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Immigration laws are constantly changing and it is important that you keep up with them at all times as changes are usually in favor of the applicant. Also, some changes mean that there are now alternative routes to your application which may benefit you financially or in terms of how long it takes for a decision to be made.

On the 10th of October, a new statement of change was introduced. This means there is now more flexibility provided to caseworkers on whether and when they can write to applicants to request missing documents. In addition, the Home Office will no longer insist on seeing original documents: copies can be provided. This is so that an immigration system can be introduced – enabling staff greater independence to use their “common sense” as said by the Secretary of State.

Also, the Home Office confirmed that the Immigration Health Surcharge is to double in December that will result in the costs to remain in the UK increasing.

These changes will both put some at an advantage and some at a disadvantage and here is how:

Applications:

Luckily for applicants, they will no longer need to present their passport- size photographs.  However, Paper forms can only be used when submitting the application by post and so applicants who want to use the Premium Service Centre, will know how to apply online.  Also, another positive change for applicants is the fact that, in the event where an applicant has not submitted a “valid” application, the Secretary of State may give them a chance to correct the mistake within a time frame. This used to be within 10 working days and now could be more or less.

In addition, the Secretary of state has the will to consider an invalid application as valid if the specific fee was paid and evidence of identity was submitted.  Thankfully, the Secretary of state will return an applicant’s ID while the application is outstanding unless considered essential to retain it. This is most definitely appreciated as not having a passport can be inconvenient as it is needed to sit English Language tests.

Fee Waivers:

Fee waivers now are applied online but they will need to make a fee waiver application first and then once it has been considered and a decision has been reached, applicants will then need to make an application for leave to remain within 10 days which will protect them from being overstayers.

Documents:

Officials can request an applicant to submit specified evidence that they have left out and can also decide to request more evidence as many times as they wish to.  Also, Officials can grant an application even if a specified document is omitted or submitted n the incorrect format, as long as the unaccounted for information is verifiable from other documents provided.  Documents can be copied rather than the originals which will make things easier for applicants in terms of the costs and administrative processes. The changes will be very welcome for applicants who worry about not including all necessary documents in their applicants.

Calais leave:

This cohort of asylum seekers will now be able to apply for leave to remain in the UK.  Those successful will be granted 5 years left, which they can renew for a further 5 years.  They will also be eligible to apply for a travel document Dependent child will also be allowed to leave in line with the main applicant.

EU Settlement Scheme:

The introduction of a right to administrative review will be obtainable to those whose settled status application is declined on the basis they do not meet the eligibility requirements. Those refused on the basis of suitability will not have the right to an administrative review which is a lot better than the others as it can be made outside of the UK, has a longer deadline of 28 days and the reviewer can take into consideration the documents that were provided which were not available to the decision-maker initially.

These changes are to come into force on the 5th of November 2018.

At Optimus law, we have a team of highly experienced individuals who can help you determine how these changes will help you and guide you through the new processes introduced so that you are aware of the different ways you can benefit or be put at a disadvantage from these changes in your own situations. We take different approaches to each case so that we can help you in a way that allows you to reach the best possible outcome. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any of the following:

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