In 2021, the UK saw 30.2 million passenger arrivals and granted over a million visas. Out of those visa applicants, thirty-three percent were traveling to the UK for study, thirty-one percent for travel, and eighteen percent for work.
A recent survey of test takers conducted by Skills for English also suggests that an increasing proportion of them take the test for work visa purposes. In part this is likely driven by the post-Brexit change in the immigration status of EU citizens, who are now subject to the same work visa rules and regulations.
As one of the four Secure English Language Tests (SELT) available to take outside of the UK, Skills for English is delivered by PSI in Home Office-approved test centres in 124 countries – the most of any other SELT providers. Skills For English sponsored an information session with the UK Home Office at the PIE LIVE London event in March 2023. Oliver Rae, the Deputy Director responsible for Study Operations within UKVI explained the UK has seen a rise in student visa risk factors such as fraudulent documents and issues surrounding English proficiency, despite being a generally compliant route, according to UKVI.
The immigration systems in most countries are complex – and the UK is no exception. So, if you are considering moving to the UK for work, to study, or to join family, you may want to consider working with an immigration lawyer to help the visa application process run smoother and quicker. Below are some of the top ways that you could benefit from working with one.
Expertise and knowledge
Probably one of the biggest benefits of working with an immigration lawyer is their expertise in the complex rules and regulations of the UK immigration system, not to mention the constant changes in Immigration Law. By having a specialist there to ensure that the complicated forms are filled out correctly, the risk of your application being rejected, especially for a minor error, greatly decreases.
An immigration lawyer can be especially helpful for individuals with complex cases that may make the Visa application process more challenging, such as an individual with a criminal record, immigration violations or health and medical issues.
If you’re a non-English speaker, the visa application process may be particularly daunting. An immigration lawyer can help their clients navigate the process by providing translation services and communicating with immigration authorities.
Appeals and litigation
In the event that the application is denied, an immigration lawyer can help you begin the appeal process and can even represent you in court, if needed. Additionally, if you are dealing with another legal matter that may be impacting your application situation, such as legal matters, family law, employment law, etc., an immigration lawyer may have connections who can assist their client or they may have additional experience in those areas themselves, to provide support to their clients and to keep the application process moving.
Time saving and peace of mind
Overall, working with an immigration lawyer can increase your chances of getting your UK visa application accepted the first time, saving you time and money, while giving you peace of mind that the information submitted is correct and that there will not be any issues that arise later on.
Would you benefit from working with an immigration lawyer as you prepare to apply for your UK visa? First, consider your specific circumstances, what type of visa you are applying for, what SELT is required for that visa, and what complexities in your case you may need to account for. You can find more information about the knowledge of English required for your visa application here.
When searching for an immigration lawyer, it is important to use reputable resources. Please visit the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner’s website for assistance selecting an advisor as well as other helpful resources.