This past year brought many UK immigration changes. Some of the immigration changes brought good news, whilst others, unfortunately, made some applications even more complicated.
But, let’s focus on the good news for the past year!
Immigration Changes – New UK Family Migration Rules
A Supreme Court ruling in the case of MM et Ors, forced the UK Government to make changes to the Family Migration rules. The rules came into effect in August 2017. In short, the family migration rules were amended as follows;
When an application does not meet the minimum income threshold requirement, the best interest of the child should be taken into primary consideration.
The child included in a successful application will be granted the same route to settlement as their parent. This could be a five-year or ten-year route to settlement.
In instances, where the sponsor does not meet the minimum income threshold, and there are exceptional circumstances that could have very harsh consequences for any of the parties, the Home Office should consider alternative incomes of the applicants.
If the applicant cannot meet the Rules, the decision-maker should consider whether there are exceptional circumstances which would render a refusal of the application a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Should an application be successful based on the new considerations, it will put the applicants on a ten-year route to settlement. Should the applicant, at a later stage be able to meet the financial requirements, they can apply again for the five-year route to settlement.
These amended family migration rules brought relief to many families this past year!
EU Citizens, naturalised as British, still have EU Freedom of Movement
In November 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) made a ruling that brings peace of mind to many. Especially for EU citizens concerned about Brexit!
The CJEU ruled that EU citizens who have also taken up British citizenship and are now dual citizens will still have the benefit of the freedom of movement from the EU law. Family members of EU citizens will still be able to come to the UK under the EU freedom of movement directive.
The elderly dependents, children, and spouses of the EU citizen, who now has British Citizenship, can still join them in the UK, under the more lenient rules of the EU law.
They can thus join the EU/British citizen in the UK under the EU law, and not under the much more strict UK family migration rules.
Furthermore, this ruling will not only benefit family members of EEA nationals who have naturalised as British who want to come to the UK but will also not prejudice the rights of family members who are already in the UK.
Indeed wonderful news for EU citizens!
Immigration changes for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa applicants
On 7 December 2017, the UK Government doubled the number of visas available to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa immigration route. There are now 2,000 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas per annum available under this route.
New Tier 2 Provisions for Research Positions and students switching
On 7 December 2017, there were very attractive immigration changes to the Tier 2 route.
Students will now be able to switch to Tier 2 General after they have completed their courses. They do not have to wait for final results. Furthermore, certain research positions are now exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test. This will make it easier for UK employers to hire overseas researchers.
The UK Government changes the immigration requirements, rules and regulations on a regular basis. We highly recommend that our clients keep in touch with their BIC consultant. This will allow you to stay up to date with all the latest UK immigration changes.