UK Immigration Blog

UK Expansion Worker Route

UK Expansion Worker Route

UK Expansion Worker Route

On 15 March 2022, the UK Home Office issued a new statement of changes to the immigration rules.
This has significantly altered the way in which overseas companies are able to set up a new branch in
the UK – and how skilled workers are able to migrate to the country for work purposes. Part and parcel of the Government’s “Plan for Growth” package includes new Global Business Mobility routes, in which the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa has been subsequently changed to the UK Expansion Worker Visa, amongst others. What this means is that the Sole Rep Visa will close to new entrants as of 11 April 2022 and prospective workers have a wide range of options to undertake employment in the UK under the shiny new Global Business Mobility Appendix.

However, the route does share some similarities to that of the Sole Representative route – and the
criteria can be difficult to satisfy as applicants need to score 60 points to be eligible.

Do you need immigration advice? Our immigration lawyers here in London are on hand to help you
with any Work Visa or business mobility route you require. Call us today on 0207 993 6762 to find
out more.

What is the UK Expansion Worker Route?

The UK Expansion Worker Route is part of a larger package in the new immigration rules belonging
to the Global Business Mobility category.


The Global Business Mobility package includes the following routes:

 Senior or Specialist Worker
 Graduate Trainee
 Service Supplier
 Secondment Worker
 High Potential
 UK Expansion Worker

What are the requirements of Expansion Worker UK Visas?


Although the UK Expansion Worker route is a brand new option introduced into the immigration
rules, it does share some similarities with the now-expired Representative of the Overseas Business
route.

One of these similarities is that applicants must be migrating to the UK for business purposes –
which includes sending a senior manager to set up and trade in a new UK branch with a view to
expand the businesses’ presence overseas.

The rules stipulate that the overseas company must not already have a trading presence in the UK.

As a general rule of thumb, applicants must:

  • Have worked for the company for at least 12 months (or earn a high salary)
  • Be a senior manager or specialist employee
  • Earn a minimum salary of £42,000
  • Receive a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer
  • Demonstrate they have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience for the job
    The applicant will need to accumulate 60 points based on their sponsorship, skill level and salary.
    However, there are also some major alterations in the rules – notably the loss of settlement rights
    for staff who set up shop in the UK and the requirement for Sponsorship.

How to score 60 points for the UK Expansion Worker Visa


Most work visa routes to the UK hinge on the applicants’ ability to score eligibility points.
For the Expansion Worker Visa, prospective employees must accumulate 60 points based on the
following:

  1. Sponsorship (20 points): Gained with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a recognised sponsor.
    The employee must already be working for the sponsored party and have worked outside of
    the UK already for at least 12 months. The only exception to this rule is if the employee is
    classed as a ‘high earner’, or is a Japanese national seeking to set up a UK branch under the
    UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  2. Skill level (20 points): Can be gained by demonstrating the skills, qualifications and
    experience necessary to succeed in the job.
  3. Salary (20 points): The applicant must be offered a salary that matches the accepted
    occupation code. At a minimum, this must be £42,400.

The salary requirement


The individual tasked with setting up a presence in the UK must have already worked for the
company for a period of at least 12 months OR be earning a high salary in the region of £73,900.
To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be paid an appropriate salary in accordance with the
relevant job code in the UK, which can be higher if you plan on establishing the branch in London.
However, the minimum salary to be eligible for the route is £42,000.

Two-year leave only


Unlike the Sole Rep Visa, applicants are only permitted to work in the UK for two years.
What this means is that UK Expansion Worker applicants are not eligible for settlement in the UK
such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).


This is certainly something to consider as businesses may need to transfer and make staff
arrangements every two years.


However, it is still a great opportunity for managers with an entrepreneurial spirit and who wish to
relocate to Britain for a short yet reasonable amount of time. And, should they like their position in
the UK, managers can always seek to extend their leave for up to five years.

But even so, it still will not result in the option to settle in the UK permanently.

Requirement for sponsorship

The immigration rules for the Expansion Worker Visa stipulate that applicants require proof of
sponsorship. What this means is that UK employers are required to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship – and in order to do so, obtain a Sponsorship Licence from the UK Government.

This normally applies to UK-based companies, so it remains unclear as to how an overseas business
which has no presence in the UK would be able to apply for a Sponsor Licence. However, the Home
Office will issue guidance on this shortly, and it may be that overseas businesses are able to apply for
a Sponsor Licence if there are plans in place to expand in the UK.

Flexibility on shareholding

While the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa dictated that employees who have more than
50% shareholding in the business were ineligible to apply, this requirement has been scrapped in the
new Expansion Worker Route.


This is of huge benefit to your business as your senior manager can have shareholding and other
financial interests in your business without jeopardising their visa application to come to the UK.

Flexibility on staff numbers


Another key benefit of the Expansion Worker route is that businesses can send more than one
eligible applicant to the country. The previous Sole Representative Visa only permitted one employee entry into the UK to establish a UK branch. Now, however, a whole senior team can apply together and migrate to the UK to propel the business in Britain. It is important to note that each staff member still needs to meet the immigration requirements of this visa category and will still need to score the relevant 60 points each.

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?


Considering the many key changes to the Sole Rep Visa route, it is highly advised that businesses
seek immigration advice to assist with them with their application. Your business overseas will need assistance in obtaining a UK Sponsor Licence. Meanwhile, the applicant – or team – will need advice on how to satisfy the immigration rules for this specific route. At 1 Absolute Advisor, all of our immigration lawyers are OISC-trained and certified in all aspects of corporate and business immigration law. We can help both your business and your team to migrate to the UK, whether you need full visa assistance or general guidance.

Contact our team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out about our global business immigration advice
packages.

