The Latest November 2020 UK Visa News and Guidance (2 of 2)
The UK Government just introduced a number of substantial changes to the UK immigration system. I’ve created two articles covering this topic. This is the second article. You can read the article one HERE.
Appendix FM governs the UK Immigration routes which allow relatives to enter, remain and settled in the UK based on their family life with a person who is a British Citizen, is settled in the UK.
The UKVI made several changes to Appendix FM to enable:
- EEA or Swiss citizens with limited leave under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) based on being resident in the UK before the end of the transition period to sponsor new family members (those who are not covered by the EUSS) to come to or remain in the UK.
- Turkish workers and business persons with limited leave under Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay (or under legacy arrangements in respect of the European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA)) to sponsor a partner and children to come to or remain in the UK.
Appendix S2 Healthcare Visitor
The Citizens’ Rights Agreements with the EU, the other EEA states and Switzerland created a UK Immigration route of entry into the UK. It will be free of charge, to those who, before the end of the transition period, had requested authorisation from their home state to receive a course of planned healthcare treatment provided by the NHS under the ‘S2 route’.
After the transition period ends, the S2 Healthcare Visitor route will allow eligible patients to enter the UK for a period sufficient to enable them to complete their treatment. The provisions in this Appendix will also cover those who will be accompanying a patient to provide care and support during their planned healthcare treatment in the UK.
Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay
After 31st December 2020, the UK will no longer be under any obligation to provide preferential treatment to Turkish nationals. However, the new Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay will largely replicate the existing ECAA arrangements. It is to make sure that Turkish workers, business persons and their family members (who are currently covered by those arrangements) will remain subject to the same eligibility requirements as now.
Appendix Service Providers from Switzerland
This new Appendix establishes a new UK immigration route for service providers from Switzerland. The route will allow companies and self- employed persons to fulfil pre-existing contracts in the UK for up to 90 days per calendar year. However, service providers need to prove that they signed the contracts and commenced their service before the end of the transition period. The route will end on 31st December 2025.
Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Route
The decision to introduce this route follows the imposition by the Chinese Government of a national security law on Hong Kong that restricts the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
What is BN (O)?
BN(O) status is a form of British nationality for people from Hong Kong so they could retain a form of British nationality and connection to the UK after the handover to China in 1997 in line with the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Anyone who was a British Dependent Territories citizen through a connection with Hong Kong was able to apply to register as a BN(O) and apply for a BN(O) passport. People could apply for BN(O) status for a period of ten years before the handover to China on 1st July 1997. It is not possible to apply for BN(O) status now.
Approximately 3.4 million people obtained the BN(O) status. With time there may be 2.9 million BN(O) citizens still alive. BN(O) status is not passed on to children.
BN(O) citizens can hold a British passport and get consular assistance and protection from UK diplomatic posts. Currently, they are entitled to visit the UK for up to 6 months at a time, without a visa. They are subject to immigration controls and do not have a right of abode in the UK.
With the introduction of the Hong Kong British (Overseas) Route, the UK will improve BN(O) citizens’ entitlements significantly, giving them an option to live in the UK if they decide that is an appropriate choice for them.
There won’t be any skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers. BN(O) citizens’ will have an opportunity to acquire full British citizenship. They do not need to have a job before coming to the UK – they can look for work once here. They may bring their immediate dependants, including non-BN(O) citizens.
However, BN(O) citizens will need to support themselves independently while living in the UK. They’ll also need to strict criminality checks and stay of good character. They’ll to pay visa fees, the Immigration Health Surcharge and if they subsequently apply for citizenship after they become settled, the fee and meet the criteria.
This route, like many others, will be open from January 2021.
The UK government will also be making adjustments to the UK Immigration system to reflect the fact Irish citizens will not require permission to enter or stay in the UK at the end of Brexit transitional period (at 11 pm on 31st December 2020).
The EU Settlement Scheme
The UKVI will be making some changes to the Immigration Rules for the EU Settlement Scheme (the EUSS). Appendix EU governs in-country applications. Appendix EU (Family Permit) applies to applications, which family members of EU citizen submit when outside the UK.
The main changes will include:
- The right to apply under the EUSS by family members of EEA or Swiss citizens. It is provided:
- The EEA citizen was and continues to reside in the UK under the provisions of the EUSS.
- Family members are close ones: a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, child or grandchild and dependent parent or grandparent.
- Close family members are resident overseas at the end of the transition period (or who are resident in the UK before that point and subsequently broke the continuity of residence).
- The family relationship continues to exist when the family member seeks to join them in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme Deadlines
30th June 2021
It is the deadline for an application to be made by those residents here by the end of the transition period, with scope for them to apply after that date where there are reasonable grounds why they missed the deadline.
After 31st December 2020
The UK government is generously widening access to the EUSS family permit from 31st December 2020 to include:
- existing close family members resident overseas at that point; and
- also, children born or adopted after that point;
- additionally, relevant family members are returning to the UK from the EEA or Switzerland with a UK national having lived together there while the UK national exercised their free movement rights.
From 1st July 2021
From 1st July 2021, the dependency of a parent or grandparent on the resident EEA or Swiss citizen will not be assumed. The parties will need to prove it by providing banks statements, payslips, money transfer slips etc. To clarify, it is where the parent (or grandparent) lived outside the UK on 31st December 2020 (or was resident in the UK before that point and subsequently broke the required continuity of that residence). And where they (or their spouse, civil partner or durable partner with whom they reside) do not already have status under the EUSS as a ‘dependent parent’.
Youth Mobility Scheme
There is more excellent news for citizens of San Marino (a microstate in Southern Europe). The UKVI adds them to the Youth Mobility scheme country list. They are joining with a Deemed Sponsorship Status. It means that they don’t need to get a Certificate of Sponsorship to come to the UK as a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme applicant.
This route is a capped one. It means only a certain number of applicants can apply. For San Marion citizens current limit is 1,000 places.
The Home Office adds the Republic of Korea to the Tier 5 list of countries. However, only those who were invited can apply.
Change of Rules and Appendices
The UKVI changes, introduces new rules and Appendices:
- Appendix G to Appendix Youth Mobility Scheme
- For Tier 2 route: Appendix J to Appendix Skilled Occupations
- Appendix J to Appendix Skilled Occupations
- Appendix P to Appendix Finance
- For the short-term study route: Appendix ST to Appendix Student
- Appendix CS to Appendix Child Student
- Appendix U to Appendix T5 (Temporary Worker) Seasonal Worker
- The Tier 2 (General) rules to Appendix Skilled Worker
- UK Ancestry Part 5 Immigration Rules to Appendix UK Ancestry
- There were changes to Appendix W Global Talent Rules to Appendix Global Talent
- Appendix W Start-up Rules to Appendix Start-up
- Appendix W Innovator Rules to Appendix Innovator
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Part 6A Immigration Rules to Appendix T5 (Temporary Worker) Seasonal Worker
- the Citizens’ Rights Agreement with Switzerland to Appendix Service Providers from Switzerland
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Part 6A Immigration Rules to Appendix T5 (Temporary Worker) Religious, Charity, Creating and Sporting, International Agreement and Government Authorised Workers.