Reasons to Hire an Immigration Consultant

Applying for a visa to live and work in another country is a daunting, often long-winded process. Many people find themselves bursting with over-confidence and feel that a simple Google search will help them fill out extremely complex or lengthy application forms.

For simple visitor visas, this may not be an issue – but for those who wish to stay in another country on a permanent or long-term basis, hiring an immigration expert to help oversee the process is highly recommended.

Read more to understand the key benefits of hiring a consultant to help handle your visa application.

Attention to detail

Just one small error on your application form can result in visa rejection, which, in turn, leads to delays and in many cases, a loss of total payment. With the costs of visas steadily increasing, it is simply not something you can afford to take risks with.

As such, hiring an expert in immigration is beneficial, since they can guide you through the application process, ensuring you fill out all aspects of the forms correctly.

Cost and time savings

Of course, hiring a consultant to help you out will incur a fee, but overall, the amount you pay could be far greater in the long run, if you were to make mistakes. Simply making a small error, like applying for the wrong type of visa or in the wrong category can delay your application for several months. Moreover, government agencies may charge you for making these minor mistakes, or can force you to repeat the entire process.

Hiring an immigration consultant who has been through the process thousands of times and has a wealth of experience will save you copious amounts of time and make the situation as hassle-free as it can be.

They can support you

If English is not your first language or you are somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of speaking to a government official, your immigration consultant can support you and help stand up for your rights in the face of any problems.

Additionally, if your personal circumstances or the visa requirements were to change, it is your consultant’s job to keep you up-to-date and guide you through the changes necessary for a successful application.

They uphold your personal privacy

Plenty of online resources, like official governmental websites and immigration forums, are available to offer application advice and to gain insights from real people in similar situations. However, there are occasions where you might not feel comfortable asking personal questions regarding your immigration situation on public forums.

Questions which relate to your family life, employment status, criminal record or medical conditions are highly personal and require privacy. Immigration experts have a duty to keep the information their clients give them confidential.

They can help with an appeal

If you have submitted a visa application which has resulted in an official refusal, your consultant can help you with the appeals process, ensuring your case is properly overseen.

Immigration consultants offer a total peace of mind throughout the often daunting process of applying for visas and moving to another country. Not only do they save applicants time and money, but they are there to support clients from start to finish, all whilst upholding important privacy values.

This article was contributed by First Migration, a UK visa consultant which specialises in immigration to UK for all types of applicants.

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Online vs. Written Practice Materials for Psychometric Test Prep

JobTestPrep’s Online Practice Materials vs. Written Practice Materials for Psychometric Test Prep

Written By: Jennifer Feldman

It is becoming increasingly more popular for employers to give graduates online psychometric tests as part of the recruitment process. The psychometric test is used to gain insight into a potential employee’s skill sets, character traits, working style, and ability to handle a workload. Gone are the days of the paper-and-pen test. With a computer-based test comes a whole new set of challenges job seekers should be aware of. Let’s take a look at a typical selection process used by some top employers.

Now that you understand what a typical selection process looks like, it’s time to discover how to best prepare. I am here to outline the five benefits of using online practice materials—online practice tests, interactive study guides, video tutorials, and online interview practice—over traditional written practice materials, i.e. books, paper practice tests, and offline courses.

  1. Why Practise Riding a Bike When You Want to Learn How to Drive a Car?

The first step of the job selection process displayed above is sending in an application online, followed by online assessments, a Skype interview, and, finally, an in-person assessment day. As a candidate, you must pass three out of six steps of the application process online before you even make it to the in-person assessment day. Once you make it to the assessment day, you will face shorter versions of the online assessments. As most of the selection process is to be tackled online, it is best to prepare with online resources.

