On 6 September 2013, Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, laid before Parliament a new Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules, HC 628.
Some of the changes, the majority of which came into effect on 1 October 2013, are summarised below.
- Implementation of changes to Tier 2 - please see our detailed article on these changes, as well as the changes to the Tier 2 sponsor guidance elsewhere in this update.
- Allowing Tier 4 graduates, who have completed their degrees in the UK, to switch into a 12-month supernumerary internship under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Scheme, provided it directly relates to their degrees.
- Expansion of the use of ‘genuineness’ tests in Tier 1, Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), Tier 4, and Tier 5 applications. Please see our article on the use of the genuineness test later on in this update.
- Allowing migrants (with some exclusions) to switch from within the UK into PBS dependant status.
- Adding Hong Kong to the list of participating countries and territories on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (from 1 January 2014).
- Expansion of the Tier 1 (exceptional talent) category to make provision for artists of exceptional promise. Previously, this category only covered artists with established credentials.
- From 28 October 2013, applicants for indefinite leave to remain will be required to demonstrate both that they have a knowledge of life in the UK and that they can communicate in English to a specified level (with some exemptions).
- Minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life.
- Expansion of the permissible activities a business visitor can undertake to include internal audits and corporate training where it is provided by a company outside the person’s employer’s corporate group.
- Allowing tourists and business visitors to undertake certain, specified types of short-term study of no more than 30 days, where it is incidental to the main purpose of the visit.
- Removal of the prospective student visitor route.