In its latest Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC719), published on 18 October 2022, the Home Office has announced various changes to a number of UK immigration routes, as well as the introduction of two new immigration routes. In this post we highlight some of the key changes to the Immigration Rules that applicants should be aware of, including:

  • The introduction of a new immigration route for poultry workers;
  • The introduction of a new Appendix Temporary Permission to Stay for victims of human trafficking or slavery;
  • The abolition of the police registration scheme;
  • The grant of non-visa national status to citizens of Colombia, Guyana and Peru;
  • An expansion of the Hong Kong BN(O) Household Member Route for adult children;
  • Changes to the evidential requirements for Arts & Culture and Digital Technology Global Talent applications;
  • An extension of the Ukraine Extension Scheme – and a deadline to apply.

New Immigration Route for Poultry Workers

The Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa has been expanded to incorporate various roles in the poultry sector for the period from 18 October to 31 December each year. This is designed to support the poultry sector during the peak seasonal demand period in the run up to Christmas.

These changes came into effect at 1600 on 18 October 2022.

The new poultry production worker route of the Seasonal Worker Visa is open to anyone wishing to work in one of the following roles: Butcher, Bird/game dresser, Killer and plucker, Plucker, Poulterer, Poultry processor, Poultry sticker, Trusser, Food operative, Poultry catcher/handler, Poultry vaccinator or Poultry meat packer.

Applicants will need to apply on or before 15 November each year and those who are being sponsored as a Butcher, Bird/game dresser, Killer and plucker, Plucker, Poulterer, Poultry processor, Poultry sticker or Trusser in the poultry production sector will need to be paid at least £25,600 per year pro rated and receive at least 30 hours paid employment each week. This is to ensure that wages for workers in roles that would qualify for the Skilled Worker route are not less than they would be required to be paid under that route.

Successful applicants will be granted permission to enter and remain in the UK for either the period of the job on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days before and 14 days after that period or the period commencing on 18 October and ending on 31 December in the year on which the application is submitted (inclusive), whichever is shorter.

If your business is considering applying for a Temporary Worker – Seasonal Worker Visas for your employees, you can find out more about the route and how our immigration barristers can assist your employees here.

New Appendix Temporary Permission to Stay for Victims of Human Trafficking or Slavery

A new Appendix Temporary Permission to Stay for Victims of Human Trafficking or Slavery establishes a route for a person who is a confirmed victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery, who is not a British Citizen and who is in the UK without permission to stay to be considered for stay. The route will open on 30 January 2023.

In order to qualify for permission to stay as a a victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery, an applicant must apply on form FLR (HRO) and satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

  • They have been served with a positive conclusive grounds decision (as defined by section 69 (1) of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022);
  • They are not a British citizen;
  • They do not already have permission to stay in another category in the UK;
  • They are in the UK;
  • If applying for an extension under this route, they have permission to stay as a victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery, or as a child of a victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery; or they have Modern Slavery Discretionary Leave as a victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery, or as their child dependents;

Temporary permission to stay will be granted if the Secretary of State considers it is necessary for the purposes, as set out in section 65 (2)(a) to (c) of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, of:

  • Assisting the person in their recovery from any physical or psychological harm arising from the relevant exploitation;
  • Enabling the person to seek compensation in respect of the relevant exploitation, or
  • Enabling the person to co-operate with a public authority in connection with an investigation or criminal proceedings in respect of the relevant exploitation.

Temporary permission to stay will not be granted if it is considered that an individual's need for assistance is capable of being met in another country or territory or if it is considered that an individual is capable of seeking compensation from outside the UK, and it would be reasonable for them to do so in the circumstances.

Children of confirmed victims of Human Trafficking or Slavery may be eligible for a grant of temporary permission to stay provided their parent meets the requirements set out above. In addition, the child must be in the UK on the date of application /consideration, be under 18 and must not have permission to stay in the UK in another category.

Temporary permission to stay as a victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery, or a dependent child of a victim of Human Trafficking or Slavery, may be granted for a period not exceeding 30 months for each grant.

Abolition of the Police Registration Scheme

As we reported in an earlier post, the Government decided to abolish the Police Registration Scheme, with immediate effect, in August of this year. This meant that the requirement for foreign nationals (of specified nationalities, aged 16 or over, usually granted more than six months' leave in certain migration categories) to register with the police when they arrive in the UK or secure further leave to remain was suspended.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the latest Statement of Changes sheds further light on the reasons for the suspension:

... the same data collected by the police is now already captured electronically by the Home Office at the visa application stage. Changes to the Immigration Rules and the wider immigration system since the scheme was introduced mean that more individuals are screened before travel to the UK so those of concern can be identified earlier in their interaction with the Home Office. There is therefore little need for the police to collect the same data after a person has already entered the UK.