  1. Learn How to Use the Clock to Your Benefit

Unlike the old-fashioned paper exams, when taking a computer-based exam, there is a digital timer reminding you how much time is left in the test. Here is an inside tip: most tests are not meant to be completed. Therefore, it’s okay if you do not cover all the material, nor should you let the time constraint control you. That being said, a great way to gain an advantage over other candidates is to be familiar with pacing yourself. Also helpful is learning how to use the time clock. Practising online with is the easiest way to do this. JobTestPrep enables you to practise in two different modes: Practice Mode which includes a detailed answer explanation for every question and Timed Mode which simulates the time constraints of the actual exam. Practising with the timer is a gamechanger. You can learn how to manage your time as well as increase your chances of finishing assessments. Take a look at this free practice aptitude test from JobTestPrep to understand how these features work.

  1. Get Instant Feedback

When you take online practice, you receive instant feedback whether you answered the question correctly or incorrectly. If you got a question wrong, you can learn how to solve it, right then and there, while the question is still fresh in your head. You can also get detailed score reports that track your progress. Using both score reports with explanations and test-taking hacks can save you valuable time on the actual exam. When you use traditional written materials, you are not exposed to this valuable feedback.

  1. It’s Time to Teach an Old Horse New Tricks

Unfortunately, the old strategies you used for taking a pen-and-paper exam are completely different than those needed for taking an online exam. When you take an online exam, you can’t star hard items, write yourself little notes, or skip around as easily. A common dilemma you may encounter when taking an online exam is whether you should take educated guesses on more questions or answer fewer questions more accurately. The answer is that you need to strike a balance. Overall, getting good marks on fewer questions is better than finishing the assessment and getting a poor mark.

  1. Access Up-to-Date Resources

One of the best benefits of using online resources is that obsolete materials can easily be updated. When you use a preparation book or e-book, you need to make sure it has current information.

Let the evidence speak for itself in the battle between online materials and written practice materials. My recommendation is out with the old and in with the new. Online products are the best way to prepare. Take a look at these online practice materials for:

This article was contributed by Jennifer Feldman. She is a speech and language expert and blogger at JobTestPrep. She specialises in writing about the employment hiring process.

 

Zero-hours contracts: The end of a secure working day?

zero hour contract

Zero, it’s a number that can be good or bad but so called “zero-hours” contracts have grown in popularity recently. The contract is basically a way for companies to employ people on an on-demand basis, for example that the employees gets called in whenever they are needed. For a long time, these have been accepted as a good way to get people into employment, even if it is just small amounts of money. On the other hand, Andy Burnham has called for a promise that if the Labour Party were to get into power, they would ban this type of employment.

In my opinion, there is no problem in doing Continue reading

Central Tyre Macclesfield – Scam merchants

Don’t you hate it when car dealers rip you off?

I have just taken delivery of my car. It needed new brakes. Normally an easy thing to fix, but Central Tyre in Macclesfield claim that it took them 14 hours to change 4 brakes. This is on a modern car where you can clip things in and out. Yeah right……
When I asked them to quote, they mumbled something like twothirty, which I understood to be two hundred and thirty. Turns out they meant two thousand three hundred. Should really have got it in writing, but I used them once before and I trusted them.

As the saying goes, don’t trust car salesmen……..

Graduates Struggling for Internships, Let Alone Jobs

JobWantedAt a time when there is a lack of graduate jobs, students are becoming increasingly competitive in the job market. University placements have dramatically risen in the UK since the early 1990s and a result, the competition for graduate level jobs is fiercer than ever. To make matters worse, twice as many graduates are achieving first class or 2:1 degrees now than they were ten years ago.

It has always been common practice to attempt to gain experience in order to secure a job and internships have traditionally been an asset for all students. However, as unemployment rises and as we head for a bleak double-dip recession, employers have gained a far more powerful position over their employees. Continue reading

Employment law rights for apprentices in the EU

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular according to new government figures released last week, which showed an increase of 50,000 apprentice jobs compared to the previous academic year. With apprenticeships growing in popularity, it is more important than ever for apprentices to know their employment rights.

