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Applying for Permanent Residence for Family Members of EEA nationals


 Top Tips to consider before applying for permanent residence

Family members of EEA nationals who are exercising rights of free movement are entitled to be admitted to and stay in the UK with the EEA national.  The definition of family members includes the third country nationals, a term used to describe nationals who are not members of the European Union.

Family members of EU nationals also have the right to reside in the UK and do not need to leave the UK if they have overstayed on their visa.



This is of great advantage to family members, who may have overstayed under the Immigration Rules, and do not have any leave to remain. They are able to regularize their stay in the UK.

Family members issued with a residence permit are also entitled to family reunion, under the   EU law and may also qualify under the Immigration Rules. Reunion can be achieved  under EU law  more effectively, but this needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. It always worth getting immigration advice so one can weigh up the pros and cons. EU law is more generous in allowing family reunion with distant family members, but make sure you check out whether you meet the requirements first.

Family members of EU nationals should note that their rights of residence are dependent on their connections to the EEA national and this can be lost. For instance when the EEA national themselves ceases to be a qualified person, by no longer living and working in the UK.  Divorce is another example, unless the family  member has retained his or her rights of residence.

 Settlement Applications

The EU law does allow all persons who have been admitted under the various immigration categories including family members of third country nationals to apply for permanent residence after 5 years continuous lawful residence.

Family members of third country nationals considering applying should not assume it’s purely a question of meeting the residence requirements, they need to show connections to the EU national.

The immigration Rules now include provision for applicants wishing to remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life.  These rules are located at Appendix FM and Para 276ADE. But once again applicants should also seek advice on their circumstances before deciding the best way to proceed; as they may find out they do not qualify! In view if the ever increasing uncertainty of the UK continuing to be a member of the European Union, seeking advice over rights of settlement is now increasingly  of great importance.



Requirements for a Chinese Visa

Requirements for Chinese Visa


Have you been asked to provide a letter of invitation for a Business Visa for China and not too sure what information is needed? 

Follow the guideline for a business visa for China, you should ensure that your letter of invitation contains the following details listed below:

  • Full Name, Gender and DOB of invitee
  • Your intended Entry and Exit dates to China
  • Your purpose of your visit to China
  • Your intended destination(s) in China
  • Your source of financial support for your trip to china
  • Your relationship with the invited institute
  • A letterhead showing the name, address, telephone number of the inviter
  • Signature and stamp from the inviter on the invitation

Make sure your letter of invitation outlines all the above to ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner. For further information contact First Visas, to speak to one of our specialist please give us a call on 0208 769 1750 or you can email us at,uk.

Are you applying for the correct Nigerian Visa?

Are you applying for the correct visa, when traveling to Nigeria ? If you are intending to travel to Nigeria to work, even on a short term contractual basis, you should consider applying for a temporary work permit (TWP) and not a business visa.

Applying for the incorrect visa could cost you unnecessary time and additional cost in referral fees charged by First Visas. We want to be sure you get your application right first time, before it is submitted. Business visas are issued specifically for travelers attending business meetings, ventures, conferences, trade shows etc. Multiple entry business visas (valid for 6 months) are issued where clients can demonstrate a proven track record of attending Nigeria for permitted business activities.

If it is your first business meeting trip to Nigeria, consider asking your sponsor to request in their letter of invitation for a single entry business visa, instead of a multiple entry. There after an application can be made for a multiple entry business visa. If in doubt or need any help please contact First Visas for helpful tips you can call us on 0208 769 1750 or you can email us at

Bulgarian and Romanian Immigration into the UK


As from January 1, 2014 citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will enjoy the same rights as the rest of the EU which will allow them to work in the UK. It was back in 2007 when Bulgaria and Romania both joined the EU which meant its citizens could have the right to travel in the UK without the need to get a visa. However, there were restrictions imposed at the time of the type of work they could do.


Any employer in Britain that wanted to hire someone from Bulgaria or Romania would have to have work permits and the employees (from Romania and Bulgaria) have to have a document called the “Accession Worker Card.”


It all made life rather difficult for those wanting to come and work in Britain, particularly for unskilled workers. But come January 1, 2014 these tough restrictions will be lifted after seven years of being in place.


