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Recent UK Immigration Rule Changes

The Home Office recently announced several key changes to UK Visa rules including updates to fees, English language requirements and Work Visa criteria.

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Overview of Recent UK Immigration Changes 

In addition, to the proposed increase of many visa-related fees as well as changes to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), the Home Office’s September Statement of Changes has revealed a number of other updates.

Important changes covered in the statement include revisions of the English Language requirement for a number of visas, updating of Skilled Worker routes plus the expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme.

The majority of the changes come into effect on October 5th, 2023, and could impact those planning to apply for a new UK visa or considering extending an existing visa.

Long Residence Rules Clarification

Earlier this year, the Home Office changed the qualifying lawful residence to exclude time spent as a visitor, seasonal worker, short-stay student or on immigration bail.

This has now been updated to clarify that any time spent on previous visa versions of visitor, short-term student, seasonal worker or temporary admission and temporary release will also be excluded when assessing long residence.

English Language Requirement Changes

A total of six new visa routes have now been added to the list that allows applicants to demonstrate they meet the required English language standard by having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English.

Anyone applying for a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, T2 Minister of Religion Visa, UK Ancestry Visa, Global Talent Visa, Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa or Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa will be able to benefit from these changes.

Worker Visa Updates

It was also confirmed the occupation of prison officer has been added to the list of qualifying roles for the Skilled Worker Visa pathway. This change means appropriately skilled overseas workers will now be able to be sponsored by qualifying employers.

The Seasonal Worker Visa also benefited from additional clarification about the minimum 32 hours pay-per-week requirement for those employed as temporary workers in the horticulture and seasonal poultry sectors.

Youth Mobility Scheme Expansion

Several changes are also planned for the popular Youth Mobility Scheme, although these will not come into effect until the end of January next year.

The UK’s arrangements with Australia and Canada will see the upper qualifying age for the scheme increased from 30 years of age to 35. There will also be a 12-month increase to the length of stay permitted, with a rise from two years to three years.

In addition, Andorra has been added to the list of qualifying countries eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme.

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