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Stepstones Visas Ltd
Terms & Conditions of Business

Our aim

We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. As a start, we hope it is helpful to you to set out in this statement the basis on which we will provide our professional services.

Our commitment to you


We will:

  • REPRESENT your interests and keep your business confidential.

  • EXPLAIN to you the legal work which may be required and the prospects of a successful outcome.

  • KEEP YOU regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us.

  • TRY to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you – tell us when we fail in this aim!

  • DEAL with your queries promptly, for example, we will always try to return your telephone calls on the same day.


Fees

  • For most immigration services we operate a fixed fee arrangement. We will provide you with an estimate of our likely fee and agree that fee with you in advance of any work commencing.

The fees include the following;

  • Time spend with the client

  • All correspondences (in-out)

  • All telephone calls (in-out)

  • Preparation time for the application

  • Follow-up work

  • Drafting representations (if appropriate)

  • Advancing the case for the client

  • Representation at the Tribunal (when appropriate)

  • Protective action (if appropriate)

  • Legal research (as appropriate to the case)

  • Drafting legal arguments (when appropriate)

  • Travel & Waiting Time (when appropriate)

For complex or unusual matters, we may calculate our charges by reference to the time actually spent by the advisors in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, and time spent traveling away from the office when this is necessary. Alternatively we may agree a higher fixed rate than usual.

In certain circumstances we may require you to pay the fee, or part of the fee, in advance of work commencing.

Advisors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from visa application fees to courier costs and experts’ fees and so on. We refer to such payments generally as “disbursements”. You must reimburse us for disbursements incurred in respect of your matter. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. Disbursements are subject to VAT.

We will always inform and agree with you any fees whether fixed or hourly rated before we undertake any work. We will give you in hourly rated case an initial estimate of work to be done. If it is likely we will exceed the agreed estimate, we will inform you and seek your approval. However please note that we have to in some circumstances take measure to act in your best interest. In those circumstances we will inform you of our reasons and any additional costs as soon as possible. Your continuing instructions are deemed to be acceptance of our reasons and for further work to be done.

In emergency cases where we act to protect your interest it will be on the basis that we acted in good faith based on the best information available to Stepstones Visas at the time and as part of this agreement you will indemnify or agree to pay our reasonable costs and any disbursements incurred to protect your interest. In such cases we will itemise the cost for clarity.

The fees will reflect the experience of the advisor and complexity of the matter as per instructions of the client and also a change of those instructions can mean the initial assessment will need to be reviewed to reflect the new instructions.

If the matter is discontinued we will revert to and charge on hourly rate of £225 for all work carried out upto the discontinuance of instructions and off set against monies held on account. In such cases we will itemise the cost for clarity.


The Benefits of Accreditation


Any unaccredited institutions will need to seek accreditation with one of the three approved accreditation bodies as early as possible, in order to ensure that they know what they need to do and to prepare for the accreditation. All private education providers will need to be accredited by one of a limited number of Agency-approved accreditation bodies before they can qualify for as sponsors.

Accreditation will benefit Educational institutions, their students and the education sector as a whole. Once an institution is accredited, it can apply to the UKBA to be registered as a Sponsor which will in turn enable that institution to offer placements to overseas students.

Our hours of business


Our normal office hours are between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. on weekdays. Messages can be left on our voicemail outside those hours and we will attempt to return all calls on the same day.

People responsible for your work


We will always notify you of the name and position of the individual who will handle your application. We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will tell you promptly of any change and why it may be necessary.

The advisor has final responsibility for any work done by the firm.

Payment arrangements

Payment is due to us in 2 installments. 75% on instruction of Stepstones Visas and the remaining 25% either :

  • For Applications – 2 days prior to the Application being submitted. If the application is urgent the full amount must be paid on instructions.

  • For Appeals – 21 days before the hearing date


We will send you a bill/statement when the second installment is due which clearly states the date due, however you are responsible for ensuring that your bill is paid in good time as defined in these terms.

Interest will be charged on a daily basis at 8 per cent over Lloyds TSB Bank Plc’s base rate from time to time from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made by the due date. Please note that we will seek to recover any outstanding amount through the courts without further notice.

Termination


You may terminate your instructions to us in writing . If there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses you must clear any balances on termination of instructions. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.

If we decide to stop acting for you, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing. If you do not comply with the notice we will seek to recover any monies owed through the civil courts.

Limited companies


When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a director to provide a copy of his passport and the company’s most recent audited accounts in order that we can satisfy current money laundering legislation.

Individuals


When accepting instructions on behalf of an individual, we may require a copy of the individual’s passport and a recent utility bill in his or her name in order that we can satisfy current money laundering legislation.

Communication between you and us


Our aim is to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service at all times. We are proud of the service we provide and our clients and our staff are of first importance to us. We hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, please raise your concern in the first place with the individual handling your file. If you still have queries or concerns, please contact Kahiye Alim.

We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. We may need to virus-check disks or e-mail. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by e-mail or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.

The Data Protection Act requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you. We will not supply your details to anyone else other than in connection with your immigration affairs or such other matter as you may instruct us.

What we expect of you


In order to assist us in the progress of your case, we will need you to:

  • Provide us with full information concerning your case.

  • Provide us with documentary evidence, where available, of matters that will assist your case.

  • Tell us if someone else is representing you.

  • Keep in regular contact with us.

  • Tell us immediately if you change your address or telephone number.

  • Tell us immediately about new information that might affect your immigration claim.

  • Attend any appointments we arrange, and arrive in time. If you know that you are going to be late, please telephone us. If you fail to attend an appointment without good reason and without notifying us in advance, we may not be able to continue to work on your case and we may have to charge you for the missed appointment.

Terms and conditions of business

  • Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.

  • Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been returned to us for us to keep on our file.

  • This agreement will be construed in all respects in accordance with the laws of England & Wales and the parties agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts.


 



  • Tier 1, for which the Highly Skilled
    Migrant Programme (HSMP) was a forerunner, enables highly skilled
    individuals to enter the UK to contribute
    to its economic wealth and productivity. Read more ....

  • Tier 2, is for skilled workers who
    have been offered employment in
    the UK. It has replaced the previous
    Work Permit scheme. Read more ....

  • Tier 4 is for those wishing to study in the
    UK. It has comprehensively replaced the
    Immigration Rules relating to students.
    Read more ....

  • Tier 5 is for youth mobility and temporary
    workers. Their reasons for coming to the
    UK are non-economic. Read more ....




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More than half of the total visa applications are for six months visas.

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