OISC LEVEL 1 Course Objectives

As we are a practicing OISC-accredited immigration company, we have designed this course to be of practical help for those who are preparing for OISC accreditation at Level 1 (Initial Advice) and for compulsory Level 1 Assessment. It would be also of interest for practicing advisers and immigration lawyers as well as for community group advisers, council or CAB workers, HR professionals etc.

This is not a boring coverage of the Immigration Rules! We tried to keep the language as simple and entertaining as possible.

Throughout the years of our work with British, Schengen and other visas we have been focusing on explaining our clients the complicated visa rules in plain language. Our courses have a similar goal – to explain the rules, supporting with the real case studies from our own practice.

We start from the very basics, such as what is Entry Clearance, Residence Permit or an Indefinite Leave to Remain. It may be obvious to experienced advisers but is a good place to start for those who are preparing for OISC accreditation.

Perhaps the most important part of this course is explanation on how to use the Immigration Rules and where to find the information when you need in your day-to-day work. The Rules do change a lot and it’s impossible to remember everything but if you know how to use the Rules you can quickly check the changes and keep yourself up-to-date. For example, a question of applying for a certain category inside the UK is not a matter of guessing (or hoping the UKVI will be kind) but a matter of the Rules. If you know how to use the Rules, you can confirm if a client can switch inside the UK or whether a visa allows to work in the UK or when to apply for settlement (an ILR).

You can find a full table of context of the subjects covered below. Instead of the traditional way of listing the Rules we have used a different, more logical, structure: Basics, then visas to visit the UK. Then visa categories related to Working in the UK such as Tier 1, 2 and 5 under Points-Based System, then Working outside the PBS such as Ancestral visas. In your practice you are more likely to be asked “How can I get a visa to work in the UK?”, so these are the available options. Sections on Points-Based System also include a summary of English and Maintenance requirements, designed to contain such requirements for all categories in one place.

Moving on, applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residency) in the work routes, for main applicants and dependants, which would be a next logical step and is a very common work for immigration professionals. The Immigration Rules explain how to apply for an ILR in each category, while we make a summary of requirements for various categories in one place. You’d have to jump from category to category on the Rules in your practice but this summary is a useful thing to keep and only update the minor details as the Rules change. Worth adding that last Tier 1 General extensions ended in April 2015 and the last ILR applications based on it will be in April in 2018.

Furthermore, rules for Dependants of work migrants including a provision of applying from a PBS Dependant visa to an ILR, which was not possible before 9 July 2012. And switching to a Dependant visa inside the UK, which was not possible before October 2013.

We made a separate section for Studying in the UK, even though it is Tier 4 under the Points-Based System, we feel studying should be a separate section because 1) advising students involves different approaches than advising workers and 2) Student visas do not lead to an ILR, though we covered categories which are available after studying. Even the Immigration Rules leave a Tier 4 students’ category at the end of a Points-Based System.

Visas for Spouses, Partners and Fiancées of British citizens and permanent residents are traditionally in a separate section and we did the same here. They are followed by how to apply for an ILR in these routes. Rules for children are also added there as it is a very common situation of a British man marrying a Filipino or Russian lady who has a child of her own. Visas for other relatives, such as elderly parents, are included but this category is extremely restricted at the moment.

In the EU/EEA section we also explain the differences between the UK and EU law, how they work together or do not cross at all depending on the client’s circumstances. We also explain how to treat dual nationals, such as dual UK/EU or EU/non-EU nationals, for example, dual UK/Irish or dual Brazilian/Portuguese.

Rules on British Citizenship and nationality are very complex, so here we cover the basics within the Level 1 Assessment including explanation of the terms Naturalisation and Registration, the difference between British by descent and British otherwise than by descent, also the difference between born British and not British but can be registered.

We added a few case studies, which were real cases of our clients. Some give examples of complications in the cases and how they were solved. Also included, an example of a refused Entrepreneur case, which was extremely unfortunate but taught us more than several successful cases put together. As they say, “success is a bad teacher”. We added it because it would be a more honest reflection of the work of a professional immigration adviser. Everyone has ups and downs, the goal is to reduce the ‘downs’, which we believe we have achieved quite successfully and can now share our knowledge.

Advisers can now choose to have OISC accreditation in either Immigration category or Asylum and Protection category. This course covers the Immigration category, which can broadly be described as Rules for visas to work, study and live in the UK.

And here is a simplified summary of what’s allowed at Level 1 and what’s not:

- Entry Clearance, leave to remain and Indefinite Leave to Remain under the points-Based System for main applicants and dependants; non-PBS work categories such as Ancestral or Domestic Workers. But not applications for illegal entrants or overstayers for more than 28 days.

- Applications for Spouses/Partners, children and other relatives of British citizens and permanent residents. But not for victims of domestic violence or applications outside the Rules or based on exceptional circumstances and not applications for adopted children.

- Naturalisation as a British citizen. Registration of children as British, such as children born to immigrant parents.

- Applications under EU/EEA law for EU citizens and their non-EU family members including EEA Family Permit, EEA Residence Card and Permanent Residency. But not retaining a right of residence and not applications under Turkish EEA Association Agreement.

- Applications for EU nationals who are subject to restrictions, such as for Bulgarian/Romanian and more recently Croatian nationals. Even though all restrictions on Bulgarian/Romanian nationals were lifted on 1 January 2014, you have to be aware of them when helping clients to apply for Permanent Residency or Citizenship.

- Appeals are not allowed until Level 3.