Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules 14 May 2020

Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules 14 May 2020

On 14 May, the Home Office released a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules.  Most of these changes come into effect from 4 June 2020.  Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme come into force on 24 August 2020.  These dates apply to all the changes listed below unless stated otherwise.

 A summary of the changes and their ramifications are as follows:

EU Settlement Scheme

In a series of mostly positive changes, family members of Northern Ireland citizens can apply to be sponsored under the Settlement Scheme, rather than having to work through the non-EU/EEA immigration system.

“This will mean that eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status, under the EUSS, on the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK. This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether the person of Northern Ireland holds British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify”.

All victims of domestic violence who qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme will be permitted to retain their rights of residence if their relationship broke down because of domestic violence.  Beneficiaries of the change include durable partners, children, dependent parents, and dependent relatives.

Startup and Innovator Visa

If a decision-maker is not confident that an endorsement is genuine, they now have the power to request more information from the applicant.  They are also able to refuse applications if they do not believe that the endorsement body accurately assessed whether the criteria were met.

“Changes are being made to make it clearer that, to be endorsed, applicants must be founders of their businesses and be relying on their own business plans. These changes also clarify that an Innovator applicant’s business may be already trading, providing they were one of its founders.”

This provision has not been added to the endorsement section of the Global Talent Visa requirements.

Furthermore, it must now be shown that the “applicant’s business plan is realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources”.  Also, the applicant must have “generated the ideas in the plan (or made a significant contribution to those ideas) and must be responsible for executing the plan”. 

Higher Education Institutions will be able to endorse Innovator Visa applicants (previously they could only endorse those applying for Startup Visas).

The point was clarified that if an Innovator Visa applicant’s business is already trading in the |UK, the applicant will be eligible if he or she was one of the founders.

Global Talent Visa

There were only a few minor changes to this category, including:

  • Applicants who already have leave to remain under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) who want to extend their stay must apply under the extension requirements for the Global Talent category, rather than obtaining a new endorsement from an endorsing body.
  • Letters of recommendation are now restricted to three sides of A4, excluding the credentials of the author.   This encourages an applicant to focus the information contained in the letters on their key contributions and accomplishments.
  • As requested by Tech Nation, the length of documents allowed to demonstrate and qualifying criteria has been increased from two A4 sides to three A4 sides. This ensures uniformity with the allowable length of a curriculum vitae.
  • Research experience equivalent to a Ph.D. includes industrial and clinical research for the exceptionally talented and exceptional promise category.
  • Exceptional promise applicants applying under Arts and Culture can submit evidence of appearances in which they were not credited.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa has seen an increase in popularity since the closing of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.  The criteria for the Startup and Innovator Visas is stricter, so some migrants have been utilising Representative of an Overseas Business entry route.

A genuineness test has been introduced:

“An amendment is being made to prevent an overseas business sending a representative to facilitate their entry to the UK when there is no genuine intention for them to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK.”

This will give scope to decision-makers to refuse applicants if they do not believe that the applicant has any intention of setting up a branch or subsidiary in Britain.

Furthermore, applicants must provide evidence that the subsidiary or branch office cannot be “established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the applicant”.

And to prevent those who may have qualified under the now-defunct Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa from using the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa as a way of entering the UK, the Rules have been amended to:

“…prevent majority owners from entering as the dependent spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a representative of their own business.”

We will discuss the changes to the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa in-depth in another post to be published in the next few days.

Changes relating to family life

If an applicant has been sent to prison for a period of twelve months and four years, any application for limited leave to remain should only be refused for ten years after the applicant has completed their sentence.

For self-employed people who require a set of accounts to prove they can meet financial requirements such as the minimum income requirement for a Spouse Visa, the list of accountants they can approach has been extended.

“Four of the organisations are members of a UK supervisory body. The other six organisations are not but have previously satisfied the requirements for suitable supervision of their member accountants.”

It was also made clear that leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner is to enable the marriage or civil partnership to take place in the UK.

If you require any further information about the changes to the Immigration Rules, please contact one of our team.  We can quickly explain how the changes could affect your application.  Our multi-lingual team of immigration solicitors will take the time to ensure you fully understand the legal advice provided so you can make the right decision to increase your chances of success.

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