Breaking News: Immigration Changes Announced
Almost every day there is news about the end of free movement on the 31 December 2020 and the implications for EU citizens. The Home Office has released its latest statement of Immigration changes that includes important information for both EU and non-EEA nationals. In this blog we look at what the key changes mean in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme and general entry criteria.
UK Immigration solicitors
London based OTS Solicitors specialise in all aspects of immigration law and can answer all your Brexit related immigration queries and points based Immigration system questions. For the best Brexit solutions and fast Immigration applications call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.
A new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules
On the 22 October 2020 a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules was put before parliament. The statement runs to over five hundred pages in length and the government intends to bring in the new Immigration Rules on the 1 December 2020. Already some Immigration campaigners are complaining about the speed of the planned changes given their extent.
The government has said that the statement of changes are part of the plan to transform the current Immigration system to the new UK points based Immigration system and will simplify and streamline Immigration Rules.
New Immigration routes
- Hong Kong British National (Overseas) route for Hong Kong residents with BN (O) status
- Skilled Worker route under the new points based Immigration system
- Healthcare Visitor route as a specialist visa route for health care providers
- Service Providers from Switzerland route
New Immigration Rules
In addition to the above four Immigration routes the statement of changes also makes changes to:
- The EU Settlement Scheme
- Suitability requirements for entry and remaining in the UK
- Visitor route
- Student rules and short term study
- Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa rules
- The global talent visa
- Afghan Interpreter rules
- English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements
- Administrative review procedures
- Marriage visit visas and Sham Marriage Scheme
- family immigration Rules
- Turkish visas
When you review the list of changes you can see why the statement runs to over five hundred pages and why concern has been expressed about the timing of the Immigration Rules changes.
EU Settlement Scheme key changes
Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme include:
- To extend the cut-off date for applying for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme from the 30 June 2021 provided that the applicant for settled status was living in the UK by the end of the transition period on the 31 December 2020 and there are what are referred to as ‘reasonable grounds’ for why the applicant didn’t make their settled status application by the original deadline of the 30 June 2021
- Access to the scheme for a resident EEA national or Swiss citizen’s existing close family members (husband, wife, civil partner, partner, child or grandchild and dependent parent or grandparent) who are living overseas at the end of the transition period on the 31 December 2020 (or who live in the UK before the end of the transition period but then break the required continuity of residence) and where the relationship exists when the family member wants to join the EEA national or Swiss citizen in the UK
- Access to the EU Settlement Scheme for a child born to or adopted by an EEA or Swiss citizen after the 31 December 2020 where the EEA national or Swiss citizen was living in the UK by the end of the transition date
- To increase access to the settled status scheme family permit from the end of December 2020 to include existing close family members resident overseas at the end of the transition period or children born or adopted after the 31 December 2020.
Settled status solicitors say that those who meet the eligibility criteria for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme should not delay in making their application for settled status despite the potential ability to apply out of time. The changes to family permits are complex so if you want to know how the rules will impact on you and your family it is best to take legal advice from a specialist settled status solicitor.
Suitability requirements for entry and remaining in the UK
The government says it is simplifying the rules on refusing or cancelling permission to stay in the UK on suitability grounds. The main changes are:
- A new criminal sentence threshold of twelve months for offences committed in the UK and overseas so there is consistency with deportation rules and the rules relating to EU and non-EEA citizens. The Immigration Rule change means that from the 1 January both non-EEA and EU citizens will face criminal records checks on UK entry and if the applicant has been sentenced to a year or more in prison there is an automatic ban on UK entry. This applies even if the application is for a visit visa rather than a longer term visa , such as a work visa or a dependant visa
- If an applicant has committed offences and received less than a twelve month custodial sentence then UK entry can still be denied depending on the individual case
- A discretionary ground for refusal of permission to stay or remain in the UK if rough sleeping.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
At central London based OTS Solicitors the Immigration solicitors in the Brexit team can advise EU nationals on your best Brexit options and provide a same day Settled Status service and answer all your Immigration questions.
For information on our Brexit and all our immigration services call the Immigration team on 0203 959 9123 or use our contact form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.
About OTS Solicitors
OTS Solicitors specialise in immigration law and are recommended in the two leading law directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. If you require expert immigration law advice that you can trust, call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.