New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (2020)

The government continues to keep us up-to-date with yet another statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.

All the changes appear to take effect on 6 April 2020.

 Surinder Singh cases

The amendments confirm that, to use this route, the UK citizen needs to be resident abroad and exercising free movement rights before the end of the transition period. This is the quite specific time of 23:00 GMT on 31 December 2020. The previous version of the rules was not particularly clear on this.

The upshot is that people availing of the Surinder Singh route can return to the UK any time before on 29 March 2022 at — you guessed it — 23:00 GMT, so long as the relationship existed pre-Brexit. If the relationship was established during the transition period, the cut-off is 23:00 GMT on 31 December 2020.


Paragraphs 18 to 19A of the Immigration Rules provide that those outside the UK with indefinite leave to remain may resume their UK residence so long as they were not absent for more than two years, as well as satisfying some other requirements. What was not confirmed up to this point was how that rule will be squared with the promise that people with EU settled status — which legally speaking is a form of indefinite leave to remain — can retain it for up to five years rather than two.

Appendix EU now explicitly states that paragraphs 18 and 19A will not apply to those granted settled status under the Settlement Scheme.

Other changes

 Tier 2

The salary threshold required for indefinite leave to remain for those on a Tier 2 (General) visa will no longer increase in the next few years. The explanatory notes say that this is down to a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee in its most recent report.

Youth mobility scheme

The quota for Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visas for Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians has been reduced by 1,000 each for 2020/21. As we understand it, these quotas are set by looking at how many Brits went to these countries on the equivalent working holiday visa last year.

Permit free festival list

This has been updated. No longer included for 2020/21 are Africa Utopia, Cornwall International Male Choral Festival and Manchester International Festival. Newly added are Edinburgh International Book Festival and London International Festival of Theatre.

Posted on Mar 13, 2020.

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