Update on Immigration rules

Update on Immigration rules


Immigration Health Surcharge

IMMIGRATION HEALTH SURCHARGE DUE TO RISE ON 16TH JANUARY 2024: The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023

(1)This Order may be cited as the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023.

(2)This Order comes into force on the later of 16th January 2024 or the twenty-first day after the day on which it is made.

(3)This Order extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

(4)In this Order, “the Principal Order” means the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015(1).

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2023/9780348252637

This Order amends the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/792), which requires a person who applies for entry clearance for a limited period, or for limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom, to pay an immigration health charge.

Article 2 amends Schedule 1 to the Principal Order which specified the annual amount of the immigration health charge in respect of different types of applications. In respect of applications by students, dependants of students, persons applying for leave to enter or remain under Appendix Youth Mobility Scheme and all other applications for entry clearance or leave to remain made in respect of persons aged under 18 years at the date of application, whether that person is the applicant or a dependant of the applicant, the annual amount is increased from £470 to £776. In respect of all other applications for entry clearance or leave to remain made in respect of persons aged 18 years or over at the date of application, the annual amount is increased from £624 to £1,035.

Article 3 amends Schedule 2 to the Principal Order which sets out the situations in which applicants for entry clearance or leave to remain are exempt from paying the immigration health charge. Article 3(2)(a), (b) and (c) provides that an applicant for leave to remain under Appendix Domestic Worker who is a Victim of Modern Slavery, Appendix Temporary Permission to Stay for Victims of Human Trafficking or Slavery or Appendix Statelessness is exempt from the charge. Article 3(2)(e) makes amendments to ensure that certain NHS workers and their dependants continue to be exempt from payment of the immigration health charge. Article 3(2)(f) provides that applicant for leave to enter or leave to remain under Appendix Ukraine Scheme is exempt from the charge.

Article 4 makes transitional provision so that the amendments made to the Principal Order by this Order do not apply to an application for leave to enter or leave to remain made before this Order comes into force.


Immigration health surcharge: guidance for health and care reimbursements

Anyone holding a relevant visa, who has worked in health and social care continuously for at least 6 months commencing on or after 31 March 2020 and has paid the IHS, may be eligible for a reimbursement.

Their dependants may also be eligible for a reimbursement if they have paid the IHS or the IHS has been paid for them.

Any period of time or work an applicant has completed before 31 March 2020 cannot be claimed for.

The reimbursement scheme is designed for applicants who are in the UK on time-limited visas that give them a generic right to work. Examples of this may include: a dependant of a UK national or another migrant; someone on a Tier 4 student visa who can undertake up to 20 hours of work a week during term time; someone on a Tier 5 government authorised exchange visa; someone on a Tier 5 youth mobility scheme

Eligibility criteria: An applicant is entitled to claim reimbursement of the IHS where they do not hold or are not eligible for the health and care worker visa (including applicants who hold a valid Tier 2 (General) visa and work in an eligible role), and if they have provided the required evidence to demonstrate they have completed the eligible hours of eligible work. ‘Eligible hours’ and ‘eligible work’ is defined below.

Eligible hours: Eligible hours must total at least an average of 16 hours per week calculated over a 6-month period which began on or after 31 March 2020. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate this by submitting pay slips as part of their application.

Eligible work: Work is ‘eligible’ if it is of a type and for an employer as described in Annex A.

For example, this will mean work is eligible if it is:

providing a service which is related to the delivery of health or social care

the applicant is employed or engaged to do the work by:

a recognised health or care provider (for example, NHS trusts, national NHS bodies)

an employer which is registered with an appropriate health or social care services regulator to provide health or care services.For instance, this includes care homes or independent sector healthcare providers, which would be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England, or a pharmacy, which would be regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council an employer delivering services that directly support health and social care services, such as facilities management services within a hospital, as long as this work is undertaken within a health and care setting


MPs will debate the increase to the immigration health surcharge on 10 January, meaning that it cannot now come into force on 16 Jan, the earliest possible date – will instead be 21 days after the order is ‘made’ https://statutoryinstruments.parliament.uk/instrument/Oj1daRX3/timeline/7Up5lZZt


eVisa

Online immigration status (eVisa)

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are developing a digital immigration system. This means we are replacing physical documents with an online record of your immigration status.

This is known as an eVisa.