As we noted at the time though, somewhat confusingly for applicants and their advisors, although the Home Office guidance on police registration was withdrawn on 4 August 2022 and the Home Office website was updated to include a statement confirming the end of the police registration scheme, Part 10 and Appendix 2 of the Immigraion Rules, which provided the legal framework for the requirement to register with the police, remained unaltered. This was despite various amendments having been made to other parts of the Immigration Rules on 11 August 2022.

The Home Office did confirm at the time that legislative changes necessary to abolish the Police Registration Scheme would be effected in the Autumn. Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC719), published on 18 October 2022, introduces these amendments, deleting Part 10 and Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules with effect from 9 November 2022.

Citizens of Colombia, Guyana, and Peru Granted Non-visa National Status

From 9 November 2022, citizens of Colombia, Guyana, and Peru are being made non-visa nationals.

A non-visa national can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK, without needing to obtain a visit visa before travelling to the UK.

It is important to note, however, that non-visa nationals are still examined by an immigration officer on arrival and require a grant of permission in order to enter the UK.

In practice, this means that a non-visa national must still satisfy the requirements for entry as a Visitor and so, on arrival, should be prepared to explain, for example, the purpose of their visit and how they will be maintained and accommodated in the UK, as well as their return travel arrangements. Depending on the purpose of their visit, additional considerations may also apply.

As well as preparing Visit Visa applications for visa nationals, our immigration lawyers regularly assist non-visa nationals to satisfy the requirements for entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.

Hong Kong BN(O) Household Member Route Expanded for Adult Children

The Hong Kong BN(O) Household Member Visa is an immigration route for adult children (aged 18 or over) of a BN(O) Status Holder or a BN(O) Status Holder's partner, born on or after 1 July 1997, to live, work and study in the UK.

The government announced in February 2022, that the BN(O) Household Member route was going to be expanded to allow adult children (born on or after 1 July 1997) of BN(O) Status Holders to apply independently of their BN(O) Status Holder parents (that is, without needing to form part of their parents' household or apply at the same time as them). The recent Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 719) has confirmed that this change will come into force on 30 November 2022.

This change applies to those who have at least one BN(O) parent, are aged 18 or over, were born on or after 1 July 1997 and reside in Hong Kong, the UK or the Crown Dependencies. Partners, dependent children, and adult dependent relatives of the adult child may also apply with them.

Further information regarding the changes to the provisions for adult children within the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) route can be found on our Knowledge Centre here.

Changes to the Evidential Requirements for Arts & Culture and Digital Technology Global Talent Applications

There is a small but important change to the evidence required for endorsement by Arts Council England.

As now, applicants for an Arts and Culture endorsement by Arts Council England will need to include 3 letters of support. However, from 9 November 2022 these letters of support will need to be from organisations or individuals who have directly worked with the applicant and can therefore comment on their skills through personal experience rather than via reputation.

The evidence required for endorsement by Arts Council England from 9 November 2022 may therefore be summarised as follows:

  • Two letters of recommendation from well-established arts and culture organisations the applicant has worked with, who are acknowledged as experts in their field and at least one of these organisations will need to be based in the UK.
  • The third letter of recommendation will need to be from another well-established arts and culture organisation, or an individual the applicant has worked with, who has recognised expertise in their field.

This change is intended to ensure that the authors of supporting letters have first-hand knowledge of the applicant's work and prevent the submission of more generic letters which do not adequately support a claim of exceptional talent or promise.

There is also a change to the evidential requirements for Digital Technology endorsement by Tech Nation.

As now, applicants for a Digital Technology endorsement by Tech Nation will need to include 3 letters of recommendation. However, from 9 November 2022 these letters of support will need to be from 3 different well-established organisations acknowledged as experts in the digital technology field with detailed knowledge of the applicant's work over a period of 12 months or more. This is intended to ensure authors are able to comprehensively consider the applicant's work in a way which will support a claim of exceptional talent or promise. The letters of support must show how the author knows the applicant, their achievements in your field, how the author considers that the applicant shows exceptional talent or promise and the contribution they will make to the UK digital economy.

Changes to the Ukraine Extension Scheme

Finally, the Ukraine Extension Scheme enables Ukrainian nationals who held permission to enter or stay in the UK on 18 March 2022 (or who held permission which expired on or after 1 January 2022) to continue their stay in the UK.

On 9 November 2022 the scheme will be extended to allow Ukrainian nationals who obtain permission to enter or stay in the UK for any period between 18 March 2022 and 16 May 2023 to apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme and obtain 36 months' permission to stay in the UK.

This extension of the eligibility period will particularly assist Ukrainian nationals who travelled to the UK without making an application to one of the Ukraine Schemes and who were granted six months' Leave Outside the Rules at the border, as well as other Ukrainian nationals who arrived with permission to enter or stay on another route after 18 March 2022. Both categories of persons will be eligible to extend their stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

The new rules also introduce a new requirement to apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme by 16 November 2023 (corresponding with the last date that a Ukrainian national granted six months' Leave Outside the Rules at the border will have valid leave). This deadline is intended to encourage people to apply for leave under the Ukraine Extension Scheme to ensure they maintain a lawful immigration status.

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.