The Home Office has announced a new set of changes to the Immigration rules which will come into effect later this summer.
The most far reaching changes are made to Appendix EU and extend the advantages of the EU Settlement Scheme to the family members of the British citizens who were born in Northern Ireland and whose parents were settled in the UK at the time of their birth. Settled means had the right of abode or indefinite leave to remain.
This means that the family members who benefit from these provisions will be entitled to apply for residence documents in the UK under Appendix EU in the same fashion as EU citizens. In practice, this not only means savings in the order of £8,000 – £15000 in the government fees if compared to the UK spouse visa route under Appendix FM. It also means a much easier repatriation to the UK of the families who currently live outside the UK. These changes will be effective from 24 August 2020.
Other changes concern Representatives of an Overseas business, and minor changes affecting Start-up and Innovator routes, and sponsored international students seeking to stay in the UK or return to the UK to work within 12 months of completion of studies. These changes will be effective from 4 June 2020.
The rules related to the Sole Representative route will have the following additional provisions:
- introduction of genuineness test to intention to establish a branch or subsidiary of an overseas business in the UK;
- a requirement that the principal place of business should remain outside the UK;
- the applicant must be an existing employee of the business and can no longer be engaged specifically for the purpose of establishing the overseas branch;
- a requirement that the applicant must have the the skills, experience, knowledge and authority to represent the overseas business – this substitutes the previous provision requiring the representative to be “familiar with the company’s activities and have full powers to negotiate and take operational decisions without reference to the parent company”;
- the applicant should not have a majority stake in the business or otherwise own or control it – this includes partnership arrangements and forms of ownership other than through shares.
The explanatory memorandum to the changes also states that some changes will be aimed at preventing majority owners from entering the UK as the dependent spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a representative of their own business. I have not seen the provision targeting this.
Sponsored International students will need a written consent from the sponsoring government or international scholarship agency if they wish to remain in the UK or return to the UK within 12 months of the end of sponsorship. This document will be required independently of whether the students are switching to another immigration category in the UK or applying for entry clearance, and of whether their last grant of leave was under Tier 4 route.
Start-up and Innovators have the additional requirement to be among the founders of the endorsed business. They will not be allowed to join an existing UK business. The viability of the business will be assessed against the funds available to the applicant. Endorsement by the authorised body will not be the final criterion on eligibility – the Home Office will be entitled to form their own view if the endorsement criteria were fully met and refuse the application if they deem they were not.