When to request a fee waiver from the UKVI?

It is of concern that there will be many losing their jobs or living on reduced income over the period the government is seeking to get to grips with the corona virus outbreak.  During this period there will be amongst those individuals, persons who have met or are due to meet their visa due dates. In relation to applications where there is a human rights concern we would recommend these individuals to check with their legal counsel to establish whether they qualify for government help.

Fee Waivers cover the cost of the application and the government health care surcharge in applications for additional leave to remain/leave to remain. They do not apply where the individual/s apply for permanent settlement in the UK.  The individual must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Homeless/no adequate accommodation and a lack of means to obtain this.
  • They may have adequate accommodation and the means to obtain this balanced against an inability to cater for essential needs – or-
  • Have adequate accommodation and are able to cater for essential needs but would become destitute if the fee were paid.

The applications to which this mechanism applies include, family applications, private life, human rights claims, discretionary leave granted after refusal or asylum and also where a subsequent refusal will result in a breach of the individuals human rights and individuals who have been trafficked and recognised by a positive national referral mechanism outcome who also need to apply for additional leave to remain, again in circumstances where a subsequent refusal will result in a breach of human rights.

The applicant must be prepared to provide full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances. The UKVI will check their representations via various agencies, including equifax, national insurance records etc. They will expect explanation for any income received from family members, friends or charities.

If you are affected ask your legal representative for further guidance and/or assistance. Ensure you are using an adviser who is regulated or this purpose.

Immigration Consultations over the Lockdown period

We are providing free immigration advice over the lockdown period. We came to this decision as we know there will be significant worry and emotional trauma to many over this unprecedented time in human history. As with other immigration providers and agencies, we feel we have to make a concerted effort to help a neighbour. There are so many people out there risking their lives to keep Britain safe and moving during these critical days. Our offices are closed and we are working from home, this is the very litte we can do to contribute to Team Britain. We are asking you all to listen to the Government’s advice, maintain the rules on social distancing, to save lives. We all have our part to play.  Immigration Advice may not be at the top of the pecking order but it is important to have the legality of residence assessed at all time as this does affect access to welfare provision, public funds, housing and healthcare.

In this initiative we are cautious to remain within our operational rules are requesting participants to provide their full name, address, email address, date of birth, 2 proofs of residence (if not homeless) or a letter from the friend supporting them alongside a proof of identification. We do require legal consent. This will be signed by us typing your name into your consent form as we will be using an online conference mechanism. We are happy to accept photos of documents via whatsapp as we are able to transfer tis information into your notes. Notes are maintained as mandatory by our ombudsman for all interactions with the public.  We look forward to doing what we can to help.

Pro Bono Immigration advice

Our work during lockdown, keep safe guys

Posted by Lawson Hunte Immigration Services Ltd on Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Dear All

We wish to ask all of our clients to take heed of all of the Government warnings at this time. We are still open and will retain an online presence to take care of your appointments and to ensure your applications are being settled in a timely basis.

We are seeking to tie up all of our cases quickly as we have noted restrictions by other Nation States of restrictions against Nationals entering.
We do know that we have situations where visas have been granted to our clients, they however are unable to travel due to the various individual travel restrictions being levied in various Nation States and also restrictions on Key Workers.

We are seeking resolutions as to extend visa in such situations does levy additional costs to the applications already granted overseas.
Our staff, include Natalia (our administrator), Jed (our compliance officer), Guy (Level 1 Immigration Lawyer) and myself.

We will bring you updates as we receive them and hope we can continue to work together in this difficult time
We wish you all the best with coping in this situation.

Kind regards

Guarantee or Proportionate Guess – Author Sonya King

It has been one year since the introduction of online applications throughout the UK Immigration system. Initially the experience of working under the new regime was harrowing, often confusing and also difficult to navigate. This led to huge stress to both advisors and client’s alike. The advisor most cases is a middleman, therefore if there is any fallout or disappointment to bare, it is the advisor who bears them. There is however something to be said for an advisor working in the field of immigration law – this is that they are not commercial but social lawyers. Their concern is the general wellbeing of the individual being helped, this can include seeking help for an individual which would not appear normal in some areas of the law. The client is a person who needs reuniting with their family, or protection from serious harm, a woman who has been trafficked, abused or even a victim of gender harm, men who are also victims of physical harm. The help could include contacting social advocacy organisations, filling forms other than those used in immigration applications, obtaining counselling services and serving to the client – a humanity which helps them to move on from their static positions to progression in life. The Immigration Lawyer is a defender of rights and a creator working in direct opposition to the aims of the authorities in situations where the facts needs clarification or there is hostility and in other cases with the authorities to bring the correct assistance to the deserving individual. It is a difficult space to fit. Therefore, bear with your advisor, wherever and whoever they are, the result you get may not always be the result you want. There are restricted rights of appeal or review which when granted should be utilised. When you meet your advisor – ask them first of all – what is your plan for my case, and what is the likely outcome, what are my options and can you assess the merits in my matter – my facts measured against case law, country guidance, statute law and rules. The answer? obtain information on whether or not it is right to go ahead./proceed It is not a good idea to ask for a guarantee, or a measured response to get a guarantee, Why? you might be setting yourself up for disappointment – base your decision on the merits of your case as a proportionate guess but not a purposed guarantee.

March 2019 commentary

In the Month of March 2019 Lawson Hunte achieved 17 successful outcomes for our clients, these included some subsidiary issues such as a refund for an overbill by the National Health Service in relation to overseas billing and an amended Biometric residence permit. We also encountered challenges with the recently introduced new application system under VFS and scanning issues which arose from this. In relation to spouse visa the computer generated checklist did not always have a requirement for all of the specified evidence to be produce. Noting this, we are continuing with advice to client’s to non-the-less provide any and all documents specified under the rules.

