These past few months have seen an important number of changes to the UK Immigration Rules and this is not stopping. The UK Government has announced some further changes to the Immigration Rules and introduced the new Graduate visa on 4th March 2021. Barar & Associates has summarised some of the important changes for you below.
Introduction of the Graduate visa
The Graduate visa is a new route for international students who have successfully completed an eligible course as a student at a student sponsor which is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.
Individuals will be able to apply from 1 July 2021 and there will be no caps on numbers of applications. Applications will need to be made in the UK by applicants who hold a valid UK Student or Tier 4 visa. This new visa is a onetime visa and cannot be extended.
Moreover, criminality, misconduct, and breaches of immigration law will disqualify someone from being granted this visa, except for certain periods of overstay in the UK.
One of the main requirements is for the applicant to have physically studied in the UK for at least 12 months. Where distance learning has taken place outside of the UK because of COVID-19, students will still be eligible for this visa, depending on the start date of their course and the date by which they enter the UK as a Student to complete that course. Applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 have currently until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK in order to be eligible for this visa. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.
Furthermore, family members will be able to apply as dependants if they are in the UK and had last been granted a visa as dependants of the main applicant. New dependants will only be permitted for a child born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate visa.
This visa grants a further 2 years (3 year for individuals awarded doctorates) in the UK. The visa holder will be able to work at any skill level (and change job) with the exclusion of being a professional sportsperson and study (under certain conditions) in the UK without being sponsored.
Lastly, this visa will not lead to settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain), however visa holders will be able to switch from the UK to some other types of visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa which eventually leads to settlement.
Changes to the Skilled Worker visa and the Shortage Occupation List
‘New entrants’ will now also include individuals who previously hold a visa as a Graduate within the last two years. New entrants benefit from a reduced rate for the minimum salary requirement when applying for a Skilled Worker visa. You can read more about the minimum salary requirement and new entrants here (include link to this article: https://bararassociates.com/skilled-worker-route-salary-requirement/).
Additionally, the minimum salary threshold for the Skilled Workers will now need to be calculated by the hour not just per annum. Effectively, the minimum salary threshold must not be less than £10.10 per hour. This will be a safeguard against employers requiring employees to work long hours.
Furthermore, the Shortage Occupation List has been expanded and the Government has considered the long-term impact of the COVID-19. Therefore, they have included 8 occupations under the Shortage Occupation List for health care professionals specifically.
Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
An application to the EUSS or for an EUSS family permit can now be refused, and any right to reside in the UK previously granted following such an application to be cancelled, where the applicant’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good because of conduct committed after the 31 December 2020.
Furthermore, the changes enable a family member applying to the EUSS to rely on a family permit issued under the previous rules (Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016) as a relevant document evidencing the relationship in certain situations.
The changes introduce situations where applications under the EUSS can be made on or after 1 July 2021. This is the case if a person relies on having reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. However, this will depend on whether the Home Office accepts these grounds. Therefore, we advise individuals to apply for the EUSS as soon as possible, before the 1 July 2021, to avoid any complications.
Lastly, the changes allow an applicant for an EUSS family permit to rely on alternative evidence of identity and nationality where the applicant is unable to obtain or produce the required document due to circumstances beyond their control or compelling practical or compassionate reasons.
You can have access to all the changes here (include this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc-1248-4-march-2021?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=9ac8260d-fbbe-4bfc-8cc0-637ef67dc04c&utm_content=immediately)
Should you have any UK immigration questions, please contact our expert team of London immigration lawyers at Barar and Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/