Pre-License Compliance visit – what prospective Tier 2 sponsors need to know?

In order to sponsor a non-UK/EU national, a UK based company must apply for the Sponsorship Licence. When applying for the Sponsorship Licence, appointed by the company Authorising Officer is required to complete the online application form and supply specified documents to prove that the company is suitable and eligible to undertake its duties and obligations as a Licensed sponsor.

Before the Home Office reaches a decision on the License application, a Home Office Compliance Officer might visit the company’s business premises with a pre-license assessment visit. The visit can be either announced, whereas the Compliance Officer will be in touch with the appointed Authorising Officer via email to agree on the date, time and the location of the visit, or unannounced, where the Compliance Officer turns up at the address specified by the Authorising Officer on the License application form.

The aim of the Compliance Visit is to check:

- that the prospective sponsor has the necessary human resources system in place to carry out their duties if the License is granted;

- that the number of migrants the company wants to sponsor is appropriate to the company’s size and business nature;

- whether there is any evidence to suggest that the prospective sponsor will pose a threat to immigration control;

- any areas of concern that have been identified by the Home Office that require further inspection;

- whether the prospective sponsor can offer genuine employment.

It should be noted that the Compliance Officer that visits the company’s business premises is not the caseworker who makes the final decision on the Sponsorship License application. The Compliance Officer merely gathers the relevant information and the documents, and then prepares a final report which is sent to the caseworker for consideration.

The interview usually lasts at least 2 hours, whereby the Compliance Officer explores topic areas, rather than asking a series of questions. The follow up questions depend on the answers provided by an interviewee; hence, it is imperative that the answers are well thought out and to the point.

In order to be well-prepared for the Compliance visit, it is advisable that the sponsors (prospective and current) read the relevant Home Office policy guidance and seek a legal advice (if necessary), or even consult with an immigration specialist to conduct a mock visit.

At the start of the pre-License interview, the Compliance Office would show their ID, would ask to see the ID of the interviewee and explain the purpose of the visit. Thereafter, the interviewee would be asked a series of questions to establish the company’s genuine trading presence in the UK, such as what is the nature of business, who are the directors/owners, when the business was established and what position(s) are vacant.

There are four main areas that are being assessed in the course of the visit:

- Monitoring Immigration Status and Preventing Illegal Working;

- Maintaining Migrant Contact Details;

- Record Keeping & Recruitment Practices;

- Migrant Tracking & Monitoring;

- General Sponsor Duties.

The Compliance Officer explores each area by asking area-related questions and requesting to see evidence. At the end of the interview, the interviewee will be given a chance to add any information that they deem necessary.

The decision on the pre-license Compliance Visit is made usually within 2-4 weeks from the date of the visit. If the application is refused, the company may ask for a review.

Should you require any assistance with the Sponsorship License application, or should you require a mock Compliance Visit, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team.

Simplification of the Immigration Rules

On 25 March 2020 the Home Office published response to the Law Commission’s report and recommendations on simplification of the UK Immigration Rules. The response and recommendations are set out on 49 pages of the guidance. The Home Office’s aim is for the new consolidated and simplified Rules to be in force from January 2021.

The UK Government has realised that for far too long users have struggled to understand the confusing and complex Immigration Rules. I, personally, have heard many times from the prospective and existing Licensed sponsors that they struggle to navigate the Rules and find relevant information in the complex Home Office Policy Guidance. This is the most welcome news that the UK Immigration Rules will be consolidated and simplified, restructured so that they are easy to use and understand and will be drafted in plain English.

It is imperative that the new, simplified Rules are suitable for the non-expert users. It is also welcome that the Simplification of the Immigration Rules Review Committee will seek to maximise the benefits of tech technology to prove the Immigration Requirements.

At Chan Neill Solicitors our ultimate goal is to help Licensed sponsors and migrants to navigate the comprehensive Immigration Rules and Home Office Policy Guidance. Should you have any questions regarding your UK visa situation or regarding sponsorship of migrant workers, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Team.

Chan Neill Golf Day 2019

Thank you to all of you who joined us at Moor Park Golf Course. We were thankful to higher orders for blessing us with minimal rain, allowing our clients , friends and lawyers enjoy themselves on such a beautiful course.

Til next year!

Grow Your Blog Community

With Wix Blog, you’re not only sharing your voice with the world, you can also grow an active online community. That’s why the Wix blog comes with a built-in members area - so that readers can easily sign easily up to become members of your blog.


What can members do?

Members can follow each other, write and reply to comments and receive blog notifications. Each member gets their own personal profile page that they can customize.



You can make any member of your blog a writer so they can write posts for your blog. Adding multiple writers is a great way to grow your content and keep it fresh and diversified.




