Guide to UK Immigration for Doctors

UK needs and allows people from various professions to come to the UK workforce. Doctors are also welcome in the UK. However, migrating doctors to the UK from outside the UK and EEA needs to know the law and process of it. Immigration laws in the UK are complex and multi-layered. So, it is always good to have the basic knowledge of it.

 Basic Guidance for doctors looking to come to work in the UK

 Medical professionals and citizens of EU/EEA nations

If you are a doctor and an EEA national, you can come to the UK to work. You don’t require applying for any visa or a job offer in hand to come to the UK to work as a doctor. However, you do need to pass the English language test. Medical graduates from EEA countries also need to apply for registration.

 For medical professionals and citizens of non-EU/EEA nations

Non- EU nationals and medical graduates and professionals looking to come to the UK to work as doctors need two things. The first is to get a registration and license in the UK and the second is to get a valid visa.

 Registration and license

If you want to practice medicine and exercise legal privileges like writing prescriptions and signing in death certificates that come with it, you need to be registered and obtain a license. As a doctor, you need to have one of the three types of registrations. The type of registration you need to obtain depends on the role and level of responsibility you will perform in your job. Three types of registration are Full registration, Limited Registration, and specialist Registration.

 Full registration

Full registration is not for everyone. This is for those who want to take a job as a doctor who gets paid and is unsupervised in the UK. Only such applicants need to obtain full registration from the GMC.

Those EEA nationals who are qualified medical professionals in an EEA country are eligible for full registration. Qualified doctors from some other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, and the West Indies may also qualify for full registration.

 Limited Registration

If you are looking to work within the NHS at supervised training posts, you must get a limited registration. Such applicants must ensure that their primary medical qualification is recognized by the GMC.

Doctors with limited registration can apply for full registration later when they can prove their skills and knowledge and attitude.

 Specialist Registration

Specialist registration is for those who are looking to work as a consultant for the NHS or who want to practice unsupervised in a private hospital or a clinic in the UK.

 Visa requirement

Tier 2 visa allows non-UK non-EU national workers/professionals including doctors to come to the UK to work. So, non-UK and non-EEA doctors who want to practice medicine in the UK need to apply for a Tier 2 visa. They need a job offer, certificate of sponsorship from an employer in the UK to apply for a Tier 2 visa. After getting the Tier 2 visa they can practice as a doctor in the UK.

 Tier 2 visa and eligibility 

UK employers can employ non-UK and non-EU professionals such as doctors to fill vacancies which they cannot fill with UK and EU nationals. This is possible under the Tier 2 visa. So, Non-UK and non-EU doctors need to apply for Tier 2 (General Visa) to work in the UK. Those who have ILR status in the UK don’t need to apply for any visa.

You need to meet the below conditions to be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 visa:

  • You must have a job offer from a UK employer.
  • You must be offered an appropriate salary.
  • The job offer made to you must meet the Resident Market Labor Test (RLMT) unless there are some exemptions available to it.
  • Your employer must be a licensed Tier 2 sponsor in the UK who then must offer you a certificate of sponsorship.
  • You must have personal savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
  • You must meet the English language requirement.

 

 

Administrative review of UK visa refusal

Visa refusal is sad but unfortunately true. Hundreds of visa applications are rejected in the UK every year for various reasons. Applicants should avoid the common reasons for refusal in the first place. Common reasons include wrong filling of the visa form, not following the format appropriately, not submitting required documents, hiding information and so on. If you have taken care of these common issues on your own or through expert’s services you have minimized the chances of visa refusal. However, visa refusal happens on other grounds as well.

 Administrative Review

If you feel that you deserve a successful decision on your visa and your visa application has been refused you need to know the options you have in such a situation. You can accept the decision, you can apply a fresh application and you can go for administrative review or appeal.

In your letter of refusal by Home Office, you are told if you are eligible for administrative review or not. If you are, you can go for it. Depending upon whether you are in the UK or outside the UK, different conditions need to be met in order to ask for administrative review.

