SINCE 2017


Dishonest businessman telling lies, lying businessperson holding fingers crossed behind his back
Dishonest businessman telling lies, lying businessperson holding fingers crossed behind his back

How to Avoid Dodgy Immigration Agents

Another piece of content marketing that doubles up as a media release for our client Move Up.

Sihouette of young family and airplane

While it’s essential to choose an immigration agency that handles visa and passport applications both professionally and efficiently, with so many options out there how can you know who you can trust?

Here are 10 tips to help you choose a reputable consultancy that best suits your needs:

1. Just Ask

Ryan Rennison, managing director of United Kingdom (UK) visa solutions experts, Move Up, says your first port of call is to ask friends and family about their experiences, “Social media is an amazing tool for polling your networks for their recommendations of which companies do a good job – with a smile – and those you should steer clear of. The chances are if your neighbour, cousin or colleague had a positive experience with an immigration expert, you’ll have one too,” says Rennison.

2. Google Reviews

Marketers will tell you, nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to endorsements – and criticisms. When you’re doing online research, make sure you read your prospective immigration agency’s Google Reviews for unadulterated, first-hand opinions from people in the know.

3. Social Media

If Google uses companies’ social media presence to rate their relevance and legitimacy, then you should too. Take a look at your prospective immigration agency’s social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) to check whether they are up to date. An inactive, empty or missing page may be a sign that the company is ‘fronting’ and not to be trusted.

4. Lawyer or Agency?

Avoid unnecessary costs by finding out exactly which services you require. Immigration lawyers are best suited to complex immigration cases and often charge higher fees, while a straightforward visa or passport application can easily be managed by a reputable and experienced immigration consultancy. If you’re exploring moving to the UK, try this free birth certificate evaluation to see if you qualify for an ancestral visa or British passport.

5. Get Quotes

Make sure you compare immigration consultants’ fee structures to get an idea of the range of pricing out there. While some agencies are cagey about telling you how much of what you’re paying goes straight into their pockets, there are agencies that freely publish their fees on their websites.

On the flipside, remember that too-good-to-be-true fees are usually just that! While the offers from less reputable agencies can have hidden Ts and Cs, some trustworthy companies like Move Up offer a solid fees-back guarantee: if your visa application is not successful, they promise to refund your fee in full.

6. Ancient History

Not always, but usually the best immigration agencies have been around for many years. Look at the company’s track record. Are the employees experienced? Does the person heading up the organisation have a solid reputation? Can you get in touch with them easily if something goes wrong? Don’t be shy to ask for contactable references if you’re still unsure.

7. Security

Good agencies will have policies and procedures in place that help give you peace of mind when it comes to handling and storing sensitive, personal information.

For secure online payments, make sure their website URL begins with ‘https’. The ‘s’ means the website is secure and will safely process any credit card transactions you initiate.

8. Governing Body

Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t yet have a governing body or regulator to assist consumers with avoiding rogue immigration agencies. Few governments have the capacity to regulate other countries’ immigration agencies, which means it’s up to you to scrutinise your options.

9. Background Check

Relocating to a new country can sometimes involve paying hundreds of thousands of rands in fees to your future government. If you’re nervous about parting with a large sum of cash, there are companies that offer background checks (on individuals and companies) for your peace of mind.

10. The Gut Test

Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, trusting your intuition is the next step forward.


The UK is a favourite destination for South Africans choosing to emigrate. Find out which UK visas you may be eligible for by completing this free online visa assessment from Move Up.



Media Exposure

Cape Town Etc – Choosing an Immigration Agency

All 4 Women – Emigrating? Do you qualify for an ancestral British visa? Find out here

Christmas tree decoration with british red bus
Christmas tree decoration with british red bus

16 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in the British Tradition

If the names Shakespeare, Jane Austen, J. R. R Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and Queen Elizabeth curl your toes, you’re probably an Anglophile – someone with a soft spot for Britain, its culture, history and traditions. For the Anglophiles who also love Christmas we’ve compiled some very British traditions for you to add to your celebrations this year: all you need to decide is which ones you’ll be making your own.


