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New immigration rules for members of HM Forces and their families
The new rules came into effect on 1 December 2013. They bring Armed Forces family rules in line with the family Immigration Rules. This means that:
- a minimum income threshold requirement applies to the members of HM Forces wishing to sponsor a non-EEA dependant to come to or remain in the UK;
- a basic English language requirement, at A1 level applies to all non-EEA partners seeking leave to enter or remain in the UK as a dependant of a member of HM Forces;
- to qualify for settlement, all non-EEA partners and children between the ages of 18 and 65 are required to pass the Life in the UK test and hold an intermediate speaking and listening qualification, at B1 level on the CEFR;
- all non-EEA partners of HM Forces personnel granted leave under the Immigration Rules will serve a 5 year probationary period before being eligible to apply for settlement.
New premium visa services for business travellers
The UK government announced improvements to the visa system to attract the brightest and best to work, do business and invest in the UK. Improvements include:
- launching the GREAT Club, an invitation-only service providing a tailored service for top business executives. The Club will start in the New Year as a 12 months pilot aimed at around 100 global business leaders who use the visa service and have strong links to the UK. They will be provided with an account manager who will be able to arrange visa services tailored to each individual’s needs at no extra cost during the pilot. This is an exclusive service for wealthy businessmen.
- expanding the priority (3 to 5 day) visa service and same-day visa service; and
- introducing a VIP mobile visa service to India and piloting a passport pass back service in southern India.
Changes to document requirements
From 28 October 2013 if you are applying by post for extension of stay, indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship, you no longer need to provide an original passport from the British or settled person supporting your application - a photocopy of their passport or travel document can be provided instead.
The photocopy must include all pages of the passport, including any blank pages, and it will be verified in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Home Office may request the original document at any time during the application process, and the application will be refused if you do not comply.
You must still submit your own original passport or travel document as part of your application.
Posted on Nov 14, 2013.