FAQs
How long can I extend the Expansion Worker visa for?


The Expansion Worker Visa route typically only lasts for two years, after which you must seek to
extend or renew the visa. In total, you can remain in the UK with this permission of leave for up to five years. However, it is worth noting that it still will not lead to settlement such as ILR or British Citizenship.

How can I seek settlement with an Expansion Worker Visa?

Settlement, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), is usually only gained after a period of five
years of continuous residency in the UK. Yet overseas nationals operating under an Expansion Worker Visa are prohibited to switch or seek any form of settlement. Nevertheless, it is possible for managers to switch onto a completely different route entirely, such as a Skilled Worker Visa or similar, which then begins the count towards continuous residency and thus settlement.

I already have a Sole Rep Visa. Do I need to switch onto the UK Expansion Worker Route?

If you already have a Sole Representative Visa, you don’t need to worry as your visa won’t expire
overnight. You don’t need to change anything. In fact, since you have already been awarded the visa and are in the UK already, you are able to extend your leave and apply for settlement without any disruption.
In other words: your Sole Rep visa is still permitted up until it naturally expires. The change in the
immigration rules if only of concern to brand new entrants.

Can my manager be the referee for my British Citizenship Application?

Can my manager be the referee for my British Citizenship Application?

Can my manager be the referee for my British Citizenship Application?

Applicants who wish to apply for British Citizenship must be mindful that they need two referees to
support their application as outlined by the UK immigration rules.

The purpose of referees is to verify your identity and ultimately your validity for British Citizenship.

The referee requirements state:

  • At least one referee should be a person with ‘professional standing’ in the UK
  • And your other referee should be a British citizen passport holder and EITHER a ‘professional
    person’ or over the age of 25 years old
  • You must have known your referee(s) for at least 3 years

What does ‘professional standing’ mean for the Citizenship application?


For the purpose of gaining British citizenship, a person in a professional standing must be working in
a certain career and/or at a certain level in the eyes of immigration enforcement. There is a long list
of eligible people who can fit this criterion which you can read about in our blog, who can be a British
citizen referee?
However, you might be wondering if your manager or colleague at work can endorse your citizenship application – and the answer is: it depends.

When can my manager be the referee for my British citizenship application?
It largely depends on what industry you are working in. For example, if you work in hospitality or retail, it’s unlikely your boss will be able to act as a referee for your UK Nationality application.
However, if your manager has a senior position within a company, he/she could be one of your
referees. For instance, if your manager also owned the restaurant you were working in, then they
would be a suitable referee.

In the list of ‘professional persons’, the Home Office will accept the following:

  • Managers or Directors of a VAT registered charity
  • Managers, Directors, or Personnel Officers of a VAT registered company
  • Managers or Personnel Officers of a Limited Company
    This means that while your colleague and possibly boss will not suffice as referees, the director of the company you work for might be able to act as referee.

Can I ask any manager or director of a company to be my British Citizenship
referee?

You don’t necessarily need to work in a specific place in order for the manager/director to act as a
referee. However, your referee must have known you and have had some degree of personal but professional relationship with you for at least three years. In other words, you can’t just ask a stranger who happens to manage a company to act as your referee. You still have to know them personally.

What must my manager do to support my Citizenship application?

As per any British Citizenship referee, you will need to approach your manager and ask them if they
would be willing to provide a reference. It would also be wise to inform them of what is involved in the referee process as your manager will need to convey some personal details to UKVI in order to credibly vouch for your application.

This includes:

  • Their full name
  • Addresses over the past 3 years
  • Their date of birth
  • Their profession (I.e. Manager of a VAT registered company)
  • Their contact details including phone number and email address
  • Their British Passport number
  • A short declaration outlining how they know you personally and for how long
  • Their signature to confirm the declaration

What is the ’referee declaration’?

The referee declaration is important for UKVI to take your application seriously.
This declaration is a kind of formal written agreement between the referee and the Government
that he/she:

  • Knows you personally
  • Is not a relative, solicitor, or agent representing you
  • Is not a relative of your other referee
  • Is not employed by the Home Office
  • Has not been convicted of an imprisonable offense in the last 10 years
  • Is willing to give further details on their knowledge and relationship with the applicant

In addition, the referee’s signature is to ‘declare and confirm’ the following:

  • That they are qualified to act as referee
  • That the photograph of the applicant is ‘a true likeness’ (I.e. a genuine photo)
  • That they understand each point in the requirements (written above)
  • That the information provided by the applicant in the British Citizenship application is
    correct
  • That the information provided by the referee in the British Citizenship application is correct
  • That they understand that they could be fined up to £5,000 or face prison for up to 3 months
    if knowingly given false information in the application as a referee

The last point is very serious to note and emphasizes the importance of seeking a reputable and
genuine referee and, likewise, for referees to be mindful of who exactly they are vouching for as
they could be held to account if the applicant submits a deceptive or fraudulent application.

What if my manager refuses to supply information?


It is a possibility that your referee declines the opportunity to support your application. Although
there is no cost involved on their behalf, it is still a personal request and he/she might feel
uncomfortable for whatever reason.

If your manager refuses, you can’t take them to a court or challenge their decision. You simply have to
find another referee from elsewhere and respect their decision.

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?
Our immigration lawyers here in London are more than happy to help you with your British
citizenship application. We can even help you to find suitable referees to support your application if
you’re unsure who to ask. Call 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our bespoke British Citizenship application advice services.

How many referees do I need for British Citizenship?

How many referees do I need for British Citizenship?
How many referees do I need for British Citizenship?

So how many referees do I need for British Citizenship?

If you’re thinking of applying for British Citizenship, there are a number of requirements you must be
aware of ahead of submitting your application.

