Notable Changes To The Immigration Rules – April 2016
The Home Office has published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, the majority of which will take effect from 6th April 2016.
- Domestic workers will be permitted to change employer within their six month visa. Furthermore, domestic workers with a conclusive grounds decision that they are trafficked or enslaved will be allowed to apply for leave to remain for up to two years.
- The maintenance requirements for Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) are amended to clarify that if a sponsor certifies maintenance, then that sponsor is confirming the applicant will not claim public funds during their stay
- The “points based calculator” will no longer exist after 5th April 2016, replaced by UK NARIC VisasAndNationality. See this DWI news update for more details.
- Masters degrees and PhDs taught in English may be used to satisfy the English language requirement for Representatives of Overseas Businesses
- With regard to applications made under the Family and Private Life provision, the UK immigration authorities will have a power to refuse an application on grounds of suitability if false representations have been submitted, or there has been a failure to disclose materials facts, in a previous immigration application
In other changes, under the rules pertaining to Appendix FM-SE:
- a certificate of confirmation of accounts will be permitted to be provided by an accountant who is a member of the Institute of Financial Accountants
- allowing cash savings to be held in a current, deposit or investment account which is provided by a financial institution regulated by the appropriate regulatory body for the country in which that institution is operating and which otherwise meets the requirements of Appendix FM-SE
- a clarification to the rules that where the applicant or sponsor relies on income from self-employment, or as a director of a specified limited company, all the income relied on by the couple must relate to the same financial year(s)
Changes relating to Part 9 of the Immigration Rules:
- a new discretionary power is to be introduced to refuse applications on the basis of any outstanding litigation debt owed to the Home Office by applicants. The new rule will encourage applicants to pay litigation debts that they owe and assist the Home Office in recovering the costs incurred in dealing with the unsuccessful litigation
- The same power will also apply to:
- Appendix V, which contains ‘suitability requirements’ for applicants under the visitor route; and
- the ‘suitability requirements’ in Appendix FM and Appendix Armed Forces so that applications made under those Appendices may also be refused on the basis of litigation debt
- The threshold at which cumulative debts to the NHS constitute a general ground of refusal is lowered from £1000 to £500
- The Home Office is making changes to paragraph 320(3) of the Immigration Rules to avoid a mandatory refusal for holders of documents which do not establish a nationality, owing to the holder’s status, but which the UK is otherwise prepared to accept as they are recognised as valid for travel in all other respects.
- The rule which allows for a refusal of an application where false representations have been made, or a failure to disclose material facts for the purpose of obtaining a document indicating a right to reside, is being extended to applications made under Appendix Armed Forces.
Other notable changes include:
With regard to Administrative Review, further evidence will be permitted to be considered at administrative review in the following circumstance:
- to demonstrate that alleged deception under paragraph 322(2) for the purpose of obtaining leave to enter or a previous variation of leave, or to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party required in support of the application for leave to enter or a previous variation of leave, did not occur. It is stated that applicants may only produce new evidence once to rebut a finding of deception.
These rule changes do not include any reforms resulting from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)’s recent reviews of Tier 1 or Tier 2. The Government has not yet announced its response to those reports, and we will bring you further news as we have it.
Read the Statement of Changes here.
Please contact your DWI advisor if you have any queries.