August 2015, Lost BRP, a thing of the past!

Keeping your passport and BRP safe when traveling abroad is of paramount importance as you will not be able to re-enter the UK if either of these documents is missing.

For those who have found themselves stranded abroad having lost their BRP and unable to return to the UK without having to go through a lengthy and costly administrative process, will appreciate the importance of having the means of keeping their travel documents together.

Over the years we have witnessed our clients’ dismay when realising that in addition to their passport they would need to carry a BRP.  Our clients’ comments on the inconvenience of having to carry two separate documents and their fear of mislaying their card prompted the design and development of the delphine-d passport cover.

Further information can be found at:  and

Passport and BRP holder copy protected and registered trade mark


If your BRP is misplaced, stolen or lost whilst you are abroad, you will need to contact the British Embassy to get a new temporary vignette. This will involve going through the entire visa process, including enrolling your Biometrics details, all over again. Fortunately for Tier 2 migrant, a new Certificate of Sponsorship will not be required.

January 2015 – Continuous Residence for ILR (5 years) : Counting the days out..

In order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) migrants are required to have spent five years continuously in the UK in a qualifying category.

The changes to the immigration rules, back in 2012, included amendments to what constitutes continuous residence for the purpose of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

As the new rules applied retrospectively, many migrants who by then had accrued excessive absences for legitimate employment or business purposes, found themselves at a loss.

Pre 2012 rules  - ‘as many days as long as related to your work’

Under the previous rules in line with the Home Office’s official guidance, migrants were allowed up to 180 days absence from the UK across the five year qualifying period, and up to 90 days absence in any one period.

The common practice was then that the Home Office would use its discretion and disregard all short absences abroad consistent with paid annual leave or business trips, along with absences for compelling compassionate reasons when counting the days spent outside the UK.

A migrant who had accrued a large number of absences, as many as three or four or even five hundred across the five year period, would still qualify as long as they were able to show that the UK were their main home and that all absences were justified (ie business trips, short assignments or absences due to compelling compassionate reasons).

Post 2012 rules – ‘no more than 180 days per year’ applied retrospectively!

Under the new rules, absences of up to 180 days in each 12 month period within the qualifying five year period can be discounted provided that, for Tier 2 migrants, the absences are connected to the applicant’s sponsored or permitted employment and for Tier 1 migrants, that the absences are connected to the applicant’s permitted economic activity being carried out in the UK.

On the face of it it seemed as though the new rules are far more generous, particularly for Tier 2 migrants who have been sent abroad on assignment by their sponsoring company or Tier 1 migrants who have needed to travel abroad extensively to seek overseas contracts.

However, what of those migrants who had accrued over 180 days absence from the UK in one or several of their five years spent in the Tier 2 / 1 visa category prior to the changes?

The UKVI Guidance states as follows:

“Absences of more than 180 days in each consecutive 12 month period preceding the date of application (in all categories) will mean the continuous period has been broken. However, consideration may still be given to granting indefinite leave to remain (ILR) outside the rules if evidence is provided to show the excessive absence was due to serious or compelling compassionate reasons…Absences in excess of 180 days in any 12 month period for employment or economic activity reasons are not considered exceptional.”

This is to be interpreted strictly: excessive absences due to employment, even prior to the changes, will not be considered exceptional and will lead to the application being refused.

Going forward migrants who intend to settle in the UK will have to avoid overseas work and / or prolonged overseas assignments whenever possible.

Migrants who have been caught out by the changes, will need to extend their visa prior to the expiry of their leave. With the closure of the Tier 1 General extension scheme looming, migrants who are in doubt as to whether their future application for ILR would succeed would be well advised to extend their current Tier 1 before April 2016.


Counting the days of absences – from entry or visa issuance?

Under the new rules, no more than 180 days of absences are allowed in any of the five consecutive 12 month periods. The specified continuous period is counted backwards from the date of the ILR application.  For instance, if the date of application is 11 January 2015, the consecutive periods would be as follows:


Year 1 11 January 2015 To 12 January 2014
Year 2 11 January 2014 To 12 January 2013
Year 3 11 January 2013 To 12 January 2012
Year 4 11 January 2012 To 12 January 2011
Year 5 11 January 2011 To 12 January 2010


The period between entry clearance being issued and the migrant entering the UK may be counted towards the qualifying period (i.e. be disregarded as absences), as long as it does not exceed 90 days. This can occur if the migrant is delayed travelling to the UK. The period of delay will not be counted as an absence if does not exceed 90 days. If the delay is more than 90 days, none of the period between entry clearance being issued and the applicant entering the UK can be included in the continuous period of calculation.

