On 10 September 2021, the Home Office published further changes to be made to the current UK Immigration Rules. Most of these took place in October 2021, although some of the changes will be taking place in January 2022.
Throughout the current pandemic, the Home Office have published COVID-19 concessions by way of guidance, which can be changed at will. A few of these concessions are to be formally introduced into the Immigration Rules, providing more security to those affected, including:
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa holders, who were granted an extension under the concession and wish to apply for settlement, will need to show they have created 4 jobs each lasting 12 months or 2 jobs each lasting 24 months
- Skilled Worker and Sportsperson migrants – for applicants who were in another visa category, and applied to "switch" into one of these between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2021, it may now be possible to count the decision making time towards settlement
- EU Settlement Scheme – the late concession/guidance relating to excessive absences issued shortly before the deadline of 30 June 2021 is being incorporated
A summary of some of the changes are set out below:
- Except in prescribed cases, EEA nationals will no longer be allowed to use their valid national identity card for entry to the UK – they will need to use a valid passport
- Launch of the new "International Sportsperson" route, which replaces existing routes for professional sportspeople, and requires endorsement, sponsorship, meeting financial requirements and in some instances, meeting the English language requirement
- The Global Talent route for talented and promising individuals in certain fields, will see some changes for the endorsement element, and the "Prestigious Prizes" element which bypasses the endorsement requirement, is expanding the list of qualifying prizes
- The "working holiday visa" or Youth Mobility Scheme visa category is being expanded in January 2022 to allow citizens of India and Iceland between the ages of 18 to 30 to apply to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years, without sponsorship, with additional requirements for Indian citizens including holding an undergraduate degree or having a minimum of 3 years' work experience in a role equivalent to the approved list of jobs
- Changes are being made to existing rules relating to Afghan citizens under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, as well as the ex-gratia scheme. The Home Office has also published the Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy statement, as well as promotional material called Next steps in the UK: immigration information for people evacuated from Afghanistan, although these do not form part of the Immigration Rules.
OTHER ITEMS TO NOTE
Other immigration and related news/cases you might want to take a note of include:
- The current "traffic light" system for travellers to the UK changed at 4am on Monday 4 October 2021
- The temporary changes to right to work checks that were due to end on 31 August 2021, have now been deferred to 5 April 2022 – see here for more information
- The Confederation of British Industry calls on the Immigration Rules to be relaxed to ease labour shortages, for example in hospitality, food processing, and logistics
- The government has announced temporary visas for up to 5,000 HGV drivers and up to 5,500 temporary visas for poultry workers
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.