New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules published

New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules published

The Home Office today released a substantial new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 1025). The Statement notes that the purpose is to make the following changes:

• Consolidate and clarify the Immigration Rules for visitors, by streamlining 15 visitor routes down to four: visitor (standard); visitor for marriage or civil partnership; visitor for permitted paid engagements and transit visitor.

• Create a single set of Rules for visitors covering: requirements for entry and stay in the UK; how to make an application as a visitor; suitability grounds for refusal and cancellation of visas or leave; eligibility requirements for each of the new visitor types; curtailment; the list of nationalities which require a visa in advance of travel and permitted activities for visitors.

• Rebrand the student visitor, and extended student visitor routes into new routes for short term study, which sit in Part 3 of the Rules, so that the routes are conceptually clearer for those undertaking short courses.

• Rebrand the “parent of a child at school” route as “parent of a Tier 4 (child) student” and place into Part 7 of the Immigration Rules as these individuals are not visitors.

• Enable caseworkers to require persons present in the UK with limited leave to provide evidence and/or attend an interview in order to demonstrate that they continue to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules;

• Ensure that Overseas Domestic Workers have contracts that meet UK employment laws and that they will be paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Regulations;

• Amend the Shortage Occupation List in Tier 2 of the Points-Based System, following a partial review by the Migration Advisory Committee;

• Make scheduled annual updates to minimum salary thresholds and appropriate salary rates for occupations in Tier 2;

• Introduce a requirement for prospective Tier 1 (Investor) Migrants to open a UK-regulated investment account before making an initial application;

• Apply a “genuine entrepreneur” test to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension and indefinite leave to remain applications;

• Close the Tier 1 (General) category for extension applications, and restrict the ability of Tier 1 (General) Migrants to switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category;

• Make other changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the Points-Based System;

• Update the list of Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange schemes;

• Update the list of approved English language tests in Appendix O following the awards of new concessions to test providers and make changes to the Immigration Rules to ensure that English language tests taken for immigration purposes are taken at approved test centres.

• Make changes to the Immigration Rules relating to valid applications;

• Make changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to family and private life;

• Amend the circumstances under which a claim for asylum may be treated as implicitly withdrawn;

• Amend the requirement to grant a minimum of five years leave to any person granted asylum or humanitarian protection;

• Make other minor amendments and updates to the requirements for indefinite leave to remain for persons granted asylum or humanitarian protection;

• Enable UAE, Bahraini, Kuwaiti, Qatari and Omani diplomatic and special passport holders and Turkish diplomatic passport holders to travel visa free to the UK for the purpose of “visit in transit”;

• Extend the rules on when and how a person may apply to the Home Office to have a casework error in an eligible decision, as defined in Appendix AR of the Immigration Rules, corrected through a process of administrative review;

• Make minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to armed forces;

• Enable applications for entry to be refused if, where requested, a person fails to provide an overseas criminal record certificate;

• Change the Immigration Rules for TB screening incorporating compulsory screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis for migrants coming to the UK for over six months by amending Appendix T to accurately reflect the details of screening providers overseas and clarifying requirements for certificates; and

• Make other minor changes and updates.

New Immigration Act 2014 commencement order

Also new today was the fourth commencement order made under the Immigration Act 2014. EIN members can read it.

Announcing the order in the House of Commons, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said:

Today is another significant milestone in bringing the reforms in the Immigration Act 2014 into force. We are finishing the task of sweeping away the remains of the excessive number of rights of appeal and implementing the new scheme to stop sham marriages being used to circumvent immigration controls.

On 24 November I announced our plans to implement from 2 March 2015 the main provisions in the Act that tackle sham marriage and civil partnership. Today’s commencement order, together with the secondary legislation we have already laid before Parliament, will bring the new scheme into force from that date. The Act will give us a much stronger platform for effective, systematic action to disrupt and deter sham marriages and civil partnerships and prevent them gaining an immigration advantage.

Last October we started the phased implementation of the new immigration appeals system. The old system was a costly and time-consuming way to correct simple case work errors which could be resolved by a request to the Home Office to review the decision. Instead of appeals, the new system provides a system of administrative review through which case work errors will be corrected within 28 days. By 6 April 2015 the new appeals system will be fully in place.

Also on 6 April 2015 new provisions will come into force that enable children of unmarried British fathers born before 2006 to register as British citizens, correcting a historical anomaly in our nationality law.