When the Points-Based System was introduced in 2008-2009, it replaced several previous immigration categories which were then closed. Changes are being made to remove the transitional arrangements for applicants who were previously granted leave in these closed categories to switch into the Points-Based System, where these arrangements are no longer needed. References to closed categories are being retained where required, such as for applicants who may still be relying on a period of leave as a highly skilled migrant or as a work permit holder to contribute towards their qualifying period to support an application for indefinite leave to remain.
Changes are being made to update references to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) to refer to the new Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). Changes are being made to reflect advice from UK NARIC that it is now able to assess qualifications as having been taught in English to levels below C1, and to bring evidential requirements in Appendix B in line with previous changes. IDFC Bank Ltd is being added to the list of financial institutions in India whose financial statements are accepted. Further changes to this list are being made to reflect the change of name of The Dhanalakshmi Bank Limited to Dhanlaxmi.
Changes relating to Representatives of Overseas Businesses
Changes are being made to specify that, where there is a requirement for the overseas business to have no branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK, this means no active branch, subsidiary or other representative. The above change to Points-Based System routes in relation to UK NARIC is also being applied to this category.
Changes relating to overstayers
Paragraphs 320(7B)(i) and Appendix V paragraph 3.9(a) are being amended to reduce the period of overstaying which is permitted before a re-entry ban is imposed on individuals who have remained in the UK after their leave to enter or remain has expired.
Unless specific exceptions apply, anyone who has overstayed for more than 90 days is subject to a 12 month re-entry ban. This is being reduced to 30 days. Consequential changes are also being made to Appendix V, paragraph 3.8.
The ban was introduced in 2012 to encourage those who had only recently overstayed and who could no longer apply for further leave in-country to depart and re-apply from overseas. The period of 90 days was originally intended to reduce any incentive to remain in the UK without leave. The reduction in the 90-day period to 30 days is being brought in to increase compliance with the Immigration Rules and reduce overstaying, while still enabling those who have overstayed for short periods and who are essentially compliant to return to the UK relatively quickly.
Changes relating to Family and Private Life
The following changes and clarifications are being made to the Immigration Rules relating to family and private life:
- To clarify that a person who wishes to enter the UK as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner to enable them to marry or form a civil partnership here must be free to marry or form a civil partnership at the date of application.
- To add Police Injury Pension, alongside the Armed Forces equivalents, to the list of specified benefits received by the sponsor which mean that an applicant is exempt from the requirement to meet the minimum income threshold.
- To ensure that limited leave to remain granted to a child in line with the leave granted to their parent is subject to the same condition as to recourse to public funds.
- To clarify that a person who is not a director, but is an employee, of a specified limited company must meet the specified evidential requirements in respect of income from such a company.
- To clarify that payment for travel time (e.g. for a care worker travelling between appointments) can be accepted as employment income.
- To confirm that, for the purposes of the family Immigration Rules, a marriage in the UK must be recognised under marriage law in the relevant part of the UK.
- To make other minor changes and clarifications.
Changes relating to the visitor rules
The visitor rules are being amended to make clear that applications for visit visas can be made at any post in the world which is designated by the Home Secretary to accept such applications.
Appendix 5 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules comprises a list of events that are Permit Free Festivals. Permit Free Festivals are events that are assessed as contributing to the cultural heritage of the UK and at which performers can, exceptionally, be paid for their participation as visitors. Visitors cannot normally receive payment from a UK source for any permitted activities they undertake here. The list has been updated for 2017/18.