A summary of coming changes to the UK immigration system

 

As of 01/01/2021 there will be a number of changes to the UK immigration system, including the introduction of the new points based system, a summary of which can be found here.

 

Changes to take place from 01.12.2020

  • EU nationals cannot apply for leave to remain under routes other than Appendix EU, Appendix S2 Healthcare Visitor or Appendix Service Providers from Switzerland, before 11pm on 31 December. They can apply for any Entry Clearance before then, but any leave will be granted to start on 1 January 2021.

 

As of January 1 2021 they will have to apply for entry under the same rules as non-EU nationals.

 

COVID 19

 

  • The rules have been amended to allow caseworkers to disregard overstaying between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 as a result of Covid-19.
  • Absences due to a “pandemic” will be added on as an exception to the 180 day rule for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship applications.

 

English Language

 

  • Malta has been added as a majority English speaking country.
  • Applicants will only need to prove English once and will not need to continue to provide evidence of their English language ability for subsequent applications (For example when applying for Set-O after 5 years on a Tier 2 visa which required you to demonstrate English Language. You will only need to demonstrate your English language ability again if the requirements have changed (for example Life Skills A1 for an initial spouse visa application and A2 for the extension)
  • Degrees from Republic of Ireland can be used to demonstrate English Language ability.
  • The rules will allow applicants to rely on GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK to prove English language. This last change will, initially, only apply to applications for students, skilled workers, start-up and innovator migrants.

 

Maintenance

 

  • Skilled Workers, ICT, Students, Tier 2 Ministers of Religion, Tier 2 Sportpersons, Tier 5 (Temporary Workers), Start-up and Innovator applicants will NOT need to meet the maintenance requirement if they have been in the UK for more than 12 months.
  • Maintenance figure increased from £945 to £1,270 and applicants are now required to show they have held the funds for 28 days (rather than 90 days).
  • For most dependants, the maintenance requirement is reduced from £630 to £285 for a dependant partner, £315 for the first child applying and £200 for each subsequent child
  • The maintenance requirement for Youth Mobility Applicants will be increased from £1,890 to £2,530 and applicants are now required to show they have held the funds for 28 days

 

 

Appendix FM (Family Visas)

 

  • Will expand to include new family members of EU nationals with limited leave under EUSS – so family members not covered by the EUSS. We believe this is likely to be limited to spouses, partners and children under 18 only, but are awaiting confirmation.

 

 

Visitors

  • Holders of visit visas can now study for up to 6 months rather than 30 days. The short term study visa will still be available for those wanting to study for 6-11 months

 

 

Skilled Worker route

 

  • Largely this is unchanged from the information summarised here https://ukvisas.co.uk/new-uk-immigration-system-july-update/
  • The 12-month “cooling off period” and six-year maximum length of stay in the route are being removed for both Tier 2 General and ICT.
  • The £35,800 salary threshold for indefinite leave to remain applications is being removed, and replaced with £25,600 or the going rate for the occupation.
  • MAC Shortage Occupation recommendations have been put on hold as the government wants to see how the UK labour marker develops post COVID and after the introduction of new PBS system.
  • For an application to be valid, the COS must have been issued [This means you cannot submit an application now without a COS and then supply the COS later].

 

Tier 2 ICT

  • High earner is now £73,900. Migrants on this route can have leave up to 9 years and do not need to have worked for the business for 12 months prior to application.
  • Time limit – 5 years in any 6-year rolling period or, for high earners, up to 9 years in any 10-year rolling period.

 

Turkish nationals

 

  • Will also need to meet the new Immigration rules from 31.12.2020

 

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

 

  • San Marino is being added to the list – 1000 spots will be allocated
  • Republic of Korea is also being added.

 

British National Overseas Visa (For those in Hong Kong)

 

Please see our summary here https://ukvisas.co.uk/the-hong-kong-bno-visa-what-is-it-and-how-can-i-get-it/) this route will be opening on 31.01.2021 and there will be two routes available. One will be for holders of British National Overseas Status and one will be for their household members.

 

Skilled Worker category:

 

New Entrants

In addition to having a job offer on Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupation (which will replace  Appendix J) the applicant must

 

(a) be under the age of 26 on the date of application; or

 

(b) the job offer must be for a postdoctoral position in any of the following occupation codes: 2111, 2112, 2113, 2114, 2119. 2311 or

 

(c) the job offer must be in a UK regulated profession and the applicant must be working towards a recognised professional qualification for that profession; or

 

(d) the applicant must be working towards full registration or chartered status with the relevant professional body for the job they are being sponsored for; or

 

(e) the application must be for permission to stay and the applicant’s most recent permission must have been as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant; or

 

(f) all of the following conditions apply:

(i) the applicant’s most recent permission was as a Student: and

(ii) that permission expired less than 2 years before the date of application; and

(iii) in that permission or any previous permission as a Student, the applicant was sponsored to study one of the following courses (not any other qualifications of an equivalent level):

  • a UK bachelor’s degree; or UK master’s degree; or UK PhD or other doctoral qualification; or Postgraduate Certificate in Education; or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education; and

(iv) the applicant has completed (or is applying no more than 3 months before they are expected to complete) the course in (iii) above, or the applicant is studying a PhD and has completed at least 12 months study in the UK towards the PhD.