Administrative review means you are seeking a review of your visa application conducted by a different home official. You can go for administrative review only if you feel that the Home Office has made an error in decision making while refusing your visa despite the submission of all the correct documents. Administrative review does not allow you submission of any new document or evidence.

 

Review when you are outside the UK

You can seek administrative review provided following conditions apply:

  • You are outside the UK.
  • You have applied outside the UK.
  • Your visa application refusal date is 6th April 2015 or later.
  • You have not been granted the right to appeal in your letter of refusal.
  • You did not apply as a visitor or a short term student.

Those seeking administrative review from outside the UK must apply for it within 28 days of getting the refusal decision.

 

Review when you are in the UK

If you are in the UK you can seek administrative review if your visa has been refused or your application has been granted but you are not satisfied with the period of leave to remain or conditions of your leave.

If you are seeking a review when you are in the UK, you must do it within 14 days of getting the decision. If you have been detained you must apply within 7 days.

 How to apply?

You can apply online in both cases. You need to pay £80 as a fee for it if you apply in the UK. It costs you nothing if you apply from outside the UK.

In a situation where you got the visa decision in your favor but you are unhappy with the period of leave to remain or conditions of your leave, you must email the Home Office for it. You must do it within 14 days of getting your biometric residence permit.

 A decision on administrative review

No matter you apply from outside the UK or in the UK, you should expect a decision on your review within 28 days. But if it is going to take more than 28 days, you will be notified about the same in writing.

 

 

EEA Family Permit After Brexit

Currently, the Brexit date is set for 31st January 2020. Brexit is when the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. If a deal happens it has to pass through Parliament but if no deal is passed the default position in that situation is that the UK would leave the EU without a deal. With the recent victory of Boris Johnson, it is quite likely that a deal will be passed. However, whether a deal is passed or not passed what happens to an EEA national living in the UK and what happens to their family members is a question.

Settlement scheme for EEA nationals

As of now EU and EEA nationals living in the UK until 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

There are already new laws drafted pertaining to the right to be granted to the EU national under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules. Now it only stands a matter when we lose the EEA Regulations and adopt functioning under the new law.

Settled Status & Pre-settled status

Settled status means you have permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain in the UK. With settled status, you become an ordinary resident in the UK. There will be no immigration restriction on the length of time you stay in the UK. Those EEA nationals who have been in the UK for 5 years or more can apply for settled status.

Pre-settled status is for those EEA nationals who come to the UK by 31st December 2020 and have not completed 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. They can apply for pre-settled status that will enable them to stay in the UK until they complete 5 years here, after which they will be eligible to apply for settled status.

 

EEA Family Permit for non-EEA nationals after Brexit

Now, the question is what about non-EEA family members who wish to come to the UK to join their family member who is an EEA national? Will they still be able to apply for an EEA family permit? The answer is yes. EEA family permit would still be applicable allowing applicants to come to the UK provided they meet the following conditions.

  • They are from outside the EEA or Switzerland.
  • They are a family member of an EEA (excluding UK nationals) or Swiss national.
  • They apply from outside the UK.

Each family member of those from EU, EEA or Switzerland should apply under the Appedix EU for pre-settled, settled of or the EEA Family Permit status from outside the UK.

EU nationals are all expected to hold a settled or pre-settled status before their partner can apply for right to come to the UK.

EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit

If you are the close family member of an EEA national who has ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status in the UK, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme Family permit. Close family member, her means you should be spouse, civil partner, dependent child or dependent parent of an EEA national.

 

EEA Family Permit

If you are a close or extended family member of an EEA national, you can apply for an EEA family permit. Extended family member means you are a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew or niece.

You also need to submit the required documents in order to apply for the EEA family permit successfully.

Should you wish to apply using our professional advice please complete the contact us form.

The NHS Visa

The UK allows people from other countries to migrate to the UK through various visa systems. In this series, they have recently announced that they will introduce the new NHS visa in the future which will allow medical staff to come to work in the UK.

It is being said that the new NHS visa is an attempt to bring in more medical staff such as nurses and doctors from all over the world to fill in the gap of workforce present in the healthcare system in the UK – The NHS.

