More changes to UK immigration rules – EU Settlement Scheme right to administrative review removed
The Home Office has announced today the new Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules 7th September 2023.
The amendments primarily focus on changes to the EU Settlement Scheme and changes to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation. There are also a series of minor changes to other immigration policy areas.
According to Home Office, the changes represent a further step in implementing the Law Commission recommendations on simplifying the Immigration Rules. Simplification is an ongoing process and Home Office intend to publish further simplified rules and hope to consolidate the Immigration Rules in 2024.
When the changes start to apply
The changes will be implemented on various dates from 28 September 2023 as detailed in the implementation section of the accompanying Statement of Changes. The removal of administrative review for EUSS Scheme decisions will start to apply for decisions made on or after 5th October 2023.
Changes to EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and EUSS family permits
Since 1 November 2018, applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) who are refused on eligibility grounds, or granted pre-settled rather than settled status, have had an additional right of administrative review. There is also currently a right of administrative review against a decision to cancel EUSS status on certain grounds.
According to Home Office, dual avenues of redress by way of both appeal and administrative review are NOT required under the Citizens Rights Agreements and are not reflected in other immigration routes.
The changes in respect of Appendix AR and Appendix AR (EU) remove the right of administrative review for all decision types where it currently applies for the EUSS, the EUSS family permit and the S2 Healthcare Visitor visa. The right of appeal against those decisions will be maintained as the mechanism for meeting Home Office obligations under the CRAs. The changes will apply to all relevant decisions made on or after 5 October 2023.
Some minor technical amendments are also being made to the Immigration Rules for the EUSS in Appendix EU to clarify the existing policy position that where a dependent parent or child has already been granted limited leave under Appendix EU, they will not need to evidence dependency for any further applications under Appendix EU.
Changes are also being made to the definition of ‘required date’ in Annex 1 of Appendix EU to clarify that the required date specified in sub-paragraphs (a)(viii) and (ix) of that definition does not apply to applicants relying on being either a person with a Zambrano right to reside or a family member of a qualifying British citizen.
Amendments to the list of public funds in the Immigration Rules
A person with a condition on their permission which says they cannot access public funds (NRPF- NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS) is restricted from accessing the benefits included in this list.
The amendments to the list of public funds will include new Social Security Scotland benefits and clarify existing DWP and DLUHC benefits.
Enhancements to the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)
The UK’s existing reciprocal, bilateral arrangements with Australia and Canada have been enhanced – the age range is being expanded from 18-30 to 18-35 and the length of stay is being increased from 2 to 3 years. The Rules changes bring these enhancements into effect to reflect the changes in the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS).
Andorra will be added to the list of countries and territories participating in this route and immigration rules will be amended accordingly.
A minor technical edit is also being made to clarify the limitations on self-employment on the YMS route.
Changes to the long residence rules (10 year ILR)
In April 2023 the definition of ‘lawful residence’ for the purposes of long residence was changed to exclude time spent on immigration bail, as a visitor, short-term student, or seasonal worker. The rules are being changed to clarify that this exclusion extends to time spent on previous versions of immigration bail (temporary admission and temporary release) and previous visitor, short-term student visa, or seasonal worker routes.
Introduction of Appendix Children
Home Office is introducing a cross-cutting Appendix Children that will include common requirements for both children applying as dependants of a lead applicant, and children applying in their own right. Common requirements for dependent children relate to age, independent life, care, and relationship requirements. A common parental consent requirement will apply where a child is applying for entry clearance or permission to stay in their own right. No policy changes have been made to these requirements, but this approach will provide clarity and consistency.
Changes to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation
The UK is launching an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme to strengthen the security of our border. The ETA scheme will be launched in October 2023 in a phased manner on a nationality basis and will ultimately apply to all those passengers visiting the UK or transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays and do not have any other immigration status before travelling.
In present Appendix ETA immigration rules, ETA may be refused if an applicant has failed to pay charges under relevant NHS regulations on charges to overseas visitors and the outstanding charges have a total value of at least £500. The policy change will remove NHS debt as a ground for refusal of an ETA application. However, this change is only made as the current ETA application processing systems in use are not capable of processing information on NHS debt quickly enough to deliver an ETA decision at the required speed.
