The UK Home Office published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, including a reduced waiting period for graduating students to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 and the proposed issuance of electronic entry clearances.
On December 7, 2017, a Statement of Changes to the United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules was announced. A summary of the most relevant changes for employers follows.
This category allows UK companies to sponsor non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals to work in skilled roles in the UK. The main changes of which employers should be aware include the following:
These changes will become effective January 11, 2018.
Where an individual has accrued five years’ residence in the UK on a qualifying Points-Based System (PBS) visa, he or she may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and any accompanying dependent family members (PBS dependents) may be included in such application.
Under the current rules, the main applicant is subject to a continuous residence requirement and must be able to demonstrate that he or she has had no more than 180 days’ absence from the UK in any 12-month period.
From January 11, 2018, partners of PBS migrants will also be subject to the 180 days’ absence requirement. This will not be retroactive and therefore will apply only to absences from the UK during periods of leave granted under the rules in place from January 11, 2018. PBS migrants and their family members are advised to maintain schedules of absences.
In addition, other changes to be aware of include the following:
This category is for talented individuals in the fields of the arts, science, humanities, engineering, and digital technology to work in the UK without sponsorship from a UK company. Applicants must be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body (DCB), e.g., the Arts Council, which has a limited number of endorsements to issue per year. The main changes are set out below:
The UK government proposes to commence issuing entry clearances in electronic form. Under current rules, entry clearance must be endorsed in a valid passport or other identity document. The amendment to the rules will allow the entry clearance to be issued both in electronic form and by endorsement in a valid passport or identity document.
Upon entry to the UK the visa holder will simply present his or her passport to Immigration Control, which will check the individual’s immigration status electronically. As per the current process, the individual will then collect his or her biometric residence permit (BRP) as evidence of immigration status.
Electronic entry clearances will initially be trialled with specified groups with a view toward generally introducing entry clearances in electronic form at a subsequent date, although this date is yet to be specified.
If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers: