Immigration Law Changes – 22nd Oct 2020

Immigration Law Changes – 22nd Oct 2020

The Visitor rules will now:

  • permit study of up to six months under the standard visit route. All study must be undertaken at an accredited institution, except recreational courses undertaken for leisure that last no longer than 30 days;
  • allow drivers on international routes to collect as well as deliver goods and passengers in and out of the UK;
  • remove the requirement for volunteering to be incidental to the main reason for the visit.

In the Student and Child Student rules, the maintenance levels are being amended in line with the current home student maintenance loans. Minor corrections will be made to the rules as laid on 5 October 2020.

A new Short-term Study route is being introduced for students who wish to come to the UK to study English language courses for between 6 and 11 months, replacing the current route. The study must be at an accredited institution. Students who wish to come to the UK to study for 6 months or less may now do so under the Visitor

The Skilled Worker route is a new points-based route for those who wish to come to the UK for the purpose of working in a skilled job they have been offered. The key characteristics of the new route are that an applicant must be sponsored to do a specific job, which meets skill and salary requirements, by an employer that has been licensed by the Home Office.

On the Intra-Company Transfer route changes are being made to the cooling off requirement, the provision for high earners, and the ability of people to move onto the route when already in the UK.

Home Office requirements of suitability of leave to enter

We have also revised and simplified the rules on the exercise of the powers to refuse or cancel permission on suitability grounds. There are changes to the criminality thresholds. We have replaced the current different thresholds with a single sentence based threshold of 12 months, applying to offences committed in the UK or overseas.

This will also align decision-making on criminality with the current deportation threshold of 12 months imprisonment under the UK Borders Act 2007, creating consistency across the immigration system and making it easier for migrants to understand what impact their convictions will have on their immigration status. There are also new grounds for refusal or cancellation for customs breaches, rough sleeping or being involved in a sham marriage.

Changes to the KoLL requirements

We are revising and providing greater consistency in the way applicants prove English language, Finance and Knowledge of Life in the UK. These thematic rules include changes to:

  • Ensure applicants only need to prove the required level of English language to the Home Office once.
  • Update the majority speaking English language country list (where nationality is proof of English language ability) to include Malta and allow people with a degree from Ireland to rely on that as proof of English language ability.
  • Allow applicants who have gained GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK to rely on this to prove their English language ability. Initially, this will apply only to entry clearance and permission to stay for Students, Skilled Worker, Start-up and Innovators.

Changes to other policies including maintenance

There will be no longer require applicants who have met the maintenance requirement on their current route to meet it again if they have been supporting themselves in the UK for more than a year. This only applies on the Student, Skilled Worker, Intra-company, T2 Minister of Religion and T2 Sportsperson.

T5 (Temporary Workers), Start-up and Innovator routes. Aalign the timeframes applicants are required to show they have held funds to 28 days. Initially this will apply to the Student, Skilled Worker, Intracompany, T2 Minister of Religion, T2 Sportsperson, T5 (Temporary Workers), Start-up and Innovator routes.

Allow applicants to rely on electronic bank statements without requiring that they be certified by the bank on each page.

Allow applicants to show they meet maintenance requirements by relying on a wider range of accounts. There are also some minor and technical changes to the way time periods are calculated and the approach to accounts with financial institutions where the Home Office cannot verify financial evidence.

There are also now common rules on ATAS (Advance Technology Approval to Study) and Continuous Residence for settlement, to provide greater consistency in how the current rules apply. The new Appendix Continuous Residence applies to applications for settlement on the following routes: Skilled Worker, Representative of an Overseas Business, Global Talent, Innovator; T2 Minister of Religion, T2 Sportsperson, UK Ancestry, Hong Kong British National (Overseas), and ECAA Extension of Stay.

Where provisions for cancellation of leave to enter or remain, currently contained in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules, have been incorporated into Appendix EU and Appendix EU (Family Permit) consequential amendments are being made to Appendix AR so there will continue to be a right to administrative review where a decision is made to cancel leave on the grounds of false or misleading information, representations or documents. Changes have also been made to ensure that cancellations of entry clearance or permission to enter under Appendix S2 Healthcare
Visitor and Appendix Service Providers from Switzerland have a right to administrative review.

