The Secretary of State for the Home Office has presented to Parliament a Statement of Changes to the UK immigration rules. The publicity email from the Home Office has condensed into one short page the complex and convoluted changes recorded in the 79 page statement. It is fair to say that there are many pages dealing with highly technical, however, material changes to some of the immigration rules were brushed over in the press release. We recommend assistance from the accredited UK immigration lawyers at RLegal Solicitors should you require further advice.
The majority of the changes will come into effect on 19 November 2015.
We summarise below the major changes.
Tier 2 of the Points Based System
Addition of nurses to the shortage occupation list. The impact of this will be felt not just in the initial recruitment process, it will exempt nurses from the earnings threshold for indefinite leave to remain which will take effect in 2016 (see also below). As with all shortage occupations, it should be noted this is subject to periodic review by the Migration Advisory Committee.
Addition of the following four jobs to the shortage occupation list namely – product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist in “qualifying companies” with 20-250 employees.
Restatement of the of a minimum salary threshold of £35,000 from 5 April 2016, to £35500 on or after 6 April 2018, £35800 on or after 6 April 2019 and £36200 on after April 2020 for applications for indefinite leave to remain.
Clarification that migrants can be absent from work for up to four weeks per year without pay – this will also apply to Tier 5 migrants.
A technical change under the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) long term category to emphasize that this category is for internationally established companies and that the relevant experience gained overseas may be with a business linked by common ownership or control to the sponsor, rather than the sponsor itself.
Amplification of the definitions of ‘Professional sportsman’ and ‘amateur’ under Tier 2.
Tier 5 of the Points Based System
Charity workers – clarification of the definition of ‘voluntary fieldwork’ to document the type working activities which may be undertaken. Also amendments to the rules to clarify that charity workers are prohibited from receiving any remuneration including benefits in kind other than reasonable expenses.
Government Authorised Training Programme – amendment to the definition of a ‘training programme’. The following existing participants in the scheme ‘City Fellowships Scheme’. ‘EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Programme’, ‘Fulbright UK-US Teacher Exchange Programme’ and the ‘London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ are to be removed. Further minor amendments to descriptions of the ‘Chevening Programme’, ‘Hanban:Mandarin Teachers scheme’, ‘International Cross-Posting Programme for Kazakhstan’ and ‘International Internship Scheme’.
EEA and non-EEA nationals wishing to bring a partner to the UK under the immigration rules (as opposed to under the EEA Regulations) must hold a valid document issued under either the EEA Regulations 2006 or under the immigration rules confirming that they hold permanent residence.
A child’s application for entry clearance will be refused where the Secretary of State believes that the sponsor or their partner poses a risk to the child.
An application for leave to remain will normally be refused under suitability grounds where the Secretary of State has given notice under the immigration laws to an applicant or their partner that they have failed to comply with an investigation into a proposed marriage or civil partnership.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) of the Points Based System
Amending the endorsement criteria used by Tech City UK to better reflect the skills and experience of applicants who are most likely to add value from the UK digital technology sector.
Allowing a decision maker dealing with an Administrative Review application to request further documents not initially submitted with the original application in specified circumstances.
Providing Turkish nationals or their family members refused leave to remain under the Ankarra Agreement with a right of Administrative Review. Also allowing a caseworker to request additional evidence not initially provided with the initial application.
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