Purpose of the new NHS visa

According to the Home Secretary Priti Patel, the purpose of the visa is to bring in the “best of both worlds”. The intentions are to control the number of immigrants from the healthcare industry coming to the UK and yet at the same time to attract the best talents to come and work in the UK healthcare system.

 

Important things to know about the new NHS visa

  1. This is a part of proposals is like Australian style points-based immigration system that will be introduced once the UK Parliament passes the law.
  2. The new NHS will be put in place once it leaves the European Union (EU) and is free of the EU freedom of movement rules.
  3. The cost of the visa will be £464.
  4. The processing of the visa will be fast-tracked with a guaranteed decision within 2 weeks.
  5. Preferential treatment will be given in the new system and extra points will be rewarded to those coming to work in the NHS.
  6. NHS workers who will apply through this route will be given payment support to repay the cost of immigration health surcharge in installments via their salary once in the UK.

What can one expect from the visa?

All the doctors and nurses looking to come to the UK to work in the healthcare industry can find the new proposed NHS visa very promising. UK government also thinks that through this visa they will be able to control the number of immigrants coming to the UK, which only the future will tell how true this claim proves to be. All the other details and execution once implemented will tell how useful this new NHS visa will be for the UK government and the overseas applicants. However, as of now, the proposed system is still welcomed. This is yet another attempt from the UK in the last one and a half years to change the current visa system and make it more accommodating for the people working in the healthcare industry. So, all the professionals in the industry are keenly waiting for this.

 

Indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse

After having spent 5 years in the UK you can apply to live permanently. You can apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK as a spouse of a British Citizen or one who is settled in the UK or one who has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK,once you have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously with leave to enter or remain as a partner. If you have stayed in the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, you cannot count this while calculating your 5 years stay in the UK..

Eligibility Requirements –

The applicant needs to fulfil the requirements under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules –

  1. You have held a spouse/civil partner visa in the UK for a consecutive 5 years.
  2. Your partner must be a British citizen or must be settled in the UK.
  3. You and your partner must still be in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
  4. You must prove your intention to live permanently in the UK.
  5. You and your partner must be able to meet the financial requirement. The minimum income requirement is £18,600 when there is no dependent, £22,400 with one non-British child and an additional £2,400 per child thereafter.
  6. There is suitable accommodation in the UK for both of you.
  7. You must meet the English language requirement.
  8. You need to pass life in the UK test.

Those who meet the above conditions are eligible to apply for ILR as a spouse.

If you are unable to meet the requirement then you can apply for discretionary leave to remain under the 10 Year route provided you can fulfil the exception requirements under paragraph EX.1 of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

 Absence allowed during the stay on a spouse visa

There is no specific requirement on what should be the maximum absence time for those applying for ILR after holding a UK spouse visa. However, absence from the UK must be for good reason and it must be consistent with your intent to live permanently together with your partner in the UK.

 When to apply

Spouses or partners of a British citizen or settled persons in the UK can apply for the ILR up to 28 days before they complete 5 years in the UK with the leave to remain in the country.

 Fee and form for ILR spouse visa

Currently, the Home Office charges £2,389 – (fee in 2019) for the ILR spouse visa per applicant. However, the fee may change so you should check it when you are submitting the application.

Decisions can be received in 24 hours from the Home Office if you are willing to pay £800 additional fee.

If you require our professional advice or assistance in applying for your Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can speak with our lawyers on +44 (0) 2034111261.

 

 

UK Immigration Appeal

Many applicants apply for a UK visa every year in different visa categories. But this is an unfortunate truth that many of such applicant’s visa applications get rejected for one or the other reason. This means that the Home Office decision does not go your way always. Sometimes the reason for rejection is genuine and sometimes it is because you made some small mistakes such as not filling up the form correctly and in the format required. It is highly recommended that you seek expert advice before making a visa application.

What if your visa application has been refused?

It will depend on the type of application you have submitted whether you will have a right to appeal against the decision or not. For example – visitor visas do not carry a right of appeal, however, if at the stage of making the application the applicant raised human rights arguments then the refusal of a visitor visa can still be challenged.