A successful ETA application does not guarantee that an applicant will be granted permission to enter at the UK border. Therefore, travellers seeking permission to enter the UK who have outstanding NHS debts, and who do not take the necessary steps to settle their debts in advance of travel, may be refused entry at the UK border on arrival.
At present, Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisations stipulates that an applicant who is lawfully resident in Ireland and is travelling to the UK from elsewhere in the Common Travel Area (CTA) does not need to obtain an ETA. This policy change will clarify that the ETA exemption for applicants lawfully resident in Ireland, who are travelling within the Common Travel Area (CTA), will require a person aged 16 or over to demonstrate residency in Ireland, if required by a UK official, in order to benefit from this exemption. Examples of documents can be used to demonstrate residency for the purpose of this exemption, including a Permanent Residence Certificate, European Health Insurance Card, Irish driving licence/learner permit, Medical card and GP visit card, National Age card and Irish Residence Permit.
Changes to Part 9: grounds for refusal – relating to re-entry ban on deportation
Part 9 sets out general grounds for refusal and currently states that a 10-year re-entry ban applies if someone ‘was deported or removed from the UK’ at public expense. However, the 10-year re-entry ban for those who have been deported was removed from Part 13 Immigration Rules as part of the Spring 2023 Rules changes. Following the Spring 2023 Rules changes, the Rules do not specify an amount of time (10 years or otherwise) following which consideration will not be given to applications for entry clearance or permission to enter.
Changes to improve clarity and consistency
Home Office is adding an ‘Appendix Returning Resident’ to the Immigration Rules. This Appendix replaces the current paragraphs in the Immigration Rules relating to returning residence. These changes are introduced to provide clarity and consistency on the requirements for entry clearance as a Returning Resident.
Home Office is updating Appendix English Language to allow an applicant in an additional 6 routes to demonstrate they meet the English Language requirement if they have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English. The 6 additional routes are Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business, Appendix T2 Minister of Religion, Appendix UK Ancestry, Appendix Global Talent, Appendix Domestic Workers in a Private Household and Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas).
Home Office is also introducing Appendix T with a new Appendix Tuberculosis, which is to provide greater clarity and consistency on the TB requirement, and are making associated consequential changes to individual routes where the new Appendix Tuberculosis will apply in place of the current rules.
Minor policy or technical changes to the Rules
Changes to the Skilled Worker route – Prison service officers are being made eligible for the Skilled Worker route. This occupation meets the skills threshold, and workers can be sponsored where the Civil Service nationality requirements are met.
Changes to the Student and Graduate routes – Technical amendments are being made to the validity section of the rules for Student dependants and Graduate main applicants and dependants to clarify the intention that where an applicant has held permission which relied on scholarship or sponsorship by a government or international scholarship agency, they must obtain consent from that government or agency to extend their permission.
Changes to Appendix International Sportsperson – An update is being made to Appendix Sports Governing Bodies to add “British American Football Association” as the governing body for American Football in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Minor amendment to Appendix FM-SE – Removing the requirement to provide “a current Appointment Report from Companies House” in paragraph 9(b)(vi) of Appendix FM-SE. This is because the Companies House Direct (CHD) and WebCHeck services that provide the Current Appointment report are closing on 30 November 2023. Users are directed to use “Find and update company information service” instead. Changes to provide that information provided by the applicant on “Evidence of registration with the Registrar of Companies at Companies House” can be used by decision makers to search for the directors of a specified limited company.
Changes to Global Talent – Minor changes to the wording of the Global Talent criteria for science, engineering, humanities, social science and medicine, to add clarity for applicants. These changes have been made at the request of the endorsing bodies to reduce queries and inappropriate applications.
Updates to the Seasonal Worker Route – A minor technical correction is being made to clarify the minimum 32 hours pay per week requirement for the Seasonal Workers working in Horticulture and seasonal poultry workers.