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UK Immigration Changes in Spring 2024
Following the Home Secretary’s announcement on new changes to the skilled worker income requirement and various other updates, on December 7, 2023, the UK Home Office outlined significant immigration changes to additional immigration routes to take place in Spring 2024. Changes include a broad spectrum of visa categories and introduce new regulations and requirements.
Specific Changes and Their Impact
- Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme Family reunification
- Visitor Visa changes
EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Adjustments
The upcoming changes to the EU Settlement Scheme emphasise stricter controls on irregular arrivals and mandate a three-month deadline for joining family members to apply.
There are changes being considered to prevent submission of a valid EUSS application by irregular arrivals, including those crossing the channel and arriving on small boats. It’s worth mentioning that the three-month rule is in line with the EU’s own free movement rules in respect to family reunification of their EU and non-EU citizens.
The Home Secretary will also have powers to curtail EUSS pre-settle status given there are reasonable grounds and provide the Home Office to revoke a limited leave when conditions were never met in the first place. There will be a right to appeal.
These changes will take place from the 16th of January 2024.
Visitor Rules Modifications
New allowances for remote working during visits and paid engagements for conference speakers are introduced. These changes reflect modern work trends and could enhance the UK’s appeal as a destination for business tourism and international conferences.
Under the new Intra-Corporate Activities regulation, the government is lifting previous limitations on client engagements for those involved in intra-corporate dealings. However, a new condition is introduced – client-facing tasks must be secondary to the visitor’s overseas employment and should not involve offshoring projects or services to their foreign employer.
Remote Working Permission: The updated regulations allow for remote working for visitors in the UK, provided this is not the main reason for their stay.
Aviation Industry: For the aviation sector, new rules permit entry of flight crew members into the UK under wet lease arrangements sanctioned by the Civil Aviation Authority, effective from March to October.
Better Opportunities for Scientists, Researchers, and Academics: The policy changes broaden the scope for scientists, researchers, and academics to undertake various research activities in the UK, going beyond just independent studies.
Legal Professionals: The scope of activities permitted for legal professionals during their UK visits is broadened, offering greater flexibility.
Paid Engagements for Conference Speakers: The new framework permits financial remuneration for conference speakers, recognizing their contributions in their field.
The Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor route is now integrated with the Standard Visitor route, simplifying the visa process. This allows all visitors to engage in Permitted Paid Engagements without a special visa, provided activities are pre-arranged and completed within 30 days of arrival.
Youth Mobility Scheme Adjustments
The inclusion of Uruguay and procedural simplifications for Japanese and South Korean citizens in the Youth Mobility Scheme signal an increased emphasis on cultural and workforce exchange. This move could enrich cultural diversity and bring fresh perspectives to the UK workforce.
Addition of Uruguay: Uruguay joins the Youth Mobility Scheme, allowing a set number of Uruguayan nationals to participate annually.
Enhancements with Japan and South Korea: The Youth Mobility Scheme is expanding its quota for Japanese and South Korean participants, along with widening the age eligibility for South Koreans.
Simplified Application Process: The application process for the Youth Mobility Scheme is being streamlined, particularly for Japanese and South Korean citizens, removing the need for an invitation to apply.
Migration and Socio-Economic Impacts
The government anticipates that these changes will lead to a reduction of around 300,000 in net migration. This projection, if realised, could have significant socio-economic implications, particularly in sectors reliant on migrant workers, such as health and care. The policy’s impact extends beyond immigration statistics; it has the potential to reshape the fabric of communities and the dynamics of the UK workforce.
For many, the introduction of these rules represents more than just a policy shift; it symbolises a challenging new era in the UK’s approach to immigration, with tangible effects on the lives of families, workers, and students from around the globe. The need for careful navigation through this changing landscape has never been more pressing.
Introduction of New Appendices
New appendices, including those for Bereaved Partners, Victims of Domestic Abuse, and Stateless individuals, mark a pivotal development in providing support to vulnerable demographics.
Each of these changes reflects a nuanced shift in the UK’s immigration policy, with potential ripple effects across various sectors of society and the economy.
About the Author
With over 15 years of immigration law experience at top London firms, Jay Moghal established Lexus Law in 2020 to offer prompt, personalised services without the bureaucratic hurdles associated with larger firms.