Minister for Safe and Legal Migration announces A Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules
A Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules was issued yesterday along with an Explanatory Memorandum. The Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster MP, announced a statement regarding the amendments which include changes to the Introduction, Part 1, Part 6A, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 13, Appendix AR, Appendix EU, Appendix EU (Family Permit), among other things.
The Statement has brought about a number of developments. The key alterations include:
- The new Global Business Mobility routes:
- A reformed Graduate Trainee route is introduced which will now replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route.
- A new path has been introduced for the ‘Secondment Workers’ which benefits the overseas workers who are conducting temporary work assignments in the UK as part of a high-value contract or investment by their company overseas.
- The Intra-Company transfer route has been replaced as the Senior or Specialist Worker.
- In the Temporary Worker route, the alterations include the International Agreement pathway, Service Provider replaces the Contractual Service Supplier and Independent Professional provisions.
- In the Representative of an Overseas Business route, the UK Expansion Worker replaces the Sole Representative provisions.
- Sole Representative Visa
- The Sole Representative visa (previously part of Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business) will be closing in April
- It is to be replaced by the new UK Expansion Worker Visa
- Initial applications can be made by Media Representatives, and extension and settlement applications can be made by both Media and Sole Representatives.
- The new Appendix High Potential Individual (HPI) route
- This new route will allow graduates from non-UK universities ranked in the top 50 on at least two ranking systems (the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, or The Academic Ranking of World Universities) to come unsponsored for two years if they hold a qualification equivalent to a master’s degree awarded within the previous five years prior to the application date.
- The commencement of a new Appendix Scale-up
- To register for this route, a company will need to demonstrate that they have had an annualized growth of at least 20% in terms of turnover or staffing for the prior 3-year period.
- Companies must also have had at least 10 employees at the start of the three-year term.
- Once a scale-up has received an A-rated licence, they can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship and sponsor migrants for a period of six months in jobs that need at least RFQ level six skills and pay at least £33,000 per year (the market rate for the occupation code) and £10.58 per hour. There is no fee for immigration skills.
- Migrants will initially be given entry clearance or permission to stay for two years.
- In the first six months, scale-up staff can switch to different sponsored roles. They do not need to be sponsored after six months, but to extend their permit for three years, they must have had monthly PAYE wages in the UK of at least £33,000 per year for at least half of their time as a Scale-up worker.
They must have earned this for at least 24 months of the three years immediately before the date of application in order to settle.
- Introduction to the new Appendix Settlement Family Life, Appendix Private Life, and Appendix Partner Relationship:
- Appendix Settlement Family Life aims to make the settlement rules easier for persons with Appendix FM authorisation as a partner or parent and who are able to settle in the UK following a 10-year qualifying period.
- It allows you to combine different periods of leave as a spouse, parent, on a private life path, or with leave not covered by the Rules without having to reset the clock.
- If a person did not enter illegally and has permission as a partner or parent under Appendix FM for at least one year, leave via other routes can be counted.
- Persons on Appendix FM leave as parents of a child can also settle once their child reaches the age of 18.
- Appendix Private Life will replace paragraph 276ADE(1).
- Children under the age of 25 who have spent at least half their life continuously resident in the UK and young adults under the age of 25 who have spent at least half their life continuously resident in the UK can now be eligible for settlement after 5 years.
- There are also requirements for private life grants for adults who have lived in the UK for more than 20 years and for those who have lived in the UK for less than 20 years if the applicant’s integration into the country where they would have to live if forced to leave the UK would be extremely difficult.
- Applicants can be granted either 30 or 60 months’ leave.
- Both Appendix Settlement Family Life and Appendix Private Life introduce new tighter validity and mandatory suitability requirements, as paragraph 34 will not apply and it will go beyond the suitability criteria in Appendix FM.
- The Explanatory Memorandum describes Appendix Relationship with a Partner as “a new cross-cutting Appendix that will cover the requirements to show a relationship with a partner.” This Appendix will initially apply solely to proof of relationship with a partner under Appendix Settlement Family Life, but it will be expanded to other ways in the future to provide consistency.”
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and the EUSS family permit:
- Will bring into the Rules the current concession arrangements for an EUSS family permit to be issued (in place of an EEA family permit where one would have been issued before its closure) and will allow those arriving to begin their qualifying period of continuous re-entry immediately.
- Will bring the current concession arrangements for an appropriate letter to be issued by the Secretary of State in place of an EEA residence card (where one would have been issued) to an extended family member into the Rules.
- Will allow dual nationals from the ‘Lounes’ to sponsor relevant family members under the EUSS and the EUSS family permit, despite the fact that they obtained British citizenship without meeting the free movement requirements of having held comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person.
- Appendix Continuous Residence changes in connection to absences:
- Appendix Scale-up, Appendix Private Life (settlement only), and Appendix Settlement Family Life will all be affected.
- Absences before 20 June 2022 will not be counted when calculating the continuous residence period for settlement applications under Appendix Settlement Family Life if the applicant was later granted permission as a partner or parent under Appendix FM or under paragraph 276ADE or 276BE(2) after those absences
- Absences for a job, education, or supporting family overseas, so long as the family has maintained a family living in the UK and the UK has remained their place of permanent residence, will not count against the 180-day restriction for an applicant under Appendix Settlement Family Life
There have also been some smaller changes to the Rules, such as:
- Changes to No Recourse to Public Funds as a result of litigation.
- Changes to Appendix Student, Appendix Short-term Student, and Appendix Graduate, including but not limited to changes in work circumstances, financial requirements, work placement requirements, and student academic development.
- Amendment to the Rules for Temporary Work – Provisions for contractual service providers and independent experts will be removed from the international agreement.
- Changes to administrative policy, including fees, numerous applications, and validity of applications for authorisation to stay outside the UK (deletion of paragraph 33A).
- Changes to Appendix Innovator’s settlement requirements.
- Changes to the Hong Kong BN(O) Route settlement rules.
- Changes to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) qualifying requirements, requiring candidates directly employed by or contracted to a UK Government Department or Unit to be refused unless they were fired for a minor reason.
- Modifications to the Skilled Worker route to align minimum income requirements for various health and education occupations with the most recent pay scales.
- Modifications to the Global Talent route’s endorsement criteria and evidence requirements.
- The list of rewards in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes has been updated to provide a slightly broader range of prizes.
- The Seasonal Worker Route will be expanded and updated to include ornamental horticulture (those growing bulbs and cut flowers; pot plants; hardy decorative nursery stock; trees and forest nurseries), as well as a minimum wage requirement of £10.10 per hour.
- Clarification and re-formatting of the Youth Mobility Scheme.
- Clarification of the scope of provisions to treat an administrative review application as withdrawn in paragraph 34X.
- Changes to Appendix AR to include decisions under Appendix Private Life, Appendix Settlement Family Life, and Appendix Settlement Protection in the list of decisions that do not require administrative review, as well as the new Scale-up, HPI, and Global Business Mobility routes in the list of decisions that do.
- The Permit-Free Festival List has been updated.
- Changes to the introduction, including a definition of ‘fee waiver’ and an amendment to the meaning of ‘present and settled’ in regard to Crown Service.
Other than this, several other policy or technical adjustments were made. The various amendments will go into effect on April 6, April 11, May 30, June 20, and August 22 this year.
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