However, if you have been refused a point-based system application you will only be granted a right to administrative review and not a right to appeal the decision. It is very important how the application is prepared a represented to have the best possible chance of success.

In some cases it is possible to request a reconsideration of the application, however, this depends on factors amount to the refusal of the application. Reconsideration is a cheap way to get a positive outcome if the application has been refused, however, this is not a guarantee that the Home Office will reconsider the decision but it does work out well in some cases.

TimeLine for Appeal

If you have been granted a right of appeal from outside the UK you will be granted 28 days to appeal against the decision from the date of receipt of the decision. If the application has been refused from within the UK you will be granted 14 days from the date of the decision to appeal.

 When to seek UK Visa and appeal service?

If you find the application process complex then you should seek expert service. If your visa application has been refused and you want to challenge the decision of the Home Office and thus choose to go for an appeal or administrative review as the case may be, you should seek expert advice before landing yourself into trouble. Also, if you don’t wish to go for appeal and simply want to reapply, you should go for expert advice to make sure that you are able to remedy the shortcomings.

Appeal Costs

The court fee is fixed to £80 for a paper hearing and £140 for an oral hearing. The representative’s fee depends on the complexity of the case. The appeals can be done online by using this link – https://immigrationappealsonline.justice.gov.uk/IACFees/.

 Appeal Work Involved

Appeals, in general, involve the following work –

  • Drafting Grounds of Appeal;
  • Completing relevant forms (all appeal forms can be found on gov.uk website)
  • Preparing Witness statements;
  • Gathering the relevant evidence in support of the appeal;
  • Preparing the bundles of appeal;
  • Liaising with the court and Home Office;
  • Preparing Skeleton Arguments;
  • Representing the appellant at the courts.

If you are looking for professional advice on Appealing a refusal please speak with our experts on +44 (0) 2034111261

Sponsorship Licence Revoked – What you need to do?

All Non-EEA nationals looking to come to the UK to study or work must be sponsored by an organization in the UK. The sponsoring organization needs to obtain a sponsorship license from the UKVI (Home Office). Once they obtain a sponsorship license, they can offer a certificate of sponsorship to the individuals who come to join them for study or work. Organizations having obtained sponsor licenses must comply with the rules otherwise their license may be revoked. It is better to meet compliance because once it is revoked it becomes a daunting task for the organization to regain it. Also, the migrant employees on Tier 2 visa whose sponsors have sponsor license revoked will face a curtailment of leave on their Tier 2 Visa and they will no longer be able to work for the company.

What does it mean for the organization?

Once your organization’s Tier 2 sponsor license is at risk you need to determine the impact of it on your business. After revoked sponsor license, your organization cannot lawfully employ sponsored workers across all visa categories. This can be quite damaging which can impact overall business especially if your organization has a good number of foreign employees. It will impact your organization’s operations.

After the sponsor license revocation, your organization will also be denied to make an application a new license for a specified cooling-off period, which is usually 12 months from the date the sponsor license was revoked.

 What an organization needs to do after revocation?

License revocations can be a daunting challenge for your organization and so you must handle your license and maintain it to hold your status as a license holder and avoiding further punitive action.

Judicial Review

However, if your organization fails to meet the duties and your sponsor license is revoked you have no right of appeal against such a decision; however, there may be grounds for Judicial Review of the revocation decision. You must seek an expert’s advice for a judicial review.

 Accept the revocation, let the cooling-off period pass, apply for a new sponsor license

Though going for a judicial review is an option but in some circumstances, it may be a better financial and commercial decision to accept the revocation and address the issue that led to revocation during the cooling-off period given to your organization.

Addressing the issues may include:

  • Developing and implementing HR processes and procedures to ensure compliant practices are in place.
  • Training all relevant internal personnel

After the cooling period, you can apply for a new sponsor license and when doing so you will need to evidence that the previous revocation grounds have been corrected and any new license would be compliant and managed as required by the rules.

As there may be severe implications of revocation of sponsor license, it will be important to seek immediate legal advice on the further actions you need to take.

