At Fisher Jones Greenwood we have a strong team of lawyers specialising in all aspects of business immigration law. Our business immigration team also works closely with our employment and corporate and commercial teams; in order to ensure an expert service to our clients in all matters.
Our expert team offers businesses, education providers, and companies effective and client-focused advice in all commercial business immigration matters. The team is based in Colchester as well as in London, but we can attend your offices or business premises where appropriate.
The service we provide is based upon a thorough knowledge of the law and immigration procedures. This enables us to guide our clients through the immigration maze. At FJG we can advise on all applications under Tier 1, including Entrepreneurs and Investors, and highly skilled migrants; under Tier 2, including licensing issues facing businesses and education providers. We can also advise under Tier 4 and can assist with the application from initial advice to submitting the application. We also assist with appeals in the First Tier and Upper Tribunal; as well as challenges in the High Court where our clients have no right of appeal.
Not only do we enjoy high levels of success, but we’ve also earned a reputation for providing quality legal services.
The business visitor category is part of the Visitors Visa rules. It is for people who specifically want to come to the UK to do business for a short time. The category not only includes academic visitors, visiting professors, overseas news media representatives; but also people such as film crews on location. The activities you can undertake whilst in the UK on a visitors visa are defined by the UK Border Agency. The activities listed by the UK Border Agency are always subject to change. Activities include attending meetings or conferences, arranging deals, signing trade agreements or contracts, attending site visits or tour groups; or even attending a one-off conference, etc.
In addition to meeting these rules, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the rules for a general visitor. You must also demonstrate that you can maintain and accommodate yourself without claiming any benefits; and that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your stay.
This visitor visa category is for people who wish to come to the UK initially to arrange their business affairs; before applying under one of the other categories, such as investors or entrepreneurs.
An education provider must have a sponsor license if they wish to offer courses to foreign national students, or employ non-European economic area academic staff.
At FJG we can assist you in the process of obtaining a sponsor license. We can also help with challenging any Home Office decision regarding the rating of your establishment. And we can also offer compliance training, and provide ongoing day-to-day support on Home Office compliance. The suspension or loss of a sponsor license for an education provider has devastating and far-reaching consequences. Both the education providers business, and the student(s) may lose the right to remain in the UK.
Consequently, it’s important that as an education provider you are aware of your duties to the Home Office; to monitoring the attendance, and absence of students. Records kept by education providers are of particular interest to The Home Office. This is to determine if the running of their systems reflects what was put forward to the Home Office; when obtaining a sponsor license. We offer advice in all of these areas.
In addition, those applying for a Sponsor License under Tier 4 need to show they are subject to overview by appropriate bodies; otherwise known as educational oversight.
We can assist with advice on how you meet the requirements for applying for educational oversight; and what will happen if you are a legacy sponsor.
If you are an employer in the United Kingdom you have a duty to ensure your staff can work legally. If you cannot prove your employee has the right to work in the UK, you could be liable for a penalty up to £10,000 per illegal worker. Both criminal and civil penalties may be applied to employers if they are unable to demonstrate their employees have the right to work in the UK.
The UK Border Agency is currently very active in raiding business premises. This is to check that you as an employer have the correct documents in order to prove your employees have the right to work in the UK. If you cannot provide the “statutory excuse” against the civil penalty fines of up to £10,000 per worker, you will be liable for that fine in the same way as you are liable for a parking ticket. We can provide advice and training to employers as well as HR consultants, on the documents required to provide the statutory defence.
We can also help you to challenge a potential fine if you have been issued with a notice of potential liability.
The UK Border Agency has a name and shame policy. This is where it publishes quarterly reports on employers who have been fined for illegal workers.
If you are an entrepreneur who wishes to set up a business in the UK, you can apply to come to the UK with a £200,000 investment, or with a £50,000 investment from either:
You will need to be able to demonstrate that the funds are disposable in the UK. You will also need to show that the funds are held in a regulated financial institution. Additionally, you will need to meet the English language requirement. You will also need to be able to prove that you can personally maintain yourself by having certain funds in your account.
Your family members can be brought with you as dependants. After the residence period of 5 years, you and your family members can then apply to settle in the UK.
In order to apply for an extension after the initial period of grant of leave, you will need to demonstrate that you have invested the money in a UK business. Or you will need to demonstrate that you have registered as a director as a UK company at Companies House, or registered as self-employed with HMRC within 6 months of arriving in the UK. You must also have created the equivalent of 2 full-time jobs for people who are settled in the UK.
