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UKVI issue their Statement of Changes

We have summarised some of the key changes below but the full Government explanatory note can be found here.

  • The Visitor rules will permit:
    • study of up to six months under the standard visit route. All study must be undertaken at an accredited institution, expect recreational courses undertaken for leisure that last no longer than 30 days;
    • drivers on international routes to collect as well as deliver goods and passengers in and out of the UK; and

The requirement for volunteering to be incidental to the main reason for the visit will also be removed.

  • The maintenance levels within the Student and Child Student rules are being amended so that they are in line with the current home student maintenance loans. The maintenance levels will now be £1,334 per month inside London and £1,023 outside London.
  • The Short-term Study route available to students (over the age of 16) who wish to come to the UK to study English language courses which last between 6 and 11 months will be amended such that:
    • students will only be eligible if their course is at an accredited institution independently assessed by a specific inspection body as meeting educational standards; and
    • the student must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the completion of their English language course and must have sufficient funds to support themselves in the UK
    • students who wish to come to the UK to study for less than 6 months will be able to under the Visitor route,
  • The new Skilled Worker route (which replaces the current Tier 2 (General) route) is now referenced throughout the Immigration Rules.
  • The following changes (many of which we anticipated) are being made to the Intra-Company Transfer route:
    • Removal of the 12 month cooling off period and the introduction of the “cumulative period calculation”
    • There will be a single high earner threshold of £73,900 (previously there was a second threshold of £120,000); and
    • People already in the UK will have the ability to move onto this route
  • The Global Talent rules have been amended in respect of:
    • criteria for senior appointments; and
    • the definition of qualifying academic and research roles.
  • The new rules will change the requirements on English language, Finance and Knowledge of Life in the UK.

English Language

    • Applicants will only need to prove the required level of English language to the Home Office once
    • Malta will be included on the majority of speaking English language country list
    • Applicants with a degree from Ireland will be able to rely on their degree as proof of English language ability
    • Applicants who achieved GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers whilst at school in the UK will be able to rely on these qualifications to prove their English language ability. Initially, this will only apply to entry clearance and permission to stay for Students, Skilled Workers, Start-ups and Innovators

Finance

    • Electronic bank statements will be acceptable evidence and will not need to be certified by the bank on each page
    • There will be a wider range of accounts which can be relied on by an applicant as evidence demonstrating they meet maintenance requirements
    • Applicants who have met the maintenance requirement on their current route will no longer need to meet it again provided that they have been supporting themselves in the UK for more than a year (this will only apply on the Student, Skilled Worker, Intra-Company, T2 Minister or Religion and T2 Sportsperson, T5 (Temporary Workers), Start-up and Innovator routes).
  • The rules on Refusal Grounds have been revised and simplified insofar as the criminality threshold will be replaced with a single sentence based threshold of 12 months which applies to offences committed in the UK or overseas.

New rules are also coming in relation to refusal and cancellation for customs breaches, rough sleeping or being involved in a sham marriage.

  •  Two new routes which allow work and study in the UK and are routes to settlement will be established for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O) citizens):
    • The BN(O) Status Holder route (for a BN(O) citizen who is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong or the UK, dependant partners and children may also apply under this route)
    • The BN(O) Household Member route (to be used by adult children of a BN(O) citizen)
  • The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) has had minor amendment.

You can search our dedicated visa hub for further details, or contact one of our specialist immigration team to discuss.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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Contact a specialist

Flora Mewies

Flora Mewies

Partner | Employment & Head of Immigration

+44 (0) 330 137 3156

+44 (0)752 522 5480

Email Flora Mewies

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Roisin Patton

Roisin Patton

Partner | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3187

+44 (0) 783 488 9938

Email Roisin Patton

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Gillian Burns

Gillian Burns

Associate | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3152

+44 (0)773 846 2372

Email Gillian Burns

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Natalie Payne

Solicitor | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3174

+44 (0) 7725 757 256

Email Natalie Payne

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