Changes to the Immigration Rules October 2023
The Government has published a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, setting out changes that will take effect from 5 October 2023 and 31 January 2024.
EU Settlement Scheme
The right to administrative review will be removed for decisions made on or after 5 October 2023 relating to the EU Settlement Scheme, the EU Settlement Scheme family permit, and the S2 Healthcare Visitor visa. However, the right of appeal will be retained.
Some minor technical amendments are also being made, including clarifying that a dependant parent or child who has already been granted limited leave under Appendix EU will not need to evidence their dependency again in future applications under Appendix EU.
Electronic Travel Authorisation – Republic of Ireland
Because the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom are party to the Common Travel Area, lawful residents of the Republic of Ireland will be able to continue to travel to the UK without Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), even after the introduction of the ETA scheme, which is expected to come into force sometime in 2024 – you can read more about the ETA scheme here.
The relevant Immigration Rules have been changed to reflect that a person seeking to rely on the Common Travel Area exemption must provide evidence to demonstrate that they are lawfully resident in the Republic of Ireland.
A new section of the Immigration Rules, titled Appendix Children, will be introduced, setting out already existing common requirements for immigration applications made by children – whether as dependants or in their own rights. These common requirements relate to age, independent life, care, and familial relationships.
The hope is that by grouping these into a single section of the rules, there will be greater clarity as to what requirements apply to child applicants.
The new Appendix Tuberculosis will, as with Appendix Children, group together rules relating to tuberculosis to improve clarity. However, it also makes some general changes to those rules governing the requirement for certain applicants to obtain a valid tuberculosis certificate.
Now, a tuberculosis certificate will only be valid if it was issued in the six-month period immediately before the date of the application. In addition, immigration caseworkers will have the discretion to waive the requirement to provide a tuberculosis certificate, where they are satisfied that the applicant is unable to obtain a certificate and it would be reasonable to waive the requirement on the facts of the case.
Appendix Returning Resident
The new Appendix Returning Resident clarifies the settlement status of persons who are absent from the UK for a continuous period. A person who has settlement in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme will lose their settled status if they are absent from the UK for a continuous period of more than five years.
Such persons may be able to make a Returning Resident application, which will now involve them demonstrating that they genuinely intend to return to the UK for the purposes of settlement and that they have maintained strong ties to the UK during their absence. The Appendix also flags up that the Windrush Scheme may be a preferable alternative application for some returning residents.
Appendix English Language
This Appendix confirms that applicants under some routes will, as from 5 October 2023, be able to use their GCSE, A Level, and certain other secondary school level English language qualifications to meet the English language requirements of their route. This includes the Innovator Founder visa and settlement on the International Sportsperson, UK Ancestry and Global Talent routes.
Other changes applying from 5 October 2023
The Home Office are also making various other, small tweaks to the rules, which will apply as from 5 October 2023. Some of these will apply retrospectively – so, to all existing and future applications – while others will only apply prospectively, meaning that applications submitted on or before 4 October 2023 will not be affected.
Youth Mobility Scheme
Changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme will take effect on 31 January 2024. These include extending the age range for Australian and Canadian applicants from 18-30 years old, to 18-35 years old. We have already discussed the expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme for Canadian and Australian nationals, if you would like to read about this in more detail.
Interestingly, the route will also be opened to Andorran nationals. Andorra joins fellow microstate San Marino on the list of Youth Mobility Scheme members – given the country’s relatively small size, only 100 places will be available on the scheme for Andorrans in 2024.