Changes to the EEA Regulations and Appendix AR (EU)

Changes are being made to Appendix AR (EU) to provide a right of administrative review where a relevant decision is made on an application as:

  • A joining family member (under the EUSS) of a resident EEA or Swiss citizen.
  • An S2 Healthcare Visitor.
  • A service provider from Switzerland.

Changes are also being made to Appendix AR (EU) to make it clear that where an administrative review is pending the person cannot be removed from the United Kingdom and to enable a person to waive their right to an administrative review by signing a waiver form.

Changes are being made to the rules for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), contained in Appendix EU, and for the EUSS family permit, contained in Appendix EU (Family Permit). The EUSS enables EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by the end of the transition period, and their family members, to obtain the UK immigration status they need to remain in the UK after 30 June 2021, with the same rights to work, study and access benefits and services as they had before the UK left the EU. The EUSS family permit enables certain family members of a resident EEA
citizen to travel to the UK. The changes are in line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements with the EU, the other EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland and mainly reflect the end of the transition period.

Changes are being made to the rules for family members in Appendix FM to enable:

  1. An EEA or Swiss citizen with limited leave under Appendix EU (the EUSS) on the basis of being resident in the UK before the end of the transition period to sponsor new family members (those who are not covered by the
    EUSS) to come to or remain in the UK.
  2. A Turkish worker or business person with limited leave under Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay (or under legacy arrangements in respect of the European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA)) to sponsor a
    partner and children to come to or remain in the UK.

The Citizens’ Rights Agreements with the EU, the other EEA states and Switzerland require a route of entry into the UK to be made available, free of charge, to persons who, before the end of the transition period, had requested authorisation from their home state to receive a course of planned healthcare treatment provided by the NHS
under the ‘S2 route’.

After the transition period ends, the S2 Healthcare Visitor route will allow eligible patients to enter the UK for a period sufficient to allow them to complete their treatment. These arrangements will also apply to any person
accompanying a patient for the purpose of providing them with care or support during the course of planned healthcare treatment.

Following the end of the transition period and the repeal of EU-derived directly effective immigration rights the UK will no longer be internationally or domestically obliged to provide preferential treatment to Turkish nationals on the basis of the European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA) or its related provisions in the Additional Protocol or Decision 1/80. The new Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay will largely replicate the existing ECAA arrangements to ensure that Turkish workers, business persons and family members currently covered by those
arrangements remain subject to the same eligibility requirements as now.

Changes are being made to suitability requirements to ensure that conduct committed before the end of the transition period is considered under the previous arrangements for restricting rights (which derive from judgments of the CJEU), whereas conduct committed after that date will be considered under the UK criminality thresholds.

Minor updates are also being applied to the existing Appendix ECAA Settlement for consistency purposes. In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreement with Switzerland, the new Appendix Service Providers from Switzerland establishes an immigration route for eligible service providers from Switzerland. The route allows companies and (if Swiss) self employed individuals to fulfil pre-existing contracts in the UK for no more than 90 days per calendar year. To be eligible, the contracts must have been signed and commenced before the end of the transition period. The route is expected to run for five years, until 31 December 2025.

These amendments also extend the Afghan Interpreters ex-gratia relocation scheme to allow applications from those who resigned from their positions and served for a minimum of 12 months prior to resignation and ensures criteria for those who resigned is in line with those who were made redundant. This extension allows for more Afghan Interpreters who assisted HM Forces in Afghanistan and their family members to relocate to the UK. The amendment makes clear that this is a time limited extension, and will have the effect of requiring that applications are made between 1 December 2020 and 30 November 2022.

New rules are being introduced to reflect the Government’s commitment to establish a Hong Kong British National (Overseas) route as set out in the Home Secretary’s Policy Statement on 22 July 2020.

If you have any questions related to the changes, please email us at or you can speak to our team on 0207 237 3388. 

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