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Statement of changes HC 246: rules finally amended to provide for victims of transnational marriage abandonment

A new statement of changes has been laid today. Most of the changes relate to the EU Settlement Scheme and travel document requirements for school groups visiting the UK from France. There are also three new appendices (taking us up to 81 separate appendices to the immigration rules), Appendix Bereaved Partner, Appendix Statelessness and Appendix Victims of Domestic Violence. The main provisions and the date they will come into effect are set out below.

New Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse – 31 January 2024

This will replace existing provisions in the rules and provide one set of rules for those applying for settlement on the grounds of domestic abuse. Changes are also being made, which include the inclusion of those who have been subject to transnational marriage abandonment (following last year’s case of R on the application of AM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 2591 (Admin). A fee waiver will be made available. Dependent children will also be able to apply under this appendix. The general grounds for refusal in Part 9 of the rules will apply to this route.

The requirement at new paragraph VDA 4.2. is that “The relationship between the applicant and their partner must have broken down permanently as a result of domestic abuse”. This is an improvement on the current requirement which is that the relationship breakdown due to domestic abuse must have occurred during the most recent grant of leave.

New Appendix Bereaved Partner – 31 January 2024

This will replace existing provisions in Part 8, Appendix FM and Appendix Armed Forced. The general grounds for refusal in Part 9 will apply to this route.

New Appendix Statelessness – 31 January 2024

The statelessness rules at part 14 are to be deleted and replaced with Appendix Statelessness. Changes that are being introduced to statelessness applications is that dependants must now apply under Appendix FM, which will be amended to reflect this. Transitional provisions have been inserted into Part 14 for those granted leave in this route before 30 January 2024. Another change is that those in the statelessness route will be able to count time spent in other routes (limited to routes with a five year qualifying period for settlement). To use this provision, the applicant must not have entered without leave and must have held leave in the statelessness route for at least a year before applying.  

School trips from France – 28 December 2023

Paragraph 11A which provides for a list of exemptions where a national identity card can be used instead of a passport when arriving via the Channel tunnel, will be amended to include French school trips. EEA/EU/Swiss children can enter on a national identity card, others will still need passports but no visit visas will be required.

EU Settlement Scheme – 16 January 2024

Appendix EU will be amended so that Appendix Returning Resident now applies to those whose settled status has lapsed but who wants to return to and settle back in the UK.

Paragraph EU9(f) is being amended to exclude irregular arrivals from applying as a joining family member. Note that this applies to applications made on or after 9 August 2023.

Those in the UK as a visitor will be required to apply to the EUSS as a joining family member within three months of arrival (subject to any reasonable grounds for delay).

Annex 3, paragraph A3.4 which provides for curtailment of leave is being extended to include those who had been granted leave but never met, the requirements of this Appendix. This is an appealable decision.

Visitor rules – 31 January 2024

Permitted intro-corporate activities are being amended to remove the prohibition on working directly with clients, but a requirement is being introduced that any client facing activity must be incidental to the visitor’s employment abroad.

Visitors will be permitted to work remotely but that must not be the main purpose of the visit.

Scientists, researchers and academics may carry out research as part of their visit, the requirement for them to be on sabbatical in order to do this will be removed. The changes will not apply to academics applying for a 12 month visit visa or to extend their leave within the UK.

The list of permitted activities for legal professionals is to be extended.

Speakers at conferences can now be paid as it is to be included in the list of permitted paid engagements. All those on a standard visitor visa will be able to carry out permitted paid engagements as that will no longer be a separate route.

Administrative Review – 31 January 2024

The following have been added to the list of decisions where administrative review is available: an application for settlement or for entry clearance under Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse, an application for settlement or for entry clearance under Appendix Bereaved Partner, an application for permission to stay under Appendix Statelessness or as the partner or dependent child of a stateless person under part 14.

Entry clearance under Appendix International Sportsperson – 31 January 2024

Paragraph 28A which provides for entry clearance applications to be made outside a person’s country of residence has been extended to Appendix International Sportsperson.

Youth Mobility Scheme – 31 January 2024

Uruguay is being added to the list of participating countries. The number of allocated places for Japan and South Korea is being increased and the requirement for an invitation letter removed. The age limit for South Korean citizens is being increased to 35.


As ever, there are also several minor drafting changes. No sign of any of the changes announced this week, which is to be expected, not least because they still don’t seem to have settled on a position on the minimum income requirement for those already here in the spouse/partner route.

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Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.