On 6 September 2013, Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, laid before Parliament a new Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules, HC 628.

The immigration team at Penningtons Solicitors LLP will be providing training on these changes in the Immigration Rules. Details of this training will be announced shortly here.

Some of the changes, the majority of which will come into effect on 1 October 2013, are summarised below.

Points based system

  • expansion of the Tier 1 (exceptional talent) category to make provision for artists of exceptional promise
  • expansion of the use of ‘genuineness’ tests in Tier 1, Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), Tier 4, and Tier 5
  • implementation of changes to Tier 2, including:
    • removing the English language requirement for Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) migrants
    • making it easier for Tier 1 (graduate entrepreneur) migrants to switch into Tier 2 (general); and
    • waiving share ownership restrictions for some high-earning senior staff  
  • 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 category, provided it directly relates to their degree

  • adding Hong Kong to the list of participating countries and territories on the Tier 5 youth mobility scheme (from 1 January 2014)

  • allowing migrants (with some exclusions) to switch from within the UK into PBS dependant status

General

  • 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 orally to a specified level (with some exemptions)
  • minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life

Visitors

  • 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
  • removal of the prospective student visitor route
  • allowing tourists and business visitors to undertake certain, specified types of short-term study where it is incidental to the main purpose of the visit
  • permitting nationals or citizens of Kuwait, who hold diplomatic and special passports issued by Kuwait, to enter the UK as general visitors without a visa
  • introduction of temporary Immigration Rules so participants and personnel can come to the UK during the 2014 Commonwealth Games