The Statement of Changes published on 15 March 2022 have introduced the following key changes:
EU Settlement Scheme Applications
EUSS Family Permits can be issued in place of an EEA Family Permit to extended family members, or a person with a derivative right to reside who made a valid application by 31 December 2020 but was not issued their document by 30 June 2021. Furthermore, their continuous qualifying period for the purpose of Settled Status after 5 years can commence on arrival to the UK.
Naturalised British citizens such as ‘Lounes dual nationals’ can sponsor relevant family members under the EUSS and apply for EUSS family permit even if they did not hold comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person.
Settlement on the Family Life and Private Life Route
There will be stricter validity and mandatory suitability requirements for settlement on the family life and private life routes. For example, 5 years of leave is required following certain breaches (such as NHS debt) coming to the Home Office’s attention or criminal sentences ending, and no fee waivers for settlement.
The family life settlement route will allow a combination of different periods of leave as partners and parents without resetting the clock, and replaces the 10-year route to settlement in Appendix FM.
New requirements under the Private life route mean that children resident for 7 years, and young adults who meet the half-life test, may be eligible to settle after 5 years rather than 10 years, and can be granted 5 years leave from the outset.
There will be an introduction of continuous residence rules, where absences for work, study or supporting family overseas are permitted as long as the family have maintained a family life in the UK and the UK has remained their place of permanent residence during their absence.
Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications
Where an applicant applied for ILR but does not meet the requirements for ILR, however may qualify for Leave to Remain (LTR) instead, the applicant will be required to pay an HIS fee. If the applicant does not pay the HIS fee, their application will be rejected as invalid and the ILR fee will be retained and no refunds issued.
Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
The ARAP rules have been further narrowed. Now, as well as being directly employed by, or contracted to, a UK Government Department or Unit, the applicant cannot have been dismissed from their job (except in circumstances where the Secretary of State considers that the person was dismissed for a minor reason).
The rules will clarify variation rules for multiple applications, namely that dependents will need to ensure that the main applicants have made valid applications, or have leave or are British; otherwise the dependents’ applications will be rejected as invalid.
Grounds for Refusal
The deception ground for refusal has been widened to include refusal of applications for entry clearance and permission to enter, in addition to permission to stay applications where deception was used in a prior application.
Global Business Mobility Routes
A new Global Business mobility route has been introduced to replace certain ICT routes and the former Sole Representative of Overseas Business. This route has been split into 5 sub-routes as follows:
- Graduate Trainee replaces Graduate ICT
- Secondment Worker is for secondments under contracts
- Senior or Specialist Worker replaces ICT
- Service Supplier replaces Intl Agreement Temporary Workers
- UK Expansion Worker – replaces Sole Representative of Overseas Business
- The minimum salary threshold for the Worker will be £42,400 per annum
- Under this route the Worker would be granted an initial leave of 1 year and this can be extended however only a maximum of 2 years is permitted on this route
- The Worker is expected to be the authorising officer
- The Home Office will be introducing a new provisional rating licence system
Note that none of the above routes will lead to settlement as there are caps on the total lengths of stay in each route.
High Potential Individual Route
The new High Potential Individual Route will allow graduates from non-UK universities listed as a top 50 on at least 2 of 3 ranking systems to come to the UK for 2 years if relying on a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and 3 years if relying on a PhD.
Scale Up Visa Route
New Scale Up Visa route has been introduced taking a similar approach to the Skilled Worker visa route.
A scale up company needs to ‘demonstrate that they have an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3-year period in terms of turnover or staffing. Companies will also need to have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of this 3-year period’.
Once a scale-up company has an A-rated licence it can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship and sponsor migrants for 6 months in occupations skilled to min RQF level 6, with a salary ≥ to: £33,000 per annum, going rate, and/or £10.58/hr, whichever is higher. There is no Immigration Skills Charge. Migrants will receive 2 years leave initially and can be self-employed.
Scale up workers can switch to different sponsored roles in first 6 months. After 6 months, they do not need to be sponsored, but to extend for 3 years/settle they must have monthly PAYE earnings in the UK of at least £33,000 per annum during at least 50% of their Scale-up Worker leave. This means that although they can be self-employed, they can only rely on their earnings as an employee to qualify for an extension.
Sincere Immigration will be updating this page further with more details of the changes in due course.