On Wednesday, a new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 1779) was published after being presented to Parliament. The changes are mainly focused on the points based system, but also contain the inclusion of spouses of refuges under domestic abuse settlement provisions and an amendment to ancestry visas.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
The field of architecture has been added to the list of internationally recognised experts for the purposes of Exceptional Talent / Exceptional Promise routes under Tier 1. It is stated that the field of architecture may include "design, technical and leadership skills relevant to the operation of leading architectural practices”. Anyone wishing to apply will have to be considered by the Royal Institute for British Architects, which must be endorsed in turn by the Arts Council England.
Those applying within the field of digital technology are now to restricted to online only applications. These must be submitted through the Tech Nation (Exceptional Talent) online form.
Anyone successful in applying under this Tier, as of 10 January 2019, will be granted leave for a total of 1 year and 4 months rather than the standard 12 months.
Sponsored workers – Tier 2 and Tier 5
In a similar fashion to those with leave under Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer), those entering the UK as a Tier 5 (Religious Worker) and Tier 5 (Charity Worker) will be subject to a 12-month cooling-off period before they can re-apply under the category they were granted in.
A distinction has been introduced for those who enter the UK to undertake religious work, removing “preaching and pastoral work” from the criteria of a Religious Worker, meaning applicants fitting such conditions must now apply under the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion).
Those applying as a “professional sportsperson” must now prove they are not an “amateur” by providing evidence that represent a team at a professional level, that they have represented their nation, have an established international reputation , or derive a living, are paid for their work in sport.
Tier 2 and Tier 5 migrants are no longer restricted in their rights to engage in lawful strike action and take unpaid parent leave.
Those sponsoring fashion models are now subject to a “Creative sector code of practice”, which includes appropriate salary rates. A panel approved by the British Fashion Council will now be in place to endorse specific models with reference to the “New Faces” category, which is exclusively open to those who are sought after in the modelling industry but new to the UK market.
Appropriate salaries have been published for nurses and midwives who are undertaking the Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), these are £16,597 and £17,760.
Researchers sponsored under the “UKRI – Science, Research and Academia” scheme now includes several new permitted organisations.
Tier 4 – Students
As of 10 January 2019, those applying under the Tier 4 (Student) route, but who are relying on student loans or certain financial sponsors, are no longer required to demonstrate that the funds have been held for a period of 28 days.
From 1 August 2019, the Tier 4 (Student) category will be amended to reflect higher education reform in England.
Seasonal worker pilot under Tier 5 (TW)
The seasonal workers scheme, previously blogged on, has been approved as a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) category. Under the new ‘Appendix U’, the pilot scheme will be to enable “non-EEA migrant workers to come to the UK to undertake seasonal employment in the edible horticulture sector”.
It will be open to those over 18 years of age and Seasonal Workers will be granted leave to enter for a cumulative period not exceeding 6 months in any 12 month period.
Tier 5 Mobility (Youth Mobility Scheme)
As of 10 January 2019, a new annual quota arrangement has been created to “ensure the continuity of the scheme, in the event that available places cannot be agreed for the purpose of annual renewal, either 1,000 or 50% of the previous year’s places, or whichever is the greater, will automatically carry over into the next year”
Domestic violence rules opened up to spouses of those with refugee status
Generally, for a grant of ILR as a partner, a relationship must still be subsisting. However, specific provisions are made for the grant of ILR to victims of domestic violence, notwithstanding that they had separated from their spouse. This route to settlement was previously closed to spouses of refugees.
Implementing the judgement in A v Secretary of State for the Home Department  CSIH 38, which ruled the policy as unjustifiable, the Government have widened the eligibility for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence to partners of refugees.
From 10 January 2019, anyone wishing to apply for an ancestry visa is no longer required to submit evidence providing reasons for any periods outside the UK during their five-year qualifying period leading to settlement.
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