Home Office Statements of Changes July 2023

IN THIS SECTION

The Home Office has issued its latest Statements of Changes to the Immigration Rules, HC 1496 (17 July 2023) and HC 1715 (19 July 2023).

We highlight the key changes relating to UK work visas, student visas and the EU settlement scheme.

 

New roles added to UK Shortage occupation list

The UK’s Shortage Occupation List has been added to with the following skilled roles:

  • agriculture and fishing trades not elsewhere classified -(fishing industry)
  • bricklayers and masons
  • roofers, roof tilers and slaters
  • carpenters and joiners
  • plasterers
  • construction and building trades not elsewhere classified.
  • fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations not elsehwere classified

 

New genuineness requirement for some sponsored roles

A new requirement to show a genuine intention and ability to do the sponsored role has been added for Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility and Scale-up visa applications. Applicants must also show that they do not intend to take up additional, non-permissible employment.

 

Students switching to work visas

New rules now restrict how student visa holders can apply to switch into certain UK work visa routes while in the UK.

To switch from a Student to Skilled Worker visa, one of the following conditions must apply on the date of making the application:

  • they have completed their course of study for which the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned, or
  • the course has not yet completed and is full-time and degree-level or above with an education provider with a track record of immigration compliance, and the job will not start before the course completion date, or
  • the applicant is a PhD student studying with an education provider with a track record of immigration compliance, and the job will not start any earlier than 24 months after their course started.

 

For the following routes, internatonal students can only apply to switch if they have either completed the course they were sponsored to study or where they have been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months:

Appendix Global Business Mobility routes, Appendix T2 Minister of Religion, Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business, Appendix UK Ancestry, Appendix Global Talent, Appendix High Potential Individual, Appendix Scale-Up, Appendix Innovator Founder, Appendix International Sportsperson, Appendix Temporary Work – Creative Worker, Appendix Temporary Work – Religious Worker, Appendix Temporary Work – Charity Worker, Appendix Temporary Work – International Agreement, and Appendix Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange.

 

Student dependants

The student dependant visa is now only open to qualifying relatives of international students who are government-sponsored or who are studying towards a PhD, another doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree. The rules took immediate effect on 17 July 2023, and apply to courses starting from 1 January 2024.

Student dependants already in the UK by 17 July 2023 are not affected by the changes, and can still apply to extend their visa where eligible.

Child dependants born in the UK also remain exempt, as do international students on taught postgraduate courses that start before 1 January 2024 and government-sponsored international students.

 

Pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme

The High Court founder in The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens Rights Agreements (IMA) v the Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] that individuals with pre-settled status under the EUSS should no longer be required to make a second application under the scheme or face losing their rights.

In allowing the IMA’s application for judicial review, the court agreed that it was unlawful for individuals to lose their lawful UK status, along with all the rights which accompany it, under Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement — as well as the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement and Swiss Citizens Rights Agreement — if they failed to apply for settled status, or re-apply for pre settled status, prior to the expiry of their existing status.

In light of the High Court’s decision, the Home Office’s new guidance confirms that the right to reside in the UK on the basis of pre-settled status “does not expire by virtue of failing to make a second application to EUSS“. This means the requirement on pre-settled status holders to make a further application for indefinite leave to remain and enter has been removed.

A further statement detailed that from September 2023, two-year extensions will automatically be granted to anyone with pre settled status who has not yet obtained settled status. This will apply by virtue of the Secretary of State’s powers under section 3(3)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971. The extension will be automatically applied to the individual’s digital status and this will be confirmed to the individual directly.

It was also confirmed that in 2024, the Home Office will start to conduct automated checks of government records to verify pre-settled status holders’ continuous residence. Those who meet the requirement will be automatically ‘upgraded’ from pre-settled to full settled status. The Home Office also advised that safeguards will be put in place to ensure that settled status is not wrongly granted.

In effect, this means that pre-settled status will be automatically converted to full settled status for qualifying individuals, without the requirement to make a further EUSS application.

 

EU settlement scheme validity requirements

In relation to late EUSS applications (the scheme officially closed to new applications 30 June 2021), the requirement to evidence reasonable grounds for making a late application has been moved to the validity sections of Appendix EU and Appendix EU (Family Permit), which has the effect of removing any right of appeal should the Secretary of State find there to be no reasonable grounds for the delayed application.

A second change states that any applications from joining family members (ie family members of EU nationals who were not resident in the UK on that basis before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020) made from within the UK after 9 August 2023 can be rejected if the applciants is deemed an illegal entrant, as per section 33 of the Immigration Act 1971.

Appendix EU has also be amended to broaden the definition of ‘dependant relative’ to include to the adult child of a durable partner where the child has turned 18 since they were granted pre-settled status under the scheme.

The EUSS will also close on 8 August 2023 to new applications under the following:

family member of a qualifying British citizen (on their return to the UK having exercised free movement rights in the EEA or Switzerland, known as ‘Surinder Singh’ cases) and primary carer of a British citizen (known as ‘Zambrano’ cases).

These routes were not covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreements.

 

Adult dependent relatives

The latest changes revert to the position under Appendix FM and prior to Appendix Appendix Adult Dependent Relative.

Now, where one parent or grandparent has care needs that meet the rules, the other will qualify alongside them whatever their own state of health.

 

Need assistance?

DavidsonMorris are UK immigration specialists. For advice on the implications of these latest Statements of Changes, or any other query relating to Home Office application processing, contact us.

Last updated: 20 July 2023

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

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