Last week, the UK Government announced that a number of highly restrictive immigration law changes will be implemented in 2024. But there is, finally, some good news. A Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules was also laid, which includes a welcome expansion of work activities for visitors along with other positive measures.
Whilst the restrictive measures are aimed at reducing net migration, the new Statement of Changes provides some important clarity on a number of key areas. Here, we highlight some of the main changes that are relevant to our business clients.
Permitted work activity for visitors
Working remotely: the Statement provides formal written confirmation regarding an area of immigration policy that has caused significant confusion for many visitors and businesses over the years. It confirms that those who visit the UK can work remotely during their visit. This is providing work is not the main reason for visiting the UK.
Intra-corporate activity: the Statement also amends the intra-corporate activities for visitors to remove the restriction on working directly with clients. This is providing the client-facing activity:
- is incidental to the visitor’s work abroad; and
- it does not amount to the offshoring of a project or service to their overseas employer.
Scientists, researchers and academics: the Statement confirms that this group of individuals will be able to conduct research in the UK as part of their visit. This is a fairly significant change because, at the moment, scientists and researchers can only conduct independent research. Academics can only conduct research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution.
It is important to note that this relaxation will only apply to those coming to the UK under the standard visitor route. It will not apply to academics applying for a 12 month academic visit visa, or those applying to extend their permission from within the UK.
Legal professionals: the Statement confirms that lawyers will be able to provide a range of legal services whilst visiting the UK including providing advice, teaching, drafting documents and other transactional services, litigation, acting as arbitrators and mediators and as expert witnesses.
Permitted Paid Engagements
Visitors seeking to undertake a Permitted Paid Engagement in the UK will no longer have to apply specifically for that purpose. This category of the rules will, instead, become part of the standard visitor rules.
It is important to note that anyone intending to undertake Permitted Paid Engagement activity must have arranged these activities before their arrival in the UK and must complete the activity within 30 days of arriving.
All of the above changes are due to come into force on 31 January 2024.
Other changes which are also taking place in January 2024, an overview of which can be found in the Explanatory Memorandum, include:
- amendments to the Youth Mobility Scheme;
- the tightening up of some aspects of the EU Settlement Scheme to prevent applications from ‘irregular arrivals’, the requirement for qualifying visitors to make an application to the scheme within three months of arrival in the UK and revisions to the rules on curtailment of permission under the EUSS; and
- the welcome introduction of a new Appendix Bereaved Partner and Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse.
How our immigration solicitors can help
Our solicitors are experienced in preparing all types of business and personal immigration applications.
If you require legal assistance, please contact us or use the enquiry form below.