-The documents being replaced are:

-biometric residence permits (BRP)

-biometric residence cards (BRC)

-passport endorsements, such as indefinite leave to enter wet ink stamps

-vignette stickers in passports, such as entry clearance or visa vignettes

An eVisa is an online record of your immigration status and the conditions of your permission to enter or stay in the UK. You need to register for a UKVI account to view and share relevant information about your status securely with third parties, such as employers or landlords.

Updating your physical document to an eVisa does not affect your immigration status or the conditions of your permission to enter or stay in the UK.

In the future you’ll be able to use an eVisa to travel to the UK – you will not need to carry a physical document, except for your current passport, which must be registered to your UKVI account. Until then you will need to continue to carry your physical document if you have one.

You need to register for a UKVI account to access the view and prove service and see your eVisa, as well as share information about your immigration status and conditions, such as your right to work or rent in the UK. You can also update personal details through your UKVI account, such as your contact details or your current passport details. You do not have to pay to register for a UKVI account.

If you currently have permission to stay in the UK and have either a BRP, a BRC or other physical documents to prove your immigration status, you do not have to take any action now.

Throughout 2024, we’ll provide updates on when you need to register for a UKVI account, and what you need to do.

If you need to make a new application for permission to stay in the UK, you should follow the usual application process. There will be information and guidance provided during your application process if you need to create a UKVI account.



Withdrawal of Asylum claims

Asylum Changes

Pausing the differentiation policy (1500 on 17th July 2023) – Provisions within the Nationality and Borders Act (NABA) which came into force on 28 June 2022 set out the framework to differentiate between two groups of refugees; “Group 1” and “Group 2”. The primary way in which the Groups are differentiated is the grant of permission to stay; Group 1 refugees are normally granted refugee permission to stay for five years after which they can apply for settlement, whereas Group 2 refugees are normally granted temporary refugee permission to stay for 30 months on a 10-year route to settlement.

We are therefore pausing the differentiation policy through these Rules changes. This means we will stop taking grouping decisions under the differentiated asylum system after these Rules changes and those individuals who are successful in their asylum application, including those who are granted humanitarian protection, will receive the same conditions. Our ability to remove failed asylum applicants remains unchanged.

Individuals who have already received a “Group 2” or humanitarian protection decision under post-28 June 2022 policies will be contacted and will have their conditions aligned to those afforded to “Group 1” refugees. This includes length of permission to stay, route to settlement, and eligibility for Family Reunion.


Changes to Student route

Statement of changes to the immigration rules: HC 1496, 17 July 2023

Changes to the Student route and consequential changes to work routes (1500 on 17th July 2023)

The following changes are being made to the student route in response to the Government’s commitment to reduce net migration:

Removing the right for international students to bring dependants unless they are on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programmes; and

Removing the ability for international students to switch out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed.

These changes preserve the ability for dependants already in the UK to extend their stay, and for international students on taught postgraduate courses beginning before 1 January 2024 to bring dependants. They also preserve existing exemptions for dependants of government-sponsored students and for dependent children who are born in the UK.

The switching restrictions will ensure that students are generally not switching in- country to another route until they have completed their courses. Students on courses at degree level or above will be able to apply before course completion to switch to sponsored work routes, as long as their employment start date is not before their course completion. Those studying towards PhDs will be able to switch after 24 months’ study.


EUSS

EU Settlement Scheme enhancements confirmed

New Immigration Rules, laid in Parliament today (17 July), confirm that from September 2023 people with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will automatically have their status extended by 2 years before it expires if they have not obtained settled status.

The process will be automated by the Home Office and reflected in the person’s digital status. They will be notified of the extension directly. This will ensure that nobody loses their immigration status if they do not apply to switch from pre-settled to settled status.

The Home Office also intends to take steps to automatically convert as many eligible pre-settled status holders as possible to settled status once they are eligible for it, without them needing to make an application. During 2024, automated checks of pre-settled status will establish their ongoing continuous residence in the UK. Safeguards will be in place to ensure that settled status is not wrongly granted.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eu-settlement-scheme-enhancements-confirmed


From Mr Adam Pipe of counsel – Quick EUSS update:
I recently advised on a case where a client had been refused on validity grounds on the basis of a late application. She had made previous applications before the recent changes where she was given a right of appeal but chose to make a new application instead. Her previous apps were without legal advice. I advised that a late appeal was put in against the previous application (with a statement relying on the fact that she was not aware that there would be a change which effectively removed the right of appeal, that the letter itself suggested a new app and that she did not have legal advice). Good news today is the the Tribunal have extended time so the appeal can proceed and the merits (dependency issue) can be considered.


