high quality client care.

    If you have any further questions about how choosing an immigration lawyer then we would love to hear from you at or 0330 111 6682.

    To find out more about the services offered by OTB Legal:

    Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Guide

    Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Guide

    As part of OTB Legal's continued commitment to providing the best practical legal advice online we are pleased to confirm that we have released the latest of our legal guides.  If you are considering applying for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa then we have the lawyers, guides and further information available for you today with zero cost and no obligation to use our services.

    OTB Legal Director, Sally McEwen has written the guide which covers 

    • The basic requirements
    • Documents you will need
    • How to apply
    • How much it costs
    • Success rates
    • Professional tips
    • An illustrative case study
    "A Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa offers the greatest freedom to individuals who can demonstrate they are recognised leaders in their field. This route leads to faster settlement, and to early naturalisation as a British Citizen if this is what you choose to do.

    You can be employed, self-employed, change employment, work in a sector of your choice, and get promoted, all without seeking prior authority from the Home Office. This route is particularly attractive to Tech Migrants wishing to come to the UK. As is to be expected with a visa that offers such considerable freedom, the application process is complex, heavily evidence based and the process consists of two stages."

    To access the free guide as well as learn more about our fees for applying for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa then please do follow the link below:

    Top 3 Immigration Solicitors in Nottingham

    Top 3 Rated Immigration Solicitors Nottingham
    Best Immigration solicitors in Nottingham

    OTB Legal are very proud to have been externally assessed and ranked as one of the top three immigration solicitors in Nottingham. This means our clients can be assured of an outstanding experience.

    We scored an impressive 100% across 6 areas including our services and averaged 93% across 12 areas in total. We are grateful for the recognition of the judges and will look to improve further in the future.

    To find out more about the full range of services we offer please follow the link below: 

    Does your business employ EU nationals or their family members?

    Does your business employ EU nationals or their family members?

    If the answer is yes, EU nationals and their family members will need to apply to the Home Office for settled or pre-settled status by 31 December 2020 (if the UK exits with NO DEAL) and by 30 June 2021 (if the UK exits with a DEAL). They are required to do this even if they have previously been issued a permanent residence card by the Home Office.

    If EU Nationals and their family members do not apply within the set time, they will lose their right to live and work in the United Kingdom and you will be employing them unlawfully. The consequences for your business are serious and could include:

    • Loss of employees and recruitment costs in finding replacements
    • Loss of PBS Sponsor Licence
    • Penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker
    • Criminal sanctions (up to 5 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine
    • Loss of reputation as the Home Office publishes the names of businesses fined for employing illegal workers

    In our experience, there continues to be a lack of understanding amongst EU nationals of their need to apply, and their rights to remain in the UK going forward. This is causing a lot of anxiety amongst EU nationals.

    How can OTB Legal assist in ensuring that these changes do not negatively impact your business and employees?

    • Seminars for HR professionals and employees
    • On-site visits to assist employees with their applications
    • Assistance in assessing alternative immigration solutions post-Brexit
    • Audit Compliance Service
    • Right to Work checks

    We are currently offering discounted Brexit Seminars to businesses for a short time at your business premises. To take advantage of this offer, please register your interest at

    What does the Home Office mean by this?


    The UK Immigration System is well known for becoming more complicated year by year. The Immigration Rules started as 20 pages long when they were first introduced in the 1970s, and now stretch to more than a 1,000 pages. As the rules become more detailed, the Home Office introduce an increasing number of legal terms which can make the system even more confusing to a non-lawyer.

    To help break through some of that confusion, I have listed some of the most commonly used Home Office terms and their meaning. Not only can immigration terms be confusing but our politicians and media regularly use the incorrect terminology when reporting on immigration cases in the news.

    An example of this is the incorrect use of the term ‘deportation’ when referring to someone who has been removed from the UK through an ‘administrative removal’ because they no longer have permission to stay in the UK. The term ‘deportation’ refers to persons who have been convicted of criminal offences in the UK and the Home Office has made a decision that they should be deported from the UK. Therefore referring to
    someone as being ‘deported’ implies that they have committed criminal offences which may not be the case and could have serious consequences for the person involved.   