There are other countries in the EU that face the same issues as Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Malta and Luxembourg for example. The Romanian and Bulgarian workers will be entitled to the same benefits as the rest of the EU member states but prime minister David Cameron has proposed a number of restrictions that should be in place by the time the immigration visa restrictions are due to be lifted.


There will be a restriction on migrants claiming out of work benefits, like Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) for the first three months and all welfare benefits will stop completely after six months unless there is a real chance of that migrant worker getting a job. Migrants will not be able to claim housing benefit and any migrant caught begging will be deported and not allowed to return to the UK for a period of 12 months. Whether or not these restrictions go far enough is a burning question. Several Romanian visitors spent well over three months sleeping rough on the grounds of Marble Arch in central London over the summer months, some would get by with food that had gained from bins and begged from tourists.


Another proposal is to quadruple the fines imposed on employers who undercut British workers by paying less than the minimum wage. The backlash has come from political party UKIP and pressure group Migration Watch that has predicted more than 55,000 could arrive in the UK every year until 2019.




How to secure a Nigerian Business Visa

In this article you will gain an understanding of the process required to obtain a Nigerian visa. Nigeria is one of the most popular destinations in West Africa. It is comprised of nearly 36 states and it shares a border with Chad and Cameroon and the Republic of Benin. If you’re business owner that is traveling to Nigeria, you not only have the opportunity to witness is vast culture but you can see firsthand how its administrative legal structure is categorized and its vast oil reserves that have brought prosperity to its country.

Nigeria is one of the most popular destinations in West Africa. It is comprised of nearly 36 states and it shares a border with Chad and Cameroon and the Republic of Benin. If you’re business owner that is traveling to Nigeria, you not only have the opportunity to witness is vast culture but you can see firsthand how its administrative legal structure is categorized and its vast oil reserves that have brought prosperity to its country. However, you first have to gain admittance and this is accomplished with a Nigerian Business Visa.

In essence, a passport and Nigerian Business Visa is absolutely necessary for traveling purposes. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months and have at least one page that can be stamped when you arrive.
1. To apply for a Nigerian Visa, you must fill out an application form. The Nigerian Embassy now allows you to fill out your application online and to render payment there too. However, you must select the right Consulate and your documents should be sent to the Travisa location you have selected on the application. In addition, you must bring your credit card payment receipt and include it with your application, as proof of payment is absolutely required for processing purposes.
2. Make sure you include passport photos that are on a plain/white background. They should be 2X2 and in color.
3. You will also need to bring a letter of invitation from an individual or company sponsor that has been properly signed and executed. This letter must explain why you are traveling to Nigeria, how long you will be there, where you will stay and must include a note that states that they will accept full immigration responsibility for your visit.
4. You will need to include a letter from your sponsoring company or employer that introduces you and explains your current position and job duties and why you will be traveling to Nigeria.
5. If you intend to work in Nigeria on a short term basis, you can apply for a temporary work permit (TWP). For long term employment you can consider apply for a STR Visa (Subject to Regularization Visa) A number of documents are required for this application, and professional assistance in compiling the bundle should be obtained before submitting the application.
Lastly, you will need to include all the above information and where you want the visa to be sent once it has been processed. Keep in mind that you may or may not be approved and the decision is based entirely on the consulate. It typically takes less than 5 working days for processing and you can pay extra if you want the express service.
As you can see, it is quite a lengthy process to be approved for a Nigerian Visa however, once you get clearance, you will marvel in this populous country and all that it has to offer to its natives as well as those traveling for business and pleasure.

Helpful tips in applying for a business visas to top destinations

 Helpful tips in applying for a Business Visas

Membership of the European Union (EU) provides the rights of free movement within the EU. Nationals of the EU and their family members have very extensive rights of free movement within the EU.   British nationals are able to freely travel within the European Union without the need for a visa. However British and foreign nationals settled in the UK seeking to travel outside the EU either for business or pleasure will need to ascertain whether  a visa is required for their place of travel. Business visas will be required to attend a business venture,  attend business meetings, conferences, trade shows, and lecturing/ researcher etc.

The procedure for applying for a business visa varies from  country to country. Travelers should not assume that all Consulates offer the facility where visa application can be processed using an express service.  It is always advisable to allow plenty of time to process visa applications. It is strongly advisable that travelers should avoid purchasing a ticket, until they have secured their visa.

