A number of changes to the Immigration Rules were set down in Parliament on 15 June 2018. The changes set out below came into effect on 6 July 2018.
Changes to the Tier 2 cap for doctors and nurses
The Home Office is removing the restriction on the number of doctors and nurses who can be recruited from overseas through the Tier 2 skilled migrant visa route. This is in order to ensure that gaps are filled in frontline services, like the NHS.
The independent Migration Advisory Committee has also been requested to review the Shortage Occupation List, which is an official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa
This route allows a recognised leader (exceptional talent) or emerging leader (exceptional promise) to work in the UK without the need for a sponsoring employer. In January 2018, the Home Office doubled the amount of visas from 1,000 to 2,000 and they are looking to widen its scope further to ensure that the UK attracts more of those with exceptional talent or exceptional promise, including those in the fashion, television, and film industries.
Electronic visa waiver
Improvements are going to be made to the electronic visa waiver (EVW) system so that travellers from Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait can present their EVW in either electronic or paper form, allowing for an easier journey into the United Kingdom.
New Turkish settlement rules
New rules for Turkish nationals are being introduced to allow businesspeople, workers, and their family members to obtain indefinite leave. Qualifying Turkish nationals will be able to settle in the United Kingdom after five years’ residency under the Turkish European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) rules as either an ECAA businessperson or ECAA worker (or equivalent points-based system routes), as long as the most recent period of leave was under the ECAA.
Obtaining settled status: Three “simple” requirements for EU citizens to remain in United Kingdom after Brexit
European Union (EU) nationals will need to make an application to continue to remain in the UK after Brexit. Until now, there has been much speculation on what the application process will look like but the government has issued statements seeking to assure EU nationals, saying that it will be both straightforward and user friendly.
On 21 June 2018, Home Secretary Sajid Javid clarified the government’s “default” position, which would be to grant, not refuse, settled status.
It has been confirmed that EU citizens and their family members who are resident in the United Kingdom before the end of the implementation period (31 December 2020) will be able to apply for settled status under the EU settlement scheme.
EU citizens and their family members do not need to do anything immediately. There will be no change to their current rights until the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020. The deadline for applications to the scheme for individuals resident in the United Kingdom by the end of 2020 will be 30 June 2021.
Individuals with indefinite leave to remain, as well as Irish nationals, will not need to apply. Rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are still subject to negotiation.
Those applying under the scheme will need to complete three steps. (1.) They must prove their identity, (2.) show that that they live in the United Kingdom, and (3.) declare that they have no serious criminal convictions.
The planned fee for individuals applying under the scheme is £65 (£32.50 for children under the age of 16). Those who already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation will be able to exchange it for settled status for free.
The Home Office will check the employment and benefit records held by the government, which will mean that proof of residence will be automatic for many applicants.
Getting settled status will allow EU citizens to continue to live and work in the United Kingdom and will ensure that these individuals have access to public services and public funds as well as apply for British citizenship, if they meet the requirements.
For further information, contact Charles Avens.