New Statement of Changes

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A (big) new state­ment of changes to the Immi­gra­tion Rules has been pub­lished this month.

You can access it (and the accom­pa­ny­ing explana­tory mem­o­ran­dum) from here. The main state­ment of changesis no less than 296 pages long.

The changes take effect from 30 March 2019.

The explana­tory mem­o­ran­dum explains the main changes as follows:

• Intro­duce new Start-up and Inno­va­tor cat­e­gories for those com­ing to the UK to set up a busi­ness, replac­ing the Tier 1 (Grad­u­ate Entre­pre­neur) and Tier 1 (Entre­pre­neur) categories;

• Make reforms to the Tier 1 (Investor) cat­e­gory to pro­tect bet­ter against finan­cial crime and ensure invest­ments are of greater ben­e­fit to the UK economy;

• Increase the ini­tial period of leave for those who qual­ify for State­less leave, and make clear that to qual­ify for state­less leave some­one must show that they can­not acquire a nation­al­ity or a right to per­ma­nent res­i­dence in another coun­try to which they may be enti­tled; and

• Pro­vide for the full open­ing of the EU Set­tle­ment Scheme for res­i­dent EU cit­i­zens and their fam­ily mem­bers to obtain UK immi­gra­tion sta­tus, along­side two neg­a­tive pro­ce­dure Statu­tory Instru­ments being laid before Par­lia­ment on 7 March 2019: the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­ity (Fees) (Refund, Waiver and Amend­ment) (EU Exit) Reg­u­la­tions 2019, which pro­vide for no appli­ca­tion fee for the scheme, and the Immi­gra­tion (Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area Nation­als) (EU Exit) Reg­u­la­tions 2019, which, in part, make changes asso­ci­ated with the scheme to other sec­ondary legislation.

In a writ­ten state­ment to the House of Com­mons, immi­gra­tion min­is­ter Car­o­line Nokes gave the fol­low­ing details on the changes:

My rt hon Friend the Home Sec­re­tary is today lay­ing before the House a State­ment of Changes in Immi­gra­tion Rules (HC 1919).

Entre­pre­neurs and investors play key roles in cre­at­ing jobs and dri­ving eco­nomic growth and inno­va­tion in the UK. The Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to ensur­ing our immi­gra­tion sys­tem con­tin­ues to attract indi­vid­u­als from around the globe who will cre­ate inno­v­a­tive busi­nesses in the UK and make sub­stan­tial invest­ments in our economy.

The changes we are intro­duc­ing today include two new visa routes that enhance the UK’s offer to over­seas entre­pre­neur­ial talent:

The Start-up visa, announced by my rt hon Friend, the Home Sec­re­tary, in June 2018, will pro­vide for those start­ing a new busi­ness for the first time in the UK.

The Inno­va­tor cat­e­gory will be for more expe­ri­enced busi­ness peo­ple who have funds to invest in their business.

Both new cat­e­gories will build on the endorse­ment model which has proved suc­cess­ful in our Grad­u­ate Entre­pre­neur and Excep­tional Tal­ent routes. Busi­ness experts, rather than the Home Office, will assess appli­cants’ busi­ness ideas for their inno­va­tion, via­bil­ity and scal­a­bil­ity, to iden­tify those that will bring the great­est ben­e­fits to the UK. These organ­i­sa­tions will include busi­ness accel­er­a­tors, seed com­pe­ti­tions and gov­ern­ment agen­cies, as well as higher edu­ca­tion providers.

These new routes will replace the exist­ing Tier 1 Entre­pre­neur and Grad­u­ate Entre­pre­neur routes, which have attracted some high-quality busi­nesses, but the Tier 1 Entre­pre­neur route also has a long tail of low qual­ity projects which con­tribute lit­tle or noth­ing to the wider UK econ­omy. We will keep the exist­ing routes open for a tran­si­tional period to allow those who are already in them to extend their stay and set­tle if they meet the exist­ing requirements.

The Immi­gra­tion Rules for the new routes are designed to be clearer and eas­ier to read. Endorse­ment will reduce the evi­dence which appli­cants need to sub­mit to the Home Office and pro­vide them with greater cer­tainty. The rules for exten­sions and set­tle­ment are more flex­i­ble, recog­nis­ing there are many ways in which a busi­ness may ben­e­fit the econ­omy. Accel­er­ated set­tle­ment con­tin­ues to be avail­able for the most suc­cess­ful inno­va­tors, and exten­sions of stay are pro­vided for those whose busi­nesses fail and who wish to try a new busi­ness idea.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and anti-corruption cam­paign­ers have expressed con­cerns about whether the Tier 1 Investor route is suf­fi­ciently robust against finan­cial crime. There is also more that can be done to increase the ben­e­fits of appli­cants’ invest­ments to the UK economy.

We are there­fore intro­duc­ing changes that require investors to pro­vide evi­dence of the source of any invest­ment funds they have obtained within the last two years (up from 90 days at present). We are requir­ing UK banks to con­firm they have car­ried out the checks they are required to make before open­ing an invest­ment account. We are exclud­ing invest­ment in gov­ern­ment bonds and tight­en­ing the rules around invest­ment in companies.

We also intend to require investors to undergo enhanced checks on their finan­cial sit­u­a­tions and busi­ness his­to­ries, car­ried out by a UK-regulated audi­tor, before mak­ing a visa appli­ca­tion. We are work­ing with indus­try to develop this require­ment, with a view to intro­duc­ing it in a future Immi­gra­tion Rules change.

Minor changes are being made to the Government’s state­less leave pol­icy to sim­plify the route to set­tle­ment for those who are gen­uinely state­less by grant­ing an ini­tial five years’ lim­ited leave rather than 30 months’. We are also tak­ing steps to pro­tect the integrity of this route and deter abu­sive appli­ca­tions by mak­ing clearer in the Rules that some­one must show they have tried to obtain a nation­al­ity or right of per­ma­nent res­i­dence in a coun­try they could rea­son­ably expect to be enti­tled to, before ben­e­fit­ting from state­less leave.

In May last year, my rt hon Friend the Home Sec­re­tary, com­mit­ted to look again at what we could do to make it eas­ier for fam­ily mem­bers of Afghan locally engaged staff, who worked for UK forces in Afghanistan, to come here. Minor changes will give effect to this com­mit­ment, so those who were part of a fam­ily before the local staff mem­ber relo­cated can ben­e­fit from the relo­ca­tion scheme rather than hav­ing to apply under fam­ily migra­tion rules.

Finally, Appen­dix H of the Immi­gra­tion Rules con­tains a list of coun­tries of low immi­gra­tion risk whose nation­als ben­e­fit from a stream­lined appli­ca­tion process for stu­dents. 2018 saw the expan­sion of visa national coun­tries included in Appen­dix H for the first time, which ben­e­fit­ted tens of thou­sands of students.

Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion is given to which coun­tries could be added to Appen­dix H, tak­ing into account objec­tive analy­sis of a range of fac­tors includ­ing the vol­ume of stu­dents from a coun­try and their Tier 4 immi­gra­tion com­pli­ance risk. The lat­est annual review of Appen­dix H has resulted in the inclu­sion of Brazil, Kaza­khstan, Mau­ri­tius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia; whilst Argentina, the Mal­dives, and Trinidad and Tobago are being removed from the list. This will result in approx­i­mately 4,500 addi­tional stu­dents being able to ben­e­fit from Appen­dix H.

The list of coun­tries in Appen­dix H will be kept under review and reg­u­larly updated to reflect the fact that coun­tries’ risk pro­files change over time.

Posted in Immigration Updates

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