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New Statement of Changes to the UK immigration rules

A new Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules was released on 09 March 2023. Most updates will come into force on 12 April 2023, although some will come into force later this year. Some of the key changes include:

  • Introduction of Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation, which confirms who must secure Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) prior to travelling to the UK; the requirements to be met to receive ETA; when ETA can be refused; how long ETA is valid for (2 years); and when ETA can be cancelled. The Appendix confirms that the ETA application process will initially open on 25 October 2023 for Qatar nationals travelling on or after 15 November 2023, and will be extended for nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia from 01 February 2024 (for those travelling on or after 22 February 2024).
  • Introduction of the Innovator Founder route; this route replaces the Innovator route and will remove the requirement to hold £50,000 in funds, in the hope the route is more flexible and attracts those with genuine proposals for innovative business. Innovator Founders will still need to secure an endorsement before proceeding with their application, although the new route relaxes previous restrictions which prevented Innovators from engaging in employment outside of the running of their business, as long as the secondary employment is in a skilled role (Innovator Founders must still be involved in the day-to-day management of the company).
  • The introduction of the Innovator Founder route will also mean the closure of the Start-up route.
  • For Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility, Scale-up and Seasonal Worker routes, the salary thresholds and going rates will be increased. The Skilled Worker hourly rate of £10.10 will be increased to £10.75 and the general salary thresholds will be increased as follows:
  • The standard £25,600 will be increased to £26,200
  • If an individual can benefit from the salary reduction for holding a relevant PhD qualification, £23,040 will be increased to £23,580
  • If a worker can benefit from the STEM reduction, working in a role which appears on the Shortage Occupation List, or qualifies as a New Entrant, £20,480 will be increased to £20,960
  • Going rates, as confirmed in Appendix Skilled Occupations are also being updated, based on the latest available UK salary data. These going rates will now be calculated on the more standard 37.5 hour working week, rather than 39 hours.
  • Provisions around calculating salary for those with a less traditional working pattern (number of hours change each week) are being updated to allow greater flexibility.
  • Confirmation that Skilled Workers working in UK waters can benefit from the Skilled Worker route.
  • Under Global Business Mobility Expansion Worker route, the requirements are being relaxed slightly for Australian nationals and permanent residents of Australia, who will no longer need to demonstrate that they have worked for their overseas employer for 12 months before applying to come to the UK to open a branch of subsidiary of that company.
  • The UK Expansion Worker general salary requirement of £42,400 is also being increased to £45,800.
  • Appendix EU and EU Family Permit will see some minor changes to clarify various points, most notably:
  • The definition of a ‘durable partner’ will be amended to confirm that a durable partner who was not documented as such under the EEA Regulations before the end of the transition period can only rely on that residence if they were otherwise in the UK lawfully.
  • Definitions relating to applicants under Zambrano, Chen, and Ibrahim & Teixeira routes will be updated to reflect the current 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.
  • For citizens of New Zealand, the Youth Mobility Scheme age range is being expanded from 18-30 to 18-35 and the length of stay is being increased from 2 to 3 years.
  • The Seasonal Worker route is being updated in advance of upcoming changes to the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage. A minimum guaranteed hours requirement for Seasonal Workers working in Horticulture is also being introduced, bringing this in line with other types of Seasonal Worker.
  • Global Talent routes are seeing changes to evidential requirements across all fields. The list of Prestigious Prizes is also updated to reflect name changes of awards and correct errors. Requirements for settlement under the route are also being updated to allow time spent as a Representative of an Overseas Business to be included as part of the 3- or 5-year continuous period.
  • Appendix Adult Dependent Relative will replace existing provisions for Adult Dependent Relative in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. This is part of the government’s attempt to simplify the rules; the new Appendix will follow a similar format to numerous appendices already introduced in recent years.
  • Appendix V: Visitor and Appendix V: Permitted Activities are being updated to enable individuals working on ships transporting goods and/or passengers between the UK and an overseas destination to undertake cabotage operations, and to receive payment from a UK source for such work.
  • The rules on Deportation (Part 13) are being revised into a more simplified format, though there does not appear to be any changes to the relevant law.
  • The Appendix Visitor: Permit Free Festival List has been routinely updated for 2023 festivals.
  • Temporary Work: Government Authorised Exchange route will be amended to remove schemes that are redundant and to ensure remaining scheme names and descriptors are accurate.
  • Temporary Work: Charity Worker route will now reflect that supplementary voluntary work is permitted provided it is the same type of role as the one specified on the worker’s Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Part 11 of the Immigration Rules will see an update in relation to when an asylum interview can be omitted for asylum-seeking children. This is supposedly to assist with the government’s commitment to eradicate the backlog of asylum claims.
  • Introduction of Appendix Family Reunion (Protection) and Appendix Child joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection), replacing the existing provisions under paragraphs 352A to 352FJ of Part 11 of the Immigration Rules, and paragraphs 319X to 319Y of Part 8 of the Immigration Rules. No policy changes but a new simplified format.
  • The Long Residence Rules will also receive some amendments; the definition of what constitutes lawful residence is being updated. A period of residence with immigration bail will not count towards the qualifying period for long residence in any circumstances. Neither will time spent in the UK as a visitor, short-term student, or on the seasonal worker routes.
  • Appendix FM and Appendix Private Life will be updated to clarify the circumstances when consideration should be given to removing the condition which prohibits access to public funds.
  • Returning Resident Rules are being updated to clarify that someone whose settlement has lapsed can still apply to resume their settlement as a returning resident, even if they have subsequently returned to the UK as a visitor. Applications must still be made from outside the UK.

For up-to-date advice on these important rule changes, speak ot one of our experts at Latitude Law. Contact us on 0300 131 6767 or fill out the enquiry form below and we will get back to you.

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