End of Temporary Passport Extension

From 10 April 2015, British citizens living abroad will no longer need a temporary passport extension stamp and can instead apply to renew their passports in the standard way. Continue reading “End of Temporary Passport Extension”

Clamping down on sham marriages

The government is cracking down further on sham marriages from 2 March 2015 when a new referral and investigation scheme will come into force pursuant to Part 4 of the Immigration Act 2014.

The Home Office needs to be notified if an individual wishes to marry someone who is not an EEA national and has limited or no immigration status in the United Kingdom.

This notice will last for 28 days and must be given at a register office, prior to a marriage. Should the Home Office have reason to suspect that the marriage is not a genuine marriage, they will be able to extend the notice period to 70 days, to undertake further investigations.

This scheme is being extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland from 2 March 2015.

For more information, please see the House of Commons Written Statement.

Got an immigration query? Call us today on 01753 486 777 or visit our offices at Windsor Crown House, 7 Windsor Road, Slough, SL1 2DX.


Amarjit Atwal, Trainee Solicitor


Who has to take the A1 English Test?


On 24 July 2014 the Home Office removed the exemption allowing long-term residents of a country listed as having no approved A1 English test to not need to meet the A1 English language requirement. This means that more applicants will need to meet this level of proficiency in English.

Previously, individuals who lived in certain countries were exempt from having to meet the A1 English language requirement. The change is a step towards ensuring that those who wish to settle in the UK possess basic English speaking skills, enabling them to mix into British society.

Those who live in countries without an approved A1 English test will have to take the test in a country where there is an approved test. The only way they will be exempt from meeting the A1 language requirement is if they can show in their application for a visa that it is not ‘practicable or reasonable for them to do so’.

Meanwhile, the exemption will continue to apply to those applying from select countries including Turkmenistan, Somalia and Sierra Leone, until 14 August 2014.

If you need help with an immigration issue, call our immigration team today on 01753 486 777.


Amarjit Atwal, Paralegal

Forced Marriages: Honour, Love, and Disobey

One must differentiate between that of a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. An arranged marriage includes a relative or maybe a friend setting up the couple, however, a forced marriage takes place when either or both parties are being pressured and effectively forced into getting married, without giving their full and free consent.

We’re all going on a summer holiday                        

As young as from the age of 13, British nationals are being tricked into thinking they are going on a holiday to see relatives abroad; particularly in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, when actually their passports have been taken from them and they are being forced into marriage. The word “forced” is a predominantly strong word, which can involve either party being emotionally blackmailed, physically threatened or abused into getting married. Due to this it can then be hard to say “no” to your parents who may have spent months in preparation and spend a large sum of money on the ceremony.

Oh yes you do!

Some parents forcing their child to say “yes” also have gone to the extent of signing their own daughter’s marriage certificate. Previous figured show that there have been over 100 reports received by the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) and a majority involved families originating from South Asia and the Middle East.

Campaigns have been set up to stop forced marriages, one of which is that the Southall Black Sisters, they have successfully fought for justice for women on several occasions. The campaign against forced marriage was organised to ensure that voices of those women who have suffered in the past and heard and preached to others so that other women who may be faced with this problem have an organisation they can talk to and help fight their case.

Breach of human rights

The UK Border Agency has published a consultation paper entitled “Marriage to partners overseas”. This paper involves the use of immigration rules to prevent forced marriages. Their main objective was to rise the marriageable age of overseas spouses to from 18 to 21 years old.

Forced marriages mostly involving women is a breach of human rights, the Human Rights Act, Article 16 (2) states: “Forced marriage is a violation of internationally recognised human rights standards. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses”.

Vinesh Patel, Paralegal


The Truth Behind Political Asylum

When talking about political asylum many headline stories come in to the picture such as Edward Snowdan, Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks, a website exploiting classified information online), and Chen Guangcheng, a legal activist in China whose primary purpose was that of human rights in rural areas of China. To the average person reading these headlines fail to see the hidden truth behind asylum.

Those who seek political asylum are those who fear the threat of prosecution in their own countries and in some circumstances their lives. Political asylum nowadays is seen as a right rather than a privilege to live in a foreign country as they seek protection.

Fear for your life

In order to be given the right to claim asylum there has to be a genuine fear. This fear must involve a fear of persecution. Persecution includes a wide variety from violation of the individual’s human rights, to unjustly imprisoning them for their political beliefs and also being subjected to inhumane treatment.  Applicants who apply for political asylum must be the victim, not the causes of the political upraise in their country.

In search for a better life”

Many can no longer bare the  pain and suffering that they have faced in their own countries and due to the strength some opposition leaders have, one word against their regimes can be seen as blasphemy in certain parts of the world we live in. Those certain individuals strive in search for a more peaceful life in other country’s, a country that can protect them from political violence and further persecution.

Deep inside the grey area of political asylum lays a foundation of persecution a thick layer of fear and topping of a more peaceful life, however will the taste of political asylum be sweet in other country’s or is this still a recipe for disaster as another country such as the U.K bear the responsibility of protection and other aspects to keep the peace.

Vinesh Patel, Paralegal