The UK Government recently announced a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules to introduce new appendixes for Settlement Family Life, Private Life, and Relationship with a Partner routes as well as changes to the EU Settlement Scheme and Right to Work Guidance.
In this article, Keystone Law’s Immigration team outline the new appendices and explain further changes made to the Immigration Rules.
For more information on the new visa routes announced by the UK Government, please click here.
New Appendix Settlement Family Life and new Appendix Private Life
The Appendix Settlement Family Life seeks to simplify the settlement rules for those with permission as a partner or parent under Appendix FM and who are eligible to settle in the UK after a qualifying period of 10 years. It permits different periods of leave as a partner, parent, on a private life route, or with leave outside the Rules to be combined without resetting the clock.
Leave on other routes can be counted if a person did not enter illegally, and had permission as a partner or parent under Appendix FM for at least one year. Persons with leave as parents of a child under Appendix FM can also settle once their child has turned 18. However, it should be noted that continuous residence requirements have been introduced as well as amendments to Appendix Continuous Residence.
The Appendix Private Life will replace paragraph 276ADE(1) of the Immigration Rules. New requirements mean that children resident for 7 years whom it would not be reasonable to expect to leave the UK, and young adults under the age of 25 who have spent at least half their life continuously resident in the UK, can be eligible to settlement after 5 years, bringing the concession on early settlement introduced on 20 October 2021 into the Rules.
There are also requirements for private life grants to adults continuously resident in the UK for more than 20 years, and those resident for less than 20 years if there would be very significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country where they would have to live, if required to leave the UK. Applicants can be granted either 30- or 60-months’ leave.
Both the Appendix Settlement Family Life and Appendix Private Life introduce new stricter validity requirements (as paragraph 34, the application for permission to stay, will not apply) and mandatory suitability requirements (which go beyond the suitability criteria in Appendix FM).
New Appendix Relationship with a Partner
The Appendix Relationship with a Partner is described in the Explanatory Memorandum as: “a new cross-cutting Appendix that will include the requirements to show a relationship with a partner. Initially this Appendix will apply only to proof of relationship with a partner under Appendix Settlement Family Life, but in future it will be extended to other routes to apply consistent requirements”.
Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and EUSS family permit
New provisions have been included in the Rules for variation of applications where a valid application has been made but not yet decided under Appendix EU. Adjustments have also been made to the suitability requirements.
Other key changes include:
- “To bring within the Rules the current concession arrangements for an EUSS family permit to be issued in place of an EEA family permit (and relied upon in a subsequent EUSS application) where an EEA family permit would have been issued (including on appeal) to a dependent relative extended family member, or a person with a derivative right to reside, had the route not closed after 30 June 2021”, and to allow those arriving to start their qualifying period of continuous residence in the UK after the end of the transition period.
- “To bring within the Rules the current concession arrangements for an appropriate letter to be issued by the Secretary of State in place of an EEA residence card (and relied upon in a subsequent EUSS application) where an EEA residence card would have been issued (including on appeal) to an extended family member had the route not closed after 30 June 2021.”
- To enable ‘Lounes’ dual nationals “to sponsor relevant family members under the EUSS and the EUSS family permit notwithstanding the fact that they acquired British citizenship without having met free movement requirements to have held comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person”.
Right to Work Guidance – April 2022
The Home Office has released new draft Right to Work Guidance, which is due to come into effect on 6 April 2022.
The Guidance makes a few changes to the way in which Right to Work Checks are carried out, namely changes to the way in which biometric cards are used to evidence right to work.
From 6 April 2022, biometric residence permit (BRP) holders are required to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service only. Employers cannot accept physical cards for the purposes of a right to work check even if it shows a later expiry date. BRPs have been removed from the lists of acceptable documents used to conduct a manual right to work check.
Retrospective checks will not be required on biometric card holders who, before 6 April 2022, used their physical card to demonstrate their right to work. Employers will maintain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty if the initial checks were undertaken in line with the guidance that applied at the time the check was made.
Foreign students switching to the Graduate visa in the UK can start working in their new full-time position as soon as they have submitted an application under the Graduate route as long as they have completed their course of study. They do not have to wait for their application to be decided.
Global Talent route
A few minor changes have been made to the Global Talent route, namely that exceptional promise applicants must be at an early stage in their career and that the evidence in support of exceptional talent or promise must cover achievements in the five years directly prior to the application.
Within the digital technology field, for applicants applying for a full peer review endorsement, the details required within the letters of support from organisations have been clarified. This is to ensure that they provide sufficient information to allow Tech Nation to consider the applicant’s claim of exceptional talent or promise.
In the science, humanities, engineering and medicine fields, endorsements are being amended to make technical amendments for clarity, including re-inserting the word “eligible” when discussing roles that qualify under the appointments fast track route.
The list of prizes in Appendix Global Talent has been expanded to cover a slightly wider range of prizes.
Applicants who hold a qualifying prize are able to qualify without the need to obtain an endorsement from one of the Global Talent endorsing bodies. For prizes to be eligible, they must be given to named individuals. The list does not include prestigious awards for specific works, such as an award-winning film, or to whole organisations. Prizes must also be open to all nationalities and winners must be determined by experts or peers, rather than a public vote.
No changes have been introduced for the time being in this category, but these may be introduced in October this year.
India Young Professionals Scheme (akin to the Youth Mobility Scheme)
This was due to open in January. Negotiations are still ongoing with India, so the ballot for Indian nationals is not open yet.
If you have any questions on the changes made to the Immigration Rules, please contact a member of the Immigration team using the details below.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.