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Written ministerial statement: Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

The Minister of State for Immigration (Mark Harper): I am today laying before the House a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules as set out below. I will expand the process of genuineness assessments and interviews to Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) applications for entry and leave to remain, and to Tier 4 Students applying for further leave to remain. I will also be replicating for Tier 4 in-country extensions the existing power to refuse applications where the applicant cannot speak English. We will add Barbados to the list of countries whose nationals benefit from different documentary requirements and are exempt from the genuineness test when applying for a Tier 4 visa. I am making several small changes to economic routes to make them more attractive and more flexible for businesses. These changes include new provision in Tier 1 for artists of exceptional promise, removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees, making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2, and waiving share ownership restrictions for senior staff earning £152,100 or more. I will also be introducing flexibility for tourists and business visitors to undertake some study where it...

Changes related to Asylum

Following the judgment of the Supreme Court in R (on the application of Alvi) (Respondent) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant), the Rules have been amended to include the requirements to be met for limited leave to remain as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child to be granted. The Rules reflect Home Office existing policy approach in terms of who qualifies for discretionary leave as previously set out in the Discretionary Leave guidance Unaccompanied children who submit asylum applications and who are over the age of 17 ½ will have their applications considered as children. If their claim for protection is refused, they are likely to have reached the age of majority when the asylum and appeals processes have concluded. Unaccompanied children can apply for leave under the Immigration Rules at the expiry of their current discretionary leave. As is current practice, existing contact management strategies are utilised to ensure that children, their social workers and legal representatives, apply for further leave at the conclusion of existing leave.

Changes related to EEA rules

Following the European Court of Justice case in Chen (C-200/02,) the UK created paragraphs 257C-E of the Immigration Rules to provide for entry as the carer or relative of an EEA national child in the UK. In the Upper Tribunal case of M (Chen parent: source of rights) Ivory Coast [2010] UKUT 277 (IAC), the domestic court confirmed that a primary carer of a self sufficient EEA national child had a directly enforceable EU right to enter and reside in the host state to facilitate the child’s free movement rights. This EU right is not subject to any restrictions imposed by the Immigration Rules regime. As a consequence it is no longer appropriate to deal with this category of case within the Rules.

Changes to the Immigration Rules relating to family and private life

The following minor changes and clarifications are being made to the Immigration Rules relating to family life. If you would like to get some legal advice before submitting an application for leave to remain based on Human Rights, contact us on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us your query to info@icslegal.com.  • To clarify that the transitional provisions for further applications made by those granted entry clearance or limited leave to enter or remain under Part 8 of the Rules before 9 July 2012 can only be accessed by persons in the UK and subject to the requirements of Part 8 for such applications. • To provide that a person may apply for further limited leave to remain as a partner under Part 8 within a period of 28 days of the end of their last such leave. • To provide that the partner of a Points Based System migrant not on a route to settlement cannot switch into the partner route under Part 8 and amalgamate their leave as a partner under both routes towards the qualifying period for settlement. • To ensure that references to the UK National Recognition Information Centre are correct. (UK NARIC is the agency responsible...

Family life as a parent of a child in the UK

The new changes to the Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules HC395 have placed confusion on Home Office Officials. You are strongly recommended to seek legal advice from ICS Legal prior submitting an application for leave to remain or entry clearance.  The purpose of the route is to allow a parent:  with access rights or sole responsibility of a child in the UK to enter the UK, or  to continue to live in the UK on the basis that they: o have sole responsibility for the child o have access rights to the child, or o are the parent with whom the child normally lives. The parent route is not intended to be relied on by a person who remains in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the other parent of their child. The parent route is to help parental access to children when the parental relationship has broken down. It is aimed at single parents who have:  sole parental responsibility for their child, or  who do not live with the child but they have access rights to that child. In leave to remain applications, a migrant parent with whom the child normally lives, rather than their British...