Indeed, there is a long list of British Citizenship eligibility requirements which range from concrete
requirements, like passing the Life in the UK test and English Language tests, to ambiguous
requirements like proving you are of ‘good character’.

In addition, you need to prove that you have continuously remained in the UK for a certain number
of years and prove you are who you say you are.

The Home Office has established measures within the application process to stamp out cases of
identity fraud and deception. As a result, British Citizenship applicants are also required to obtain
people to prove their identity – these are your ‘referees’.

But how many do you need and what do they need to do? Let’s find out.

How many referees do I need for the citizenship application?

You only need two referees to apply for British Citizenship.

However, you must have known your referees personally for at least three years, but they cannot be
a relative or friends. It’s important you choose your two referees wisely as the success of your application hinges on your identity and character – the two elements which your referees are endorsing.

What are the referee requirements?

Not everyone is eligible to be a referee for citizenship. In fact, your referee must meet the Home
Office’s expectations – failure to do so could seriously jeopardize your application, if not delay the
process.


Fortunately, you only need to obtain two referees who:

  • Have known you for at least 3 years
  • Are not a relative, agent, solicitor, or employee of the Home Office
  • Do not have any criminal convictions in the past 10 years

Do both of my referees need to be of ‘professional standing’ for citizenship?


You might already know that at least one of your referees has to be of ‘professional standing’ in the
UK – I.e., that they work in a specific industry or have a specific job title as outlined in the UK
Government’s Citizenship criteria. For example, your manager or director of the company you work
for could act as your referee, but there are plenty of other professions which fit the bill, too.
However, you don’t need two ‘professional standing’ referees, though if you have two to hand, that
might be a preferable route to take.

Your second referee, if he/she is not a person of professional standing, instead must be a British
Citizen with a UK passport and be over the age of 25 years old. Both referees are required to sign a declaration to endorse your application and verify your identity.

Can I submit multiple referee declarations in the UK Nationality application?

UK Government immigration guidance clearly stipulates that you need two referees, so it is probably
best that you stick to this figure and submit no more (or no less) than the two required.
It is also important to note that is it not uncommon for UKVI to reject Visa and Status applications if
the caseworker assigned to your application judges that there is too much information in your
portfolio, and likewise if it is too little. In the event that your portfolio has too much information,
the decision-maker might ask you to amend the application as it might extend beyond reasonable
expectations and what you have paid in admin fees to process it. You have to establish the right balance and ensure you are meeting the criteria coherently and
appropriately.

At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration lawyers know exactly what UKVI is looking for in each
Citizenship application it receives. We can advise you on your next steps and ensure you have a
watertight portfolio of evidence that doesn’t overwhelm the caseworker nor miss any important
points.


Get in touch with our client care team today by calling 0207 993 6762.

How To Find A Referee For British Citizenship

So how to find a referee for British Citizenship? A question we get asked many times.

When seeking to naturalize as a British citizen, you need to ensure that you meet the British
citizenship requirements.

This includes to name a few:

  • Proof of ‘continuous residency in the UK’ (usually for a period of 10 years or more)
  • Proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain status for 12 months
  • Evidence of having passed the Life in the UK test
  • Proving English Language capabilities to a certain standard
  • Passing the ‘Good Character’ test
  • Supplying two referees to verify identity
    As you can see, providing 2 referees is just as important as meeting all the other British citizenship
    eligibility criteria. Yet applicants continually leave their referees to the last minute, falsely assuming
    that it is the least concerning or time-consuming aspect of the application.
    At 1 Absolute Advisor, we have discussed at length the importance of requesting suitable referees
    for British citizenship. For instance, whether your partner can be a citizenship referee (they cannot), your teacher, your doctor or even your friend. Either way, it’s likely you know someone within your reach that can be a suitable referee. But how do you find them? In this blog, we’ll explore your options.

Finding a suitable referee – the requirements

First of all, you need to familiarise yourself with the British Citizenship referee requirements. This
includes:

  • Asking two separate people to act as referees who are not related to the applicant or even
    one another AND who have known the applicant in some personal or professional capacity
    for 3 years
  • Asking at least one ‘professional person’;
  • And asking someone else who is over the age of 25 and has a British passport, unless there is
    scope to provide 2 referees of persons with professional standing Both referees need to sign a declaration and essentially endorse your British citizenship application. As such, it is prohibited for convicted criminals and employees of the Home Office to act as referees. This is because no such crimes are ‘spent’ in the eyes of UK immigration law and to mitigate against any potential conflicts of interest or possibly deceptive applications.

How to find a suitable British Citizenship referee who is a professional person

However, just because the requirements are very specific – and asking someone to act as a referee
can be a huge commitment – doesn’t mean finding a referee has to be hard.

In fact, there are dozens of suitable professional persons accepted by the Home Office. This includes
people who work as an accountant, pilot, barrister, journalist, doctor, manager of a VAT registered
company or charity, and many more.

The good news with asking a professional person is that you may have only interacted with them
over the course of three years within a professional capacity. Plus, he/she does not need to be a
British Citizen in order to provide you with a reference.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to find a suitable professional person. Throughout the
the course of your five to ten years of residency in the UK, you most certainly know someone of
professional standing in their community who can vouch for your application.

Who should I ask to be my second British citizenship referee?

Complications may begin to arise with your references if you are unsure who to ask for your second
referee.

However, you have options.

You can either choose to ask another professional person or someone who you have known
personally for three years who is over the age of 25 with a British passport.

How can London immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration lawyers in London can help you to find a referee for British citizenship – and more.
Our experts are fully versed in all the UK immigration rules, including nationality and status
applications like Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship.

If you need general advice or a professional to look over your application, we can help. We can even
help you to create an airtight portfolio of supporting evidence and guide you through each step of
the Citizenship application, whether you are seeking to naturalize or through some other route.
Contact our team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our leading immigration services
in London.

UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees

UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees

UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees.

UK Government offers support for Ukrainians fleeing Russian invasion through two Humanitarian Routes As the situation in Ukraine begins to worsen every day, the UK Government has outlined numerous visa packages and rolled out fresh measures to facilitate those fleeing the conflict. Already, the Government has confirmed that Ukrainians in the UK on a Work Visa, Study Visa or Visit Visa will have their visas extended. They may also be able to switch onto a different visa route to remain in the country. And last week, the Government announced it would expand the Ukrainian Humanitarian route in a bid to welcome thousands more Ukrainians to safety.

However, the Ukrainian Humanitarian Route is somewhat limited. Only British family members, or
people who have Settled Status in the UK, are able to sponsor their Ukrainian loved ones to come to
the country. But there is some degree of flexibility in this route as people in the UK can sponsor their immediate and extended family members through the Humanitarian Route.

Family members for the purpose of this route include:

  • Parents
  • A spouse or civil partner
  • Grandparents
  • Children (including adult children)
  • Siblings
  • Extended family members relating to the above
    For instance, someone with Settled Status or British Citizenship in the UK could sponsor their sibling who can also bring their spouse and child. Fortunately, other visa requirements such as English language capability and salary will be waived for the purpose of resettling those in need as quickly as possible. In response to the urgency, the Prime Minister has since announced that a new scheme, an uncapped Sponsored Humanitarian Visa, will also be available for Ukrainians who have no familial ties to the UK but who might be willing to work. The uncapped route means many more vulnerable people will be welcomed on British soil, providing they are sponsored by a professional body like a workplace, or through other means like local authorities and communities. Individuals are able to sponsor people fleeing Ukraine via this route too, and the UK Government is quickly matching those in need to people in Britain who are willing to sponsor. But it is important to note that the uncapped Sponsored Humanitarian Visa means the onus is on the UK sponsoring party to provide housing and integration support. Ukrainians and their British family members can call the free helpline on +44 808 164 8810 for round-the-clock advice, or go to any Visa Application Centre overseas to enrol their biometrics (such as finger prints and ID).

Although the Visa Application Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine, has closed as a result of the ongoing conflict,
the UK Government has increased its capacity to facilitate pop-up visa centers in other countries.
This includes Hungary, Poland, and Moldova.

1 Absolute Advisor is also able to help with advice, guidance, and support throughout this difficult
time. If you need help sponsoring a Ukrainian individual or family, we can help. Alternatively, if you
are a Ukrainian national in search of sanctuary, our expert team of advisors can offer full support.
Call us today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our emergency settlement services for
asylum seekers and those in humanitarian need. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said the following about the new announcements: “Putin’s war on Ukraine is monstrous and unjustified and the Government will stand with the people of Ukraine, both at home and abroad.

“I have been talking to our friends in Ukraine and in the region to ensure the humanitarian support
we offer is in the best interests of Ukrainian people. “Our Ukrainian Humanitarian Route will allow families to be reunited in the UK and our bespoke sponsor route will give safety to Ukrainians who have sadly been forced to flee their homes. “This agile response to the despicable Russian invasion is living proof of our New Plan for Immigration – doing what is fair and right to support people in genuine need.”
The UK will also continue to offer defensive weapons and financial support (£220 million) to Ukraine
as the situation evolves.

Please get in touch with our immigration lawyers who can help you with bringing your family from Ukraine via the Ukraine Family Visa Scheme to the UK or if you are Ukrainian Refugee looking to apply for a UK Visa. UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees.

Who Can Be a British Citizenship Referee?

Who Can Be a British Citizenship Referee?

If you are looking to naturalise as a British Citizen, you will need to provide referees in your British
citizenship application. However, it’s important to note that the requirements around the UK citizenship referees are very specific – you can’t ask a friend or a neighbour (within reason), but you also can’t ask a stranger.

So, who can be a British citizenship referee? In this blog, we’ll explain everything.

What is a British citizenship referee?
First of all, it might be beneficial to familiarise yourself with what a referee is. Essentially, a referee is required to personally endorse your British Citizenship application. This person must be someone you know reasonably well for at least 3 years as they need to confirm your identity. The reason the UK Government stipulates referees as a mandatory aspect of the UK Nationality application is to prevent fraudulent and deceptive applications. Hence, it is important you have the correct referees who can vouch for your identity.

How many referees are needed for British citizenship?
Sometimes, applicants fail to provide enough referees for their application. When this happens, your
application could be delayed or even refused, though usually, the Home Office will grant an
extension in which you must find enough referees who meet the criteria. Fortunately, you only need two referees to apply for citizenship.

Who can be a referee for the UK citizenship application?
The second important thing to note is that at least one out of your two referees must be someone
with professional standing in the community within the UK.
Plus, he/she must:

  • Have known you for at least three years
  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Have full British citizenship with a valid UK passport

Can a relative be a citizenship referee?
In short, it’s unlikely that your relative will be able to provide a reference for your citizenship
application. The rules stipulate that referees must have no family connection to the applicant.

