A newly announced statement of changes from the Home Office, with some surprising additions. HC628 introduces a specific route for certain visitors in connection with the Commonwealth Games, makes changes (amongst others) to the general visitor routes, and tweaks various aspects of the Points Based System. On a quick review, there are some stand out parts. For the first time visitors will be allowed to carry out some limited study. This is an interesting change and addresses a lacuna in the rules. Indeed it is an area we are well familiar with following our successful challenge to UKBA policy at the Court of Session in SEIKO KATO v SSHD.
The second is the extension of the 'genuineness' test that was trialled in some categories of PBS to all categories. This is in line with an increasing move away from the highly prescriptive PBS rules. Whilst having every single permutation of evidence and compliance recorded in rules was intended to remove uncertainty this was not the effect, and it is clear in policy terms that there is now a move to a more holistic assessment (which is how it used to be!).
The third is the implementation of changes precipitated by the decision of the High Court in R (on the application of Zhang) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, which will allow 'main applicants' to switch to become dependants without leaving the UK.
This is only the briefest of summaries, this is the most significant bunch of changes in a while, with many other technical and substantive amendments. Once we have had a few days to digest them we shall report back in full.