The government has announced the latest statement of changes in the immigration rules, titled HC1160. These provisions have been made under Section 1 (4) and Section 3 (2) of the Immigration Act 1971. These are the first statement of changes to the immigration rules since 18th October last year, and as a result are relatively substantial. Introduced are a number of new visa routes, as well as changes to existing routes. In this article we will cover some of the major changes outlined by the Home Office which will take effect from 12th April 2023.
Keep reading to learn more about these important changes announced by the Home Office, and how they could impact you.
Introduction of the Innovator Founder route
One of the most eye-catching announcements is the introduction of the brand new Innovator Founder route, which will kick start from 13th April 2023. While there are currently provisions in place for those wishing to come to the UK in order to set up an innovative business, namely the Innovator visa, the Innovator Founder route replaces the Innovator route entirely. The Innovator Founder route introduces:
- The removal of the £50k minimum funds requirement
- Removing restrictions of Innovator migrants from engaging in employment outside of the running of their business as long as it is in a skilled role (RQF Level 3 or above)
- Closure of the Start-up route to new initial applications other than those issued prior to 13th April 2023
The removal of the £50k requirement in particular gives more flexibility to innovators while retaining the requirement for an innovative business idea with sufficient funds to deliver on it. Furthermore, this removal also means that the there is no longer any need for the Start-up route as neither route will require access to £50k of funds.
Updates to employment requirements in work routes
A number of visa routes including the skilled worker/global business mobility/scale-up and seasonal worker routes are also being updated.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly given the current levels of inflation, salary thresholds and going rates for individual occupations are being updated. This also means the minimum salary requirement of at least £25,600 for Skilled Worker, will be increased to £26,200 from 12th April 2023.
- For work routes which require applicants to have a specific job offer, applications will be refused if the decision maker has “reasonable grounds to believe that the job does not comply with the National Minimum Wage Regulations or the Working Time regulations”.
- Jury service and attending court as a witness will now be valid reasons for absence from employment in relation to consideration about continuity of employment
A minor change has been introduced to the skilled worker route which confirms the route applies to those “working in UK waters”, as per section 43 of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.
Meanwhile, a change is being made to the Global Business Mobility route in line with commitments the UK has made in the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This changes means that Australian nationals and permanent residents will not need to provide that they have worked for their overseas employer for 12 months prior to coming to the UK to open a branch or subsidiary of their Australian employer.
Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and EUSS family permit
A number of changes have been made to the EUSS and EUSS Family Permit.
These are as follows:
- Durable partners – A durable partner must have had another lawful basis of stay in the UK before the end of the transition period in order to rely on that residence if they were not documented as such
- Key rulings such as Zambrano, Chen and Ibrahim & Teixeira are all being brought within Appendix EU of the immigration rules under the concession that relevant cases “are not excluded from eligibility by having leave to enter arising from arrival in the UK with an EUSS family permit
- Cancellation – A person’s EUSS leave is to be cancelled where the relevant threshold is met relating to a person who is subject to a travel ban imposed by the UK or the UN Security Council. This is subject to right of appeal.
- EUSS family permits issued from 12th April are to be valid in all cases for six months from the date of decision. These could previously be as short as four months.
- Relevant EEA or Swiss citizens will be prevented from being granted pre-settled or settled status as a result of sponsoring a EUSS family permit.
Changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)
People from a number of places including Australia, Hong Kong and Canada are eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme. Changes are being made to this in line with the UK’s arrangement with New Zealand. The age range for those from New Zealand will now be expanded from 18-30 to 18-35, while New Zealanders will also now be able to stay for 3 years instead of 2.
Meanwhile, the quote for the number of places available to each participating country has also been updated.
Introduction of new Appendix Adult Dependent Relative
Going forward, the rules in Appendix Adult Dependent Relative will now be aligned with suitability at settlement on all Article 8 human rights routes. The applicant may therefore be refused if they have committed certain serious crimes and are applying for entry clearance or permission to stay.
Furthermore, if an applicant fails certain suitability rounds but their removal would breach Article 8 of the European convention on Human Rights, they must complete a longer qualifying period before being able to settle in country.
Introduction of new Appendix Family Reunion (Protection) and new Appendix Child joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection)
Changes to Appendix Family Reunion and new Appendix Child joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection) replace existing provisions for leave to enter and remain as both a partner and child of a person with protection status in the UK. These changes are part of an attempt to simplify the immigration rules following a report by the Law Commission.
As part of these changes, a four stage decision-making process has been introduced for both. These are:
These are part of a reformatting of the immigration rules, no specific policy changes have been made. Furthermore, the definitions of ‘protection status’ and ‘refugee leave’ have been added to the rules. These terms must be referred to when applying Immigration Rules to applications.
Changes to the Long Residence rules
Finally for today’s article, changes have also been made to Long Residence rules. These changes will be much-welcomed by those affected, with the previous rules bringing confusion around what constitutes lawful residence in the long residence rules.
- These changes mean that any period on immigration bail will not count towards the qualifying period for long residence in any circumstances.
- Time as a visitor, short term student and seasonal worker will also not count towards long residence.
- Someone who has spent time on immigration bail or in the UK on temporary permission who is later granted permission on another basis will still be able to qualify for long residence settlement. However, due to these changes they will now have to wait longer to do so.
These are all of the changes announced in the first Statement of Changes in 2023 which we will be discussing today. There are further updates to Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETA), as well as Global Talent, Seasonal Worker and Temporary Work routes. We will soon post another follow-up article to explain the new changes further.
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