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Major new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules released


Government hails 500+ page statement of changes as 'a significant step forward in the transformation of our immigration system'

Date of Publication:
22 October 2020

Major new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules released

22 October 2020

A significant new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules has been laid before Parliament today.

You can download the statement of changes and the accompanying explanatory memorandum from here. The main statement of changes runs to 514 pages.

The changes take effect from 1 December 2020.

The Government said today's statement of changes was "a significant step forward in [the] transformation of our immigration system, implementing the future global points-based immigration system and simplifying and streamlining the rules."

Kevin Foster MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Future Borders and Immigration, said in a statement to the Commons:

"My Rt Hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules.

"In February and July 2020, we published our Policy Statements on the UK's Points-Based Immigration System. This set out how we would fulfil our commitment to the British public to take back control of our borders by ending free movement and introducing a single, global immigration system. The Points-Based System will cater for the most highly skilled workers, skilled workers, students and a range of other specialist work routes including routes for global leaders in their field and innovators.

"The changes to the Immigration Rules are a crucial part of the Future Points-Based Immigration System. They also introduce the new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) route for a BN(O) citizen who wants to live and work in the UK and will extend the Afghan Interpreter ex-gratia scheme.

"The rules also represent a significant further step in our commitment to simplify the rules, implementing many of the recommendations of the Law Commission to ensure we provide greater clarity to migrants, employers and all other users of the rules.

"At the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, free movement will end and newly arriving European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens will come within the scope of the new global immigration system. These rules will generally commence between 1 December and 1 January, but EEA nationals will not be granted permission until after 1 January as they are able to rely on free movement right until then.

"I have set out in a separate document, attached, the details of the changes we are making to the Immigration Rules, which should be read together with this statement."

The 10-page document referred to by Kevin Foster can be downloaded here. It provides a useful overview of the many changes made.

As noted in the document, the following four new routes will be created:

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) route
Skilled Worker route
S2 Healthcare Visitor route
Service Providers from Switzerland route

Changes are made to the following:

Suitability requirements of the Immigration Rules
Afghan Interpreter rules
EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
Visitor route
Short-term Study rules
Student rules
Parent of a Child Student rules
Intra-Company Transfer rules
Global Talent route
Other work routes
Validity requirements for applications
English language, finance and Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements
Administrative review
Sham Marriage Scheme and marriage visit visa requirements
Family Immigration Rules in Appendix FM
Turkish ECAA categories

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said in response on Twitter that the Government had "introduced a whole new immigration system through the back door" with "zero notice or scrutiny" and was "choosing to level *down* rights for all who move here".