Dear Mr Bassie,
I understand that there have been a number of changes to the Immigration Rules that should come into effect during the course of this year. Could you advise on what could be expected?
There are a number of changes to the Immigration Rules that have come into effect this month, October 2013.
The changes, which came into effect on October 1, 2013, will mean greater flexibility for businesses and workers who wish to work in the United Kingdom. These changes include removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees. The changes make it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into the Tier 2 category and allow some students to work as interns under the Tier 5 government-authorised exchange scheme. There has also been a change that waives share-ownership restrictions for some senior staff members.
There are also some changes that will benefit tourist and business visitors, for example, which allow tourists and business visitors to do some study where it was not the main purpose of their visit. There has also been an expansion in the activities that a business visitor can do while in the United Kingdom, and there has also been the removal of the "prospective student route".
Other changes that have been instituted include the immigration authorities expanding checks to ensure that applicants for work and student visas are genuine and that these applicants intend to meet the conditions of permission to remain that they have applied for.
The authorities have also introduced powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English.
In addition, there will be minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life.
Other changes that have been made include setting new youth mobility scheme quotas for 2014, which will enable those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply under Tier 1.
There will also be changes to the way that the British authorities handle settlement applications for refugees who have committed crimes, and these changes will also add power to assist the authorities to curtail leave for persistent or serious offenders.
The changes will also provide for the introduction of temporary Immigration Rules to enable participants and personnel to attend and participate in the United Kingdom 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Just for completeness, it should be noted that the changes have allowed the introduction of a scheme which allows some locally engaged staff in Afghanistan to relocate to the United Kingdom.
Further, it should be noted that from October 28, 2013, there will also be changes to the way applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the United Kingdom.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:email@example.com