Impact on employees

In the case of an organization’s sponsor license revocation, Tier 2 employee’s ability to stay in the UK is directly impacted. This means that if UKVI has issued a letter to your employer revoking their sponsor license, you are at risk of being your leave curtailed and shortened to 60 days. This means you may have to leave the UK along with your dependents.

What do employees need to do? 

You have the following options in such a situation:

  • Continue working with your current employer if it has challenged the UKVI decision until the final decision comes up.
  • Leave the UK along with your dependents.
  • Find another job with another company that will sponsor you and then apply for a new visa.

If you are looking for professional assistance or immigration advice related to UK Sponsorship license, you can contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261

 

 

 

Indefinite leave to remain for HM Forces Employees

HM Forces stand for Her Majesty’s Forces and also known as British Armed forces. HM forces consist of the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force. They are responsible for the defense of the UK, its overseas territories and the Crown dependencies and they include standing forces, regular reserves, volunteer reserves, and sponsored reserves.

UK Armed forces exempt from immigration control

Serving members of HM armed forces are free from restrictions arising by the UK immigration laws. They can seek to get enlisted with the appropriate department of HM Armed Forces, and once enlisted they are entitled to get their passport stamped accordingly to confirm their freedom from immigration restrictions whilst they are serving.

Certain members of the armed forces only while they are serving are exempted from the immigration control under section 8(4) of the immigration act 1971. So, the following individuals are regarded as exempt from control.

  • A member of the HM forces subject to service law (Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force); or
  • A member of a Commonwealth force or a force raised under the law of an associated state, colony, protectorate or protected state who is undergoing or due to undergo training in the UK with anybody, contingent or detachment of the home forces including NATO forces; or
  • One who is serving or posted for service in the UK as a member of a visiting force including NATO forces; or
  • One who is posted for service as a member of an international headquarters or defense organization.

Dependents of HM forces are not exempt from the immigration control

There are specific provisions for the dependents of members of the armed forces within the immigration rules. So these provisions don’t exempt dependents of the members of HM forces from immigration control; however, there are specific provisions for the dependents of military personnel of NATO and Commonwealth countries (or those who also qualify under section 8(4) of the Immigration Act 1971) posted for service in the UK. They are exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics. But dependents of armed forces that are not exempt from immigration control and who are coming to the UK for training are also not exempt from immigration control.

A member of the HM armed forces while is serving in the UK and while they remain exempt from immigration control can apply for their spouses/civil partners and children to travel to the UK.

Applying for ILR after discharged from HM armed forces

Till the time someone is serving in HM armed forces in the UK, he is exempt from immigration control. However, once their period of enlistment, service, or training is over, they will cease to be exempt from immigration control. After their term is over they either need to leave or apply to regularize their stay in the UK. Now, if they wish to continue to stay in the UK they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

If the applicant meets the following conditions, he may be granted the ILR:

  • He has completed at least 4 years’ service with HM Armed Forces;
  • He has been medically discharged from the HM Forces;
  • He was discharged from HM Armed Forces on completion of engagement;
  • He was not discharged more than 2 years before the date of application; and
  • He holds a valid entry clearance to the UK in that capacity.

If you are looking to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis of being discharged from the HM Forces, contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261

 

 

Compliance for Sponsorship Licence

Any UK based organization that wants to employ a non-EU or EEA individual in their organization in the UK on Tier 2 or 5 Visa must first apply for a sponsor licence.

After the grant of sponsorship licence, the organisation can assign their new employees, with a certificate of sponsorship which is essential for the employees to make an application to the Home Office in order to enter or remain in the UK.

An organization applying for sponsor license must provide correct documentation and information required about the employees and once they have obtained the sponsor licence they have certain duties to meet. If they fail to meet these duties their sponsor licence may be suspended, revoked or downgraded.

 

Compliance

The Home Office requires all the organisations applying or holding a sponsorship licence to meet the compliance requirements, which are basically your HR records and other records such as the record of employee absences, their job title, interview records, advertisement records, etc.

