Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules

On 11 December 2018, the Home Office published the latest Statement of Changes in the UK Immigration Rules. Despite the fact that in the beginning of December 2018 Home Office officials announced several major changes to Point Based System including Tier 1 (Investor) route suspension and scrapping Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas, there are no changes in these categories outlined in the new Statement. Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) routes appears to remain open for applicants.

Changes in Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category

• Talented architects can now apply under a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. Applicants will be assessed by the Royal Institute for British Architects operating within the endorsement remit of Arts Council England. The role of each competent body is to issue endorsement to the Home Office confirming that the applicant has exceptional talent or great potential in the chosen field.

• Four additional months will be added to all Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) potential grants of leave. This will reduce the likelihood that applicants will have to apply for further extension before obtaining settlement status.

Changes in Tier 4 category

• Those Tier 4 applicants, who rely on student loans or funds from official financial sponsors are no longer required to show that the funds have been held for a period of 28 consecutive days.

Changes in the Tier 5 and Tier 2 categories

• Tier 5 (Religious Workers) visa holders will not be able to work as Ministers of Religion. To take such position, applicants will need to apply under relevant Tier 2 category.

• Introduction of “cooling-off” period for Tier 5 (Religious workers and Charity Workers) applicants, which will ensure that they spend at least 12 month outside the UK after the expiry of their initial visa before applying for a new visa under this category.  This change will prevent applicants from living in the UK for extended periods.

• Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa holders can now take part in legal strikes actions and take unpaid parental leave. This will not affect their immigration status and the possibility of obtaining settled status.

Changes in immigration rules for victims of domestic violence

• According to the new rules, partners of refugees who have not lived in the country for 5 years and have not yet received settled status can now qualify for ILR as victims of domestic violence.

Home Office also announced the launch of new pilot scheme for seasonal workers under Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) category. The exact launch date of the pilot will be announced shortly. This category will allow non-EU migrants to obtain seasonal workers visas for up to six months and work in the “edible horticulture sector” (namely vegetable, fruits, vines and mushrooms). Visas will be issued 14 days before the start of the peak season and will be valid for an additional 14 days after the end of the season, but not longer than 6 months.

Posted on Dec 11, 2018.

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