Here’s how to do it:

  1. Head to your Member’s Page

  2. Search for the member you want to make a writer

  3. Click on the member’s profile

  4. Click the 3 dot icon ( ⠇) on the Follow button

  5. Select Set as Writer

Now You Can Blog from Everywhere!

We’ve made it quick and convenient for you to manage your blog from anywhere. In this blog post we’ll share the ways you can post to your Wix Blog.


Blogging from Your Wix Blog Dashboard

On the dashboard, you have everything you need to manage your blog in one place. You can create new posts, set categories and more. To head to your Dashboard, open the Wix Editor and click on Blog > Posts.


Blogging from Your Published Site

Did you know that you can blog right from your published website? After you publish your site, go to your website’s URL and login with your Wix account. There you can write and edit posts, manage comments, pin posts and more! Just click on the 3 dot icon ( ⠇) to see all the things you can do.


#bloggingtips #WixBlog

Design a Stunning Blog

When it comes to design, the Wix blog has everything you need to create beautiful posts that will grab your reader's attention. Check out our essential design features.


Choose from 8 stunning layouts

Your Wix Blog comes with 8 beautiful layouts. From your blog's settings, choose the layout that’s right for you. For example, a tiled layout is popular for helping visitors discover more posts that interest them. Or, choose a classic single column layout that lets readers scroll down and see your post topics one by one.

Every layout comes with the latest social features built in. Readers can easily share posts on social networks like Facebook and Twitter and view how many people have liked a post, made comments and more.


Add media to your posts

When creating your posts you can:

  • Upload images or GIFs

  • Embed videos and music

  • Create galleries to showcase a media collection

Customize the look of your media by making it widescreen or small and easily align media inside your posts.


Hashtag your posts

Love to #hashtag? Good news!

You can add tags (#vacation #dream #summer) throughout your posts to reach more people. Why hashtag? People can use your hashtags to search through content on your blog and find the content that matters to them. So go ahead and #hashtag away!


New Account Freezing Order legislation: Private Foreign Currency Exchange Service and its legal impl


Did authorities freeze your UK bank account? Have you received notice of hearing for AFO application? Do you know what happened and what are the legal consequences?


On 28th February 2019, The UK’s National Crime Agency froze 95 Barclays’ bank accounts, mainly held by Chinese students studying in the United Kingdom. These accounts contain an estimate of £3.6 million that is suspected to be from proceeds of crime or intended to be used for criminal purposes. Accounts will be frozen for 9 months for the purpose of subsequent money laundering investigations conducted by the National Economic Crime Centre’s officer.


Why did the authorities freeze my account?


A lot of Chinese student received letters from enforcement authorities, such as the City of London Police and the HM Revenue & Customs, confirming there was an Account Freezing Order (AFO) application against their bank accounts and a hearing was scheduled. Subsequently, these bank accounts would be frozen for nine months. These bank account users have one similarity: they frequently used Private Foreign Currency Exchange Service to exchange for pounds.


As the People’s Republic of China’s authorities implement regulations to limit the exchange of foreign currency from Renminbi, Chinese students are tempted to use Private Foreign Currency Exchange Service to exchange pounds. Chinese students perceive these private currency exchange service more convenient to use and it offers a slightly better exchange rate as incentives than banks’ service. Why not?


Private Currency Exchange Service is well-known and frequently used by the Chinese communities in the UK. These currency exchange service companies operate by sourcing Chinese customers on communications platforms such as Wechat and Alipay. The currency exchange service providers register an account on such communication platform and appear as a Universities’ alumni or some status that sounds credible in the group chat to attract Chinese customers. Chinese customers who want to use the private exchange service will simply have to contact the person they ‘met’ on the communication platform and agree with their exchange rate, the transaction can subsequently be performed. The entire private currency exchange process will take less than one day to complete while traditional currency exchange through banks may take up to 5 working days.


However, Chinese students may not know that in the United Kingdom, strict anti-money laundering regulations are enforced on banks and institutions that perform banking activities. Any large transactions and money transfers will be subject to tracing and declaration of those source of funds.


Private Foreign Currency Exchange is regulated in the United Kingdom. By violating regulations through using these Private Foreign Currency Exchange service, you might have to bear the legal consequences, often not known to you at the outset.


The New Legislation 新法条 - Criminal Finance Act 2017

Since 31 January 2018, new enforcement power was introduced into the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by Criminal Finance Act 2017, it allows authorities to apply to Magistrates’ Court to freeze the monies in “suspicious” bank accounts or building societies account until the source of the funds can be established. Funds were either alleged to be derived from, or intended for use in, unlawful activities.