 

Granting the application must not mean the applicant’s combined permission as a Skilled Worker and/or Tier 2 Migrant would be more than 4 years in total, whether or not the permission is for a continuous period.

 

 

Settlement

In addition, to the salary threshold changing to £25,600 or the going rate for the occupation, the following also applies:

Other salary reductions permitted through tradeable points will not apply to settlement applications. Therefore those sponsored in shortage occupations or listed health or education occupations who may have been paid £20,480 per year, for settlement application, their salary must equal or exceed the going rate for the occupation

 

Allowances under the Skilled Worker category

Allowances can only be included in salary calculations for applicants who are applying before 1 December 2026 and were last granted permission as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant, provided they are still working for the same sponsor as in their previous permission, and the allowances are guaranteed for the duration of the applicant’s permission. If not fitting into the above then the following applies and basically means allowances will not be permitted to be included in a salary:

 

Salary only includes guaranteed basic gross pay (before income tax and including employee pension and national insurance contributions).

Salary does not include other pay and benefits, such as any of the following:

(a) pay which cannot be guaranteed because the nature of the job means that hours fluctuate; or

(b) additional pay such as shift, overtime or bonus pay, (whether or not it is guaranteed); or

(c) employer pension and employer national insurance contributions; or

(d) any allowances, such as accommodation or cost of living allowances; or

(e) in-kind benefits, such as equity shares, health insurance, school or university fees, company cars or food; or

(f) one-off payments, such as ‘golden hellos’; or

(g) any payments relating to immigration costs, such as the fee or Immigration Health Charge; or

(h) payments to cover business expenses, including (but not limited to) travel to and from the applicant’s country of residence, equipment, clothing, travel or subsistence.

 

Tradeable points

For applications made before 24 May 2023, if applicant previously had permission as T2 general migrant with a COS given to them before 24 November 2016, then they do not need to score 20 tradeable points In these cases, 20 tradeable points will be awarded for a salary of £20,800 or above, or, if higher, the going rate for the occupation code.

 

If you have a query about the new rules or require help with an immigration issue, please get in touch with us for a consultation on 01403 801 801 or at [email protected]

How to Get Your Immigration Health Surcharge Refund

 

Can You Get My Immigration Health Surcharge Refund For Me?

As a private immigration firm we are not affiliated with the Home Office and unfortunately cannot manage the process of getting a refund on your immigration health surcharge (IHS) unless we managed your application. If you believe you are owed a refund please check the government website for details of eligibility and how to apply and see our quick guide below.

 

If You Work in Health and Care

You may be eligible to get a refund of any IHS you paid to cover the period from 31/03/2020 but not before this date. You must have been in an eligible role for at least 6 months since 31/03/2020 and have worked at least 16 hours per week. The role must be eligible under the current government rules. If you meet the conditions and dependents will also be entitled to the refund.

You will get £200 for every 6 months you have paid and will need to apply every 6 months. You can apply here.

 

If you’re Eligible for the Health and Care Visa

If you have a Tier 2 Health and Care visa, or would have been eligible for one on or after 04/08/2020 then you should automatically get a full refund if you paid the IHS on or after 31/03/2020. If you have not yet received it please email the IHS refund team with your name, your sponsor’s name, your CoS number and your IHS number. The email you should use to contact the Home Office is [email protected]. The refunds will be paid to the account or card you originally paid with so do not send your bank details. Do not use this email address for other queries as they will be ignored.

 

Other Immigration Health Surcharge Refunds

You will be refunded for your Immigration Health Surcharge if you pay twice, your visa application is refused or you withdraw your application. You will get a partial refund for any refused dependants or if you get less time on your visa than you applied for.

If you are granted a visa but do not come to the UK, leave the UK before your visa ends, are told to leave the UK before your visa expires, or apply for ILR you will not be eligible for a refund.

 

How Long Does it Take?

It should arrive within 6 weeks, although it may take longer if you appeal or ask for an administrative review where your visa application was refused. If you do not receive it within 6 weeks you could contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk

 

If you would like help managing a visa application, including the new Health and Care visa, we can help. Get in touch for a consultation on 01403 801 801 or email us at [email protected]

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UK VISAS NO WIN NO FEE PROMISE

We provide a ‘No Win – No Fee’ guarantee for all points-based system visa applications unless expressly stated at the time of appointment. We will guarantee our service for these applications by offering a full refund on our fee should it be unsuccessful.

These guaranteed terms are conditional upon the client being able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office that they have earned the income claimed or that they have the necessary funding in place for maintenance or are fully conversant with their business plan in the case of Tier 1 Entrepreneurs.

It also presumes that neither the applicant nor their dependants have previously come under scrutiny or been under investigation by the Home Office for any immigration matter. In order that we can do our job properly the necessary information and details required should be made available and they must genuine as well as accurate.