    A-rated Sponsor refers to a rating awarded to an organisation that has applied for or holds a sponsor licence.  A-rating is awarded when an organisation is first granted a licence on the basis that they have systems in place to be able to meet their sponsor duties.  If an organisation is not meeting their sponsor duties their rating can be downgraded to a B-rating. One of the advantages of the ‘A’rating is that the sponsor is able to confirm that they can financially support an employee if required and therefore an employee does not have to hold personal savings to show they are able to support themselves. The register of licensed Sponsors on the Home Office website lists all the organisations that hold a sponsor licence and what rating they hold.

    Administrative removal refers to a person being removed from the UK when they have no permission to stay in the UK.

    Biometric information refers to fingerprints and a digital photograph being
    taken as part of the application process.

    Biometric residence permit  refers to a document about the size of a
    photocard driving licence issued by the Home Office confirming a person’s right to stay, work or study in the UK.

    Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is assigned by a sponsor (usually an employer) to an employee. It is an electronic record and each certificate has its own number which an employee can use to apply for a visa.

    Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) refers to a unique reference number electronically issued by an Education Provider via the Sponsor Management System. It is necessary for a Student to have a CAS when applying for a right to enter or stay under Tier 4 (student category).

    Conviction refers to a conviction for a criminal offence in the UK or any other country.

    Country Guidance case refers to a case in which the Upper Tribunal (UT) issues guidance on the situation in a particular country, based on an assessment of expert and factual evidence. This guidance should then be followed by the First-tier Tribunal when making decisions on appeals unless significant new evidence is produced which shows the country guidance case should no longer be followed.  

    Curtailment means shortening a person’s right to stay in the UK
    which may leave the person with a shorter right to stay or no right to
    stay. For example, if a person had a right to remain in the UK on the basis of
    his marriage for another 12 months, and the Home Office became aware that the marriage had broken down, they may ‘curtail’ the leave so that the person would have to leave the UK within 60 days.

    Deception refers to providing false information or submitting false documents.

    Deportation refers to someone who has been convicted of a criminal offence and the Home Office has made a decision that they should be deported from the UK. Deportation action is usually taken where a person has been sentenced to a period of 12 months imprisonment or more, although can be taken for shorter sentences in some circumstances as well.

    EEA national refers to a European Union national (this does not include nationals of the UK, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland).

    Entry clearance refers to the Home Office grant of permission to enter the UK. This is granted to a person who applies from abroad to come to the UK.

    Illegal entry refers to someone who has entered the UK without obtaining the required visa before entry.

    Immigration Health Surcharge is the UK healthcare charge that non-EU nationals need to pay as part of their immigration application process. This allows them to access free healthcare services from  the UK’s National Health
    Service (NHS).  

    Immigration Rules refer to a list of rules which have been produced in order to set out the requirements that an Applicant needs to meet in order to be granted a visa or leave to remain in each category.  

    In breach of immigration laws refers to someone who is residing in the UK without a permission to stay or is breaching conditions attached to their right to stay i.e. a visitor working in the UK when this is not allowed.

    Indefinite leave to remain refers to the Home Office grant of permanent right to stay. 

    Leave to enter refers to the Home Office grant of right to enter the UK to a person who has applied from outside the UK.

    Leave to remain refers to the Home Office grant of right to stay in the UK to a person who has applied within the UK.

    Naturalisation refers to the process of an adult becoming a British citizen once they are able to satisfy the relevant requirements, including having resided in the UK for a particular period of time.

    Overstayer refers to a person who has remained in the UK after their permission to stay has expired.

    Points Based System (PBS) refers to the process used by the Home Office to determine applications made by individuals from outside the EU wishing to work, train or study in the UK.

    Present and settled in the UK refers to a person who has a permanent right to stay in the UK and at time of the application, they are physically present in the UK or coming to the UK with or to join the applicant.

    Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on low income, as well as housing support.

    Settled in the UK refers to a person who has a permanent right to stay in the UK.

    Sponsor (family type applications) refers to a person who the applicant is accompanying to the UK or applying to join in the UK.

    Sponsor (Tier 2, 4 and 5) refers to the Organisation or Government that the Certificate of Sponsorship or Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies records as being the Sponsor for an applicant.

    Sponsor licence refers to a licence granted by the Home Office to an organisation that allows them to be able to Sponsor foreign nationals under Tiers 2, 4 or 5. A register of sponsors is kept on the government website.

    Tier 4 Sponsor means a sponsor that is recorded as having “Tier 4 Sponsor status” on the register of licensed sponsors available from the Home Office website.

