Upcoming Changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules

Revisions on the horizon aim to streamline and clarify immigration processes for prospective entrants.

Overview of the Changes

On 7 September 2023, the UK Home Office announced several key alterations to the Immigration Rules. These amendments, scheduled to be rolled out this autumn, predominantly pertain to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) framework.

Key Updates on EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

  • EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, who were UK residents by 31 December 2020, and their relatives, can acquire an immigration status via EUSS.
  • The right to administrative review for all decision classifications currently within the EUSS, EUSS family permit, and the S2 Healthcare Visitor visa will be revoked. However, the appeal rights against these decisions remain intact.
  • To ensure conformity with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (CRAs), these changes will be applicable to all relevant decisions from 5 October 2023.
  • For dependents with limited leave under Appendix EU, further proof of dependency will not be required for subsequent Appendix EU applications.

Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) Scheme Insights

  • The ETA initiative will be unveiled in October 2023, targeting visitors and those transiting via the UK without a prior visa for brief stays.
  • NHS debt, previously a reason for ETA denial if exceeding £500, will no longer be a basis for ETA rejection.
  • Still, an ETA approval does not confirm UK entry. Visitors with unsettled NHS debts could face entry refusal.
  • Travellers from Ireland, within the Common Travel Area (CTA), will need residency proof if prompted by a UK official. A variety of documents, including the Irish Residence Permit, are acceptable as proof.

Enhancements to the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)

  • Bilateral YMS agreements with Australia and Canada have been upgraded. The age criteria now span 18-35, and the permitted duration has been extended from 2 to 3 years.
  • The UK has also incorporated Andorra into the YMS, adjusting the Rules to encompass requirements for Andorran citizens visiting the UK.

Clarifications and Extensions

  • Long Residence Rules: Clarity has been provided about the “lawful residence” term, excluding certain categories such as short-term students and seasonal workers.
  • Appendix Children: A newly introduced segment specifying standard prerequisites for dependent children and those applying independently. The main aim is to ensure uniformity and lucidity in the process.
  • Appendix English Language: Six more routes, including Appendix Global Talent, have been added to demonstrate English proficiency through various qualifications.

Gurkhas, Hong Kong Military Units, and Skilled Workers

  • A 2009 concession will now include pre-1997 members of the Hong Kong military units and their families, allowing them a clearer pathway to UK settlement.
  • Skilled Worker route now includes prison service officers, aligning with the skill threshold and meeting the Civil Service nationality criteria.

The forthcoming alterations, set to be implemented primarily on 5th October 2023, signify a comprehensive restructuring of the Immigration Rules in the United Kingdom. It is of utmost importance for prospective immigrants and travellers to remain well-informed and adequately prepared. Additional details and precise information regarding these matters will be provided in due course.