Apprenticeships are work-place training posts, which allow you Continue reading

Working abroad: Know your employment law rights

The news that unemployment in the UK remains at a high level and looks set to stay high for the foreseeable future has sent a shiver down the spines of many currently looking for work. The situation is even more acute in the 16-24-year old age group, where one in five is currently out of work.

Amidst the bleak economic outlook UK citizens are increasingly looking abroad for opportunities to work and gain experience. The UK’s legal status with the EU means that UK citizens are free to move to any EU member state to work and live, something that more and more seem to be attracted towards.

Understanding EU employment law

European member states enjoy considerable diversity when it comes to employment law, with each country entitled to implement its own spin on workers rights.

That said, there are some employment laws and rights that have been created by the EU and therefore apply across all member states. Important examples of employment law areas where EU law applies to all member states include:

  • Rights not to be discriminated against at work on the grounds of race, religion, gender, age, disability status or sexual orientation
  • Rights for women and men to be treated equally when accessing employment and training and in working conditions and pay
  • Rights to a maximum number of hours in a working week
  • Rights to an employment contract within two months of starting work
  • Rights to maintain your employment terms and conditions if your employer is taken over by another business
  • Rights to maternity and paternity leave
  • Rights to have your personal and private data protected

However it is worth noting that each EU member state has autonomy over the way EU law is implemented within their territory and therefore you will find variations in the way these rights are enforced from state to state.

A good example of this is the implementation of equality law in Germany, where freelancers and consultants are not entitled to benefit from anti-discrimination law, and where discrimination on the basis of age is lawful in some circumstances. As a result of these national variations, it is important for anyone considering working abroad to take legal advice on the employment law in whichever state they intend to work in.

National variations

Outside of the standard EU laws each member state is free to determine the level of employment law protection afforded to its workforce. The national variations can be quite subtle but no less important. For example in Spain, employment roles are categorised, with each category subjected to a different set of laws known as the ‘convenio colectivo’. Pay is divided into 14 payments, one per month plus two extra, one in July and one in December. Employees are entitled in Spain to time off for marriage, the birth of a child or the death of a family member.

Rights to a national minimum wage are not set EU-wide, and you will therefore find considerable variation between member states. For example Germany, Italy and Sweden have no national minimum wage law. Many EU countries do offer a minimum wage, but there is also variation with the amount, with Spain offering just €4.26 whilst Luxembourg offers employees €10.41.

This Eurojobs article was provided by 

Positive Aspects Of Using A Recruitment Agency?

Recruitment agencies are increasingly becoming the effective way to source top quality employees for your company with very little time and effort. Using the right agency will ensure that you find the ideal individuals to join your team. There are several different benefits of this form of recruiting, regardless of the role that you want to fill.

Employing a top quality recruitment agency will ensure that you find the perfect match for the position that you’re offering. Whether you’ll need someone for engineering jobs, service employees or managers the extensive network of contacts will supply the best employees. You will be amazed the number of different resources the recruitment agencies will use to ensure they match your requirements.

The agency that you choose will be able to invest the time and effort into finding you the perfect candidate for your employment opportunity. You will have the job filled far quicker than if you conducted other ways of hiring. The hiring agencies can limit the list of potential workers far quicker than you.

Employing the correct individuals to work in your team is important to guarantee that your company continues to run effectively. Some people are simply no good at choosing the right employees; therefore, employing an agency will make the hiring process much easier. You’ll be given ideal candidates, making sure you do not waste your time and effort on people that simply wouldn’t fit in to your team.

The recruitment agencies will be able to follow your company recommendations, and ensure they get the best, high caliber employees for the position. Regardless of whether you’ll need engineering jobs filled, or part-time waiters, your company will be catered for professionally. Those who join the agency looking for work will have to supply a large amount of information.

This information will enable the recruitment agencies to place the right people with the perfect employers. Both parties will be happy with the choice, and ensure that the career path is long and successful. Every component of the applicants cv will be checked by the recruitment agencies, making sure you can go ahead and interview individuals.

