Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules September 2023

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Home Office updates Immigration Rules

The Home Office has published a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, HC 1780, 7 September 2023.

The new rules cover a broad range of areas, most of which are technical in nature. The vast majority of changes take effect on 5 October 2023.

The key changes are as follows:

 

Prison workers now eligible for Skilled Worker visa

Prison workers are now eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route, and have been added to Appendix Skilled Occupations, with occupation code 3314.

 

Youth Mobility Scheme

Following earlier announcements, the Youth Mobility Scheme has been amended with an increase in the age limit for eligible nationals of Canada and Australia from 18–30 to 18–35 with effect from 31 January 2024. The permissible length of stay for Canadian and Australian nationals is also being extended to three years, up from two.

Andorra has also been added to the list of eligible countries, with an annual quota of 100.

 

New Appendix Children

Existing common rules and requirements in relation to children have been consolidated into a new Appendix Children. The new appendix applies both to children applying as dependents -and as main applicants.

It will apply only to certain routes from 5 October 2023 and will be rolled out further in future.

The following routes are affected, with other routes to be added in the future:

  • Child Student
  • Domestic Workers in a Private Household
  • Global Business Mobility—Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, UK Expansion Worker, Service Supplier and Secondment Worker
  • Global Talent
  • Graduate
  • Gurkha and Hong Kong military unit veteran discharged before 1 July 1997
  • High Potential Individual
  • Innovator Founder
  • International Sportsperson
  • Representative of an Overseas Business
  • Scale-up
  • Short-term Student (English language)
  • Skilled Worker
  • Start-up
  • Student
  • Temporary Work—Creative Worker, Religious Worker, Charity Worker, International Agreement and Government Authorised Exchange
  • T2 Minister of Religion, and
  • UK Ancestry

Where the child is applying as a main applicant, and not a dependent, amendments have been made to the requirements for parental consent. This affects applications in the Child Student, International Sportsperson, Short-term Student (English language), Student and UK Ancestry routes.

The following additional amendments have also been put in place:

  • The requirement to ‘not be leading an independent life’ now applies to all dependent children, not only those aged 16 or over
    for those applying for limited permission, where the other (non-main applicant) parent is a British citizen or a person who has a right to enter or stay in the UK without restriction, that parent must be living or intend to live in the UK, rather than be ‘or will be ordinarily resident in the UK’
  • It is now possible for ‘serious and compelling reasons’ grounds to apply to children of the non-main applicant parent

 

English language requirement

The following routes have been added to the option in Appendix English Language permitting applicantsto meet the English language requirement if they have a GCSE, A level or equivalent in English:

  • Global Talent
  • Hong Kong British National (Overseas)
  • Representative of an Overseas Business
  • UK Ancestry
  • T2 Minister of Religion
  • Domestic Workers in a Private Household
  • Child Staying with or joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection)

This option will also now be available when applying for settlement in International Sportsperson, in addition to entry clearance and permission to stay applications as is currently the case.

 

Removal of EU Settlement Scheme Administrative Review

For decisions made on or after 5 October 2023, applications made under the EU Settlement Scheme will no longer have recourse to an Administrative Review. This impacts decision types in relation to EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), EUSS Family Permit and S2 Healthcare Visitor applications. The changes have been reflected in Appendix Administrative Review (AR) and Appendix AR (EU).

Applicants retain the option to appeal a decision.

 

EU Settlement Scheme dependency

Appendix EU has been amended to clarify the existing policy position that where a dependent parent or child has already been granted limited leave under Appendix EU, they will not need to evidence dependency for any further applications under Appendix EU.

 

Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme

Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) has been amended to remove the requirement to refuse an ETA application on the grounds of failing to pay outstanding NHS charges of £500 or more. The guidance statses this move is intended to ensure the ETA application is a “light touch” application. However, ETA applicants are advised in the guidance that “a successful ETA application does not guarantee that an applicant will be granted permission to enter at the UK border. As such, travellers seeking permission to enter the UK who have outstanding NHS debts, and who do not take the necessary steps to settle their debts in advance of travel, may be refused entry at the UK border on arrival.”

 

Definition of independent life

A new definition has been provided within the Immigration Rules for ‘independent life’, removing requirements that an applicant not be in full-time employment, wholly or mainly dependent on their parent for financial support (unless 18 or over) and wholly or mainly dependent on their parent for emotional support.

 

Lawful residence

The revised definition for ‘lawful residence’ took effect in April 2023, excluding time spent on immigration bail, as a visitor, short-term student or seasonal worker. The rules have now been amended to clarify that time spent under any predecessor routes to the excluded routes will also be excluded, as will time spent on temporary admission or release.

 

Simplified Returning Resident route

A new Appendix Returning Resident has been introduced to simplify the existing route. Changes include:

  • Where indefinite leave has lapsed for Swiss nationals or their family members granted settled status under the EUSS who have been continuously absent from the UK for more than four years, and others granted EUSS settled status who have been absent for more than four years
  • Applicants must now ‘genuinely’ intend to return to the UK to settle
  • Applicants must now have ‘maintained strong ties to the UK during their absence from the UK’, rather than just having strong ties to the UK
  • Parental consent requirement for applicants who are children

 

International Sportsperson

An updated endorsement rule now requires the endorsement letter to state that the applicant is elite, internationally established (and not internationally “at the highest level”) and will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK.

British American Football has also been added as an approved governing body in Appendix Sports Governing Bodies.

 

New Appendix Tuberculosis

A new Appendix Tuberculosis replaces existing TB-related provisions elsewhere in the rules. It also amends the existing requirement that a valid TB certificate will be required if the applicant has been continuously present in a country or countries listed in the Appendix for six months or more, which includes a period (of any length) within the six months before the date of application.

It also states that if the application has not been decided within six months of the expiry of the TB certificate provided with the application, and the applicant is otherwise eligible for the visa, the applicant may be required to provide a new valid TB certificate. The decision maker may also waive the requirement to provide a valid TB certificate if they are satisfied that the applicant is unable to obtain a certificate and it is reasonable to waive the requirement on the specific facts of the case.

 

Definition of public funds

A new definition has been provided within the Immigration Rules for ‘public funds’, specifying that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) benefits and new Social Security Scotland benefits cannot be accessed by a person with the ‘no recourse to public funds’ restriction on their grant of leave.

 

Grounds for refusal

The ten year re-entry ban for those deported from the UK at public expense has been removed.

The ban remains in place for those removed at public expense. This is to bring the rules in line with changes earlier this year removing the minimum period for maintenance of a deportation order.

 

Other changes

Among the remaining changes are:

  • Seasonal worker route: clarifying the minimum 32 hours pay per week requirement for those sponsored in the horticulture sector or specified poultry occupation codes.
  • Global Talent route: minor updates to the endorsement criteria for fast-track Science, Engineering, humanities, social science and medicine fields endorsements, as requested by the relevant endorsing bodies.
  • Adult Dependent Relative: removing the bar to a person with leave as an Adult Dependent Relative being the sponsoring parent for a child applying for leave to remain under Appendix FM.
  • Short-Term Students (English language): applicants can now rely on funds in the account of a parent or legal guardian.

 

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: 8 September 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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