Changes in UK Immigration Rules due to COVID-19 and generally

The following changes have been made to the immigration rules due to the unprecedented crises the world finds its self: However, these are other changes and do not overlap the changes that were dealt with in a recent article on Coronavirus v immigration rules.

Tier 4 visa holders

A student can start their course of studies before the Tier4 visa application has been decided by the Home Office, if all other matters are in place, such as a Tier 4 sponsor, the CAS, (confirmation of acceptance of studies), the submission of the application before the expiry of the visa, and the course is the same course as on the CAS.

Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas

Anyone waiting for a decision under Tier 2 or 5 can start work before the decision is made, again if all matters as at the date of the submission of the application are in place.

Time limit on working hours removed

There is no longer a restriction on the number of hours a Tier 4 student can work in term time.

Statement of changes in immigration rules presented to Parliament on 14th May 2020

Some changes are being made to the Immigration rules, regarding the EU Settlement Scheme, contained in Appendix EU, and the EU settled status family permits and travel permits included in Appendix EU.

The main changes are to bring family members of the people in Northern Ireland whether they hold Irish or British passports, within the scope of the EU settlement scheme, and the EU family and travel permit. 

The Above means that family members of those citizens of Northern Ireland can bring themselves in Northern Ireland under the EU settlement scheme, in the same way as family members of Irish citizens in the UK can have recourse to the EU Settlement Scheme here.

Changes to the start-up and innovator categories

Applicants must be founders of their business and must be relying on their own business plans. If an innovator wants to start the business before a decision is reached, he can if he is one of its founders.

The Global talent Visa

This visa for talented and promising individuals in the field of science and digital technology, arts and culture, being leaders in their field, or showing the potential to become such leaders, requires letters of recommendation to be restricted to 3 sides of A4, excluding the credentials of the recommender. This is a minor change. Those applicants involved in fashion design rather than the broader industry in the arts stand a better chance of having their visas approved.

Sole representatives of an overseas business visa

If the Home Office consider there is no genuine intention to establish a business in this country, the visa application will be refused. However there is nothing new here, as this was always thought to be the case by lawyers advising clients, as indeed was the current requirement that the business must be active and trading, and the principal place of the business must be outside the UK.

There were a string of Tribunal and higher court decisions which for years had made it clear that the applicant must comply with the above requirements.

Majority owners of a foreign business who come to the UK as dependent spouses fronting their spouse/partner as the sole representative will not be permitted to enter. This will prevent owners from circumventing the rules intended to prevent them from relocating their business to the UK under this route. 

There have been a string of cases in the past to the effect that the substratum of the business in a sole representative application, must remain outside the UK, and the sole representative must not be a majority shareholder of the overseas company, so the new statement of changes bring together under the rules what was already well known under various Tribunal, and the higher court decided cases.

Family life Applications

There are cosmetic changes to include the purpose of a fiancée visa being a prelude to marriage, and that someone convicted of an offence and sentenced to between 12 months and 4 years would only be able to obtain leave under the 10-year route. Again these are matters that lawyers have for years been advising clients on, so what is now proposed to be included in the new rules, is nothing new.

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