Why a passport or travel document is needed and what constitutes one

The Immigration Rules state that persons seeking entry to the UK are to be refused entry by an Immigration Officer if they fail to produce a valid national passport or other document satisfactorily establishing their identity and nationality (Rules paragraph 320(3)). This applies equally to applicants requesting entry clearance from an ECO. A bona fide passport or travel document should: contain the photograph, name and date of birth of the holder; state the holder's nationality (or disclaimer if the holder is stateless or of undetermined nationality); be valid for travel to the UK. To enable a UK visa to be placed in a passport, there needs to be at least one full page available which is blank on both sides.

Amendments to Parts 5, 6 and 6A of the Immigration Rules – Work Related Settlement

Parts 5, 6 and 6A of the Immigration Rules include provision for indefinite leave to remain for work and economic activity-related routes of entry - for example work permit holders, businesspersons, investors, Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the Points Based System. The requirement for a continuous period of lawful residence in the UK is common to all these routes. There is no definition of UK for the purpose of the Immigration Rules, but the Interpretation Act 1978 defines the UK as Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This excludes the Crown Dependencies (the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey and the Isle of Man) and time spent there in a specified category has not counted toward indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The Crown Dependencies are, however, part of the Common Travel Area (CTA). Under Schedule 4 of the Immigration Act 1971, leave granted in the Crown Dependencies is treated as if it has been granted in the UK. The Rules have therefore been amended so as to include time spent in the Crown Dependencies in specified categories in the calculation of the continuous residence period for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in categories in Parts 5, 6...

Changes related to Visitors

Clarificatory changes to the Visitor rules will prevent abuse by visitors who are living in the UK through frequent, successive visits and will strengthen the Rules for a third party who is providing support to a visitor (either financial support or accommodation) by requiring them to demonstrate they are able and intend to do so, and are legally present in the UK. The period of initial leave granted to graduates undertaking an unpaid clinical attachment or dental observation post is being increased from 6 weeks to 3 months in line with the average length of such postings. Paragraphs 56R to 56W and 2 m) to p) of Appendix 1 to the Immigration Rules facilitated the entry and stay of Olympic and Paralympic Games Family Members during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in line with Host City contractual obligations. The Rules ceased to have effect on 9 November 2012 and are being deleted.

Amendments to Tier 5 of the Points-Based System

Tier 5 of the Points-Based System caters for youth mobility and temporary workers coming for primarily non-economic purposes, and consists of two categories: Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) and Tier 5 (Temporary Workers). The Temporary Workers category consists of five sub-categories: Creative and Sporting, Charity Workers, Religious Workers, Government Authorised Exchange, and International Agreement. Applicants must have a Tier 5 Sponsor, which is usually their UK employer. The International Agreement sub-category provides for workers who may be admitted under the UK’s international commitments, but who are not otherwise covered by provisions in the Immigration Rules. Changes are being made to this sub-category to make provision for independent professionals seeking admission under the relevant commitments in certain international trade agreements to which the UK is a party. The changes require such professionals to have a university degree or a technical qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level, any professional qualifications required by law or other regulations for them to exercise the activity in question in the UK, and at least six years’ professional experience in the sector concerned. Further changes are being made to this sub-category to expand the provision for contractual service suppliers (who do not otherwise have a UK...

Changes to Tier 4 of the Points-Based System

Tier 4 of the Points-Based System caters for international students who wish to study in the United Kingdom. Tier 4 Students have conditions restricting their employment in the UK. Upon graduation a Tier 4 Student can remain in the UK to work by switching into Tier 2 if they have a graduate job paying £20,000 per year or more or switching into Tier 1 under our Graduate Entrepreneur scheme. From 6 April 2013, students successfully completing a PhD at a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) will be able to stay in the UK, sponsored by the HEI, on a Tier 4 visa for 12 months. This will give students gaining a PhD a longer period to find work with a Tier 2 employer, set up as an entrepreneur, or to gain practical work experience in their field. Leave will be granted for 12 months from the expected course completion date specified by the HEI. Two further minor changes are being made to Tier 4: • To prevent students from studying at a lower level than that for which they were granted leave, where different requirements or conditions would have applied had the application been for the lower level course. • To clarify the immigration...