Only entire days spent outside the UK count as absences.  For example a migrant leaving the UK on Monday and returning on Wednesday would only have been absent from the UK for one day.

Click here for information on missing records of absences – no stamp!


January 2014 – Home Office Audit Forms – Sponsors Service

Following a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act, Entry Clearance Services has obtained a copy of various forms used by the Home Office auditing officers whilst conducting an audit on sponsors premises.

These forms include:

- migrant interview record for tier 2, 3 and 5 visits, which contains 25 questions including: what is your salary?; do you work overtime? ; do you receive sick pay?; how did you apply for the vacancy?; did you attend an interview?

- sponsor interview record for tier 2, 3 and 5 visits, which covers the sponsor’s duties and responsibilities (suitability of:- the premises,  - HR systems, – recruitment practice, – elected Level 1 and 2 users..etc). The questionnaire also refer to migrant workers in the UK under the auspices of a Work Permit (rather than a Tier 2 PBS visa).

- post licence visit report template.

For further information please contact us.


January 2012 – Certificates of Sponsorship -What, which and how?

To enter or remain in the UK as a Tier 2 General or Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Visa you must have been issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a Tier 2 Licensed Employer/Sponsor. A Certificate of Sponsorship is a database record in the UK Border Agency’s Sponsor Management System.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is the points based system’s replacement of the work permit scheme, which existed under the previous employment immigration route.

A Sponsor will have to satisfy themselves that all mandatory Tier 2 employment requirements have been met, such as, for instance, the resident labour market test was carried out in line with the UKBA’s guidance, before assigning a live CoS to a migrant worker.

A CoS takes the form of a 10 digit Certificate of Sponsorship reference number, which the migrant worker will need to apply for a visa or a leave extension. Although not strictly compulsory, Entry Clearance and Immigration Officers tend to prefer being provided with a hard copy of the long version of the certificate’s contents rather than relying on the CoS number….more

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?
What is a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship?
What is an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship?
How to correct / amend a Certificate of Sponsorship?


February 2012 – Urgent Tier 2 Premium Appointments

The UK Border Agency has introduced a service, which allows frequent users of the Tier 2 system to submit their applications in person at the Public Enquiry Office in Sheffield, rather than via the standard postal route.

50 premium slots are released every week to a number of legal representatives, including ECS.  Appointments are booked in advance over the telephone and slots will be allocated on a first come first served basis.  Applications will be submitted by a ECS agent, but applicants may attend the appointment in Sheffield in person to submit their biometric information, if they wish.  If the appointment takes place before 11 am, the application will be processed and available for collection on the same day, otherwise documents will be posted back to the applicant the following day by Special Delivery.  Biometric residence permits will be issued within three to five working days.   For clients who do not wish to attend the PEO in Sheffield in person, a reference number will be issued to them within 72 hours of submission of the application, which will allow them to submit their biometric information at a centre of their choice.  The PEO will then complete the application procedure within 48 hours of receipt of confirmation that biometrics have been given.

We would advise you to please only consider using this service where you are certain that you will be able to keep to the appointment allocated, as frequent cancellations are likely to impact on our ability to obtain appointments for clients in the future.

For more information or assistance with securing Tier 2 premium PEO appointments, please contact us.


July 2012 - Child born in the UK

Your baby will not be a British citizen just because he or she has been born in the UK, unless one of his or her parents is a British citizen or has settled status.

You do not have to immediately apply for a visa for your new child as it is legal for her or him to remain in the UK without a visa. However, you should be aware that if you take your child out of the UK he or she will need to have immigration permission to re-enter, and you will need to decide whether to apply for this in the UK before you travel or to apply in your home country for your baby as your dependant family member before the baby returns to the UK.

If you yourself need to apply for an extension of your visa it would probably be convenient to apply for your baby at the same time. It is also possible to make a separate application for your baby if you do not currently need to extend your leave.

Parents present in the UK under the Points Based System (PBS) will have to use the PBS (Dependant) form. Those with leave outside the PBS will be required to file the FLR (O) form.

Applications filed within the UK can be lodged by post or via the same day service at the public enquiry office (PEO).

Both parents’ passports should be submitted.

If you are looking to file an application for your baby born in the UK urgently and need assistance to secure a premium PEO appointment please contact us.