Main changes are new seasonal workers scheme and expanded protection for domestic violence victims
Home Office releases new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules
11 December 2018
The Home Office today released its latest statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.
It's under 50 pages (including the explanatory memorandum) and you can access it from here.
The explanatory memorandum lists the main changes as to:
• Introduce a new seasonal workers scheme; and
• Expand protection offered to victims of domestic abuse, to include partners of refugees who have not yet gained indefinite leave to remain, as a result of the judgment in the case of A v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2017).
Further changes are also made to Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the points-based system.
The Guardian reported today that another Tier 1 change announced and planned for last week – the suspension of Tier 1 (Investor) visas due to corruption concerns – has now been officially confirmed as not having taken place.
The Home Office said in a press release last week that the Tier 1 (Investor) route would be suspended from 7 December, but a Home Office spokesperson today told the Guardian: "The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended, however we remain committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course."
According to the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International UK, reports suggest that the decision not to implement the suspension is a result of "opposition from other government departments."
Rachel Davies Teka, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said: "We call on the Government to urgently clarify its policy towards the Tier 1 Visa Scheme, as well as set a timetable for when and how the promised review of previous recipients will be carried out. Any individuals found by this review to have brought suspicious money into the UK should be subject to police investigation into the provenance of all their UK assets."
"Any new investor visa system must be water-tight, and subject to independent checks to ensure it does not become a red carpet for those who seek to use the UK as a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains."
The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) released a response to the new statement of changes and you can access it here.
ILPA says: "The much anticipated statement of changes to the immigration rules published on 11 December 2018 is notable more for what it lacks than for what it contains. Most significantly, it is important to note that the Tier 1 (investor) route remains open and unchanged. In a deeply tumultuous week, the Home Office announced that the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route would be halted on 6 December 2018. The news took practitioners by surprise, and the move was announced by press release, with no consultation whatsoever."
ILPA welcomed the Home Office's U-turn on the Tier 1 (Investor) policy and hopes that the expected further announcement will include a consultation period at the very least.