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13th December 2018

Statement of Changes to the UK Immigration Rules

On the 11th December, the Home Office published a new statement of changes to the UK Immigration Rules, which will take effect from 10th January 2019.

This is the fifth and final update to the rules in 2018.

Key changes to the immigration rules include:

Introduction of a seasonal workers scheme

The Home Office has announced the introduction of a new pilot scheme for 2019, to enable non-EEA migrant workers to come to the UK to undertake seasonal employment in the horticultural sector. The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs selected the organisations to fill the role of scheme operators. The aim of this pilot is to alleviate seasonal labour shortages whilst controlling and minimizing impacts on local communities and public services.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

This category has been expanded to include those in the field of architecture.

Additionally, the period of leave granted for entry clearance applications has been amended to include an additional four-month period.

The criteria for endorsement by each Designated Competent Body are being amended as well, such as the evidential requirements for digital technology applicants which are no longer required to supply paper copies of their specified evidence to the Home Office.

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT))

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) has been included as a requirement for Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)) applicants extending their leave in the UK.

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)

To enable the continuation of the Youth Mobility Scheme the annual quotas for partner countries have been updated. Going forward, in the event of the government delaying the announcement of the annual quota, a portion will automatically become available to partner countries, ensuring that the route continues to function.

A cooling off period has been introduced to ensure Tier 5 Religious workers and Charity Workers spend a minimum of 12 months outside the UK before returning in either category. This will prevent migrants from applying for consecutive visas, thereby using the routes to live in the UK for extended periods, so as to reflect the temporary purpose of the routes better.  This aligns this sub-category with existing restrictions seen within Tier 2.

Cross cutting changes

Changes have been made to the Rules to allow Tier 2 and Tier 5 migrant workers to engage in lawful strike action and take unpaid parental leave without their immigration status being affected.

What action should you take?

If you are likely to be affected by any of these changes or wish to discuss the potential impact with an immigration expert, please contact Santa Fe’s UK immigration team at UKImmigration@SantaFeRelo.com

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