The first tingles of excitement for Christmas can officially begin when cities switch on their magical Christmas lights. If you’re planning to head over to the UK before the end of the year be sure to take a night-time stroll through at least one of these spots, which local Britons claim are the most enchanting displays to visit. (Don’t forget to call on Move Up UK Visa Solutions to take care of all your visa application needs before you go…)

EDINBURGH: George Street
LONDON: Regent Street & Oxford Street
LEEDS: Victoria Gardens
GLASGOW: George Square
MANCHESTER: Albert Square
BELFAST: City Hall
BRISTOL: Cabot Circus


Join in a more modern British tradition and make sure you’re kitted out with an immensely ugly Christmas ‘jumper’ (jersey) this December. London office Christmas parties are legendary for awarding prizes to the person sporting the ugliest Christmas jersey – an accolade people are strangely proud of – and retailers have really leaned into this trend, making ugly Christmas jerseys rather easy to come by. You can get on board this bizarre British trend by visiting or just buy a kit and make your own.


Here is some good news for those of us who have lost faith in the Post Office… Many children around the world write letters to Father Christmas in the days leading up to Christmas Day, but British folk never post them. Once the children have written a letter to Santa Claus they are thrown onto the fire, sending the ashes up the chimney so that Santa can read their contents in the smoke as it reaches his home in the North Pole.


In 1846, the tradition of sending Christmas cards began in Britain – a whole five years after the first Christmas tree was displayed at Windsor Castle in 1841. Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, introduced the Germanic tradition of placing decorated fir trees in the house and only a few years afterwards, nearly every home in England had one. But do take note: according to British tradition, the decorations should come down 12 days later (on 5 January).


Often mistaken for an American custom, hanging mistletoe over a doorway is an even older British tradition associated with Christmas and is said to bring good luck. If you find yourself caught beneath the mistletoe with someone, consider this due warning that you’re expected to kiss them. Just make sure you get caught on the threshold with a romantic interest and not your cousin… For easy online shopping for modern Christmas decorations and table settings, try the Woolworths online store.


In the UK it’s common for groups of singers go from house to house collecting money for charity and singing traditional Christmas songs. Three famous British Christmas carols to try out are: Good King Wenceslas, The Holly and The Ivy and We Three Kings.


British children don’t open their presents on Christmas Eve. Father Christmas brings their presents in the night after they are fast asleep, then they open them on the morning of the 25th. Many Britons leave a little treat for him too – usually brandy and a mince pie and not the American substitute of milk and cookies. Why not up the ante by trying best-selling, British cookbook author, Nigella Lawson’s recipe for star-topped homemade mince pies.


Rather than hanging stockings on the mantle above the fireplace, British children hang them at the end of their bed hoping they will be filled by Christmas morning. It might be difficult for ‘Santa’ to fill without waking the little ones, which is perhaps why American parents changed the location…


In Britain the most important Christmas meal is a big family dinner on 25 December, but you’d be mistaken if you assumed Christmas dinner was eaten at night-time. A traditional Christmas dinner in the UK is served at midday or early afternoon. During UK winters, it’s dark by 4pm in the afternoon, which might explain the unusual timing of the main celebratory meal. A twentieth-century British Christmas dinner is roast turkey with carrots, potatoes, peas, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and gravy, often served with sausages and bacon too. The traditional Christmas dinner dessert? A flaming, fruity, boiled Christmas pudding served with brandy butter, of course! Try it before you knock it. Take a look at famous British chef, Jamie Oliver’s Christmas trimmings recipes for some real English recipes.


A Christmas cracker is a cardboard tube, covered in pretty Christmas foil and twisted at both ends. Originally from China, Christmas crackers reached Britain in the nineteenth century. Shaped like a large sweet, each person crosses their arms, using their right hand to hold their own cracker and pulls their neighbour’s cracker with their left hand. The crackers then break open with a bang, spilling their contents on the table and floor. Standard crackers usually contain a small plastic toy, a (lame) joke to be shared at the table and a folded, paper crown. These days you can buy luxury crackers with more expensive, high quality contents – and, hopefully, better jokes!


Folded up in each Christmas cracker is a different coloured paper crown made of tissue paper. Everyone at the table dons their crowns, adding to the festive atmosphere. The paper hat was added to crackers in the early 1900s and the tradition continues today. (If you don’t believe us, just watch Bridget Jones’ Diary again and see which British Christmas traditions you can spot…)


Wa-what? Wassail is an Old English word that literally means ‘good health’ or to ‘be healthy’, but in this case it’s a hot, mulled drink. It’s served like a hot cider, but it can also be made with wine. Traditionally it was topped with slices of toast as sops (a piece of bread to soak up the liquid), but luckily that has gone out of style!