Adult Dependent Relative

Statement of changes to the immigration rules: HC 1496, 17 July 2023

Appendix Adult Dependent Relative

Amendment to the Adult Dependent Relative Immigration Rules to correct an error in the March 2023 Statement of Changes. This amendment reverts to the previous policy position and allows certain partners of Adult Dependent Relatives to be able to come to the UK as an Adult Dependent Relative, where only one of them needs care. In these circumstances, the applicant and their partner must both either be the parents or grandparents of the sponsor.


Child joining a non-parent relative

Introduction of new Appendix Child joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection) (from 12.4.23)

Appendix Child joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection) replaces the existing provisions for leave to enter or remain in the UK as the child of a relative with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK as a refugee or beneficiary of humanitarian protection under paragraphs 319X to 319Y of Part 8 of the Immigration Rules.

The new appendix is drafted in the simplified format, in line with the recommendations of the Law Commission in its report “Simplifying the Immigration Rules”, to which the Government responded on 25 March 2020.

These Rules introduce a four-stage decision-making process which includes: validity, suitability, eligibility and decision. No policy changes have been made; rather, the Rules have been reformatted for accessibility, readability, and consistency with the wider Immigration Rules.

Paragraph 6.2. of the Immigration Rules Introduction sets out definitions which must be referred to when applying Immigration Rules to applications. The definitions of ‘protection status’ and ‘refugee leave’ have been added as these terms are referenced in Appendix Child joining a Non-Parent Relative (Protection).

Transitional provisions have been added to Part 8 of the Immigration Rules to redirect individuals to the new appendix.


Deprivation of British Citizenship

Guidance: Deprivation of British citizenship (Version 1.0 10 May 2023)

Under section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981(BNA 1981) any British citizen, British Overseas Territories citizen, British Overseas citizen, British National (Overseas), British Protected Person or British Subject may be deprived of their citizenship if the Secretary of State is satisfied that:

  1. it would be conducive to the public good and they would not become stateless as a result of the deprivation (section 40(2))
  2. the person acquired citizenship as a result of registration or naturalisation that was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of a material fact (section 40(3))
  3. the person acquired citizenship as a result of registration or naturalisation that was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of a material fact before 1 January 1983 (section 40(6))

“Conducive to the public good” means that it is in the public interest to deprive an individual of British citizenship because of their conduct and/or the threat they pose to the UK. Examples of when a person can be deprived of British citizenship on the ground that it is conducive to the public good include, but are not limited to:

  • the interests of national security, for reasons relating to terrorism, hostile state activity, or any other reason
  • where the person has been involved in serious organised crime
  • where the person has been involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other unacceptable behaviour

There may be overlap between these, for example serious organised crime may have implications for national security.

A decision to deprive a person of British citizenship on the ground it is conducive to the public good (conducive grounds) can only be made by the Home Secretary (or in their absence, another Secretary of State) and it is for them to determine personally whether a person’s actions are such that it is in the public interest that they are no longer a British citizen.

Factors to consider

In cases of fraud, you must consider whether there was a deliberate intention to deceive.

Examples of where a person can be deprived of British citizenship on the grounds of fraud are where they have:

  • falsified elements of their personal details to gain citizenship
  • deliberately withheld relevant information that would have otherwise led to them being refused citizenship
  • committed fraud in a previous immigration application that had a direct bearing on their application for citizenship

When considering whether to make a decision to deprive on fraud grounds you must take account of the following factors:

  • whether the fraud was material to the acquisition of citizenship
  • whether there was an intention to deceive
  • any delay in making a decision to deprive once the fraud is uncovered
  • the reasonably foreseeable consequences of deprivation
  • whether there are any mitigating factors

Fraud material to the acquisition of citizenship

If the relevant facts, had they been known at the time the application for citizenship was considered, would have affected the decision to grant citizenship via naturalisation or registration then you must consider deprivation action.

If the fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact did not have a direct bearing on the grant of citizenship, it may not be appropriate to pursue deprivation action. For example, a person may have previously been granted settlement under a concession where identity and nationality were not qualifying criteria. Despite the fact that they used a false identity at the time, the fraud cannot be said to be material to the grant of settlement. It might therefore not have been material to the grant of citizenship.

