The UK government has today (11 March 2016) made amendments to the immigration laws. Amendments have been made to the immigration rules which make the following changes:
- Update the definition of “public funds” by including a new discretionary welfare fund which performs functions previously covered by the Social Fund in Scotland, a similar fund which will shortly be set up in Northern Ireland and discretionary payments made by local authorities.
- Make changes to the Immigration Rules relating to the submission and validation of applications.
- Make changes in respect of overseas domestic workers’ ability to take alternative employment, and to increase the period which may be granted to an
overseas domestic worker who is the victim of slavery or human trafficking from six months to two years.
- Make minor changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the Points-Based System and the Representatives of Overseas Businesses category.
- Clarify the maintenance requirements for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) categories to confirm that by a sponsor certifying maintenance they are confirming the applicant will not claim public funds during their period of leave.
- Update the list of Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange schemes.
- Add a discretionary power to refuse applications from those who owe a litigation debt to the Home Office.
- Make changes to the suitability requirements for armed forces applications.
- Prevent Tier 4 students from extending their leave in the UK to study a course at a lower level than the course for which they were previously granted leave.
- Prevent students from extending their leave in the UK to study a course at the same level unless that course is at degree level (NQF level 6) or above.
- Amend the rule specifying when a student can change courses with the same sponsor.
- Clarify how time limits will be calculated in Tier 4.
- Make changes to the English language requirements for US students under Tier 4.
- Allow student union sabbatical officers and postgraduate doctor or dentist students applying for leave to remain under Tier 4 to qualify for reduced maintenance requirements.
- Clarify the requirements for applying for leave as a short-term student.
- Clarify that the definition of ‘self-employment’ prevents students from setting up businesses.
- Allow Tier 4 students who are sponsored by an institution with a Tier 4 sponsor licence which becomes an academy or school maintained by a local authority to complete their current course of study.
- Make changes to the Immigration Rules relating to administrative review.
- Make changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to family and private life.
- Add an appendix to the Immigration Rules which specifies how certain notices are to be served and make consequential changes to other parts of the Rules.
- Enable non visa nationals, whose national passport has been lost or stolen and who hold an Emergency Travel Document and are travelling home, to transit the UK without a visa.
- Make changes which avoid a mandatory entry clearance refusal for holders of ‘non-national’ documents which do not establish a nationality but which the UK is prepared to accept as they are recognised as valid for travel in all other respects.
- Clarify the exceptions to the requirement for visa nationals to have a visa in advance of travelling to the UK as a visitor or for any other purpose for less than six months.
- Provide an exception to the visa requirement for Kuwaiti nationals who hold an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW).
- Enable Indonesian diplomatic passport holders to travel visa free to the UK as a visitor.
- Include the list of Permit Free Festivals for 2016/17.
- Make small corrections and technical changes to existing immigration rules.