Electronic entry clearance
A new electronic entry clearance system is being rolled out from 2018.
- Individuals with electronic clearance will only have to present their passport or identity documents at the UK border for the Immigration Officer to check electronically for entry clearance.
- Electronic entry clearance will be trialled initially with a pilot group, ahead of wider implementation
- From 11 January 2018, visitors who hold a standard or marriage/civil partnership visit visa will be allowed to transit the UK without the need to obtain a separate transit visa
- The change also further clarifies that visitors are not permitted to study at an academy or a school maintained by a Local Authority
Family members of Points Based System (PBS) migrants
Family members of PBS migrants applying in this category for the first time in the UK, will need to demonstrate their relationship with the main applicant.
The guidance recommends the following documents as evidence of cohabitation with the main applicant.
Partners (including spouses and civil partners):
- Marriage or civil partnership certificates;
- Bank statements;
- Council tax bills;
- Medical registration documents;
- Utility bills.
Children of Points Based System (PBS) migrants:
- Full birth certificate showing both parents names;
- If you are a child dependent over the age of 16 you will also need to include:
- bank statements; and/or
- credit card bills; and/or
- driving licence; and/or
- NHS Registration document; and/or
- letter from your current school, college or university confirming your address. This must be on official headed paper and bearing the official stamp of that organisation. It must have been issued by an authorised official of that organisation.
Residency requirement for settlement (main applicant)
- Applicants applying for Settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) must not be absent for more than 180 days during any 12-month period over the consecutive 5-year period. This is a major change from the pre-11th January 2018 rules, which calculated absences over fixed 12-month blocks;
- This will affect Tier 2 high earners whom are expected to travel abroad for work on a regular basis;
- Furthermore, this is a retrospective change which will affect individuals who have travelled prior to 11th January 2018.
- It will ‘box in’ these individuals as the Tier 2 General route at present, only allows 6-years total for this category; however, if they are unable to apply for ILR, they will need to return to their country of origin, wait 12-months for the ‘cooling off’ period, before re-applying to return to the UK again for another 5-years before being allowed to apply for ILR.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur
Under the requirements of this category, no changes have been made but new guidance’s provides clarification on the ‘wording’ under this rule;
- The new wording clarifies the prevention to ‘recycling’ of funds; whereby the applicants cannot base their application on funds already ‘used’ by another applicant, or family members
- Currently rules surrounding ‘Job Creation’ to have existed for at least 12 months is required when a further leave to remain application is made; however a change is being made to enable applicants to apply even if their current leave was granted less than 12 months ago, the condition being that the jobs must have existed for at least 12 months before the date of the current application
- Applicants will be asked to confirm paid hours of the employees in the created jobs, as well as the hourly rate to reduce the possibilities of mis- calculations errors
- Furthermore, several documentary evidence changes are being made to substantiate the job creation aspect
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
In support of the changes announced in the Autumn Budget 2017, the number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas allocated annually is being doubled to 2,000.
This will ensure that more highly skilled people who enhance the UK’s economy can come to, and work in, this country. It is a further demonstration of the government’s dedication to the global mobility of individuals who will help make sure that the UK remains at the forefront of these world-leading industries.
The additional 1,000 visas will be held separately, in an unallocated pool draw on a first-come, first served basis.
Exceptional talent visa holders (but not exceptional promise visa holders) are also now permitted to qualify for ILR after three years,
Tier 2 Resident Labour Market Test new exemptions
In a move welcomed by the higher education sector, new exemptions to the Resident Labour Market test have been introduced in respect of researcher and reader posts.
For those applying under the posts that will be held by sponsored research team members or researchers in receipt of supernumerary research Awards and Fellowships are no longer subject to the RLMT.
Tier 2 visa holders – Indefinite leave to remain applications
Under the new rules;
- Tier 2 visa holders who have more than 60 days between Tier 2 employments are no longer excluded from applying for ILR when they reach the qualifying mark of five-continuous years employment in the UK
Tier 4 switching to Tier 2
The Home Office has taken a lenient approach towards Tier 4 (General) students switching to Tier 2 (General). Previously students were expected to have obtained their degree certificate prior to applying for the switch into Tier 2 (General). However, now they can apply to switch in country upon completion of their course without having to wait for their degree certificates.
So Tier 4 visa holders on non-PhD courses can now;
- Apply to switch to Tier 2 when they finish their course and will no longer have to wait until they have received their final results as previously laid under this category
Points Based System Visa – Dependants
A new introduction for PBS dependents must now declare any absences from the UK in the 5 consecutive years prior to applying for Settlement.
Previously, PBS dependents were not expected to provide their absence history.
However, from 11th January 2018 all absences will be taken into account.
Please note: this has not been introduced retrospectively, and only applies from 11th January 2018
As a breakdown of this:
- PBS migrants applying for ILR are not permitted to be out of the country for more than 180 days in any 12 months during the qualifying period.
- Dependants of PBS migrants however had not been subject to this rule.
- The new changes now bring dependents under the 180 day requirement, and will apply to all ILR applications made after 11 January 2018
- This may affect Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Investor visa holders, where the business person had been in the UK on a dependant visa to enable them to benefit from the more relaxed travel restrictions in the lead up to ILR qualification