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New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

Date of Publication: 
6 September 2013
Summary: 

Immigration minister Mark Harper announces substantial new Statement of Changes

New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

06 September 2013
EIN

The Home Office has today published a substantial new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules.

You can view the 98-page Statement of Changes here.

The purpose of the changes is to:

• Expand the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category to make new provision for artists of exceptional promise;

• Implement a package of small changes to Tier 2 of the Points-Based System to improve flexibility for businesses and applicants;

• Expand the use of "genuineness" tests in Tiers 1 and 5 of the Points-Based System, and the Minister of Religion category in Tier 2, to better protect those routes against abuse without disadvantaging genuine applicants;

• Expand the use of the "genuineness" test in Tier 4 to applications for further leave to remain;

• Amend the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirement in line with the Statement of Intent published on 8 April 2013

• Create two categories of visitor for certain Commonwealth Games Family Members to enter the UK to compete or work at the Games. Games family members travelling from overseas will not require visas;

• Allow those Games Family Members already in the UK to apply for Commonwealth Games special leave to allow them to compete or work at the Games;

• Amend the Immigration Rules relating to Points-Based System dependants and dependants of other work routes, further to the judgment of the High Court in R (on the application of Zhang) v Secretary of State for the Home Department;

• Provide flexibility for tourists and business visitors to attend courses providing that is incidental to their visit; and make other minor changes to visitor routes;

• Expand the permissible activities a business visitor can undertake to include internal audits and corporate training where it is provided by a company outside of the person's employer's corporate group;

• Allow Tier 4 graduates who have completed their degrees in the UK to switch into a 12 month internship under Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange category, provided it directly relates to their degree;

• Update the list of sports governing bodies for Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System;

• Introduce the General Grounds for Refusal criminality thresholds to indefinite leave to remain applications by refugees and those granted humanitarian protection, to ensure that we are consistent in our approach to indefinite leave to remain for those with a history of criminal activity;

• Make provision in the Immigration Rules to grant leave to enter the UK to those eligible for the relocation element of the Redundancy Scheme being offered to locally engaged staff in Afghanistan;

• Delete from Appendix 1 those nationals or citizens of Kuwait who hold diplomatic and special passports issued by Kuwait when travelling to the UK for the purpose of a general visit in accordance with paragraph 41;

• Make minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to family life;

• Amend the grounds on which a person’s leave to enter or remain in the UK may be curtailed. Paragraph 322(5A) (grounds of refusal of leave) is added to the grounds on which person’s leave may be curtailed. Sub-paragraph (5A) is concerned with circumstances in which it is undesirable for a person to be permitted to remain in the United Kingdom because of their offending behaviour;

• Make a number of changes to the provisions governing the grant of further leave to overseas domestic workers who entered the UK under the Rules in place before 6 April 2012. These changes are intended to make it clearer that domestic workers wishing to extend their limited leave are required to be in full time domestic work and also clarify the length of leave which can be granted at each extension;

• To repeal Part 6 of the Rules, relating to a number of pre-PBS routes;

• Make a small change to the Prospective Entrepreneur Visitor route to include the Financial Conduct Authority as the new regulator of the financial services industry;

• Add Hong Kong to the list of participating countries and territories on the Youth Mobility Scheme and set the annual allocation of places for participating countries as set out in Appendix G;

• Update the list of Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Schemes in Appendix N; and

• Make other minor updates and corrections.

In a written ministerial statement in the Commons today, immigration minister Mark Harper stated:

I am today laying before the House a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules as set out below.

I will expand the process of genuineness assessments and interviews to Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) applications for entry and leave to remain, and to Tier 4 Students applying for further leave to remain. I will also be replicating for Tier 4 in-country extensions the existing power to refuse applications where the applicant cannot speak English. We will add Barbados to the list of countries whose nationals benefit from different documentary requirements and are exempt from the genuineness test when applying for a Tier 4 visa.

I am making several small changes to economic routes to make them more attractive and more flexible for businesses. These changes include new provision in Tier 1 for artists of exceptional promise, removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees, making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2, and waiving share ownership restrictions for senior staff earning £152,100 or more.

I will also be introducing flexibility for tourists and business visitors to undertake some study where it is incidental to the main purpose of their visit, as well as increasing the permissible activities a business visitor can undertake in the UK. I am retaining the student visitor route for those whose purpose in coming here is for short term study. The prospective student route is being removed because it is little used and anomalous.

I am adding Hong-Kong to the list of participating countries and territories on the UK's Youth Mobility Scheme, further strengthening business, trade and cultural ties between us.

I am introducing rules to give effect to the Secretary of State for Defence's Statement to this House of 4 June 2013, which provides for some locally engaged staff, who have been or will be made redundant as a result of our drawdown, to relocate to the UK in recognition of the unique contribution they have provided to the UK's efforts in Afghanistan. The new rules allow eligible applicants, their spouse/partner and their minor dependent children to be granted a period of 5 years' leave to enter if their character and conduct is satisfactory.

In line with the Statement of Intent "Knowledge of language and life in the UK for settlement and naturalisation" published on 8 April, I am also making changes to the way in which applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK, together with necessary consequential amendments. These changes will come into effect on 28 October.

I am making changes to slow the path to settlement for refugees, and those granted humanitarian protection, who have committed crimes. Applications for settlement from refugees will be refused for 15 years from the date of their sentence if they have been sentenced to over 12 months' imprisonment; for 7 years if they have been sentenced to up to 12 months' imprisonment; and for 2 years if they have been given a non-custodial sentence. Discretion to delay the route to settlement will apply in the case of repeat offenders.

I am creating new temporary Immigration Rules to facilitate the entry and stay of certain Commonwealth Games participants and personnel during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

I am making minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life. I am making minor changes to repeal measures that are no longer required.

I am making a minor change to the curtailment rules. This change adds a power to curtail leave where a migrant's offending is persistent or causes serious harm. The change supports the Home Office in its work to take tough action against those who commit offences whilst here.

I am making changes to the rules for dependants in the Points Based System and other work routes, following the High Court judgment in R (on the application of Zhang) v Secretary of State for the Home Department. The changes will allow dependants to apply from within the UK, providing they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or temporary release. They will still need to satisfy all other existing requirements.

I am making changes to the visit visa requirement for Kuwaiti nationals holding diplomatic and special passports issued by Kuwait. When travelling to the UK for the purpose of an official or general visit, they will no longer have to obtain a visit visa to travel to the UK.