At FJG we can assist you with the application from the inception of your business plan, right through to the submission of your application. We also have a strong team of lawyers that can advise on obtaining the lease for your business, the employment law aspect for employing workers, as well as the requirements for actually setting up a business in the UK. We can also help with any other advice you may need in relation to your family; such as enrolling your children in schools.
This immigration route is open to students with an MBA, and other graduates, who have been identified by Higher Education Institutions as having developed genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills. This route is designed to help those students extend their stay in the UK after graduation; in order to enable them to establish a business in the UK.
This is a category under the Points Based System, under Tier 1. We can advise on the specific requirements, procedure as well as the required documents, and also help you prepare the application itself to give it the best chance of success.
The UK Border Agency has introduced a category of visitor visas for people who are in discussions with venture capitalists or UK government departments to join, set up, or take over and run a business in the UK.
As a prospective entrepreneur, you will be entitled to come to the UK for a maximum period of 6 months so that you can attend appointments to secure funding in order that you can go on to meet the requirements for Entry Clearance as an entrepreneur. If you are granted a visa as a prospective entrepreneur, you will not be allowed to switch to the entrepreneur category from within the UK. However, this is a useful immigration category to apply under so that you can come to the UK in order to arrange your business affairs.
You will need to be able to demonstrate that one or more of the following organisations are supporting your application and are considering funding your proposed business:
The total amount of proposed funding must be at least £50,000. In addition to meeting these requirements, you must be able to demonstrate that you meet the requirements for a visitors visa (visitors visa advice page). You will only be allowed to remain for a maximum period of 6 months in any 12 months and then you will need to return to your own country to apply for an entrepreneur visa (entrepreneur visa advice).
We can assist you with the visa application and any associated documentation that you need to submit with the application. We can then also help you prepare the entrepreneur visa application. The requirements for this route are very specific; as are the documentary requirements. We can help guide you through the entire process.
The Investor category allows investors to qualify to live in the UK. This could also provide a fast track route to settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK; depending on the amount of money you have available.
You can apply under the investor category if you have £1 million in money held in a regulated financial authority institution under your control. Alternatively, you can apply to come to the UK under the investors category if you have a personal net worth exceeding £2 million (taking in to account your liabilities) and have £1 million loaned to you under your control in a regulated financial authorities institution.
As an investor, you will need to score points under Tier 1 of the Points Based System. You will not need to meet the maintenance requirements or the English language requirement. Additionally, there is no need for you to demonstrate that you will be working in your own business.
You can obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain after 2 years if you have invested £10 million. If you have invested £5 million you can obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 years. For investments of £1 million, the requirement remains that you should be in the UK for 5 years, before qualifying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
We can assist you with the initial investor application, as well as extensions for further leave to remain.
These applications are attractive to people who wish to come to the UK with their families to settle; after having invested in the UK economy.
Tier 2 is for UK businesses who wish to sponsor workers from outside the European Economic Area, in order to work for them in the UK. All employers wishing to sponsor non-EEA workers need to apply for a sponsor license. Employers must also ensure compliance with UK Border Agency legislation. As an employer, you will need to be able to prove that you are a genuine business operating legally in the UK. You must also be able to prove that you meet all other relevant UK laws. Employers must also prove compliance with the UK Border Agency rules and regulations; and that they are also able to effectively monitor foreign national employees within their business.
At FJG we can assist you with an initial sponsor licence application. We can also help you if you’re downgraded from an ‘A’ rating” to a ‘B’ rating.
And if your sponsor license is suspended, we can also help you challenge that decision.
At Fisher Jones Greenwood we provide ongoing advice on issuing certificates of sponsorship; as well as helping to ensure that you comply with the resident labour market test. At FJG we can also advise on the occupation codes of practice for Tier 2; as well as how to apply for a COS under the exceptional case application procedure.
We can also advise on intra company transfers in order to meet your business needs.
At FJG we assist employers with compliance training and can conduct compliance audits in your business; so that you are prepared in the event of a UK Border Agency visit.
At Fisher Jones Greenwood we are able to offer in-house training to you as an employer to ensure that you are compliant with UK Border Agency regulations. This is applicable to both employers who are Tier 2 licensed sponsor holder, as well as educational establishments and other businesses.
As an employer you have a duty not only to ensure your staff can work legally in the UK, but that you also have the documentary evidence to prove this right to work. This is known as a statutory defence. The UK Border Agency proscribes certain documentary checks that need to be undertaken. At Fisher Jones Greenwood we’re able to offer full training at your premises, or at our offices.