Effective 1 May 2023, the visa centre of the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Dresden will receive and process all applications for visas and residence permits within the Schengen area.
Relatedly, the visa and residence permit services of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Berlin will be terminated on 30 April 2023.
For an appointment date in May 2023, applicants should contact the Dresden visa centre at firstname.lastname@example.org from 15 March 2023.
The government has published a statement of changes to the immigration rules. The changes being made introduce the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme and the Innovator Founder route, and update employment requirements in work routes.
The rules of the ETA scheme are set out in an “Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation”. The scheme will apply to third country national (i.e., not British or Irish) passengers visiting the UK or transiting the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays, as well as those using the Creative Worker route for a short stay.
The ETA scheme will be implemented in a phased manner, on a nationality basis, over the next two years, opening on 25 October 2023 for Qatari nationals intending to travel to the UK on or after 15 November 2023. It will be opened to nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates from 1 February 2024 for those who intend to travel to the UK from 22 February 2024.
An applicant who is lawfully resident in Ireland and is travelling to the UK from elsewhere in the Common Travel Area does not need to obtain an ETA.
ETA applications must be submitted via the planned UK ETA app or an online form. An ETA will be valid for 2 years from the date of grant or until the expiry of the holder’s passport used in the ETA application, whichever is sooner, and a person holding a valid ETA may make multiple journeys to the UK.
The Innovator Founder route is a more flexible replacement for the current Innovator and Start-up routes.
It removes the £50k minimum funds requirement currently applied to those coming to the UK to establish an innovative business in order to make more flexible provision for those with a genuine proposal for an innovative business and sufficient funds to deliver it. The changes relax existing restrictions on innovators engaging in employment outside the running of their business, provided such secondary employment is in a skilled role (i.e., at least skilled to RQF Level 3).
The changes close the existing Start-up route to new initial applications except where they are supported by endorsements issued before 13 April 2023. This means that applicants who would not meet the existing £50K requirement will be able to obtain permission for three years from the outset, rather than the one year granted to Start-up route applicants under existing arrangements.
The salary requirements for skilled work immigration routes have been updated in line with the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data. To prevent exploitation of migrants, a minimum salary is set, based on the 25th percentile of average earnings for each job role, as per the most recent ASHE data.
The Skilled Worker route base line minimum salary has also been increased from £25,600 to $26,200. The statement also clarifies the minimum salary requirement of £45,800 for Global Business Mobility Senior workers, £24,220 Specialist workers and £34,600 for Scale-up workers.
A change is being made to the Global Business Mobility UK Expansion Worker route means that Australian nationals and permanent residents coming to the UK to open a branch or subsidiary of their Australian employer will not need to demonstrate that they have worked for their overseas employer for 12 months prior to coming to the UK.
The existing UK/New Zealand Youth Mobility Scheme has been amended – the age range is being expanded from 18-30 to 18-35 and the length of stay is being increased from 2 to 3 years. Meanwhile, Australia have been allotted 5,000 extra places, and Canada 2,000 under the Youth Mobility Scheme.
The minimum rate of hourly pay for Seasonal Workers has been amended to reflect the increase in the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage from April 2023, and a minimum guaranteed hours requirement of 32 hours per week has been introduced for horticulture workers.
There are also minor changes or clarifications to the Returning Residents rules, the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and the lawful residence rules, among others.