Frequently Asked Questions
What is ILR?
ILR means Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, in other words permission to reside in the UK permanently.
What is entry clearance?
Entry clearance means permission to enter the UK.
What are the UK Immigration Rules?
These are a set of Rules made by the UK Government which generally have effect as though they legislation. The Rules are subject to frequent change.
What is a Sponsor?
A Sponsor is a person lawfully living in the UK – usually, but not necessarily, a spouse or fiancée – who formally offers financial or practical support to an immigration applicant.
What are the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal?
These are specialist immigration courts presided by judges. At a Tribunal hearing, an immigration barrister argues their case for their client (the immigration applicant), the Home Office’s representative argues the case for the Home Office, and the judge makes the decision.
What is judicial review?
Judicial review is a very specific method of challenging certain decisions of the Home Office. It is only appropriate where an appeal is not available to the immigration applicant.
Who is an EEA National?
Nationals of any EU Country or nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK, as at April 2018.
What is ‘Brexit’?
This is a slightly informal expression meaning ‘British exit from the European Union’. The UK will leave the European Union at 11pm UK time on Friday 29 March, 2019. We would advise all EEA nationals and their family members to take steps to strengthen their UK immigration status before that date.
Can I have a consultation with your barristers by internet video link or telephone?
Subject to your local internet connection speed, we can arrange a video link consultation.
I am a family member of someone outside the UK – can I instruct you on their behalf?
Yes, provided you have access to all their relevant documents.
I am setting up a new business, do I have to register a company?
The short answer is 'No'. A business does not have to be a limited company. Someone setting up in business on their own has the choice of setting up as a self-employed person (a 'sole trader'), or of having a limited company. If there are two or more people involved in the business then they have the choice of trading as a partnership or of forming a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP).
What is a limited company?
A limited company is registered at Companies House. It must operate within the Companies Acts and is governed by its own articles of association. There are different types of limited company but they all have these things in common. Once registered, a company has corporate personality. It is a legal entity (or legal person) with its own rights and obligations, separate and distinct from those of its members. The company's property is its own and is not treated as belonging to the company's shareholders and directors. The company itself can enter into contracts, employ people, sue and be sued and can be liable if it commits criminal offences. When the company incurs debts, the company itself is liable for them and the directors and shareholders are not (see below).
There are different types of companies used for different purposes, but for a trading business the only real options are the private company limited by shares and the LLP.
How does limited liability work?
The basis of limited liability is that all debts incurred by a company are the company's own liabilities and not directly the legal liability of the shareholders or of the directors. The company is a separate legal person from the shareholders and the directors. The company incurs debts in the course of its business and only the company is liable for those.
The shareholders' obligation is to pay the company for the shares they have taken in it. Once the shares are fully paid for (and this would usually be the case with a private limited company) no further money is payable by the shareholders. So, if two people set up a company and take, say, one £1 share in it each, their only liability as shareholders is to pay £1 each to the company for their shares.
The directors incur no personal liability as all their acts are undertaken as agents for the company. However, there are certain circumstances where liability may be imposed by the court, particularly in respect of wrongful or fraudulent trading.
What is Companies House?
Companies House is the government body responsible for registering companies in the UK. There are separate branches in Cardiff (for England and Wales), Scotland and Northern Ireland. We can register companies in all three. When a company is registered, documents and forms (and the registration fee) is sent to Companies House which, if everything is in order, will issue the company's certificate of incorporation. Most registrations are now done electronically.
What information must a company send to Companies House?
If the company does any of a long list of things, the right form must be sent to Companies House. Common examples are changes to the directors or company secretary, or the registered office, or when shares are allotted. Some of these changes are quite straightforward. In other cases they are more technical than people realise. All official forms are available from Companies House website, and many simpler matters can be registered electronically.
Can you explain about shares?
Can a child own shares?
There is no statutory provision prohibiting a child from owning shares. In many family owned companies, shares are allotted to children as a means of providing them with capital assets which may be expected to increase in value as part of longer term inheritance and capital gains tax planning. Paying dividends on such shares can also be useful ways of using children's personal allowances for income tax (and can be useful when supporting older children through university, etc.) Professional advice should always be taken when using any such schemes.
Can a child be a director?
As from 1st. October 2008 a child under 16 cannot be a director of a UK registered company.