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United Kingdom: New Immigration Rules

United Kingdom: New Immigration Rules

The United Kingdom introduced changes in the Immigration Rules HC 813 on 22nd October 2020. A ‘Statement of Changes’ was issued to outline the key features and changes in the Government’s Points Based Immigration System.

The changes are enumerated as follows:

The changes will allow in-country switching from specific immigration categories save and except in case of visitors, short-term students, domestic workers, seasonal workers, parents of a student and those outside the ambit of the Immigration Rules. The new changes also aim to expand the validity requirements for applications that are said to benefit international students and employers.

Furthermore, changes have also been made regarding limitation on stay, financial requirements, continuous residency requirements etc. for business and work.

The rules regarding visitors are being simplified to facilitate travel for business purposes. Further, the changes also include:

  1. Granting permission to expert visitors in the academic field to extend their stay to a total of 12 months.
  2. Granting permission to standard visitors to study at an accredited institution for a period extending up to 6 months.
  3. Eliminating the requirement of volunteering as an “incidental” part of the purpose of visit.

Individuals travelling to the UK in search of work in the skilled labour sector with a licensed sponsor are not barred by the six-year total length of stay in addition to this, no cooling-off period will apply herein. It is imperative to note that, the category that deals with “shortage occupation” has remained unchanged except with a minor change concerning the removal of quantity surveyors. This category is said to be under scrutiny and is subject to revision in the future in order to limit it from negatively impacting different sectors in the economy. The Home Office is of the view that the assessment regarding inclusion and exclusion of specific categories depend upon developments in the labour markets due to the pandemic.

Substantial changes were introduced with the “intra-company transfer” category including;

Relaxation of switching requirements for an applicant; however, the need for a 12-month experience abroad in their relevant field is still applicable unless the applicant falls under the “high earner” category.

Specific categories remain unchanged but have been simplified, these include,

  1. Ministers of religion, falling under Tier 2
  2. Sportspersons, falling under Tier 2
  3. Temporary workers falling under Tier 5
  4. Start-ups
  5. Innovators
  6. Persons with UK ancestry

Apart from all these changes, the licensing process has been expedited by the Home Office, introducing the applicability of a new fee of 500 Pounds for priority processing of sponsor licenses.


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