Top 8 Visa Applications for Business Visas

We have listed below the top 8 business visa destinations including the processing time for a business visa.

Name of country

Visa Required

Express Service available?

Online application required



Yes  -24 hours service




Yes  -24 hour service




Yes -24 hour service




Yes – 3 working days


Saudi  Arabia


No –  3 working days




Yes  -24 hours service




No – 10-15 working days


To avoid any delays in the processing of applications for foreign nationals, particularly for Nigerian business visas, applicants should ensure that they include evidence of their residence in the form of two utility bills (2-3 months). Please note that mobile  phone bill is not a utility bill. Utility bills include gas, electric, water rates or council tax.

If you are looking to travel whether business / tourist FirstVisa can help. There will be no need to wait in the queue or travel up to central London. Couriers are on hand to deal with and expedite your application from start to completion.  So if you are intending to travel on business or tourist please feel free to contact them on the requirements needed. Further information on the top 8 business visa express service applications can be found at their website.


 Full details or each country requirements, can also be found by visiting and clicking on the search facility top right corner.

First Visas an agent specializing in securing tourist and business visas and work permits.

Switching from Tier 4 student (general) to Tier 2 (General) work permit employment

Under Tier 4 (general) of the point based system adult aged 16 – 17+ are able to come to the UK to study a course at or above National Qualification Framework level 3.  Entry clearance is a requirement.  The UK economy still actively encourages students to come to the UK to study. Students are able to switch into work permit employment, if suitable employment is secured.


The UK still remains one of the top destinations for students wishing to study, followed by Germany. Germany has is not only Europe’s biggest economy. It is also well-known for its high-class education especially in the field of engineering.

Immigration Minister Damian Green   ‘Britain is open for business to the brightest and the best migrants……..”

 So what are the opportunities for securing a work permit employment to those able to find employment after graduating?   What specific skills are required from the applicant?   In what instances does the resident labor test apply, and when is it exempt? We will be examining the answers to these common questions.

Qualifications Required


The job must require the applicant to have either:


       A UK equivalent degree level qualification; or

       An Higher National Level (HND) level occupational qualification that is

       relevant to the post on offer; or

       An HND level qualification which is not relevant to the post on offer, plus

12 months of relevant full-time work experience; or

       At least 3 years relevant experience at NVQ level 3 or above.



Switching – Post Study work visa & IGS

 Applicants who are in the UK on a Tier1 post study visa or International Graduate Scheme (IGS) will also be able to switch into this category.  

Securing offer of employment

Applicants will first have to secure employment offer in their respective fields of discipline before they can apply.

Resident labor Market Test

The test requires that the employer must advertise  in  national form of media  to enable a resident worker to apply. Eg Job centre plus or a publication that is available throughout the UK.  This test does not need to be done if the applicant is applying following a post study visa or under the International Graduate Scheme (IGS).   The test is also not required where the skill is listed on the shortage occupation list.   The Tier 2 (General) category is also the route for applicants outside the UK who have been offered a skilled job route.


 Applicants must score a minimum of:

 50 points for Attributes, which includes having a sponsor and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (Appendix A of the Immigration Rules); and



Assigned Certificate of Sponsorship having met the requirements of:

• A resident labor market test exemption; or

• A resident labor market test by the sponsor; or

• An extension – Continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor.


Appropriate salary  £20,300 or above



10 points for English language skills (except for certain Intra-Company Transfers) (Appendix B of the Immigration Rules); and

10 points for Maintenance (funds) (Appendix C of the Immigration Rules).

The Certificate of Sponsorship must confirm that the job is at NQF level 6 (or the equivalent in Scotland) as stated in the codes of practice, or the job is a creative sector occupation skilled to NQF level 4 as listed in the Tier 2 & 5 Sponsor Guidance. This does not mean that the applicant must be educated to that level; it means that the job is at that level.

The Certificate of Sponsorship must also confirm that the applicants will be paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job.

 Leave granted up to 3 years + extension

 Successful Tier 2 (General) applications will be granted leave up to 3 years with the possibility of extending for a further 3 years.  They will not be able to extend beyond 6 years.  Applicants will also not be able to re-apply to return to the UK under Tier 2 until 12 months after their last leave under Tier 2 expired or they can show they have been outside the UK for 12 months, whichever is sooner, unless they will be paid a gross annual salary of £152,100 or more.