In addition, he/she cannot be:

  • Related to you or your child
  • Your solicitor, agent or immigration lawyer
  • Employed by the Home Office
  • Someone who has been convicted of an imprisonable offence in the last ten years

What is an acceptable ‘professional person’?
As aforementioned, at least 1 of your referees must work in a certain industry to be classed as a
professional person. According to the latest Government criteria, an ‘acceptable professional person’ applies to people who work in any of the following professions:
 Accountant
 Airline pilot
 Articles clerk of a limited company
 Assurance agent of a recognised company
 Bank or building society official
 Barrister
 British Computer Society (BCS) – professional grades with are Associate (AMBCS), Member
(MBCS), Fellow (FBCS) (PN 25/2003)
 Broker
 Chairman or director of a limited company
 Chemist
 Chiropodist
 Christian Science practitioner
 Commissioner for oaths
 Councillor – local or county
 Civil servant (permanent)
 Dentist
 Designated premises supervisors
 Director or Manager of a VAT registered charity
 Director, manager or personnel officer of a VAT registered company
 Driving instructor
 Engineer with professional qualifications
 Fire service official
 Funeral director
 Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
 Journalist
 Justice of the Peace
 Legal secretary (members and fellows of the Institute of legal secretaries)
 Local government officer
 Manager or Personnel officer (of the limited company)
 Member of Parliament (MP)
 Member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces
 Merchant Navy Officer

 Minister of a recognised religion
 Nurse (RN, SEN or holder of a BA in nursing)
 Officer of the armed services (active or retired)
 Optician
 Paralegal (certified or qualified paralegals, and associate members of the Institute of
Paralegals)
 A person with honours (such as OBE, MBE and so on)
 Personal licensee holders
 Photographer (professional)
 Police officer
 Post Office official
 President or secretary of a recognised organisation
 Salvation Army officer
 Social worker
 Solicitor
 Surveyor
 Teacher/lecturer
 Trade Union officer
 Travel agency (qualified)
 Valuers and auctioneers (fellow and associate members of the incorporated society)
 Warrant officers and chief petty officers

How to find a ‘professional person’ when you live outside the UK
If you are applying for British citizenship and you don’t have a suitable referee – for instance, if you
are legitimately living outside of the UK and don’t happen to know a suitable person for 3 years,
then the Home Office will consider alternatives.

In this unique situation, UKVI will consider a referee if they are a Commonwealth Citizen. They may
also, be a citizen of the country in which you are currently residing. Their identity and capability to be your referee will be formally checked by the British consul.

Will the UK Government assess my referees?
The caseworker assigned to your citizenship application may find it necessary to find out more
information about your referees. Sometimes checks are conducted at random, to ensure compliance, while other times it is mandatory as your referee might have accidentally failed to provide enough information. He/she could be contacted for more information.

How can your London immigration solicitors help?
1 Absolute Advisor only hires qualified and passionate immigration lawyers. We know the British
citizenship rules inside out – and will know if your referees are suitable enough.

Our lawyers are also able to advise you throughout the Naturalisation application. So, whether you
need general advice or thorough step-by-step guidance, hire one of our expert immigration lawyers
today to ease the stress of the citizenship application. If you’re still unsure, read our top 10 questions about British citizenship referees that our lawyers face every day or give us a call on 0207 993 6762 to find out more.

Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee

Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee

The British Citizenship application can be a tough one to fulfill. To help you we have compiled Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee

First of all, you need to make sure you can meet the British citizenship requirements – which differ
depending on whether you are seeking British Citizenship through naturalization or UK nationality
through another avenue, such as through Descent or Ancestry.

The requirements for British citizenship include being of age (over 18), having lived in the UK
continuously for at least 5 years (the ‘continuous residence’ requirement), having had ILR status for
12 months and having few absences from the country. You must not have spent more than 450 days
outside of the UK in the past five years.

Another key hurdle to overcome is the Life in the UK test – a mandatory assessment in which
applicants are required to show that they can understand and communicate well in English, plus
have in-depth knowledge about British culture, traditions, history, and general customs. Some refer
to this test as more like a ‘pub quiz’ compared to the English Language test, which is also mandatory
for British citizenship.

However, a key part of your application involves endorsement from at least two referees. This can
be difficult as your referees have to be approved by UKVI.

In this blog, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee our immigration lawyers are routinely asked on the subject of British citizenship referees – and how you can secure a reliable referee to support your UK
nationality application.

  1. Why do I need two referees for British citizenship?
    Whenever anyone makes an application for citizenship in the UK, they are obliged to provide two
    referees. This is to verify your identity, add credibility and to generally ensure you are who you say
    you are.
  2. Who is a suitable referee?
    You can’t recruit a close friend or family member for your referee as UKVI might deem your
    application invalid. This is because your referees must be an ‘acceptable professional person’.
    However, your referee still must have known you for at least 3 years and be a British Citizen
    themselves. Your referee, unfortunately, cannot be your immigration lawyer. Your referee must not be a representative and cannot be employed by the Home Office, either. In addition, your referee must be over the age of 25.
  3. What is a professional referee?
    At least one of your referees must have a professional standing in the UK.

Your acceptable professional referee must work in a respected profession.
For example, as an accountant, an airline pilot, a bank or building society official, a broker, an
engineer, a journalist, a professional photographer, a Post Office official, a teacher, a lecturer, and
more. Those who work in the health sector and the emergency services, like chemists, dentists, fire
services, nurses, opticians, police officers, and social workers, are ideal for your professional referee.
However, you can also ask anyone you may know who works in the legal sector as a barrister,
paralegal, or solicitor. Or someone who holds the position of chair, director, or manager of a Limited Company or VAT a registered charity can also be your referee.

Other roles like Councillors, civil servants, MPs, and Armed Forces/Navy workers can also provide a
reference for your Citizenship application.

There is a long list of suitable professional referees outlined by UKVI which you can look at.

