Immigration Updates – 19th of April

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    European Union

    Commission proposes EU/UK youth mobility agreement

    On 18 April 2024, the European Commission proposed to the European Council to open negotiations with the United Kingdom on an agreement to facilitate youth mobility. Such an agreement would make it easier for young EU and UK citizens to study, work and live in the UK and the EU respectively.  

    According to the Commission, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU has resulted in decreased mobility between the EU and the UK. This situation has particularly affected the opportunities for young people to experience life on the other side of the Channel and to benefit from youth, cultural, educational, research and training exchanges.   

    The proposal seeks to address the main barriers to mobility for young people experienced today and create a right for young people to travel from the EU to the UK and vice-versa more easily and for a longer period of time.

    • The envisaged agreement on youth mobility includes the following conditions:
    • The personal scope is limited to young Union citizens and United Kingdom nationals, e.g. 18-30 years of age;
    • The period of stay is limited to a reasonable timeframe (e.g. 4 years);
    • Mobility is not purpose-bound, i.e. it can be exercised for different purposes: to work, study, do trainings/internships (including in the context of a Union education programme), research, volunteer, other activities or just visiting/travelling during the period of stay;
    • Mobility is not subject to quota;
    • Common admission conditions apply and the beneficiary complies with these conditions throughout the period of stay;
    • Relevant grounds for rejection of the applications;
    • Verification of compliance with the conditions and of absence of grounds for rejection are carried out by the relevant national authorities in an admission procedure prior to exercising mobility.
    • The mobility to the Union is only exercised in the Member State that admitted the
    • United Kingdom national, i.e. the admission by one Member State does not allow for “intra-Union” mobility to another Member State;
    • The treatment of beneficiaries is equal to nationals, at least in respect of working conditions, including pay and dismissal as well as health and safety at the workplace, freedom of association, certain aspects of education and vocational training, tax benefits, in so far as the person is a tax resident, and advice services afforded by employment offices;
    • Equal treatment is also provided in respect of tuition fees for higher education. This also applies to beneficiaries of other visa paths;
    • The United Kingdom “healthcare surcharge” is waived for Union beneficiaries;
    • Conditions for the exercise of the right to family reunification with the beneficiaries.

    The Commission’s recommendation will now be discussed in the Council. If the Council agrees, the Commission would be empowered to launch negotiations with the UK on youth mobility.  

    Council green-lights revised single permit

    On 12 April 2024, the Council of the EU adopted a revision of the Single Permit Directive. The law, which updates the 2011 directive currently in place, aims to attract the skills and talent the EU needs and to address shortcomings as regards legal migration to the EU.

    The directive sets out the administrative procedure for a single permit for both the right to work and the right to stay in the EU and determines a common set of rights for third-country workers. The revision provides for a shortened application procedure and aims to strengthen the rights of third-country workers by allowing a change of employer and a limited period of unemployment

    • A third-country worker can submit an application from the territory of a third-country or, if he or she is a holder of a valid residence permit, from within the EU. If a member state decides to issue the single permit, this decision will serve as both residence permit and work permit.
    • The revised Single Permit Directive comes with stricter deadlines for the decision to issue a permit. This should happen within three months of receipt of the completed application. If member states choose to check the labour market situation before deciding whether to grant the single permit – for instance to assess the need for a third-country worker’s profile – this should also take place during this 90-day period. The time limit for a decision may exceptionally be extended for an additional 30 days in cases of complex applications.
    • A novelty of the review is that single permit holders will be able to change employer. Such a change may be subject to notification to the authorities, and member states may carry out a labour-market check. EU countries may also require a minimum period during which the single permit holder is required to work for the first employer.
    • The update also establishes rules applicable if a single permit holder becomes unemployed. In such cases third-country workers are allowed to remain in the territory of the member state if the total period of unemployment does not exceed three months during the validity of the single permit or six months after two years of the permit.

    The directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member states have two years to transpose the directive into national law.

    United Kingdom

    Holders of biometric residence permits invited to switch to eVisas

    On 17 April 2024, the government began to send emails to all those with physical immigration documents, called biometric residence permits (BRPs), inviting them to create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account to access their eVisa, a digital proof of their immigration status.

    Invitations will be issued in phases before the process opens to all BRP holders in summer 2024.

    Creating a UKVI account is free of charge and does not affect immigration status or rights. Millions of foreign nationals in the UK already use eVisas across routes including the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Most physical documents, such as biometric residence permits or cards (BRPs or BRCs), are being gradually phased out, with most BRPs expiring at the end of 2024.

    Foreign nationals who already have an eVisa do not need to do anything as we make this change, but should continue to update their UKVI account with any changes to personal information, such as a new passport or contact details. They should tell the Home Office about any passport on which they intend to travel using the online Update your UK Visas and Immigration account details service on GOV.UK, if this is not already linked to their account, to avoid delays when travelling.

    Those who have indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain (also known as settlement) and currently prove their rights through a different type of physical document, such as a wet-ink stamp in the passport or a vignette sticker, should make a ‘no time limit’ (NTL) application.

    If the NTL application is successful, they’ll get a BRP to prove their rights. They should carry their BRP, along with their passport, when travelling internationally. Once they have a BRP, they’ll be able to create a UKVI account to access their eVisa later this year.

    Those who have a biometric residence card (BRC) and have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme already have an eVisa and do not need to take any action to obtain one. They should continue to carry their BRC with them when they travel internationally.  

    For those who have a BRC and have not been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, obtained another form of immigration leave, or become a British citizen, their BRC is no longer valid, even if it appears to still be in date. This is because the UK has left the EU, and the EU free movement law no longer applies.

    To continue living in the UK they should get an immigration status as soon as possible. They may be able to make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member of a relevant EU, other EEA or Swiss citizen. They should not travel internationally until they have obtained a proof of their immigration status.

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