The Home Office has published changes to the Immigration Rules that became effective on 1 October 2021. The changes cover a whole range of immigration rules and in places are complex. Due to the length of the proposed changes to the immigration rules, we summarise the main changes below.
- Banning entry to the UK with an ID card rather than a passport (with exceptions for some existing residents)
- Tweaks to existing relocation schemes for Afghans, including granting indefinite leave to remain from the outset
- A new International Sportsperson route, consolidating what were the Tier 2 and Tier 5 sporting visas
- Tweaks to Global Talent, making it slightly easier to get an endorsement, and doubling the number of awards that mean no endorsement is required
- Changes to EU Settlement Scheme family permits, including “to allow a joining family member to apply to the EUSS whilst in the UK as a visitor”
- Iceland and India being added to the Youth Mobility Scheme
- A new “Appendix Settlement Protection” for refugees to get ILR
- Incorporation of some coronavirus concessions into the Rules
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Concessions
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
The COVID-19 concession for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) enabled migrants, whose businesses were impacted by the pandemic, to extend their leave, provided they had created the equivalent of two full-time jobs for settled workers at the time of application. They did not have to demonstrate that the jobs had existed for a minimum period of 12 months. However, this second requirement must be met before the applicant can qualify for settlement.
EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
From 6 October 2021, the concession (outside Appendix EU) which is currently in operation for applicants whose continuous residence in the UK has been affected by COVID-19 will cease to operate. Applicants will no longer be able to rely on the concession where they have exceeded the permitted absence from the UK due to the COVID-19.
Skilled Worker route and Tier 2 Sportsperson route
Between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2020, concessions were put in place for those applying for a Skilled Worker visa. It enabled applicants to start working for their sponsor while waiting for a decision on their application. A change is being made to the settlement rules which will allow applicants to include the time they were waiting for a decision towards the five years required for settlement as a Skilled Worker or as a Tier 2 Sportsperson.
Changes relating to the evidence of identity and nationality requirements
Certain EEA citizens (‘the citizens’ rights cohort’) can continue to use their EEA national identity card to enter the UK until at least the end of 2025.
From 1 October 2021, EEA citizens outside the citizens’ rights cohort will need a passport to demonstrate nationality and identity at the UK border, rather than a national identity card.
The statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 617) is 183 pages long and makes adjustments in quite a number of areas.
Should you have any questions related to the changes being introduced feel free to get in touch with a member of our team.