  1. I only know one suitable professional person. Who can be my second referee?
    Generally speaking, you only need one out of the two referees to be someone with professional
    standing. Your other referee can be someone else you have known for 3 years, who isn’t a family or
    friend, but who can still verify your identity. An acquaintance at work or friend-of-a-friend might be able to help – but it may be best to obtain 2 referees that are professionals so that they are no grey areas in your application. If you need help finding a suitable referee, our lawyers at 1 Absolute Advisor can advise you on how you can find one.
  2. What happens if I fail to provide a referee?
    Failure to provide a referee whatsoever in your application could see your citizenship application
    delayed or, in the worst-case scenario, outright rejected.
    If your application has been refused, you can then choose to either challenge the decision via an
    appeal or make a fresh application. However, the likelihood is, if you just need to provide 2 referees and the rest of your application is compelling and accurate, the Home Office may grant you some extra time to find referees. It is worth noting here though that this is at UKVI’s discretion.
  3. What must referees do in my citizenship application?
    Each referee that supports your application needs to prove who they are and briefly explain their
    relationship to you. For example, if you’ve asked your doctor or nurse, he/she will explain that you
    have met in a formal setting.

Your referee must provide their personal information too so that UKVI can verify their identity and
ultimately approve the reference. This includes:

  • Their full name, date of birth and addresses in the last 3 years
  • Details of their profession
  • Their contact details – email and phone number
  • Their British passport number
  • A declaration that he/she is qualified to act as your referee
  • A brief explanation as to how they know you

Your referee must also sign a passport-sized photograph of yourself – the applicant.

  1. What is a ‘British citizenship referee declaration’?
    A declaration is a statement that is signed formally by your referee that confirms your identity. This
    includes:
  • That your photograph is definitely you (“that the photograph is the true likeness of the
    applicant”)
  • That the details you have provided about yourself is correct in the eyes of the referee
  • That the details the referee has provided are also correct
    This statement is mandatory because it outlines that the referee has fully understood what is asked
    of them. It is particularly important that your referees read this part of their agreement. Referees
    who knowingly participate in deception or identity fraud, or knowingly give false information, could
    be fined up to £5,000 or face 3 months in prison.
    The declaration requires your referee to sign an agreement here and essentially endorses your
    application.

  • 8 What happens if my referees are not suitable?
    If your referees are not suitable, Home Office caseworkers assigned to your case may contact you – or your referees – for further information. In some cases, your application may be refused.
  • 9 Where should my referees send their reference/Declaration?
    The declaration can either be sent in the post in its original copy to UKVI or scanned through in an
    email to the applicant, who can then attach it as part of their application.
    The scanned copy can be uploaded via the application portal for applicant seeking citizenship by
    applying online.
  • Alternatively, you can pass the reference onto your immigration lawyer to handle.
  1. Do my children need referees for their citizenship application?
    Yes – your children need referees for their citizenship application, too.
    However, it is usually easier to endorse a child’s application as parents only need to ask teachers,
    doctors or other health workers to provide a reference.

Where can I access immigration advice?
I hope you have learned from this post of Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee If you need help with the British Citizenship application, including finding a suitable referee, we can help you. At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration experts specialize in British nationality law. What this means is that we are trained and qualified to give you the best legal advice in your citizenship application – no matter how complicated it may seem or if you have already started the application. Speak to our customer care team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our British citizenship advice sessions.

Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirement

spouse visa accommodation requirement

UK Spouse Visa accommodation requirement

The UK Spouse Visa is just one of many categories belonging to the family migration route. What this
means is that applicants are required to satisfy numerous immigration requirements, including the
accommodation requirement as outlined in Appendix FM.

But what are the Partner Visa accommodation rules? Let’s take a look.

What is the UK Married Partner Visa accommodation requirement?
Essentially, married couples who intend to live in Britain must prove that they have adequate
accommodation and living space that is compliant with the country’s housing and living standards.
As a general rule of thumb, this means that the property must:

  • Be owned or occupied exclusively by the applicant
  • Has enough bedrooms to accommodate any dependents such as children
  • Not be obtained through public funds
  • Not contravene public health and safety regulations

How to prove exclusive occupation
Spouse Visa applicants are required to prove that their prospective property in the UK is to be
owned or occupied exclusively by the couple. However, if you’re moving into a house share, house of multiple occupancies or with other family members, you don’t need to own the entire property in order to meet the accommodation requirement.

Here, you will only need to prove that you are occupying at least one suitable bedroom and that
your addition to the household will not lead to overcrowding. Applicants can prove that they exclusively occupy the space by providing evidence of rental or mortgage agreements and/or written statements by other occupants in the house, if applicable.

What are the ‘room standards’ for the Spouse Visa accommodation requirement?
Part and parcel of the UK Spouse Visa accommodation requirement are to ensure that occupants are
not overcrowded in unsuitable properties. This requirement is specifically included to ensure that
migrants who come to the UK do not end up in cramped, overcrowded, and/or substandard housing
arrangements. The Housing Act 1985 stipulates a ‘room standard’ test which essentially assesses the number of people needing a bedroom which is split dependent on age and gender.

The rules are:

  • A child under the age of 1 does not could as a person and does not need their own bedroom
  • A child aged 1-10 counts as ‘half a person’ and can share a bedroom
  • Couples can share a room
    However, it is important to note that occupants of the opposite sex and are aged over 10 years old
    cannot share a room and must have their own bedrooms. For instance, if you have two 11-year-old
    children of the opposite sex.
    This also means children between the age 1 and 9 are able to share a bedroom, but theirs must be
    separated from the couple/adult bedrooms.

What counts as a room?
The room can only be considered suitable for an occupant if the floor area is larger than 50 square
feet. However, spare rooms and living rooms that can reasonably be converted into a bedroom can also
count as a room if you need the space. Kitchens and bathrooms are not counted here.

