UKVI is prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine, and so applications for study, work and family visas may take longer to process.
‘Priority’ and ‘super priority’ visa services have been temporarily suspended for new study, work and family visa applications.
Standard visitor visas are currently taking an average of 6 weeks to process.
Right to Work Checks
The Home Office has published a draft version of its employer’s guide to right to work checks, which will come into force on 6 April 2022.
COVID-19 temporary adjusted right to work checks are extended until 30 September 2022.
Effective 6 April 2022, BRC, BRP and FWP holders will have to carry out their right to work checks online – employers will no longer be permitted to carry out manual checks, even if a later expiry date is shown.
A new digital system called “identity Document Validation Technology” (IDVT) becomes available 6 April 2022 for employers to conduct right to work checks on British and Irish citizens holding valid passports. These checks must be carried out via Identity Service Providers (IDSPs).
Statement of Changes
The UK government has published a major new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.
Among the many changes, which will be implemented on different dates starting from 6 April 2022, are the following:
- New Global Business Mobility routes:
- Senior or Specialist Worker: Senior executives and specialists undertaking temporary assignments at a UK branch or subsidiary of the business they work for (replacing the intra-company transfer route);
- Graduate Trainee: Those undertaking a placement in the UK as part of a structured training programme (replacing the intra-company graduate trainee route);
- UK Expansion Worker: Teams of workers sent to establish a new branch or subsidiary of an overseas business (replacing the sole representative provisions in the representative of an overseas businesses route);
- Service Supplier: Those undertaking work covered by one of the UK’s commitments on trade in services (replacing the service supplier provisions in the Temporary Work International Agreement route); and
- Secondment Worker: A brand-new provision for secondments to UK businesses in connection with high value contracts for goods or investment/
- The new Scale-up route, requiring individuals to be sponsored only for the first six months on the route, and allowing for extensions of stay and settlement. Requires employment in graduate level occupations.
- The new High Potential Individual route will be open to those graduating from top global non-UK universities, who hold a recently awarded degree, equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or postgraduate degree. It will enable those who have already demonstrated their potential through academic achievement to come to the UK without a prior job offer. This will be a highly selective route with graduates of a limited number of universities eligible. The Home Office will update the list of eligible universities annually. Those granted will be given a 2-year work visa (3-year for those with a PhD) and will be permitted to move into other long-term employment routes, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements. This route will support UK employers by enhancing the pool of the highly talented individuals available to UK businesses, by complementing the existing Graduate route which allows a period of post-study work for international students graduating from UK universities.
- The list of prestigious prizes which allow applicants to qualify for a separate Global Talent visa endorsement decision has been expanded.
- Reformed Settlement Family Life route:
- This route applies to partners and parents who must complete a 10-year qualifying period in the UK before qualifying for settlement.
- People who have a 10-year qualifying period for settlement as a partner or parent begin to qualify for settlement in July 2022 (the ’10-year route’ started in July 2012 when Appendix FM was introduced).
- The changes ensure applicants on this route benefit from simplified rules.
- Reformed Private Life route:
- This route introduces a number of changes for children and young people, including bringing the concession on early settlement, introduced on 20 October 2021, into the rules.
- Children and young adults who have spent half their life in the UK can be granted settlement after a 5-year qualifying period, rather than 10 years. This allows for a child who was born in the UK and who spent their first 7 years here to qualify for immediate settlement.
- It also clarifies where an adult has permission on this route, their children born in the UK during the parent’s time on the route can qualify for permission as the parent’s dependants.
- These rules allow for increased flexibility for applicants to count time on other routes to settlement towards their qualifying period, meaning when a person’s circumstances change their qualifying period for settlement does not have to start again.
- The changes also ensure an applicant with a criminal conviction resulting in a sentence of 12 months or more cannot qualify for settlement, and they make clear, where a person has breached other suitability rules but nevertheless been granted permission to stay in the UK, they must complete a 10-year qualifying period, and at least 5 years showing compliance since the breach, before they can qualify for settlement.
- The changes also aim to ensure applicants on this route benefit from simplified rules.
- These changes write into the Immigration Rules the concession whereby dependent relatives of EU citizens living in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) can obtain an EUSS Family Permit.
- The changes also enable a dual British and EEA citizen who exercised free movement rights in the UK before acquiring British citizenship and who has retained their EEA nationality of origin – known as a ‘Lounes’ dual national, in line with EU case law – to sponsor relevant family members under the EUSS and the EUSS family permit in some additional circumstances. These are where the dual national acquired British citizenship without having met free movement requirements to have held comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person.
- The Seasonal Worker route is being expanded to include roles in ornamental horticulture. A new minimum hourly pay requirement has been added to the route to require that all workers will be paid at least £10.10 per hour. This will be equal to the minimum hourly rate that those applying on the Skilled Worker route are required to meet.
- The deadlines for applications on the Seasonal Worker route for pork butchers, poultry workers and HGV drivers have now expired.
- Applicants to move from a Student to a Graduate route can start work straight away, pending approval of their application.
- The exemption from taking an English language test for applicants who have studied English at school in the UK is extended to cover the Family and Private Life routes.
- Effective 19 March 2022, the following EU and Schengen areas have a grey colour code:
- Sweden : Stockholm, East Middle Sweden, Småland and the islands, South Sweden, West Sweden, North Middle Sweden, Middle Norrland, Upper Norrland
- The full list of colour codes for the EU countries and regions is here.
- Third countries on the white list:
- Bahrain, Chile, China (dark red), Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay.
- All other third countries that are not on the white list are designated dark red or grey.
- As of 18 March 2022, there are no countries on the very high-risk countries list.
- As of 14 March 2022:
- Low-risk (green) countries include Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Vatican.
- Medium-risk (orange) countries includeNONE.
- High-risk (red) countries include Malta, Spain, Sweden.
- Very high risk (dark red) countries: all those not listed above.
- Effective 12 March 2022, France has again updated its green countries list to include Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo, East Timor, Egypt, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Seychelles,South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, United States.
- Australia and the United Kingdom, among others, remain on the orange list.
- Effective 18 March 2022, the country classification has been updated as follows:
- Green Zone: European Union Member States, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, the Philippines, the Vatican, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
- Orange zone: countries that are not classified in the green and red zones.
- Red zone: NONE.
- Effective 23 March 2022:
- Travellers to the Netherlands coming from within the EU or the Schengen area will no longer require a test, proof of recovery or proof of vaccination.
- The rules will also be lifted for nationals of EU countries travelling to the Netherlands from countries outside the EU and the Schengen area.
- Everyone travelling to the Netherlands is advised to do a self-test immediately after arrival and again on day 5.
- Non-EU nationals remain subject to an EU entry ban. Exemptions apply in several cases, however, such as for people travelling from ‘safe’ countries, people who are vaccinated or who have recovered from coronavirus, and people travelling for certain purposes.
- Effective 10 March 2022, entry is again permitted for foreign nationals arriving from Botswana, Eswatini, Hong Kong, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
- Foreign nationals arriving from these countries must be included in the list compiled by the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Effective 14 to 20 March 2022:
- Risk countries in the EU/EEA include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (except Mayotte), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.
- Safe third countries include China, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macau, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates.
- Risk third countries include all those not on safe or high-risk lists.
- High-risk countries: NONE
- Effective 18 March 2022:
- Unvaccinated inbound travellers are no longer required to take a pre-departure test or a day 2 post-arrival test.
- Inbound travellers are no longer required to complete a passenger locator form.