The need for further training can often be avoided as the agency will only send you people who they feel would be appropriate for the job. This will save you time, effort and money, and definately will ensure that your new employee can start immediately. It may seem that employing recruitment agencies, is merely for large companies.

However, every business, no matter their dimensions can benefit from using the expertise and data of these agencies. The charges that you will have to pay are reasonable, and will ensure that all of the hard work is completed for you in advance. Once you have used a reliable recruitment agency, you will notice that you turn to them each and every time you are seeking new employees.

The Advantages Of Employing A Recruitment Agency

If you are looking for work in your industry, such as engineering jobs, you might have already suffered the irritation of looking in a newspaper. Maybe you’ve looked in a trade magazine. Perhaps you’ve used one of the many specialist job boards. If you’re tired of constantly chasing jobs, perhaps now it’s time you perform your job search with the aid of recruitment agencies.

Recruitment agencies do all of the employment legwork on the part of their clients. They have connections to employment clients who are searching for a certain kind of employment prospect. Rather than putting things off filling out random job applications, on employment websites and networking opportunities, the recruiter will push an employment prospect directly to the best type of company. Concurrently, recruiters steer the best type of employment prospects toward employers who have specific job needs. Recruiters act as the liaison between job clients and work prospects to ensure the right employment fit for both parties.

Recruitment agencies will also be privy to more employment opportunities. While specific employment positions may appear on an employment website or in a paper, the recruiting agency should have far more information than these forms of employment media. Not only this, but many companies might insist that they only hire work candidates through agencies.

This is because agencies perform such a wonderful job of screening and vetting the candidates. Not only will a recruiting agency perform work reference inspections but in many instances, the company will even perform a background check along with a drug-screen check. Many will even perform a credit check with respect to the employer as well. This enables only top work candidates to be considered for an employer’s interview process.

Using a recruiting agency to seek out work is a good idea. While some companies might post an employment opening in the newspapers or on an employment job board, they frequently do this to satisfy their human resource requirements. Which means that it is common for workers to never get hired through the newspapers, or through the online job boards.

On most occasions, a company might already have their candidate selected, however they could be legally required to post an open employment ad towards the general public. In situations like these, the business has generally found their prospect by using a recruiting agency. To put it simply, recruitment agencies open doors that are usually shut firmly to everyone else.

Again, if you are tired of the seemingly endless days and nights of looking for employment, and if you’re worried that your financial and career future is in danger, speak to a recruiting agency right away! The right recruiting agencies may use their connections to finish your unemployment headache as quickly as possible.

Leaving the UK to move abroad? Don’t forget to tie up those loose ends.

It can be quite a chore trying to understand the tax consequences of leaving the UK. Every year thousands of people leave and most never give much thought to whether they still have obligations to HMRC; worse still, many leave and never reclaim overpaid tax. Here we’ve put together some top tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes:

One of the most common mistakes made by taxpayers leaving the UK is the failure to claim a refund of overpaid tax.

All UK taxpayers (and some non residents) are entitled to a UK Personal Allowance (basically a tax free allowance). For PAYE taxpayers, their personal allowance is split into weekly or monthly amounts and offset against their weekly or monthly wages. A taxpayer who leaves the UK part way through a tax year therefore does not get the full benefit of their personal allowance and in most cases, overpays UK tax.

To reclaim the overpayment a claim must be submitted to HMRC. Many departing taxpayers however are not aware of this and needlessly leave their money with HMRC.  The timeframe for making this claim was 6 years but it is being revised down to 4 years very shortly.

Self–employed (self assessed) taxpayers on the other hand are subject to a different method of tax collection. Rather than the tax being taken via PAYE, they must file a Tax Return annually, declaring their income and working out their tax liability.

The tax itself is paid as follows:

  • 31st Jan – 1st Payment on Account (POA);
  • 31st July – 2nd POA;
  • 31st Jan next – Balancing payment – the difference between the amount paid as POA’s and the final liability becomes due.

