Last week the Home Office published a new statement of changes HC877 to the UK Immigration Rules which are due to come into force on 6 April 2016. There is a substantial amount of changes being introduced by the Home Office and this is only the first statement of changes for 2016 it is likely there’s more to come. The Home office has also published an accompanying explanatory memorandum perhaps for ease of reading. We have outlined some of the key changes for you below.
Changes relating to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
In response to feedback, minor amendments are being made to better support applicants who have access to investment funds from a trusted source. A provision to allow applicants who are applying with funding from UK Seed Funding Competition or one or more UK Government departments to be able to supply a letter which confirms that the money was transferred to them less than 90 days before the date of the application. Thereby removing the need for such applicants to supply a third party declaration and legal confirmation if they have not held the funds for that duration.
To address concerns about abuse, the evidential requirements for applicants applying using funding from venture capital firms are being expanded and minor clarifications are being made to existing Immigration Rules around job creation.
Changes relating to Tier 2 of the Points-Based System
One positive change announced in relation to the Tier 2(General) restricted category as contrary to expectations none of the more restrictive measures recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in its Tier 2 Review published on 19 January have been introduced and this category remains mostly unchanged except for some minor amendments.
The annual limit (20,700 places per year) remains unchanged, instead allocations have been adjusted so unused places can be carried over from the previous month. The allocations have been revised to better reflect seasonal demand for places across the year. This may alleviate some of the problems encountered last year when the annual limits cap was breached in June 2015, which meant that a number of applicants were not able to gain sponsorship.
Changes to Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
The maintenance requirements for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker)categories are being amended to clarify that by a sponsor certifying maintenance they are confirming the applicant will not claim public funds during their period of leave.
Changes relating to Visitor Visas
A change is being made to Part V3 of Appendix V include a discretionary power for an application for a visit visa, leave to enter or leave to remain to be refused where the applicant owes a litigation debt to the Home Office.
Changes so as to no longer mandatorily refuse an application for entry where the applicant fails to produce a valid travel document that satisfactorily establishes their nationality and identity. This is particularly good news as it reflects the view that the UK is otherwise prepared to allow entry to holders of documents which do not establish a nationality, owing to the holder’s status, but it is willing to accept such documents as they are recognised as valid for travel in all other respects.
The changes also include clarifying the exceptions for those who need to obtain a visa in advance of travelling to the UK as a visitor and to ensure that those exceptions are consistent with the other provisions of Appendix V.
Other Changes to the Immigration Rules
Other amendments include changes to rules for those who owe “litigation debt” to the Home Office (i.e. who were ordered to pay costs and who have not, including all those issued with unlawful costs orders by the Upper Tribunal) clarifying that they will be refused further UK visas. There also changes relation to Family and Private life rules, Administrative Review, Overseas Domestic Workers, Tier 4 Student provisions which can be seen in the full statement of changes and the explanatory memorandum here.
UK Immigration Advice for Tier 1, Tier 2,Tier 5 and Visitor Visa Applicants
Our team of solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the merits of your application by providing you with advice from our leading team of barristers before your matter even reaches the Home Office.
If you have instructed legal representatives and you are unhappy with their conduct you can contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 02071830570 for a telephone assessment.