UK Government set to get tough on overstayers, Illegal Immigrants & failed asylum seekers

The queen speech gave news of the recent proposal by the UK government to tackle illegal immigration Proposal are expected to increase employers sanctions, restrict access to the National health service, and require landlords to check immigration status.

 Uk Border Agency

Clearly these proposals will be viewed as alarming for some who has overstayed, entered the UK Illegally or, failed asylum application. How the new law will be implemented in practice, we will have to wait and see. The proposals appear to be in response to concerns from the public generally about immigration.

However here are my concerns, Immigration from the European Union (EU) countries cannot be stopped, because UK is part of the EU.  On 1 Jan 2014 Romania and Bulgarian will have full EU membership, and have the same rights to work. We are having been built up to expect a stampede of migrants. So evidently there is nothing the UK Government can do about this, whether this materializes or not… Why then is there in response to these concerns, that the UK government decides to turn its resources into focusing on the small proportion of those who do not have a right to remain. By the UK governments own admission does not know how many overstayers or illegal immigrants or failed asylum seekers are in the UK. The figure may be small. Consider the following extract from Capita “There are only a very small minority of people living in the UK illegally”

Many who are have overstayed are in the position where they have outstanding applications, and are awaiting a decision. How will the proposals affect those who are in this position? Will they be asked to move from their home?  If someone is in need of urgent medical treatment, will they then be denied medical treatment?

The point that is being made here is that the UK Border Agency seems to be proposing the new immigration bill purely as a means to appease their voters and supporters. But are they focusing on the real issues? Or are they just goings for easy pickings. 

UK referred to the European Court because of breach in EU Laws



 The Commission has referred the UK Government to the European Court over breaches in UK law over its failings in applying the habitual residence test to EU Nationals. 

Instead the UK government applies the right to reside test. This is an additional test, and has been imposed unilaterally by the UK.

UK nationals meet the requirements of habitual residence by virtue of their UK citizenship, whereas other EU nationals have to demonstrate that they do have the “right to reside.”

The effect are that EU national  who are unable to demonstrate that they  do not have the right to reside cannot  receive specific social security benefits.

·         Child Benefit

·         Child tax credit

·         Job Seekers Allowance (income based)

·         State pension credit

·         Employments and support allowance

Opportunities for Tier 2 Male Migrants under Points Based System:

Migrants are a huge topic within British life and especially in recent times. The debate about migrants is not just about the people themselves, but their culture, background and home country all factor in and affect people’s views and opinions.

 The doors are open

One of the big factors British citizens seem to face is the employment crisis which has come hand in hand with the economic down turn. Newly released figures show that there are real opportunities for applicants seeking work permit employment under Tier 2(General). Although the overall figures of employment are still steadily dropping, male migrants situated within the UK have seen a much higher level of employment than native born citizens. These figures have been the same since 2007, and have continued that way to this day. By having immigrant’s cultures and citizens can learn a lot from each other and enable much better development all round.

Sir Andrew Green, chair of campaign group Migration Watch UK, said: “It is time for a thorough assessment of the impact of immigration on the employment of British workers that this report only touches on.

“The effects may not show up statistically in a labour force of nearly 30 million but the anecdotal evidence is very strong.

These findings have been supplied by “think-tank” who has also revealed that the UK and Germany are the biggest recipients of immigrants globally, with figures doubling within the last few years.

The UK operates with a Points Based System, to attract the brightest and the best, in order for the country to be able to gain. Tier 2 of the PBS system is all about offering “skilled working”.  This means that any immigrants that have the required skills set are able to apply for work permit employment.

This Tier system works very well for the UK and attempts to ensure that anybody trying to gain residency within the UK must be able to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This is to stop people coming into the UK and abusing the system, such as coming directly for the NHS.

Tier 2 states that “foreign nationals whom have been offered a skilled job to fill in the gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker”, meaning that its aim is to utilize the immigrants in a way in which benefits everybody and the country as a whole.  Many of the UK’s immigrants that were formerly students have been able to switch into this category to remain within the UK and offer something valuable for the country and its residents. This means that the country can now benefit from its migrants and they have a lot to offer.

The UK is still dedicated to attracting the brightest and best immigrants possible, whilst still trying to control immigration fairly and effectively.