Numerous changes made by 47-page HC 246 take effect on various dates from today to 31 January 2024
In a very busy week for immigration and asylum law, a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules has been published today by the Home Office.
Changes are being made to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), the Visitor Rules for business activities, the Youth Mobility Scheme, as well as changes to various appendices in the Immigration Rules, including the introduction of a new Appendix Statelessness, a new Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse, and a new Appendix Bereaved Partner.
The changes will come into effect on various dates ranging from today to 31 January 2024.
The explanatory memorandum says: "The changes being made primarily concern changes to the EU Settlement Scheme and to travel document requirements for school groups visiting the UK from France. The Youth Mobility Scheme has also been updated to reflect changes and enhancements to the arrangements in place between the UK and specific countries. Three new Appendices to the Rules have also been introduced: Appendix Bereaved Partner and Appendix Statelessness which replace existing provisions and Appendix Victims of Domestic Abuse which introduces an out of country settlement route for victims of transnational marriage abandonment."
The new Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse was warmly welcomed by Wesley Gryk Solicitors, who noted that it provides, for the first time, a specific route of re-entry to the UK for victims of domestic abuse abandoned overseas. Diana Baxter of Wesley Gryk said: "This is a historical moment for us, as we have been working closely alongside Southall Black Sisters and others over the last decade to support client victims of transnational marriage abandonment (TMA). TMA is a form of domestic violence. It affects spouses who have been resident in the UK as the partner of a British or settled person and are then deliberately stranded overseas by their British partner or family. Until now, such victims have not been able to benefit from the domestic violence rules as these have always required the applicant to be present in the UK. ... With today’s Statement of Changes, the Home Office has now created a route to indefinite leave to enter for victims of domestic abuse."
In a written statement to the House of Commons, the Home Secretary James Cleverly provided the following details about the changes:
I am today laying before the House a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules.
Changes to Visitor Rules
As set out in the Spring Budget 2023, we are amending the list of permitted business activities that can be undertaken by individuals on a UK Visit visa, including by: (a) removing the restriction on visitors working directly with clients in an intra-corporate context (subject to the activity being incidental to their employment abroad and to the delivery of a wider project by the UK branch of their overseas employer), (b) naming remote work as a permitted activity, providing this is not the primary purpose of the visit, (c) expanding the list of unpaid work activities that legal professionals can undertake in the UK, allowing scientists to conduct research in the UK as part of their visit, and (d) allowing pilots and cabin crew members to travel to the UK as part of a Civil Aviation Authority approved wet leasing agreement.
We are also reforming Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE), by including speaking at conferences in the list of permitted engagements. By incorporating the provisions of the route into the Standard visitor route, to enable easier switching between PPE activities and the other permitted business activities, and to enable easier travel across the UK border for nationalities eligible to use e-passport gates.
Introduction of new Appendix Statelessness
We are making changes to the partner and child rules on the statelessness route.
A partner or child will no longer be eligible to apply for permission as a dependent under the stateless route but will instead need to meet the requirements to come to, or stay in, the UK as a partner or child of a stateless person under the family rules in Appendix FM. A person who already has permission as a partner or child of a stateless person under the current Stateless Immigration Rules in Part 14 will be able to continue to extend their permission or stay in the UK under those provisions.
Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
The EUSS enables EU, other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens living in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and their family members, to obtain the immigration status they need to continue living in the UK. We are making two particular changes where the EUSS is concerned.
First, to reinforce the Government's approach to tackling illegal migration, we will prevent a valid application to the EUSS as a joining family member being made by an irregular arrival to the UK (which will include small boat arrivals) as well as by an illegal entrant. Second, consistent with the temporary protection of rights conferred on them by the Citizens' Rights Agreements for three months from their arrival in the UK, we will require a person in the UK as a visitor to make any application to the EUSS as a joining family member within three months of their arrival (subject to reasonable grounds for any delay in applying).
Changes to travel document requirements for school groups visiting the UK from France
We are making changes to allow children aged 18 and under, studying at a school in France, to visit the UK on an organised educational trip without the usual passport or visit visa requirements. EU, other EEA and Swiss national children will be able to travel on their national identity card. Visa national children will still be required to travel on their passport but will not have to obtain a visit visa.
Introduction of new Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse
We are introducing an out of country settlement route for victims of transnational marriage abandonment.
Changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme
The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) implements the international commitments that have been made to provide cultural exchange programmes for young people.
We are adding Uruguay to the list of countries and territories participating in the YMS and making changes to reflect that the UK's existing reciprocal, bilateral arrangements with Japan and the Republic of Korea have been enhanced.
The changes to the Immigration Rules are being laid on 7 December 2023 and will come into effect on various dates between 7 December 2023 and 31 January 2024.