All aspects of UK Immigration law. UK entry clearance applications,
visa extensions, settlement and naturalisation.
Personal and Corporate relocation.
UK Visas and Immigration
The UK government published a Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules on 22nd October 2020. Most changes take effect from 1st December 2020, and the most recent summary can be found HERE.
UK visas including Tier 1 Investor, Innovator, and Start-up Visa, Work Permits and Tier 2 Visas, Sponsorship License Applications, Partner and Family Visas, Permanent Settlement, British Citizenship and Personal and Corporate Relocation to the UK.
As the free movement of EU nationals is expected to end by 31 January 2021 and the lengthy course of Brexit negotiations continues to progress, all EU nationals must protect their UK residence rights if they wish to remain lawfully in the UK. Whether you need to apply for pre-settled, settled status or permanent settlement, we offer full assistance with the UK immigration process after Brexit.
Astons UK Immigration services are provided by our expert business partner, Immigration UK, an established UK immigration law firm, authorised and registered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and assisting investors, entrepreneurs and corporate clients in all aspects of UK immigration matters.
UK Visas and Immigration services:
Tier 1 Investor
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa has been designed for wealthy individuals willing to invest £2 million + in the UK economy, and is the most efficient route to obtaining temporary UK residence.
The initial visa is granted for 3 years and 4 months, then an extension for 2 years can be applied for, providing all criteria are met.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can be applied for in 2–5 years and citizenship in 5–6 years, subject to the eligibility criteria. An accelerated settlement option is available and dependent on the amount of invested capital – £10 million leads to ILR after 2 years, or £5 million for ILR in 3 years.
The Start-up visa category is aimed at new entrepreneurs starting their first UK business, and has no requirements for initial capital investment.
Successful applicants are granted a 2 year long visa. Following this, they may be able to progress to the Innovator category to extend their stay and further develop their businesses in the UK. There is no visa extension available under the Start-up route.
To qualify for the Start-up visa, applicants must first obtain an endorsement from a Home Office-approved endorsing body, confirming that their business is innovative, viable and scalable.
The Innovator visa route is aimed at experienced entrepreneurs seeking to set up or to run a business
in the UK. Under this route, applicants are required to demonstrate an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by a Home Office approved Endorsing Body. With some exceptions, applicants should have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business.
The initial visa is granted for a period of 3 years. Innovators will be able to apply to extend their stay after 3 years, for a further 3 years, or they can settle permanently in the UK.
The overseas representative visa (also known as the sole representative visa), can be granted to individuals that hold a senior position within a company whose headquarters are outside the UK, when the company is planning to set up UK representation, and where this individual is appointed as the sole UK company representative. No investments are required for this type of visa, however there are a set of requirements to be met.
Initial Representative of an Overseas Business visa grants entry for 3 years which can be extended for another 2 years. After 5 years residing in the UK, applicants can apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK.
Tier 2 (General) visa
In order to apply for a Tier 2 general visa, an applicant’s employer must possess a sponsorship licence, which enables UK companies to employ non-EEA nationals.
The Tier 2 (General) visa is the main UK visa route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment. Applicants will need to have a job offer from a licenced sponsor, who will confirm that they can do the job they are hired for, and whether it qualifies them for a visa.
The initial visa is granted for a maximum of 3 years. A subsequent extension can be applied for, for an additional 2 year period. Migrants would be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain in 5 years, and for citizenship after 6 years, following initial entry to the United Kingdom and provided that all the requirements are being met.
Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer)
The Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa (ICT) is for skilled workers in a foreign country, who want to transfer to a job at the UK branch of their company. Applicants must have a minimum of 12 months experience working at their company, unless they are being offered a salary of £73,900 + a year, to work in the UK.
There is also the option of transferring to the UK branch of the company as a Graduate Trainee for specialist roles. To be eligible for such a transfer, applicants need to be a recent graduate with at least 3 months experience with their employer overseas.
Tier 2 Sponsorship licence
UK employers looking to hire highly skilled migrant workers from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) must obtain a UK Sponsorship Licence issued by the Home Office.
A sponsorship licence is granted for an initial period of four years and may be extended if the company wishes to continue to sponsor any non-EEA nationals. By holding a Sponsorship Licence, the employer can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to suitably qualified workers, which is a mandatory requirement for employees when applying for Tier 2 Work visa.
EU Settlement Scheme
Protect your residence rights in the UK after the UK leaves the EU. For EU and Swiss citizens and their family members who are living in the UK, there is a specific EU Settlement Scheme, giving applicants the chance to protect their residence rights in the UK, even after Brexit.
Applicants will be granted ‘Settled Status’ (Indefinite Leave to Remain), if they have resided in the UK for 5 years or more, They will be granted ‘Pre-Settled Status’ if they have resided in the UK for less than 5 years. This gives applicants limited leave up until their 5-year residence limit, after which they can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Partner and Family Visas
This visa category is for applicants who seek to join their partner or spouse, who is a British citizen or has settled status, and resides with them in the UK.
Those applicants who are based outside of the European Economic Area and are in a genuine marriage or civil partnership, may be eligible for permission to stay on what is known as a spouse visa, or a UK partner visa.
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can apply, along with their family, to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. Following a successful application, they will be entitled to either settled or pre-settled status.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
An applicant who is granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, also referred to as Settlement, can remain in the UK, live, study and work in the country without any limitations imposed on the length of their stay. Furthermore, they would become eligible to apply for UK citizenship in 12 months, once ILR status has been granted, dependent on meeting the citizenship requirements criteria.
Indefinite Leave to remain is granted to those who have spent a qualifying period of continuous residence in the UK and also meet the eligibility criteria for their visa category.
Applying for citizenship by naturalisation may be possible if the applicant has moved to the UK for a specified period, depending on their situation. The most popular way to become naturalised is to hold Indefinite Leave to Remain status for a continuous period of 12 months. Depending on whether or not applications are made on the basis of marriage or civil partnerships with a British citizen, the requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen can differ. Those applying as a partner, are exempt from holding ILR for a continuous 12-month period.
A decision can only be made to grant citizenship if applicants demonstrate that they satisfy certain legal requirements, and that the Home Secretary grants a naturalization request.