Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 719 (Afghanistan, Ukraine, and victims of trafficking)


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The Home Office has published a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 719). The explanatory memorandum confirms that the changes are largely focused on the government’s continued efforts to simplify the rules, and on implementing policy changes that have recently been put in place. The majority of the changes take effect from 9 November 2022, unless otherwise stated. 

Most significantly, the government has made clear in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 that confirmed victims of human trafficking or slavery are eligible for temporary permission to stay in the UK. The statement of changes introduces a new Appendix Temporary Permission to Stay for Victims of Human Trafficking or Slavery to support this. These will take effect from 30 January 2023 and a separate blog post by Eva Doer explores this in more detail. 

The amendments to Appendix EU are outlined in a blog post by Chris Benn, who helpfully reminds us of the ongoing policy concessions we have seen across the summer. And Jennifer Blair has discussed in another separate blog post the changes to the Ukraine extension visa scheme deadline and what it might mean for Ukraine nationals and refugees moving forward. Other changes are summarised in this post. 

Inclusion of the poultry sector in the Seasonal Worker route

This is the only change to take immediate effect, as of 4pm 18 October 2022. As a result of the statement of changes HC 803, which came into force on 1 November 2021, pork butchers are allowed to come into the UK as Seasonal Workers for up to six months. The route has now been expanded to include all roles in the poultry production sector, allowing seasonal workers in the sector to enter the UK to work from 18 October – 31 December each year. SAW 1.3ZA states:

“If the Certificate of Sponsorship confirms that the role is in the poultry production sector, the date of application must be on or before 15 November in each year.”

There is a salary requirement of at least £25,600, which ensures that those on the route would be able to apply to switch to a skilled worker visa if they wanted.

Appendix Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Appendix ARAP)

This route has now been set out in the rules and will take effect from 30 November 2022. It is available for Afghan citizens and their dependent family members who wish to relocate (if they are outside the UK) or settlement (if they are inside the UK). The rules clarify that the application process has two stages. First, under ARAP 4.1, the Ministry of Defence makes an eligibility decision in an Afghan relocation and assistance application. Then, under ARAP 5, an application is made for entry clearance or settlement. Under ARAP 3.3:

“A person meets the ARAP eligibility requirement if:
(a) they submit an application on or after 1 April 2021; and
(b) at least one of the following eligibility requirements applies:
(i) ARAP 3.4. (high and imminent risk of threat to life);
(ii) ARAP 3.5. (former employees eligible for relocation); and
(iii) ARAP 3.6. (special cases).”

The policy has now been updated to remove references to the ex-gratia scheme, which offered support for individuals who worked with or alongside UK government departments in Afghanistan. The scheme closes on 30 November 2022 and the relocation and assistance policy will be the only available option.

Appendix Administrative Review has been updated to confirm that applicants under the route do not have a right of administrative review.

Updates to Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas)

After the government’s generous announcement in February, Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (HK BN(O)) has now been updated to include an expansive provision that enables children of BN(O) status holders to apply for the BN(O) route independently. In other words, without a requirement that they form part of their parent’s household, and without having to make an application at the same time as them. The introduction confirms:

“There are two Hong Kong British National (Overseas) routes– the BN(O) Status Holder route and the BN(O) Household Member route. The BN(O) Status Holder route is for a British National (Overseas) status holder who is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, the UK or the Crown Dependencies. A dependent partner and a dependent child of a British National (Overseas) status holder can apply under this route. Other family members with a high degree of dependency may also apply under this route. The BN(O) Household Member route is for the adult child of a BN(O) status holder or of the partner of a BN(O) status holder who is aged 18 or over and born on or after 1 July 1997. The child of a BN(O) status holder’s dependent partner, dependent child and in exceptional circumstances, other family members with a high degree of dependency may apply under this route. The adult child of the partner of a BN(O) status holder may apply with their dependent partner and dependent child, and they must all form part of the same household as the British National (Overseas) status holder when they apply. The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) routes allow work and study in the UK and are routes to settlement.”

This change will take effect from 30 November 2022. 

The Home Office show an interest in trade, diplomacy and tourism

The list of nationals (in VN1.1) needing a visa to visit the UK no longer includes Colombia, Guyana or Peru. The Home Office have decided that the risk of immigration abuse and criminality from these countries has consistently fallen in the last five years. In its explanatory statement, the Home Office mention that for those countries who are granted non-visa national status, there may also be significant consequential rewards in trade, diplomatic relations, and tourism for the UK. 

Along the same lines, a new rule has also been added to the Global Business Mobility routes to reflect the commitments the UK has made in recent trade agreements. Paragraph 18 confirms that residents of Australia and New Zealand can now qualify under the Service Supplier route where the services they provide are covered by the free trade agreement with those countries. Australian nationals and permanent residents of Australia providing services under the free trade agreement with Australia will be able to stay for 12 months at a time in the Service Supplier route.

Simplifying Part 9: travel bans and entry clearance

Previously, applications from an individual subject to travel bans (otherwise known as immigration sanctions) could be refused under primary legislation only; under the Immigration Act 1971.

But the 1971 Act doesn’t refer to entry clearance. Cancelling entry clearance therefore has to be done on the grounds that an individual’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good. But non-conducive conduct covers a broad range of factors and assessments can be complex and time-consuming. The change in Part 9: grounds for refusal now means that the process is simplified. Caseworkers can now give effect to travel bans imposed by the UN Security Council or the UK government themselves.  

On the subject of entry clearance, rule 24 sets out the sanction for failure to have required entry clearance on arrival to the UK as a mandatory refusal of leave to enter. This is repeated in Part 9. However, those seeking humanitarian protection are admitted to the UK but then detained or granted bail pending the consideration of an application. Subsequent decisions are then made to either grant or refuse leave to enter instead.

Clarification has now been given to the consequences of failing to provide current entry clearance where required, upon arrival to the UK. The definition of “visa nationals” has been amended in Part 1, Part 2 paragraph 24, Part 9 paragraphs 2.2 and 14.1, and Appendix Visitor VN 1.1.

Other changes

Those on a standard visitor visa or permitted paid engagement route can no longer switch into the temporary work – creative worker route.

Midwifery students can now apply for a visitor visa to undertake electives with a UK higher education provider, provided these are unpaid and involve no treatment of patience. Though it is hard to see how many visas might be issued as a result of this change.

In case you missed it, the Home Office announced this summer that it would abandon the requirement for individuals of certain nationalities to register with the police from 4 August 2022. The provisions have now finally been removed from the relevant sections of Part 10 and Appendix 2 of the rules.

Amendments made to Appendix Continuous Residence also reflect other recent changes. On 20 June 2022 Appendix Settlement Family Life and Appendix Private Life came into force. Those that had criminal convictions leading to a custodial sentence of less than 12 months are not able to qualify for settlement unless they have completed a qualifying period of 10 years and 5 years continuous residence since the end of their sentence. Appendix Continuous Residence has now been updated to confirm that a period of detention for 12 months or less will not break an individual’s continuous residence during their 10-year qualifying period. Though it does not count towards their period of continuous residence.

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