Coming into force

The changes to Appendix EU and to Appendix EU (Family Permit) relating to access to the EU Settlement Scheme, and to the EU Settlement Scheme family permit and travel permit, for family members of the people of Northern Ireland shall take effect on 24 August 2020.

The other changes set out in this statement shall take effect on 4 June 2020.

Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

The main changes in respect of the EUSS and the EUSS family permit and travel permit are as follows:

  • Eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status, under the EUSS, on the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK.  This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether the person of Northern Ireland holds British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify.
  • To extend the scope for victims of domestic violence or abuse to apply for status under the EUSS.  The changes will mean that any family member within the scope of the EUSS (a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, child, dependent parent or dependent relative) whose family relationship with a relevant EEA citizen (or with a qualifying British citizen) has broken down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse. 
  • To clarify the circumstances in which a continuous qualifying period of residence on which an applicant relies for their eligibility for status under the EUSS does not have to be continuing at the date of application. 

Changes to the Start-up and Innovator visa categories

  • Changes are being made to make it clearer that, to be endorsed, applicants must be founders of their businesses and be relying on their own business plans.  These changes also clarify that an Innovator applicant’s business may be already trading, providing they were one of its founders.
  • A provision is being added for decision makers to request further information or evidence from applicants or their endorsing bodies, if they have concerns that an endorsement has been issued inappropriately, and to refuse applications if they are not satisfied the endorsement criteria have been met.
  • The “viability” criteria are being amended to also require that a business plan must be realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources.
  • The policy around applicants who wish to change their business venture, previously only set out in guidance for endorsing bodies, is being added to the Immigration Rules. This sets out that applicants may change business venture, providing their endorsing body is satisfied the new venture meets all the criteria for endorsement.  The applicant does not need to obtain a fresh endorsement or make a fresh application.
  • A provision is being added so that if an applicant has changed business venture in this way, it will not prevent them applying under the “same business” criteria in their next Innovator application. This is particularly important for applicants switching from Start-up to Innovator, as they would otherwise need to meet the £50,000 funding threshold for “new business” applications.

Changes to the Global Talent Visa

  • Applicants who already hold leave under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) who want to extend their stay must apply under the extension requirements for the Global Talent category, rather than obtaining a new endorsement from an Endorsing Body.  Changes have been made to the Immigration Rules to clarify this.
  • The criteria for consideration by the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) allows some applicants to provide evidence of awards from the 10 years before the date of application.  An erroneous requirement limiting evidence to being from the last five years has therefore been removed. 
  • At the request of the endorsing bodies, letters of recommendation have been restricted to three sides of A4, excluding the credentials of the author.  This prevents applicants providing lengthy letters of recommendation to circumvent other restrictions on the amount of evidence which can be provided and ensures that evidence focuses on the key skills and contributions of applicants to aid consideration of applications.  The requirement is being applied to all endorsing bodies for consistency.

Changes to the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

The following changes are being made in this category:

  • An amendment is being made to prevent an overseas business sending a representative to facilitate their entry to the UK when there is no genuine intention for them to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK.
  • Clarification is being added to reflect that overseas businesses must be active and trading and intend to maintain their principal place of business outside the UK.
  • An amendment is being made to reflect that applicants must have the skills, experience, knowledge and authority to represent the overseas business in the UK.
  • Clarification is being added to reflect that applicants must be senior employees and cannot engage in their own business or represent any other business in the UK.
  • An amendment is being made to reflect that the ownership of overseas businesses is not limited to businesses that issue shares.
  • An amendment is being made to prevent majority owners from entering as the dependent spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a representative of their own business.  This will prevent owners circumventing the rules intended to prevent them relocating their business to the UK under this route.
  • An amendment is being made to the extension criteria to clarify that the branch or subsidiary must have been established in the UK, and not overseas.

Changes relating to family life visas

  • A technical amendment to clarify that leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner is to enable the marriage or civil partnership to take place in the UK. 
  • Clarification that the spent period at the leave to remain stage for applicants under the family rules who have been convicted and sentenced to a period of imprisonment for a period between 12 months to four years is 10 years.  This is to coincide with spent periods that are stipulated at the entry clearance and indefinite leave to remain stages respectively. 


Posted on May 13, 2020.

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