自2018年1月31日起,英国立法(Criminal Finance Act 2017)授权地方当局在合理的怀疑下向裁判法院申请冻结 “有可疑的”银行账户,直至账户持有人清楚解释资金的来源合法,账户才会被解封。相反,如果账户持有人未能解释资金的来源,则存在洗黑钱的风险。

The frequent use of Private Foreign Currency Exchange services is considered one of the activities that will make Chinese Students’ bank account looks suspicious.


This is because in each transaction, the currency exchange service provider will separate the total amount of pounds into several tranches before sending. The service provider will deposit each tranche of the transaction by cash into the customer’s bank account from different bank branches all over the United Kingdom. By sending in tranches and in different branches, the service provider can avoid being suspicious when paying large amount of cash into a single account in a single branch.


When the NECC notice that there are no links between the location where cash are deposited and where the bank account holder is based, they classify this as a money laundering technique called ‘smurfing’. This constitutes a reasonable ground to suspect the source of those funds are illegitimate. Therefore, the NECC officer will subsequently apply to the Magistrates’ Court to freeze the bank account of these Chinese students for further investigations.


What are the legal consequences?


While the NECC is conducting the money laundering investigations, the account holder must cooperate with the authorities and give evidence with explanations. If the account holder fails to give evidence, the account holder may have to bear the legal consequence and sentence for money laundering. Not only the frozen funds will be forfeited, the criminal record may also affect any current and subsequent student visas in the UK.

在国家经济犯罪调查中心进行调查时,账户持有人必需配合他们就资金来源提交证据并作出解释。如果账户持有人未能提出任何证据让地方当局释疑,除了被冻结的账户资金被没收外,账户持有人也有机会因 “洗黑钱”而负上法律责任。留下的犯罪记录也会影响你现有和未来的签证,也影响你的一生。

What should I do next?


When you receive the notice of AFO applications sent by the authorities, we recommend that you seek legal advice at your earliest opportunity.


Chan Neill solicitors is a leading Law Firm in the City of London and we have mandarin and Cantonese speaking lawyers and legal advisors who may be able to guide you through this difficult period. Given the increase in the number of similar cases we have been dealing with recently, our Senior Partner Mr Michael Chan whom has 25 years of experience in commercial litigations, has taken a keen interest in leading the team in dealing with AFO matters and hope to ensure we can resolve the problem for the Chinese students here in the U.K. . If you have any queries of the AFO, please do not hesitate to contact:

陈刘律师事务所是伦敦有名的律所。我们有能操流利国语和广东话的律师为你提供有关冻结账户的专业法律意见。鉴于我们现时处理账户冻结的案件数量增加,我们的高级合伙人Michael Chan(在商业诉讼方面已有25年的经验)将带领我们的律师团队为你处理有关冻结账户的事宜并全力为中国留学生辩护。如果你有银行账户冻结方面的疑问,欢迎大家咨询


Summary of upcoming changes to the Immigration Rules

On 7 March 2019, the Home Office published a new Statement of Changes, setting out new requirements, which will be incorporated into the consolidated version of the Immigration Rules over the period from 29 March 2019 until 1 August 2019.

Changes as of 29 March 2019

  • Minor changes have been introduced to the definitions of “Employment as a Doctor in Training” and a “Professional sportsperson”

  • Definitions of “Start-up migrant” and “Innovator” have been included in the “Introduction” part of the Rules

  • Immigration requirements for leave to enter and remain or indefinite leave to remain in the UK for family members of Appendix W “Workers” will be added to Part 8 of the Rules

  • Definition of “Prospective Entrepreneur” in Appendix V of the Immigration Rules will be changed. A visitor, who can show support from one or more endorsing bodies for the Start-Up or Innovator visa, would be able to enter the UK to secure funding from any legitimate source

  • Appendix W will be inserted into the consolidated version of the Immigration Rules setting out the Immigration Requirements for the Start-up and Innovator visa categories. The changes to this Appendix will take place on 1 August 2019

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category

  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category will be closed to new applicants as of 29 March 2019. Those, who have a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, or have had leave under this visa category in the 12 months immediately before the date of application, may still apply for extension and/or settlement in the UK under this visa route

  • Applicants will be allowed to extend their visa under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Scheme if last been granted leave as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or a Start-up migrant (having previously held leave as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant)

  • Those applicants, who have entry clearance, leave to enter or remain as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or a Start-up migrant, or have had such leave in the 12 months immediately before the date of application, would be required to show that they have at least £50,000 available to them or their business or have invested the funds in their business due to their activity

  • Money made available from venture capital firms would no longer be accepted for the purpose of initial applications made under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route

