Save the Date - Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulation changes for commercial property on the horizon
Booking a Premium Service Appointment
Following the introduction of a £100 appointment booking fee from 6 April 2013 for all premium service appointments at the Public Enquiry Office (PEO), the Home Office has just announced the new booking process. When booking the premium appointment online applicants will then need to call the immigration enquiry bureau between 9.00 and 15.00 on 0870 606 7766 by 3pm on the next working day to pay the appointment fee of £100 per applicant in order to confirm the appointment. If the payment is not made within this timescale, the appointment will be cancelled.
The £100 fee is part of the newly revised £375 fee for premium service appointments which was announced on 25 February. The remaining balance will be paid at the PEO on the day of the appointment. The process will apply across the board for both personal and representative bookings. The appointment can be cancelled or rescheduled in the normal way via the online account but in the event of cancellation with 5 or less working days’ notice, or a no show, the £100 fee will not be refunded. Eventually a fully automated pre-payment system that will collect all fees upfront will be introduced.
New Statement of Intent covering requirements for settlement and naturalisation
On 8 April 2013 the Home Office published a Statement of Intent outlining planned changes to requirements for those applying to settle in the UK, or become naturalised as British citizens. From 28 October 2013, applicants in both categories will be required to pass the Life in the UK Test and to hold a B1 (intermediate) level English language speaking and listening qualification. This will replace the current system which requires applicants to sit either the life in the UK test or show language progression from one English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) level to the next, but not both. A range of English language qualifications will be accepted as evidence that an applicant has met the B1 level speaking and listening requirements.
Those who applied or apply for settlement under the pre October 2013 rules can settle under those rules, but if they naturalise after October 2013 they will have to qualify under the new rules at that stage (they will not have to retake the life in the UK test but will have to do new language tests). Click here to view the Statement of Intent for further information.
Capita to run reminder pilot on behalf of the Home Office
From 9 April 2013 the Home Office is launching a pilot, in partnership with Capita, which will remind individuals whose permission to stay in the UK is due to expire that they must either apply for further leave, or depart from the UK. As part of the pilot, Capita will make contact with a randomly selected sample group of migrants whose leave to remain in the UK will expire in June 2013. These migrants will receive a letter, email or SMS reminding them to either apply for further leave to remain in the UK, or to make plans to depart before their permission to stay expires. They will receive further reminders 1 month and then 7 days before their leave expires. There is no requirement to respond but a telephone number and email address are provided to contact Capita if desired. If the records held by the Home Office are out of date then it will be an opportunity for migrants to update these.
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