A self-assessed taxpayer who leaves the UK part way through the year may therefore have overpaid tax as a result of their POA’s. The POA’s are an estimate of the current year liability based on the prior year. If a trader ceases part way through a year therefore, the POA’s are likely to be excessive.

Any overpaid tax should come out in the wash when the taxpayer files his final Tax Return but it’s important to remember that the Tax Return must be submitted.

This is only relevant to taxpayers leaving the UK and letting their UK property. It is however an immensely common area of confusion.

The term non-resident landlord (NRL) is a misnomer; in reality someone is classified as an NRL if they let UK property and their usual place of abode is outside the UK.

The main consequence of being an NRL is that the tenant or letting agent is legally obliged to deduct basic rate tax (20%) from the rental income and pay it direct to HMRC. The problems with this are two-fold:

  1. As the 20% is deducted from the rents before any allowance is given for tax deductible expenditure (e.g mortgage interest), it will be in excess of the real tax liability.
  2. While this excess can be reclaimed, it will only be received after the Tax Return has been submitted. The result is a loss of cash flow.

The above scenario can be avoided by registering with HMRC’s NRL scheme. Once a taxpayer is registered, the tenant/letting agent is not required to deduct tax at source. The NRL can receive the rental income gross. A word of warning though, while the NRL does allow for gross rent receipt, it does not exempt the income from UK tax and the NRL will need to file a UK Tax Return annually and pay the corresponding UK tax due.

Finally, most countries operate a Residency tax system – this means they levy tax on their residents’ worldwide income. While some countries (notably Hong Kong) operate a Territorial system, the majority are Residency based. As such, a taxpayer departing the UK is likely to be subject to tax in his new home country on his worldwide income – including his UK rental income.

In these scenarios advice should be taken on the specific rules in the foreign jurisdiction but in general there should be some form of double tax relief available in that country for UK tax paid on the UK rental income.

  • Sort out your Bank Accounts

For those UK taxpayers leaving the UK but intending to retain their UK bank accounts, one aspect often overlooked is the fact that it is possible to receive interest without the deduction of tax.

Savers who are ‘not ordinarily resident’ in the UK can complete Form R105 to receive their interest without UK tax taken off. Unfortunately Banks are not required to accept a R105 so not all Banks offer this facility.

As in the case of the UK rental income discussed above, while it may be possible to avoid UK tax, advice should be taken in the foreign jurisdiction to which the taxpayer is emigrating as to the tax status of the UK interest in that country.

  • Pension Issues

The whole area of pensions is highly complex and confusing to many taxpayers and this is not surprising given the number of changes we’ve had since April 2006.

While there are many things we could say about the good and bad of migrating to a QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes), that would be an article in itself.

Instead we’re just going to focus on the scenario where a UK taxpayer is receiving a UK pension and moves overseas.

As a general rule, non residents of the UK are taxable on their UK source income. That said, many Double Tax Treaties (DTT) specifically address the topic of pensions. Double Tax Treaties do exactly what they say on the tin – they are bilateral agreements between countries which ensure the residents of those countries do not suffer double taxation.

The pension article in most DTTs allocates the taxing rights to the country of residence. A good example is the UK-Australia Treaty.

So as an example, consider a UK taxpayer in receipt of a UK pension who moves permanently to Australia: in the absence of the DTT, the UK pension would be subject to UK PAYE at source. However, because of the terms set out in the UK-Australia DTT, the UK pension is in fact exempt from UK tax but taxable in Australia.

In order to ensure the pension is not subject to UK PAYE the correct form must be completed. The forms are available for download at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/app_dtt.htm

A taxpayer who has moved to Australia but has not filled out the correct form is likely to be receiving his pension net of UK Tax through PAYE. As a result, he will have overpaid UK tax. Fortunately a refund can be claimed so all is not lost. The deadline for claiming the refund is 4 years.