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
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.