The tradition of sending out a Christmas message to the public began in 1932 with King George V. These days Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, gives the royal address on Christmas Day at 3pm from Buckingham Palace, in England. South Africans can watch her address via the BBC channels or later on the The Royal Family YouTube channel. Get a taste of the Queen’s Christmas messages by watching her 2017 address.

14. TEA

Christmas tea usually rolls around by 6pm and is the second sit-down session with family and delicious holiday treats. Mince pies or sausage rolls might accompany the tea party, but instead of serving Lipton, which apparently some Brits turn their noses up at, for a fancy British alternative try finding PG Tips – a tea brand that originated in the UK in the 1930s.


At a certain point on Christmas Day in most British households, someone will get cabin fever and decide that they’ve been inside too long, forcing everyone to put on their winter gear and take a brisk stroll to the local park or countryside. (It is also tradition for children to moan about this every year). If you’re in South Africa for Christmas, however, at least you’ll be able to go for a walk in the sunshine and in shorts.


A 2016 poll of British folk revealed that Love Actually (2003) is their favourite Christmas movie. The all-star-cast chick-flick was voted the winner in a survey of over 1,500 people, beating nineteen other much-loved Christmas movies that made it into the top 20. Written by Richard Curtis, who was also behind movies such as Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), the movie tells ten interlinked stories of love around Christmas time, featuring some of the UK’s favourite actors: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightly, Martin Freeman and Colin Firth. However, when you choose watch this Christmas flick is up to you.


Coverage from the media:

All 4 Women Blog

IOL Travel



Bigger Price Tag to Relocate to UK Come December

LONDON: The United Kingdom (UK) government is set to double the immigration health surcharge (IHS) on 1 December 2018, making it even more expensive for South Africans to relocate. The surcharge allows anyone in the UK on a work, study or family visa for longer than 6 months to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as UK citizens.

“While individual applicants for the UK’s increasingly popular ancestral visa are currently required to pay £1,000 (about R19,000) upfront to cover their 5-year settlement period, come 1 December 2018 they will need to fork out £2,000 (about R38,000) for the same IHS,” says Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK visa solutions experts, Move Up.

“This radical cost increase could be a barrier to South Africans being able to afford to immigrate to the UK,” he adds.

Rennison says the company has seen a 22% increase in South Africans interested in relocating to the UK over the past two years. He lists the strength of the pound sterling, access to cheaper travel opportunities, a high-functioning government and political stability as the main reasons South Africans cite for wanting to leave. Better job opportunities, increased earning potential and access to better education for children are other factors at play in most people’s decision to move.

UK Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, said that while the government welcomes long-term migrants using the NHS, it is a national, not international health service. According to Nokes it is right that immigrants make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.

“The extra money raised will go directly towards sustaining and protecting our world-class health-care system,” she says.

To assist ancestral visa applicants to beat the IHS price hike, Move Up is offering an expedited service for ‘last minute’ cases lodged between 1 – 20 November 2018. Applicants specifically wanting to avoid the massive IHS price increase will be able to do so at a 40% higher case fee, while cases lodged up until 31 October will still fall under Move Up’s highly competitive standard rates. Applicants are also urged to try Move Up’s free birth certificate assessment to prevent delays around visa applications.

For more information regarding UK visa applications, visit or call 021 761 4608.




Contact Anago Marketing with your public relations, marketing and media needs. 

Marrying Mr Darcy: Practical Tips for Wedding an Englishman

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” – William Shakespeare

While it is incredibly romantic, getting engaged to a foreigner comes with some practical challenges. Many South Africans don’t realise that being able to live – and work – in the same place as your British spouse can be a long and rocky road if you aren’t properly informed.

Sibs (29) recently got engaged to Robert (32) – her long distance boyfriend in Manchester, England. They spent their 2-year dating period taking extended holidays to visit each other every few months after neither could get working visas, which would have allowed them to live in the same city while dating. “We spent months investigating our options before getting engaged, because the rules around spousal visas can be tricky,” says Sibs.

“In SA, when you marry a foreigner they aren’t allowed to work right away unless they already have the correct visa and, astonishingly, it can take a very long time to get a spousal visa. In this economy that is a huge strain for most couples who rely on a dual income to get by,” she adds.

If you have fallen for your own Englishman (or woman), we’ve put together a handy guide from the experts to help ensure you live happily ever after – as soon as possible.