Changes to the good character policy now mean that, where there is evidence that someone has employed deception either during the citizenship application process or in a previous immigration application within the last 10 years, they are not normally considered to be of good character. You must consider the guidance on good character when the person obtained their citizenship.

You must consider depriving a spouse or civil partner of their British citizenship if the fraud under consideration was also material to his or her application for naturalisation. However, a spouse must not automatically be deprived of citizenship solely on the basis of their relationship. See Intention to deceive below.

Intention to deceive

You must be satisfied that there was an intention to deceive, via conscious, premeditated action, in order to obtain British citizenship. For example, a person may have got someone else to sit the Knowledge of Life or an English language test on their behalf in order to be sure of a pass. Or they may not have declared a prison sentence or other criminal conviction which would be relevant to their ability to meet the good character requirement.

An innocent error or genuine omission should not lead to deprivation.

All adults are legally responsible for their own citizenship applications, even where this is part of a family application. The fact that a person was advised by a relative or agent to give false information, does not mean they were not complicit in the deception.

If the person was a child at the time the citizenship application was made on their behalf, and there was fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact, it will normally not be appropriate to take deprivation action. However, where an adult submits an application for citizenship which maintains a fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact committed when they were a minor, you must carefully consider whether they are now aware of the fraud and there is therefore a deliberate intention to continue it.

Delay

In assessing whether a decision to deprive is proportionate, you must consider the period of time which has elapsed since the fraud was first uncovered and drawn to the individual’s attention.

Mitigating factors

You must also consider any mitigating circumstances which cast light on the person’s state of mind, including their motives. All adults are expected to take responsibility for the information they provide on immigration and nationality application forms. However, there are instances where mitigating factors may be relevant, and each case must be considered on its own merits.

The following are examples of mitigating factors:

  • where there is evidence of some form of mental or physical impairment that can clearly be shown to have impacted on the person’s judgement at the time the material fraud took place
  • where there is evidence of some form of coercion that indicates that the person was not able to make independent decisions at the time the material fraud took place

The following are unlikely, in themselves, to amount to mitigation:

  • where the person claims that a family member completed the application form for them
  • where the person claims that a representative or interpreter advised them to provide false details

The evidence presented must clearly indicate a lack of free will and / or sound judgement. Statements not supported by corroborative evidence may not be sufficient to make a decision not to deprive.

Evidence of mental or physical impairment that is alleged to have impacted on the person’s free will or judgement must be provided by the person’s doctor or other relevant qualified medical professional.

Factors which would not usually lead to a decision to deprive

In general, it will not usually be appropriate to make a decision to deprive in the following circumstances:

  • where fraud postdates the grant of citizenship
  • if the person was a minor on the date on which they applied for citizenship
  • if the person was a minor on the date on which they acquired indefinite leave to remain and the false representation, concealment of material fact or fraud arose at that stage and that leave to remain led to the subsequent acquisition of citizenship.

However, where fraud occurs after the grant of citizenship but before the person has attended a citizenship ceremony and taken the oath of allegiance, you must consider whether it is appropriate to deprive.

Length of residence in the UK alone will not normally be a reason not to deprive a person of their citizenship but should be taken into account when considering whether deprivation is reasonable and, in respect of any ECHR considerations, proportionate.


ETA

Electronic Travel Authorisation

An ETA gives you permission to travel to the UK.

Who can apply

If you’re a national of Qatar

You can get an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK on or after 15 November 2023.

If you’re a national of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates

You can get an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK on or after 22 February 2024. You’ll be able to apply from 1 February 2024.

If you’re a national of another country

You do not need an ETA. More nationalities will be able to apply later.

What you can do with an ETA

You can get an ETA instead of a visa if you’re:

-coming to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or short-term study

-coming to the UK for up to 3 months on the Creative Worker visa concession

-transiting through the UK– including if you’re not going through UK border control

If you’re coming to the UK for another reason, check if you need a visa instead.

You can get an ETA instead of a visa if you’re:

-coming to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or short-term study

-coming to the UK for up to 3 months on the Creative Worker visa concession

-transiting through the UK– including if you’re not going through UK border control

If you’re coming to the UK for another reason, check if you need a visa instead.

How long it takes

You’ll usually get a decision within 3 working days, but you may get a quicker decision. Occasionally, it may take longer than 3 working days.

If you need to travel soon

You must apply for an ETA before you travel to the UK. You can travel to the UK while waiting for a decision.