We noted that the UKVI are seeking to simplify the application processes, this however is a difficult challenge for them and from our experience is not proving to be a smooth transition, most applications since November 2018 are now online. The EEA app will be rolled out fully three days from today.

For individuals the online system essentially will provide applicants with more ease to complete forms than with the traditional paper form. The issue for applicant’s will be ignorance of the rules, case law and policies which underlie any issues they need to bring to the table for assessment by the authorities.

We are looking forward to our April report and hope to bring you more interesting view on developments in the immigration system. To conclude, we would like to congratulate Lawson Hunte Staff for their hard work, dedication and solid commitment to our client’s.

EEA Application via App

We have so far made two experimental applications using the new app for EEA applications. When you enter your information in this app it tells you that the App is still under construction but ignore this. The app is accessed on Google Play. Once this is opened you will be asked to scan the identification page of your passport. Once this is done the next step is to scan the chip on the cover of your passport. Then take a photo of yourself against a white background. This all takes place using the camera on your android phone. The app then opens an application form beginning with security questions and very few personal questions.

Enter whether you are applying for settled or pre settled status. The final stage is review your answers, pay (fees will be refunded) and then submit. In our experience the result is made available within 24 hours with a Certificate of Application and the Letter of Grant being sent to your email address. Our assessment – this is a fiddly process and you may have to start it over a few times to get it right but not too difficult. Hey Ho, all being well, the system will be fully operational by 30 March 2019

The English Language Requirement for Spouses

Spouse are required to demonstrate mandatory levels of English Language competence. Individuals from majority English speaking countries are exempt from this requirement. If an individual is not relying on their nationality or an academic qualification, they must sit an English test for initial entry at level A1 CEFR. It is always useful to check with the British Council in the relevant country they will verify the steps needed to achieve this. after sitting the initial exam, any subsequent application should be accompanied by a fresh English Language test taken at A2 CEFR speaking and listening certificate. Both A1 and A2 are short exams taking less than 6 minutes to complete. For settlement applications, the level is B1 CEFR. If an individual has a degree taught in English this would need to undergo UK Naric assessment of compatibility to a UK taught degree.

Article by Sonya King

Immigration and Brexit; Will it impact you?

The current Brexit plan allows European nationals currently living in the UK to remain subject to certain conditions to remain after June 2021 under a ‘pre-settled’ and ‘settled’ status and UK citizens working in the EU are allowed to also continue to do this also. The Brexit plan dose not allow the UK to prohibit the free movement of people from the EU until a December 2020 cut off date. The Treaty that currently allows citizens of member states to live and work in the EU will not be in effect in the UK for European nationals coming to the UK after the 30th of March 2019 from that date the UK will be in transition as regards the status of EEA Nationals.

On the 23rd of June 2016 a referendum vote was held on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European union. The negotiations for the exit process have been ongoing as of many political disputes regarding the fall out of the United Kingdom leaving the EU. In March of 2017 an article 50 withdrawal notice was sent the EU giving the UK and EU until the 29th of March 2019 to end the EU relationship.

EEA Nationals who do not utilise the newly introduced status’s will be given a ‘temporary status’ allowing stay in the UK until the end of the transition phase in December of 2020. The UK is to remain as part of a ‘customs union’ with the EU preventing a ‘Hard Border’ between the North and South of Ireland as southern Ireland is an independent country that is a member of the EU. The UK would also have to stick to the laws of the EU and the European court of judgement.

The Vote

Yesterday, the 12th of March 2019 the current proposal for the Brexit withdrawal was voted on again and was not accepted by the UK parliament. A further vote will be held on the 14th of March 2019 for extension of Article 50; a further vote is to be held today, 13th of March 2019. The options now for the UK are to leave the EU with no deal, or apply for an extension on the deadline or to revoke the section 50 notice sent in March of 2017.

MP’s were voting today to determine whether the current exit package suited the UK. The bottom line was that if the package were rejected and/or firm decisions not made for the UK by the 29th of March the UK would no longer be a member of the European union and would have no trade agreements. MP’s were voting today to determine whether the current exit package suited the UK. The bottom line was that if the package were rejected and/or firm decisions not made for the UK by the 29th of March the UK would no longer be a member of the European union and would have no trade agreements.

Lawson Hunte News this week

On a lighter note, and changing the subject Lawson Hunte has achieved 7 grants this week for its clients. We are extremely pleased with our client results and wish to congratulate those granted leave to remain and British Nationality in the past week. Well done, Guy for maintaining an unblemished 100 percent success rate and other team members for putting clients first.

By Jed Nero Compliance Officer at Lawson Hunte immigration services

Have a good weekend

We have had a great week at Lawson Hunte with great results for our clients. This week we have seen 1 grant of entry clearance, plus one last and week 4 new British Nationals. What a Week! and here is what they said


Sonya and James her trainee work very hard for there clients making sure that everything is covered and goes smoothly,they have huge hearts are very caring and professional ,to add to that the fees are very reasonable and everything is loaded into your case file so that you can ,see all the work done along the way ,I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Sonya or James to anybody needing immigration advice or help in the future ,thanks guys for all your hard work and patience with us when we were in a very stressful situation

Dear Sonya,
Thank you so much for your help and effort put into my application.Words are not enough to thank you and your team, I know how much stress and pain I caused during the process but I must confess that the high standard you put into my work is very much appreciated and I must also comment James Parker Bishop for his hardwork during those time as well. Sonya I am definitely proud of you and your team, your professionalism and high quality standard is something I can never forget, once again thank you
Kind regards
We are very chuffed