Tier 1 Investor visa category

  • Changes are being made to Tier 1 (Investor) visa category to clarify that if the applicant has or has had leave as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant in the 12 months’ period immediately before the date of application, an entry clearance visa would be granted for a period of 2 years. In all other cases, an entry clearance visa application would be granted for a 3 years’ period

  • Tier 1 (Investor) applicants, who were granted a visa under this route before 6 November 2014, would be able to rely on existing investments when submitting their extension applications before 6 April 2020 and when submitting their indefinite leave to remain applications before 6 April 2022

  • Tier 1 (Investor) applicants, who submit their visa applications under this route after 29 March 2019 or the date of extension application is on or after 6 April 2023 or the date of settlement application is on or after 6 April 2025, would not be awarded points for investments in UK Government Bonds

  • The banks would be required to carry out required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries in relation to each Tier 1 (Investor) applicant

  • Under the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route, the 90 consecutive days’ requirement for money to be held under the applicant’s control is being extended to a 2 years’ period

  • Under the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route qualifying investments can include pooled investments vehicles, if such vehicles receive funding from a UK or devoted government department or one of its agencies, and the applicant provides a letter from a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to confirm this

  • Tier 1 (Investor) applicants, who submit their initial applications after 29 March 2019, and invest in active and trading UK registered companies, must ensure that such active and trading UK companies are registered with the Companies House, HMRC for corporation tax and PAYE, have accounts and a UK business bank account and have at least two UK-based employees who are not its directors

  • Clarification is being made to confirm that “price of the investments” means the price the Tier 1 (Investor) applicant paid for the investments, not the face value

Changes as of 30 March 2019

  • An entry clearance visa application granted under Appendix EU (Family Permit) may be revoked if an applicant is subject to an exclusion order, an exclusion decision or an Islands exclusion decision as defined in that Appendix

  • In line with the changes to paragraph 34QA, under Appendix AR (EU) an application for an Administrative Review may be made from either inside or outside the UK

  • General grounds for refusal set out in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules will not apply to applications made under Appendix EU or Appendix EU (Family Permit), except, if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union with a “no-deal” scenario, then, some of the paragraphs of Part 9 of the Rules would apply to migrants, who commit an offence after 29 March 2019

  • Changes are being made to Appendix A “Attributes” to clarify how points for an allocation of a restricted COS certificate will be calculated

  • The Immigration Requirements set out in paragraph EU2 of Appendix EU will come into force on 30 March 2019

  • Appendix EU (Family Permit) will be inserted into the consolidated version of the Immigration Rules on 30 March 2019 (with two exceptions)

  • Appropriate salary rates set out in Appendix J in the codes of practice of the Immigration Rules have been revised. New salary rates will come into force on 30 March 2019

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category

  • Switching from a “Start-up” migrant and an “Innovator” visa category to Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category will be allowed

  • The relevant continuous period under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent or Promise) visa category could be combined with leave spent either as a Tier 1 Migrant (excluding as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant or Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrant), as a Tier 2 Migrant (excluding as a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Migrant) or as an Innovator

Tier 2 visa categories

  • Applicants will be allowed to switch from a Start-up and an Innovator visa category to Tier 2 (General)

  • Migrants will be allowed to switch to the Tier 2 (General) visa category within the UK upon completion of their degree program or no more than 3 months before the expected completion date

  • Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) migrants will be allowed to include leave spent in the UK as an Innovator towards the required qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain

  • The minimum threshold for a gross annual salary, when applying for settlement under the Tier 2 (General) visa route, will be set at £38,800, if the date of application is on or after 6 April 2023, and at £40,100 if the date of application is on or after 6 April 2024

Changes as of 6 April 2019

  • Time spent under the Tier 4 visa category whilst being below the age of 18, will not count towards the time limits;

  • Transitional arrangements in respect of job creation for those Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants, who entered this route before 6 April 2014, will be deleted.

Changes as of 6 July 2019

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa category will be closed and being replaced by a Start-up visa category

Should you have any questions regarding the upcoming changes please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

Chan Neill Solicitors participates in Free Wills Month (March) 2019- Doing our part in Helping Great

The Free Wills Month Campaign

Charities involved in supporting Free Wills Month work for a variety of causes. They work tirelessly to protect and enrich the lives of millions of people.

Most UK charities depend on legacies for up to half their income – by taking part in a Free Wills Month campaign you could help one or more of these worthy causes.

If you are interested in leaving your legacy to one of the participating charities, and is aged 55 years and older, please contact us for further information and participating charities.

Appointments are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis and may once all appointments are fully booked, the campaign will close, even before end of the month.

For further information, please refer to

Chan Neill Solicitors 三喜临门CNY 2019 Reception


Thank you for celebrating our growth with us! Happy Chinese New Year, 新年快乐, 万事如意!