Changes to Immigration Rules and New Visa Categories

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Editor’s Note

In light of the current political climate, Brexit, lobbying, demographics, and new points of law, the UK Government has updated and amended some provisions and parts of its immigration rules. The Government has also introduced new immigration categories and abolished few as well.

In this article, we have explored these new immigration categories and rules related to them.

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What is on this page?

  • Skilled Business People
  • Start-Visa
  • Innovator Visa
  • The Tier 1 Investor
  • Tier 2 General
  • A boost for Jamaica
  • Recognising the help of Afghan people
  • Final Notes
  • Stateless person

Skilled Business People

The rules will provide skilled business people access to two new visa routes to set up businesses in the UK. These are following

  • Start-up Visa
  • Innovator Visa

The Start-up visa route will be open to those starting a business for the first time in the UK, while the Innovator visa route will be for more experienced business people who have funds to invest and establish their business in the UK.

Both routes will see endorsing bodies and business experts – rather than the Home Office – assessing applicants’ business ideas. This will make sure that the routes are focussed on only the most innovative, viable and scalable businesses. It is safe to assume that business that is powered by or focused on renewable energy will be especially favoured and some purchasers of their products may be eligible for tax credits.

The Tier 1 Investor

The Home Office is also bringing forward reforms to the Tier 1 (Investor) route. The reformed route is aimed to protect the UK from investments from illegally obtained money, whilst ensuring that genuine investors have access to a viable visa route.

Applicants will be required to prove that they have had control of the required £2 million for at least two years, rather than 90 days, or provide evidence of the source of those funds to combat the serious issue of money laundering.

Tier 2 General

The Home Office will also extend the salary exemption in Tier 2 (General) visa so that the NHS and schools can continue to attract and hire experienced teachers, nurses and paramedics from overseas.

The salary exemption applies to all nurses and paramedics, medical radiographers and secondary school teachers whose subjects are in maths, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin.

A Boost for Jamaica

It has been announced that up to 20 nurses from Jamaica will be able to come to the UK to gain vital experience in NHS hospitals as part of an exchange scheme. It is known as “earn, learn, return”

In return, NHS staff would be able to travel to Jamaica to share expertise with the Jamaican health service and help them to improve their level of care and services. As reported by the Nursing Times the UK has been hit with a severe nurse recruitment crisis with trusts unable to find enough staff to fill vacant nursing posts, However, this scheme is not aimed at solving the issue of acute shortage of nurses in the UK. Primarily this category will help the Jamaican health services to improve the standard of care.

Recognising the help of Afghan People

The government has already supported and relocated over 1,000 brave Afghan interpreters and their families, so they can rebuild their lives in the UK. However, in recognition of their support for the UK’s armed forces, the Home Office is bringing forward further changes in the immigration rules in order to facilitate the visas of the eligible partners and children of interpreters who are still in Afghanistan, so that they can relocate to the UK at a later date.

Final Notes

The list of countries which benefit from the streamlined documentary requirements, found in Appendix H, has been updated to include Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia. This change will not only benefit students, who will be able to apply for visas through a more streamlined process but also helps to ensure that the UK’s world-leading education institutions remain competitive internationally.

Stateless Person

Under these changes, the Home Office has introduced changes to the rules related to a stateless person’s application to regularise his stay in the UK.

 The initial period of leave granted to a stateless person who qualifies for Stateless Leave has been increased from 30 months to 5 years.

To deter those who seek to abuse the system to benefit from stateless leave, changes are being made to the rules to make sure that only those who are genuinely entitled to stateless leave can qualify.

Under these changes, the applicant will be required to show that they have tried to obtain nationality or right of residence in another country, that they could reasonably expect to be entitled to, before benefitting from stateless leave. This will make the application for stateless leave extremely difficult as many consulates in the London do not provide any evidence of efforts made by an applicant to obtain a status from another country.

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This article is written by our Volunteer Kwaku Asihene Dapaah

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