UNITED KINGDOM – Review of Recent Rule Changes

September 13, 2023

The most recent adjustments to the Immigration Rules were released on the 7th of September 2023 and have brought about some key changes. The main bulk of the amendments simply address minor technical issues and provide clarity and consistency. All changes in the Statement of Changes will come into effect on various dates from 28 September 2023.

Administrative Review

Most notably, a key change to the Rules is the removal of the right to administrative review under the EU Settlement Scheme, the EUSS family permit, and the S2 Healthcare Visitor visa. Those applying under the scheme on or after 5 October 2023 can no longer apply for administrative review of a refused decision/cancellation of permission.

Justification for this removal comes from the obligation of the UK under the Immigration (Citizens’ Rights Appeals) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 where applicants are still able to appeal a decision. The Minister of State for Immigration hinted that this was to reflect the rest of the Immigration as no other part of the rules has a “dual right to redress”. In this sense, the Home Office recognised that while limited decisions are passed under this category, it could be a waste of resources when a review mechanism already exists.

Changes to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation

Ahead of the rollout of ETA’s, a change has been made to the suitability criteria. Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation will remove debt of at least £500 to NHS as a ground for refusal. This is because the “current systems in use are not capable of processing information on NHS debt quickly enough to deliver an ETA decision at the required speed”. However, the Explanatory Memorandum did reinforce that entry could be refused if inspected at the UK border upon arrival.

An addition to the ETA in relation to the exception to Irish nationals, added a requirement for those over 16 or over to demonstrate residency in Ireland. This will again be at the discretion of a border officer. Listed documents to prove residency include “Permanent Residence Certificate, European Health Insurance Card, Irish driving licence/learner permit, Medical card and GP visit card, National Age card and Irish Residence Permit.

English Language

An update to the Appendix English Language will allow applicants applying under Representative of an Overseas Business, T2 Minister of Religion, UK Ancestry, Global Talent, Domestic Workers in a Private Household and Hong Kong British National (Overseas) to demonstrate they meet the English Language requirement if they have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5, or Scottish Higher or advanced Higher in English.

Introduction to Appendix Children

The Rules have consolidated its’ eligibility requirements for children applying in their own right and dependent children. The Home Office noted that “no policy changes have been made to these requirements, but this approach will provide clarity and consistency.” It will apply to a lengthy list of routes from the 5th of October 2023 and will be rolled out further in the future.

Long Residence

In April 2023, the definition of ‘lawful residence for the purposes of long residency under Part 7, para 276A(b) was changed to exclude time spent on immigration bail, as a visitor, short-term student, or seasonal worker. This has now been amended to clarify that this exclusion extends to time spent on previous versions of immigration bail and the excluded routes.

Part 9: Grounds of Refusal

In reflection of the Spring changes earlier this year, Paragraph 9.8.7(e) of Part 9 which set out the ten-year re-entry for those deported from the UK at public expense has been removed to align with the newly introduced Part 13 that covers deportation.

Pre-1997 Gurkhas and Hong Kong Military Units

The 2009 concession permitting pre-1997 Gurkhas to apply for settlement has been added to the Immigration Rules. This has also been extended to include a new route for Hong Kong military unit veterans discharged before 1 July 1997 and their families, to settle in the UK. An application can be made from in the UK or overseas. This will be added to “Appendix Gurkha and Hong Kong military unit veteran discharged before 1 July 1997” also known as GHK.

Public Funds

For migrants with a condition that restricted them to ‘no recourse to public funds’ – the definition of ‘public funds’ under paragraph 6.2 of the Immigration Rules has been amended to include new Social Security Scotland benefits and clarify existing DWP and DLUHC benefits.

Returning Residents

The Returning Resident route is being simplified with a new ‘Appendix Returning Resident’. This replaces the relevant requirements in Part 1, paras 18, 18A, 19, 19A and 20 of the Immigration Rules.

Appendix Tuberculosis

The newly introduced Appendix Tuberculosis is replacing rules A39, B39 and C39, and Appendix T, to provide greater clarity and consistency on the Tuberculosis requirement.

Youth Mobility Scheme

Keen updates have been made to enhance the youth mobility scheme. For Australia and Canada, the age range is to be expanded to 18-35, and the length of stay is to be extended to 3 years. Notably, Andorra will also be added to the list of eligible countries. The above changes will take effect on the 31st of January 2024.

Minor Amendments

Minor amendments are being made to the following parts of the Rules:

  • Appendix International Sportsperson – An update is being made to Appendix Sports Governing Bodies to add “British American Football Association” as an approved governing body;
  • Appendix FM-SE – removal of the requirement to provide “a current Appointment Report from Companies House” in paragraph 9(b)(vi) of Appendix FM-SE as well as an addition of evidence for directors of a specified limited company;
  • Appendix Finance – added the ability for Short-Term Students to rely on funds in the account of a parent or legal guardian;
  • Global Talent – amendments made to the wording of endorsement criteria for science, engineering, humanities, social science and medicine – to add clarity for applicants and reduce questions for the endorsing bodies;
  • Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) – updated the list of eligible schemes;
  • Skilled Worker – Prison service officers will now be eligible for the Skilled Worker route;
  • Seasonal Worker – clarifies the minimum 32 hours pay per week requirement for those working in horticulture and seasonal poultry workers;
  • Student and Graduate routes – technical changes are being made to validity sections for Appendix Student, Appendix Child Student and Appendix Graduate.

Immigration Insights

If you have any compliance queries on the above or which are more nuanced please contact us directly on [email protected]. For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.