“While it’s tempting to believe that a marriage registered in the UK will make your UK settlement visa easier to obtain, it’s simply not true,” says Ryan Rennison, director of SA’s favourite UK immigration visa specialists, Move Up.  According to Rennison, South Africans can have a difficult time getting permission to marry in the UK, while settlement visa applications with a marriage already registered in South Africa are better received.

Leading local immigration lawyer, Craig Smith, says that for couples wanting to reside temporarily in South Africa, Home Affairs offers a temporary spousal visa granting foreign applicants permission to live in the country for 3 years with work, business or study endorsements.

“The downside is that, if not married, a spousal visa can only be applied after the relationship is proved with 2 years’ worth of financial evidence of sharing resources. If you are married then you are not required to produce financial evidence and can immediately apply,” he adds.

Couples married or in a permanent relationship of 5 years or more can obtain permanent residence: Smith recommends that applicants apply for the spousal visa and permanent residence concurrently. While standard South African permanent residence can take up to 2 years to process, with extreme cases taking even longer, elevated interventions like court visits can reduce delays.


Insider Tip:

The advantage of marrying someone from the UK is that their spousal settlement visas are usually processed within 3 months. This means Sibs and Robert can easily begin the first few years of their married lives in Manchester, with the option to apply for Robert’s South African spousal visa after 5 years.  Visit for expert assistance with your UK settlement visa applications.



Another factor to consider is cost. Recently relocated from Cape Town to London, former wedding planner and Lovely Pretty wedding blogger Kelly Hartmann says a South African wedding is far cheaper to host than one in the UK – and prettier too, “A South African wedding offers unbeatable views and a range of world-class suppliers who create Pinterest-worthy weddings – all at comparatively cheap pricing.”


Insider Tip:

Don’t forget that it’s also cheaper for UK-based wedding guests to visit South Africa than the other way around. Visit for wedding venues and accommodation to suit your pocket.



The UK’s Home Office has put strict procedures in place to prevent fraudulent marriages from happening.  Applying for your settlement visa from your country of residence is one of the rules.

“Settlement visa applicants should take note that they cannot change their visa status while in the UK – they will need to travel back to their country of residence to apply for the new visa” says Rennison. “From that perspective it makes sense to apply for your UK settlement visa as soon as possible after your wedding in South Africa,” he adds.

Insider Tip:

Getting married on paper (legally) in South Africa three to four months before your ‘white wedding’ will allow you to apply immediately for a settlement visa so that you won’t have to be apart for even one day come the honeymoon.



Along with application safeguards, Home Affairs (SA) and the UK Home Office will (immediately or down the road) require significant proof of a monogamous, long-term relationship.

Claire (32) met and married a British citizen in Cape Town, moving to Scotland with her husband a few years later. They were required to produce documentation proving they lived at the same address (e.g. utility bills or homeloan statements in both their names), date-stamped pictures of them together and even a paper trail of email correspondence and transcripts of WhatsApp messages to one another.

“On chatting to friends in the same position we discovered that, for some couples, even sworn affidavits from friends confirming the authenticity of the relationship are required,” says Claire. “The bottom line is that the sooner you start collecting this information, the better!”

Insider Tip:

What most couples don’t know is that as the foreign spouse you have to earn above a certain amount to qualify for the visa. Visit the UK government’s website for basic settlement visa information.



Further coverage of this article:

Love is… Bruidsgids & Wedding Guide Blog

W24 – Drum Magazine

5 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Christmas in London

While you may think it’s too early to start planning your Christmas break, if you’re hoping to pop over to London in December and you’re on a budget, now is the time to start. Even though we can’t guarantee you’ll get snow, we can help you squeeze every ounce of value out of your stay.



Even if you’re only going for a few weeks, the United Kingdom offers a standard 6-month tourist visa to holiday-makers. There is a significant amount of documentation you need to supply, so make sure you apply for your visa approximately 1 month before your departure to allow for enough time for the visa’s processing and any unforeseen ‘whoopsies’.

Insider Tip
For assistance with a smooth UK visa application process visit Move Up ( They can assist with all UK visa types and even promise a money-back guarantee.



You may have to fly economy class, but here’s how you can economise even further on your flights. December and January are considered ‘high season’, which means flights are in demand and can be sold for higher prices. The golden rule of savings on flight bookings: the earlier you buy your tickets, the cheaper they’ll be.

Insider Tip and are 2 of our favourite websites for finding low-cost international flights. (Pssst! Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are usually the cheapest high season days to fly).