Exceptions the overcrowding rule
There are, however, a handful of circumstances in which applicants can enjoy an exception to the
overcrowding rule. This includes situations where alternative accommodation arrangements need to be made but have not yet begun. For example:

  • If you have a new-born baby
  • If you have a child who is turning 11
  • If you have a friend/family member staying in the house temporarily
  • If the local authority has granted permission, such as ‘licenced overcrowding’

How to prove to UKVI that your accommodation is suitable

As you will need to prove that your accommodation in the UK is ‘adequate’, you need to submit
evidence of your living arrangements.

You can submit any of the following documents:

  • Tenancy agreement
  • A signed and dated letter from the landlord/estate agent
  • Mortgage agreement
  • A signed and dated letter from the mortgage provider
  • Title deeds (which can be obtained by UK Land Registry)
  • The floor plan/blueprint of the property
  • The property listing when it was advertised online
  • A cover letter detailing the property
  • Evidence of a Housing Report that has been signed and dated
  • A written statement from a friend/family member who owns the property and will be
    sharing the space with you and your partner

How can your London immigration lawyers help?
Our immigration lawyers here at 1 Absolute Advisor offer comprehensive Spouse Visa advice
packages. What this means is that we can help you to create an airtight portfolio of evidence and
help you throughout your Spouse Visa UK journey.

Proving that you can meet the accommodation requirement is essential for the success of your visa
application. Yet too many applicants fail to satisfy the requirement and underestimate how much
evidence is really required. Take a look at our advice on the top 10 mistakes to avoid with your Spouse Visa application too, as the accommodation requirement is just one aspect of the many Married Partner Visa immigration rules. If you want to improve your chances of a visa success, call our immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762 for a free case consultation.

Is it better to get a UK Fiancé Visa or Spouse visa?

Is it better to get a UK Fiancé visa or Spouse visa?

Is it better to get a UK Fiancé Visa or Spouse visa?

When it comes to getting married and celebrating life with the one you love, lengthy visa applications and the hassle of paperwork might seem like the last thing on your priority list. But it’s important that you identify early on which type of Partner Visa matches your circumstances. After all, there’s not just the UK Spouse Visa and Fiancé(e) visa to choose from. There is the UK Unmarried Partner Visa, Marriage Visitor Visa, and General Family Visa. However, if you’re planning on tying the knot – whether in marriage or through a civil partnership – or you have done so already, it’s highly likely either the UK Fiance Visa or Spouse Visa is the right route for you. Yet you might still be wondering which one is best out of the two.

So, let’s take a look at your possible options and weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Getting married in the UK

First of all, if you’re not already married yet, then you won’t be able to apply for a UK Spouse Visa.
However, seeking a Fiancé Visa or Marriage Visitor Visa depends on whether or not you and your
partner want to marry in the UK, and if you want to stay in the country afterward and live together
as a family.

You may prefer a Fiancé Visa if:

  • You are already engaged and intend on marrying in the UK
  • You intend on marrying within 6 months of receiving entry permission (the visa)
  • You want to switch from a Fiancée Visa onto a UK Spouse Visa to remain in the UK after
    marriage The key benefit of the Fiance Visa is that you can easily switch onto a full UK Spouse Visa without
    ever needing to leave the country. However, the downside is that this is a lot of paperwork to contend with. Plus, you’ll still need to meet the complex Spouse Visa requirements, even if your Fiance Visa application is accepted.
    It is no guarantee that you will be successful with your Married Partner Visa application even once
    you have married. The Marriage Visit Visa, meanwhile, is for couples who want to marry in the UK but who may not
    have an immediate intention to remain in the country after the wedding – if at all. Essentially the Marriage Visitor Permit allows couples to marry in the country for up to 6 months, after which they must return to their original country of residence. You cannot transition from a Marriage Visit Visa onto a Spouse Visa as you need to leave the UK at the end of your wedding.

Living together in the UK

For a UK Spouse Visa, at least one of the applicants must be a British citizen or permanent resident
of the UK. This is important because he/she will then ‘sponsor’ their loved one’s visa application. In
turn, this will allow the couple to live together under the same roof in the UK, providing that they can also satisfy the Spouse Visa accommodation requirement. The Fiance Visa does not mean you and your fiance will be able to live in the UK after your marriage has taken place. However, you can switch onto a Spouse Visa without needing to leave the country. Only with a Spouse Visa are you able to remain in Britain for up to 2.5 years. After 2.5 years, you can then seek a Spouse Visa extension. And, once you have renewed your visa and accumulated five years in total, you can switch onto permanent residency status like Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Therefore, if you and your married partner have dreams of living together in the UK once you have formally wed or entered a civil partnership, then the Spouse Visa is the route to go.

Which visa has faster processing times?


Generally speaking, most Family Visas are processed at the same time and should take no longer
than 12 weeks. But you may want to consider this waiting time when booking your wedding venue
and travel tickets if you are seeking a Fiancé Visa. By contrast, a Marriage Visitor Visa can take as little as three weeks to receive a decision. However, any mistakes or missing pieces of evidence in your application could also increase the processing time as UKVI will need to contact you for further information. If you’re concerned about processing times, UKVI does offer fast-track and super-priority services at a premium cost.

Our immigration lawyers in London here at 1 Absolute Advisor can also ensure that your application is to the
the highest standard before you submit it to the authorities, increasing your chances of a seamless
turnaround and visa success.

How long does the Fiancé Visa and the Spouse Visa last?

The Fiance Visa is designed to give you adequate time to marry in the UK. Whereas, the Spouse Visa
exists to support newly married couples into the near future, ensuring that they can live together in
the UK.

The length of stay is as follows:

  • A Fiance Visa expires after six months
  • A Spouse Visa lasts for 30 months
    The UK Spouse Visa is not an indefinite visa. Before your 30 months of permission expires, you will
    either need to extend/renew the Spouse Visa or switch onto an alternative visa, such as a Work Visa,
    in order to remain in the country.

Which visa has an easy application process?