After you apply

You’ll get an email confirming you’ve got an ETA. We’ll link it to the passport you applied with. Your ETA lasts for 2 years. You can travel to the UK as many times as you want during that time. If you get a new passport, you’ll need to get a new ETA.

You still need to see a Border Force officer to enter the UK.

An ETA does not guarantee entry to the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/electronic-travel-authorisation-eta

Learning without limits www.forlegal.co.uk

Immigration Rules Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation

An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is required by specified nationals in advance of travel to the UK.

The holder of an ETA will need to obtain permission to enter on arrival in the UK but can be refused entry if they require an ETA and do not have one.

An application for an ETA may be granted through automated processing. A person who is refused an ETA has not been refused permission to enter the UK and will need to apply for a visa if they wish to come to the UK.

The ETA application process will open on 25 October 2023 only for Qatari nationals who intend to travel to the UK on or after 15 November 2023.

The ETA application process will open on 1 February 2024 only for nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirate or Saudi Arabia who intend to travel to the UK on or after 22 February 2024.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-electronic-travel-authorisation


Reducing Net Migration

Reducing Net Migration Factsheet – December 2023
‘Why has the Minimum Income Requirement been increased by so much in one jump?
* Family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense and family migrants must be able to integrate if they are to play a full part in British life. The Minimum Income Requirement has not been increased for over a decade and no longer reflects the level of income required by a family to ensure they are self-sufficient and do not need to rely on public funds.
Won’t this mean splitting up families?
* The family Immigration Rules contain a provision for exceptional circumstances where there would be unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner, a relevant child, or another family member if their application were to be refused.
Can the Minimum Income Requirement still be met in various ways?
* Yes, those with savings will still be able to demonstrate they meet the Minimum Income Requirement. This can either be in addition to a lower income or used exclusively.
 What will happen when people come to renew their visas?
* These new policies won’t be applied retrospectively and until the immigration rules are amended the minimum income threshold will remain the same.
* We are establishing the specifics of the policy, including how it will apply to those renewing visas, and will confirm more details in due course.’ https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2023/12/08/reducing-net-migration-factsheet-december-2023/


Minimum income for family visas to rise on 11.4.24


Video Update on Skilled Worker Earnings Increase and Care Workers


A timetable for the immigration law changes in 2024


Episodes on private life settlement, domestic abuse, long residence and more
Spotify link:
https://open.spotify.com/show/3FRlWH4I0dj7CsXz8EIkO0
Or
https://anchor.fm/adam5675

The Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) (Amendment) Order 2024

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2024/663/made

From today, leave granted under Appendix EU will not, in general, lapse unless a person stays outside the UK & Islands for:
4 years, for Swiss nationals and their family members;
5 years, for all others. – 21/5/2024

eVisa Roll out

Home Office briefing on the eVisa roll out:
1. eVisas (the digital immigration system) will replace all Biometric Residence Permits (BRP), Biometric Residence Cards (BRC), passport stamps (ink stamps given at ports), and passport vignettes (stickers in the passport).
2. The transition for some categories, such as visitor, will take a little longer and will run into 2025. Otherwise, the eVisa will takeover from 1 January 2025.
3. It’s absolutely crucial to keep your Home Office online account updated in respect of passports – the connection between the eVisa and a current passport allows a carrier to check immigration status so a person can board a plane back to the UK, for example. Details can be updated online.
4. The current online enrolment process is in testing stage. From Summer 2024 the roll out will extend to everyone who is eligible.
5. Where an eVisa was given in tandem with a physical document like a BRP, there’s no need to register again. The BRP will fall away and the eVisa will remain.
6. For those with no prior eVisa, the registration process will be online and will be free of charge. A UKVI account must be set up first. After this, an ID verification process must be completed with the UK Immigration ID Check app using a smartphone. Finally, the UKVI account must be linked to the eVisa, which is another online process. Instructions are provided throughout.
7. Those who currently prove their immigration status with a paper document (either a stamp in a passport or a letter) should make a free of charge No Time Limit (NTL) application to start the process of converting their status to be digital. Later this year, that process will be updated to immediately create an eVisa through the NTL application (for now these applications lead to a BRP).
8. Support is available for those with difficulty accessing systems for any reason. This can include appointing a proxy and Assisted Digital support.
9. There is no desperate rush to complete all this. The system will be updated (and likely improved) throughout 2024, and registering before the end of the year is all that is needed.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sharapledger_immigration-activity-7199001386867453953-wqMy?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_ios

Scroll to Top