Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules Published

The Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules presented to parliament earlier today has now been published. There are significant changes to many of the rules. Please find below a breakdown of the main changes:

Tier 1 of the Points-Based System

Tier 1 (Investor)

  • The investment threshold of £1 million is being raised to £2 million;
  • The full investment sum must be invested in prescribed forms of investment (share or loan capital in active and trading UK companies, or UK Government bonds) instead of the current 75%;
  • If the investment falls then there is no longer a requirement to top it up in the next quarter;
  • Investment funds can no longer be sourced from a loan;
  • These changes will only to apply to new applicants to the Tier 1 (Investor) route from 06/11/2014 onwards;
  • Applications will be refused if the home Office has reasonable grounds that:
    • The applicant is not in control of the funds;
    • The funds were obtained unlawfully;
    • The character, conduct or associations of a party providing the funds mean that approving the application is not conducive to public good.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

  • For applications made inside the UK, the funds to be invested into the business must also be in the UK;
  • Applicants for ILR under the accelerated route must show that they have invested the funds;
  • These changes apply will only to new applicants to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Tier 1 (General)

  • Remains open for extension applications until April 2015;
  • Remains open for ILR applications until April 2018;
  • Extension applications will be granted 3 years or the balance they need to take them up to five years in the category.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

  • The successful applicant will now be granted five year leave, rather than 3 years;
  • The English language requirement is being removed for extension applications;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Tier 2 of the Points-Based System

  • There will be an assessment of whether a genuine vacancy exists for Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General);
  • Applicants for further leave to remain as a Tier 2 (General) will be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test, even where there leave has expired no more than 28 days before the date of their extension application;
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) migrants can take additional employment as a sports broadcaster;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Tier 5 of the Points-Based System

  • For the Youth Mobility Scheme, the annual allocations for participating countries on the scheme are being set for 2015. Allocations for New Zealand are being increased by 16% - this change will take effect from 01/01/2015;
  • Two work experience schemes are to be added to the Government Authorized Exchange category: the first is an exchange between the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) and the Development Centre, Ministry of Education in China (EERDC). The second is a scheme administered by Twin Training International that offers work experience opportunities to overseas engineering students (under-graduates and graduates) - these changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Administrative Review

  • Introduction of a new administrative review process to resolve case-working errors and do so more quickly than the appeals process it will replace. The reviewer will be a different person from the original decision maker. Service standard will to be to determine and administrative review within 28 days;
  • From 20/10/2014 persons who seek leave as Tier 4 migrants and their dependent will no longer have a right of appeal and will instead be eligible for administrative review. This will be extended to the rest of the Points Based System at later dates;
  • New evidence will not be considered when applying for administrative review;
  • Possible outcomes of an administrative review:
    • Original decision may be withdrawn, application fee will be refunded and leave to remain may be granted;
    • Original decision remains in force, decision may continue to stand as it is, have a reason for refusal withdrawn or have additional reasons given.
  • Where an administrative review is pending, and the original application is made ‘in-time’ before their leave expired, then leave is continued by virtue of 3C continuation of leave;
  • Home Office give persons  notice of their right to apply for administrative review where an eligible decision has been made;
  • Deadline to make an application for administrative review is 14 calendar days after the decision, or 7 calendar days if in immigration detention;
  • From 20/10/2014 there will no longer be a right of appeal against deportation, nor will there be an administrative review.

General Visitors

  • There will be a new provision introduced within the General Visitor route to accommodate visitors who are coming to the UK to act as an organ donor, or to be assessed as a suitable organ donor to an identified recipient in the UK;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Business Visitors

  • New permitted activities to allow scientist and researchers to share knowledge, expertise and advice on an international project that is being led in the UK;
  • New provision for overseas lawyers, who are employees of international law firms which have offices in the UK, to provide direct advice to clients in the UK on litigation or international transactions provided they remain paid and employed overseas;
  • Allowing graduates of an overseas nursing school to be admitted as Business Visitor in order to sit the Objectives Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE);
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Private Medical Treatment Visitors

  • Will be allowed to apply for up to 11 months visa, currently it is only for six months;
  • Will be allowed to extend leave for up to six months when there is an ongoing need to receive medical treatment in the UK;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitors

  • New provision to state that people coming to the UK cannot do so for the purpose of entering into a sham marriage or sham civil partnership;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Overseas Domestic Worker in a Private Household

  • Must only come to the UK with a visitor;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Immigration Rules relating to family and private life

Minimum income threshold requirement under Appendix FM and Appendix FM-SE

  • Allowing funds to be transferred from a type of investment account to an eligible bank account within the period of 6 months prior to the application;
  • Allowing an academic stipend/grant to be counted as income where it is paid for at least one full academic year/12-month period;
  • Sponsor/applicant living in the UK can include work undertaken overseas;
  • Enabling a self-employed person of state pension age to demonstrate ongoing self-employment by alternative evidence, e.g. ongoing payment of business rates or of business-related premiums;
  • Allowing an equity partner to evidence their partnership through a letter from an accountant, solicitor, or business manager acting for the partnership;
  • These changes take effect from 06/11/2014 onwards.

Posted in English on Oct 15, 2014.