The application process for any type of Family Visa in the UK is far from easy. However, with that
being said, the Fiance Visa could be considered slightly easier as it has fewer immigration requirements and criteria to overcome. The UK Spouse Visa application contains some of the most rigid and complicated immigration rules across the entire Tiered, Points, and visa system. This is because the route became a common avenue for fraud and exploitation where applicants marry for the sole purpose of a visa advantage. However, with the right immigration advice and professional guidance, the application process can be smooth and straightforward.

What are the visa fees for fiancée and married partner visas?

Another key factor you must consider is the cost:

  • The UK Fiance Visa costs £1,523
  • The UK Spouse Visa costs £1,523
  • The Marriage Visitor Visa costs £95
    As you can see, the Visit Visa is significantly cheaper than that of the other two. However, this is
    because there is no expectation of you to remain in the UK after your wedding. It is also pertinent to note that while the UK Spouse Visa and Fiancée Visa is the same price, if you opt for the fiancée route with a view to switch onto a Spouse Visa, you will have paid £3,046. And this fee doesn’t include other mandatory costs like the Immigration Health Surcharge or lawyer fees.

What are the options for couples who don’t want to marry?

If you and your partner do not want to marry at all and you are not currently engaged, you can seek
an Unmarried Partner Visa instead. This visa permits applicants to live together on UK soil, however, the application process is significantly harder and more stringent as you have to prove that your relationship is ‘akin to marriage’.
You also have to prove that your relationship is serious enough to last.

How can your immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration experts are well-versed in all areas of UK family law, including the Spouse Visa,
Fiance Visa and more. We can help you to apply for the right visa which matches your individual circumstances and needs. We can speak to you no matter where you are in the world. Get in touch today by calling us on 0207 993 6762 and find out about our bespoke Spouse Visa advice services.

ILR 2 Year Absence

ILR 2 Year Absence
ILR 2 Year Absence

ILR 2 Year Absence

Indefinite Leave to Remain After 2 Years Absence

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a highly sought-after status in the UK as it allows holders to live
and work in the UK while being free from immigration restrictions. With this status, you are able to
participate in UK life as though you are a British national.

However, it vastly differs from full British Citizenship as ILR status still comes with some strict rules
and regulations. The main difference is that while UK citizenship is granted for life and with no
restrictions whatsoever, ILR has an expiry date and can be revoked in some circumstances.
So, let’s take a look at what may happen to your ILR status after 2 years of absence.

What are the ILR absence and expiry rules?

LR is granted to applicants who can meet a set of specific criteria, otherwise known as the ILR
requirements. One such requirement dictates that applicants must intend to make the UK their
permanent home, and some applicants include a statement of this intention when submitting their
documents to the Home Office.

And although ILR holders are free to come and go from the UK as they please, the status will become
void after two continuous years outside of the UK, Ireland, or the Crown Dependencies (the Isle of
Man, Guernsey, and Jersey).


This means that after just two years outside the UK, you will lose your settled status and may need
to re-apply for a visa in order to return.


However, if you return to the UK intermittently, you may not lose ILR status. Every time you leave
the country, the 2-year countdown begins and restarts again once you re-enter. However, if you’re
only coming to the UK in short bursts, the Home Office may grow suspicious of your intention to live
in the country.

Are there any exceptions to the ILR 2-year absence rule?

You may be exempt from the ILR expiry rule if:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are a dependant of a member of HM Armed Forces (and therefore accompanied them
    overseas)
  • You are a dependent of someone with Settled Status, British Citizenship, ILR or permanent
    residence who is employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, the
    Department for International Development or the British Council (and therefore
    accompanied them overseas)
    However, the Home Office may also be more lenient with your expiry if you can prove that you had
    compelling reasons to be absent from the UK, such as caring for a sick relative, for work purposes or
    for studying.
    UKVI will also consider your case if you were seeking a unique type of medical treatment abroad that
    is not currently available in the UK.

How to re-enter the UK after ILR expires

Fortunately, you don’t need to re-start all over again if your ILR status expires but you wish to return
to the UK. You can apply for a Returning Resident Visa instead. If you are successful, the Home Office may
consider restoring your initial ILR status. However, you must detail the reason for your absences and
again reinstate your sincere intention to make the UK your permanent country of residence.

The Returning Resident Visa is extremely restrictive. After all, you must make a compelling case that
you will not lose your status again as you intend to live in the UK permanently – a statement which
maybe undermined by your long absence from the country previously.

You can strengthen your case for a Return Visa by showing:

  • You have strong ties to the UK, like close familial links, employment, mortgage or rental
    agreements
  • That your strong ties to the UK were maintained throughout the duration of your absence
  • The length of your absence
  • The length of your original UK residence (I.e., If you sought ILR through the 5-year or 3-year
    settlement route)
  • Your reasons for absence from the UK with specific details
    The longer you have been away from the UK, the more difficult it becomes for you to apply for this
    visa as you will struggle to prove that you have maintained ties to the country.

What if my Returning Resident Visa is refused?

You will be denied entry into the UK if you attempt to re-enter without a Returning Resident Visa.
And, since your ILR status has expired, you will have no legal footing to enter or remain in the UK
whatsoever. In the event that your Return Visa is refused, you can seek to appeal the decision – or even take it
further to an administrative review. To take this forward, it is highly recommended that you seek
advice from an immigration lawyer who can also represent you in a Tribunal hearing.

How can your London immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration lawyers specialize in UK nationality and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.
Not only can we help you with your ILR or British citizenship application, but we can help you in the
rare event that your status is canceled or expires. Speak to our immigration experts today by arranging a free consultation on 0207 993 6762. Our lawyers can speak to you over the phone or online, no matter where you are in the world.

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