Who says you have to pay through the nose for overseas accommodation? Remember watching the romantic Christmas movie, The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Dias? If you own your own home or your landlord doesn’t mind you subletting, you might consider doing a house swap this Christmas. Just sign up, pay a registration fee, create a profile, browse your options then get in touch with the owners. If you can’t find a perfect date match for a swap, you can always spend some credits on a one-sided arrangement. Check out for some exciting options!

Insider Tip
You can also sign up to be a house- or pet-sitter and stay overseas – for free! This option also requires registering with your preferred website, paying a registration fee and finding a suitable match.



Next to flights and accommodation, your daily transport costs can make a big dent in your budget. Hiring a car for all-day sightseeing outside of London will give you some independence, but the beloved oyster card will be your most useful asset within the city. An oyster card allows you to travel on the underground, overland trains or city busses without the hassle of carrying cash. Just purchase and top your oyster card up at your nearest train station, then tap it on the designated spot as you pass through the turnstiles or step onto a bus.

Insider Tip
We can’t decide which is more useful: the Citymapper app that compares London travel routes, methods and prices; or Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app for top-notch, guided walking tours of London.


The oldest centre of culture in the English-speaking world, from quirky restaurants and jaw-dropping art exhibitions to the world’s best theatrical productions, in London you’ll find a variety of entertainment, tours and museums to tickle your fancy. Make sure you watch at least one of these celebrated productions: Wicked, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Lion King or Mathilda. Entry-level tickets start at approximately £25 (R500). Book early to secure your spot.

Insider Tip
If you head to Trafalgar Square at 13:00 on week days you can take in a world-class classical music concert held at St Martin in the Fields. There’s no entrance fee, but they do accept donations towards maintaining their beautiful, old church. See their concert schedule.



More Coverage of Our Media Release for Move Up:

All 4 Women

IOL Travel




SA Set to Break Emigration Record in 2018


Experts predict that 2018 will be the year South Africans break their own emigration record. Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK visa solutions experts, Move Up, says that they’ve seen a 22% increase in South Africans interested in relocating to the United Kingdom (UK) over the past two years. That figure is expected to increase dramatically on the back of President Ramaphosa’s recent announcement on changes to the constitution, which will allow land expropriation without compensation. Rennison lists the strength of the pound sterling, access to cheaper travel opportunities, a high-functioning government and political stability as the main reasons South Africans cite for wanting to leave. Better job opportunities, increased earning potential and access to better education for children are other factors at play in most people’s decision to move.

The last record-breaking year for emigration in South Africa was 2015. According to the latest available statistics published in The Telegraph in 2016, the UK is ranked fifth in the world for its number of immigrant citizens. “With the UK now one of the most desirable places to live in the world, unless you have clear ancestral rights to live in the UK, it can be very difficult to move there permanently,” says Rennison who has worked with over 3,400 South Africans over the last 10 years to help them relocate to the United Kingdom. While changes to immigration legislation in the UK occur frequently, without the correct documentation and know-how, applying for the correct visa can be a cumbersome and frustrating process to undertake. According to Rennison, the total number of visa applications Move Up has processed over the last year has also increased by 42%. “The total number of cases Move Up represented during the 12-month period from October 2016 to September 2017 has already been met in the last 8 months (October 2017 to June 2018),” he says. Rennison adds that individuals who want to relocate to the UK, but who do not qualify for ancestral visas or British passports, have several other visa options they can explore. The UK government recently expressed interest in attracting people with special skills into the country including doctors, nurses, fashion designers and film and television professionals. Highly skilled individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, digital technology and the arts are already on their priority list.

American think tank, the PEW Institute, reports that over 900,000 people have left South Africa since 1990. At the same time over four million people have immigrated to South Africa, mostly from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and the DRC. According to the StatsSA’s Community Survey 2016, while Australia was the number one destination for South African emigrants (26%), the UK came a close second with 25% of all South African emigrants heading to the British islands between 2006 and 2016.

For more information visit or call 021 761 4608



LISTEN:  Radio 702’s Charlotte Kilbane spoke to Jonty Leon, a legal and financial manager at Financial Emigration, to discuss Move Up’s latest statistics.

READ the Zululand Observer ‘s coverage of the media release here.

READ:  Business Tech cover the story.

READ:  The South African Reflects on the 702 Interview

READ:  South Coast Herald


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