On 17 July 2023, the UK Government published a statement with details of all the changes they are making to the Immigration Rules.
Based on the provided information, here are the key changes:
1. EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS):
- Valid Application: Meeting the deadline for the application or having reasonable grounds for a delay becomes a validity requirement, not just an eligibility requirement. The Secretary of State can consider late applications based on reasonable grounds.
- Preventing Illegal Entrants: Valid applications to the EUSS as joining family members can't be made by illegal entrants into the UK.
- Extension of Limited Leave to Enter or Remain (Pre-Settled Status): The Secretary of State may extend leave under the EUSS for pre-settled status without a valid application to comply with a court judgment. Pre-settled status will be extended automatically in relevant cases.
- Route Closures: The EUSS will be closed to new applications under two routes not covered by agreements: family members of qualifying British citizens returning from the EEA or Switzerland (Surinder Singh cases) and primary carers of British citizens (Zambrano cases). Those already on these routes can still apply.
- Inclusion of Child of a Durable Partner: The child of a durable partner, who has turned 18 since being granted pre-settled status, will be included within the EUSS.
2. EUSS Family Permit:
- Closure of Applications: The EUSS family permit will be closed to new applications by family members of qualifying British citizens from 8th August 2023. Existing permits granted before this date can still be used to come to the UK, and applicants can apply to the EUSS before their permit's leave to enter expires.
3. Extension of the Ukraine Extension Scheme:
- Eligibility Period: Ukrainian nationals who obtained permission to enter or stay in the UK between 18th March 2022 and 16th November 2023 can apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme and obtain 36 months' permission to stay in the UK.
- Application Deadline: The application deadline for the Ukraine Extension Scheme is extended to 16th May 2024.
4. Changes to the Student Route and Consequential Changes to Work Routes:
- Removing Dependants' Rights: International students will no longer be allowed to bring dependants, except for those on postgraduate research programs.
- Restricting Switching to Work Routes: International students will not be allowed to switch to work routes until their studies are completed. Exceptions are made for certain cases.
- Preservation of Existing Exemptions: Dependants of government-sponsored students and dependent children born in the UK will retain existing exemptions.
5. Asylum - Pausing the Differentiation Policy:
- Group Differentiation: The differentiation policy between Group 1 and Group 2 refugees is paused. Both groups will now receive the same conditions after successful asylum applications, including length of permission to stay, route to settlement, and eligibility for Family Reunion.
6. Improving Clarity Regarding Withdrawing Asylum Claims:
- Consideration of Withdrawn Asylum Claims: Consideration of all withdrawn asylum claims will be discontinued.
- Clarifications: Specific requirements are added to clarify the withdrawal of asylum applications and attendance at reporting events.
7. Changes to the Skilled Worker Route:
- Shortage Occupation List: Jobs in certain construction occupations and the fishing industry are added to the Shortage Occupation List, allowing for lower salary requirements and visa application fees.
- Changes for General Practitioner Specialty Training: Applicants for General Practitioner specialty training will be granted permission until four months after the end date of their certificate of sponsorship, with the ability to undertake supplementary employment during this period.
- Genuine Intent Requirement: Applicants must genuinely intend to undertake their sponsored job and not intend to work in breach of their conditions.
8. Changes to Other Immigration Routes:
Various minor changes and drafting corrections have been made to other immigration routes, including the Innovator Founder, Youth Mobility Scheme, Appendix GAE Schemes, and others.