    UKVCAS are the name of service centres used by individuals applying to extend their stay or applying for citizenship in the UK. To complete the application process, individuals will need to attend an appointment at one of the service centres and will be able to upload their documentary evidence from their home before the appointment or pay extra to have it uploaded at the appointment.

    Visa is a conditional authorisation granted by the UK to an individual allowing them to enter and/or stay in the UK.

    The above list is not a complete list of the terminology used by the Home Office but represents some of the most commonly used terms.  

    Are there any Home Office terms that I have not covered? If there are please write them in the comments section below and I will respond to you as well as add your suggestion to the above list to assist others. 

    Home Office Review their Immigration Fees

    UKVI Reviews Immigration Fees

    The Home Office go through a process of changing their fees every year in around April. In recent times, Home Office fee changes have been dramatic, with a significant increase to the amounts that Applicants are being asked to pay, as can be seen from the table below.

    UKVI Fee Rises Table

    The cost of a family making an application for indefinite leave to remain has increased from £750 in 2007 to £11,945 – that is an increase of more than 1,500%!

    Part of the increased costs for applicants is due to the introduction of an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is paid by Applicants as a separate charge in addition to the application fee. The IHS was introduced in April 2015 and Applicants were charged £200 for each year of leave that they would be granted (£150 for students). In December 2018, this charge has doubled so Applicants now have to pay £400 for each year of leave granted (£300 for students).

    A new way of submitting applications involving third party contractor Sopra Steria has also been introduced, and involves Applicants needing to book appointments at UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service Centres. Booking appointments at these service centres has in some cases also attracted new booking fees that represent an additional expense for Applicants.

    With such dramatic increased fees charged by the Home Office, Applicants usually hold some trepidation whilst waiting for the Home Office announcement on new fees at this time of year. However, for 2019/2020, there is good news. Most application fees are staying the same for 2019/2020 as they were for the previous year. So a family applying for an extension or indefinite leave to remain will be charged the same basic application fee as they were at the start of 2019.

    The main changes that have occurred from 29th March 2019 are set out below:

    UKVI Fee Changes

    The most notable change is therefore the increased fee that is being charged by the Home Office for speeding up consideration of applications (an optional service).

    It is welcome news that the Home Office have not attempted to further increase fees, which have been subject to substantial changes well above the rate of inflation for many years. In the uncertainties that are presented by Brexit, the decision to not increase fees for most types of applications, may be a reflection of a changing approach to immigration and the important role that immigration plays within UK society.

    To find out more information about the fees that OTB Legal charge for applications, please visit our individual service pages. We appreciate the financial strain that can be placed on individuals and families who are paying for immigration applications and offer payment plans for our legal fees to help spread out the costs.

    I like the UK, how can I stay here longer?

    United Kingdom

    I often get asked this question by non-EU clients who have come to the UK on a temporary basis, who like the way of life in the UK and want to remain here longer.

    To answer this question, I thought that it would be helpful to list some of the main immigration categories under which someone can remain in the UK and the basic requirements for each category.


    • An unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licenced Tier 4 Sponsor (list of the licenced sponsors is available from the Home Office website).
    • Enough money to pay for the course and support yourself (the amount will vary depending on your circumstances).
    • Knowledge of the English language to the required standard (there are different ways in which this can be proven and certain applicants are exempted from this requirement).


    • An offer of a skilled job from a licensed sponsor.
    • A valid certificate of sponsorship reference number which will be issued by your employer.
    • Knowledge of the English language to the required standard.
    • Enough money to support yourself when you arrive in the UK.

    Set-up or run a business in the UK

    • If applying under the Start-Up category, which replaces the graduate entrepreneur category, you will need an endorsement from an endorsing body.
    • You will need a genuine and original business plan, which meets a new or existing market need.
    • Knowledge of the English language to the required standard.
    • Enough money to support yourself during your stay.

    Family in the UK

    The type of an application that you can make will depend on the family you have in the UK. You may find it helpful to consider our guides on various family type applications that can be made which can be accessed through the following link.

    Fear of persecution in home country

    You can claim asylum in the UK if you fear persecution in your home country. This should be done as soon as possible as any delay in claiming asylum may negatively impact on your claim.

    At OTB Legal we offer a free initial telephone consultation.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require advice on making an
    application under any of the above immigration categories. If your reasons for
    wishing to remain do not fall within the main immigration categories, you can
    discuss your personal reasons for wishing to remain with us and we will advise
    whether you have grounds to make an application under a different category.