A new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules has been published today which provides more detail regarding the UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System for workers and visitors, along with a number of other changes.
Heralding the end of Tier 2 (General), the new Rules will see the introduction of the new ‘Skilled Worker’ route on 1 December 2020. The Skilled Worker route is less restrictive than Tier 2 (General). For example, the skill requirement is RQF 3 rather than RQF 6, there is no resident labour market test, there is no cooling-off period and there are greater switching provisions for those wishing to make an in-country application. Sponsors will still need to demonstrate that they need a sponsored worker to fill a ‘genuine vacancy’.
Changes to Tier 2 (ICT), replaced by ‘Intra-Company Transfer’, include a less onerous cooling-off period than now. There are also changes to all other aspects of Tier 2 and 5.
The rules on absences have been consolidated and there are also a number of other changes to the general requirements including in relation to criminal convictions, mandatory grounds of refusal, English language assessments and maintenance.
In relation to students, the visitor rules are being relaxed to enable visitors coming to the UK for up to six months to be able to study throughout their stay. At the moment, study under the visitor route is heavily restricted. Moving forward, the short-term study provision will only be for students who will study English for 6 – 11 months.
Parents of Child Students will be granted permission in line with the child, rather than in 12 months blocks as previously.
Visitors will also be able to come to the UK to volunteer during their visit – at the moment, they can only do so if the volunteering is incidental to the visit.
The new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) routes are formally introduced into UK law.
A number of other work routes have also seen changes, including Representative of an Oversea Business, Innovator, Start-Up and Ancestry. The majority of changes are mainly technical, such as moving them to their own ‘Appendix’ of the Rules. We will be reviewing all the main changes in detail in the run up to the go-live date and updating our website.
The 30 June 2021 deadlines has also formally been introduced in relation to EU Settlement Scheme applications, although there is scope for applicants to apply where there are ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the deadline.
Finally, the Rules provide legislative protection for anyone who overstayed from 24 January – 31 August 2020 due to Covid-19.
You can keep up to date with our ‘Beyond Brexit‘ developments generally here.
If you need advice on the new Rules, please contact us.