The Home Office basically wants to see whether the organisation holding or applying for the sponsorship licence is hiring genuine workers they require and not to assist illegal migration.

In 2019 the Tier 2 requirements have been relaxed for employers; however, they are still required to be compliant with the Home Office requirements.

The Home Office can make surprise visits after granting the licence or even before in some cases. The Home Office questions are mainly –

  • Whether the employee is a genuine employee?
  • If the employee aware of their job description, duties, working hours and salary?
  • How the employees are assigned duties?
  • Email communication of employees?
  • Whether the employer is keeping mandatory documents in accordance with Appendix A?
  • Whether the employer has a record of their employees’ absences and how is the absences schedule?

The Home Office questions can vary depending upon the company’s area of trading.

If you are looking for professional advice on compliance requirements call our team on 02034111261.

Sole Representative Visa

There are two types of applicants who can apply under this category-

An applicant must either be:

an overseas media employee who:

  • is employed by an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation;
  • is being posted by their employer on a long-term assignment for them in the UK

OR

  • applying to be the sole representative in the UK of an overseas employer who intends to establish a commercial presence by operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK and that branch or subsidiary will operate in the same type of business activity as the overseas business

 

UK Sole Representative Visa Requirement

One can be eligible for a sole representative Visa UK provided he/she must be recruited and employed outside the UK by the overseas company and now they intend to represent the company in the UK.

The applicant must meet other eligibility requirements to apply for UK sole representative successfully. These requirements are the following:

  1. Applicants must apply from outside the EEA (European Economic Area).
  2. Applicant must be an employee and a representative of a company operating outside the UK which has no branch, subsidiary or other representatives in the UK.
  3. Applicants must be recruited and employed outside the UK.
  4. Applicants must have extensive related industry experience and knowledge.
  5. The applicant must be a senior an employee with full authority to take an operational decision for setting up a branch in the UK or wholly-owned subsidiary on behalf of the overseas company.
  6. The applicant must be a full-time employee of the company.
  7. The applicant cannot be the majority shareholder in the company thus shareholding must be less than 50%.
  8. The applicant must not take any other job.
  9. The applicant must have enough money to meet his and dependent (if any) financial need during the stay in the UK without any help from public funds in the UK.
  10. Applicants must obtain entry clearance before entering the UK.
  11. The applicant must meet the English Language Requirement.

When to apply?

 One can apply for the sole representative visa 3 months before they travel to the UK. After applying for a visa from the outside UK, the applicant should expect the decision within 3 weeks.

 Length of time allowed staying in the UK

Successful applicants can come and stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years. Thereafter, the applicant can apply for an extension of the visa for another 2 years. And after having spent 5 years in the UK, you can apply to settle permanently in the UK.

 Rights of dependents

Dependents of the main applicant which includes husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner or children less than 18 years of age can join them in the UK provided they meet the eligibility conditions.

If they are eligible, they can live and stay in the UK with the main applicant. They can also study and work in the UK without any restrictions. However, dependents will not enjoy any recourse to public funds.

 

Extension

  • required by the employer and the employer must certify this in a letter which will need to provide at the extension stage
  • working in the job that entry clearance was granted for: they must show they are in receipt of a salary from their employer by evidence of the salary paid in the previous 12 months and confirmation of how that salary was paid – for example, whether it was paid as basic or commission and the numbers of hours paid and the applicant will need to provide the evidence of company operations in the UK.

Indefinite leave to Remain  

The applicant must have has spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK as a representative of an overseas business or in one of the predecessor categories of overseas media representative or sole representative

They must meet the requirements of a representative of an overseas business throughout the 5 year period and has to provide evidence for the last 5 years. In addition, evidence must be provided to show they have established a branch registered as a UK establishment or subsidiary and generated business: their employer must still be actively trading and remain centred overseas.

The applicant must produce a letter from their employer which certifies they are still needed to do the job they were first granted leave and can demonstrate knowledge of English language and life in the UK, unless they are exempt

If you are looking to apply for a sole representative visa contact www.visaandmigration.com or call +44(0)2034111261