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New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules amends ETA scheme for non-visa nationals, removes right of administrative review for EUSS refusals

Summary

Changes related to EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) requirements; new Appendix Children introduced

By EIN
Date of Publication:
07 September 2023

The Home Office has today released the latest statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.

The 66-page statement of changes, HC 1780, can be downloaded here. The accompanying explanatory memorandum is available here. The parent GOV.UK page for the changes is here.

The explanatory memorandum highlights the main changes being made as those in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and to Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) requirements.

A new ETA scheme will be launched in October 2023. It will be introduced in a phased manner on a nationality basis and will ultimately apply to all those passengers visiting the UK or transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays and do not have any other immigration status before travelling.

The Home Office says residents of Qatar travelling to the UK will require an ETA from November 2023, and residents of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will require an ETA from February 2024. More nationalities will be added to the scheme later.

Today's statement of changes makes a number of amendments to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisations, including on grounds for refusal and on clarifying ETA exemption for residents of Ireland.

The EUSS changes will see the right of administrative review for EUSS refusals and cancellation decisions from 5 October 2023 being removed. Some minor technical amendments are also being made to Appendix EU.

A new Appendix Children is being introduced by today's changes. The explanatory memorandum states: "We are introducing a cross-cutting Appendix Children that will include common requirements for both children applying as dependants of a lead applicant, and children applying in their own right. Common requirements for dependent children relate to age, independent life, care, and relationship requirements. A common parental consent requirement will apply where a child is applying for entry clearance or permission to stay in their own right. No policy changes have been made to these requirements, but this approach will provide clarity and consistency."

Appendix Children will initially apply to over 20 routes, and it will be extended to further routes in the future.

A further new Appendix Returning Resident is also being added to the Immigration Rules.

The changes will come into effect on various dates from 28 September 2023.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, immigration minister Robert Jenrick summarised the changes as follows:

Statement

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

EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and EUSS family permits

We are making certain changes to the EUSS, which 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 immigration status.

The effect of the changes is the removal of the right of administrative review for EUSS eligibility refusals and relevant cancellation decisions made on or after 5 October 2023. In line with the Citizens' Rights Agreements, a right of redress will continue to be provided through a right of appeal. The changes create streamlined arrangements for challenging a decision and align with the approach taken in the rest of the immigration system (where no dual right of redress exists).

The same changes apply to the S2 Healthcare Visitor route, which provides a route of entry to the UK for people who, before the end of the transition period, had requested authorisation from their EEA home state or Switzerland to receive a course of planned healthcare treatment provided by the NHS under the 'S2 arrangement'.

We are also making some minor, technical amendments to Appendix EU for clarification purposes.

Immigration Rules for Pre-1997 Gurkhas, Hong Kong Military Unit Veterans and Family Members

We are bringing the pre-1997 Gurkha settlement concession into the Immigration Rules and at the same time extending the policy to cover pre-1997 members of Hong Kong military units as announced in March 2023.

The policy recognises Hong Kong veterans have similar circumstances to Gurkhas, stationed in Hong Kong prior to handover to China, although never based in the UK. It will enable those eligible who were discharged before 1 July 1997, to settle in the UK. This will be done by extending the provisions of the settlement concession that already exists for former Gurkhas and their families to Hong Kong military unit veterans and their families; bringing both cohorts under the Rules provides greater transparency for these routes and fairness of treatment.

Changes to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation

We have made changes to clarify that the ETA exemption for applicants lawfully resident in Ireland who are travelling within the Common Travel Area, will require a person aged 16 or above, to demonstrate residency in Ireland, if required by a UK official, in order to benefit from this exemption.

The changes to the Immigration Rules are being laid on 7 September 2023.

All changes in the Statement of Changes will come into effect on various dates from 28 September 2023.