Everything You Need To Know About Changes To The Immigration Rules HC535
By Teni Shahiean of OTS Solicitors
On the 29th October 2015, UK Visa and Immigration announced a series of changes to the Immigration Rules, most of which will come into effect today. The changes affect the areas of Asylum, settlement, family and private life, and Tiers 1, 2 and 5 of the points-based system.
A Summary of the Main Changes and How they will Affect You
- Unless exceptional circumstances apply, Asylum claims from EU nationals will be deemed invalid.
- The Explanatory Memorandum to the Statement of Changes states that the rules will clarify “the circumstances in which a grant of Asylum (refugee status) and any associated leave may be revoked”. The Memorandum states that if circumstances are such that an individual no longer requires humanitarian protection, then, in accordance with its obligations under the Refugee Convention, protection status may be withdrawn, and permanent residence in the UK denied.
- Refugee claimants, who fraudulently claim protection status, commit a criminal offence or who pose a danger to the community will be placed on more restrictive forms of leave to ensure their cases are kept under regular review if they are not able to be removed without breaching the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Clear definitions of ‘Refugee Status’ and ‘Refugee Leave’ have been added to the Immigration Rules.
- All future English language tests will have to be Secure English Language Tests. A list of providers will be available under Appendix O.
- Individuals holding a Tier 2 (Skilled Migrant Visa) will need to show they are earning a minimum gross annual salary of £35,000 a year, or the ‘appropriate rate’ for their occupation, whichever is higher from 6th April 2016 if they wish to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This will present a challenge to employers who want to retain highly skilled labour.
Right to Private and Family Life
- If a sponsor or the sponsor's partner are believed to pose a safety risk to a child, then the Secretary of State will have the power to refuse the said child’s entry clearance into the UK.
Tier 1 (including Exceptional Talent) of the points-based system
- This route is being reformed to ‘[help] businesses operating within the digital technology sector to attract and secure world-class talent from outside the EU.’
- Four new qualifying criteria have been developed to alleviate the skills shortage in the technology sector: building UK scale ups, recognising ‘exceptional talent’, powering the Northern Powerhouse and recruiting teams from overseas. The new criteria have been designed to reflect better the skills and experience of target applicants who are most likely to add value to the UK digital technology sector.
- Additional documentation is required from Entrepreneurial Visa applicants, including evidence of job creation, continuous trading and past investments.
- Emphasis on the fact that is property is used to provide the balance of funds needed to obtain an investment visa; then that property can only be jointly owned by the spouse or civil partner of the applicant and share or loan capital in consortiums is not an acceptable form of investment.
Tier 2 and 5 of the points-based system
- The occupations of product manager,>Tier 2 visa shortage occupation list.
- Confirmation that 45,000 and 12,000 places will be allocated to Australia and New Zealand respectively for the 2016 Youth Mobility Scheme.
- Changes will be made to clarify the charity worker rules for sponsors and applicants.
Many of these changes will have a profound effect on the Immigration Rules, especially pertaining to Asylum and the technology industry. If you have any questions about these changes or any other aspect of Immigration law, please call our office on 0207 936 9960 to discuss your best options and to then book an appointment to see our Immigration solicitors.