A Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules was published on 10 October 2018.

The changes will take effect from November 2018.

The key changes are highlighted below. Overall, the changes seem positive for Applicants.

You can read the full Statement of Changes by clicking on the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/747685/Statement-of-Changes-to-the-Immigration-Rules-HC1534-Accessible.pdf

In-country applications and passports

Various changes are being introduced from 1 November 2018 which it appears will make the process less onerous for Applicants.

  • Passport sized photographs will no longer need to be submitted in support of an application.
  • Applicants’ ID will be returned to them while their application is being considered, unless the Home Office consider it “necessary to retain” them.  This will be particularly helpful for those who need ID e.g. to sit the Life in the UK or English language tests or get married. However, a pending application will still be treated as withdrawn if the Applicant leaves the UK.
  • Paper application forms will only be used for postal applications. Applicants using the premium (same day) service will need to be submit the application online. The date of an application will be the date on which the online application is submitted rather than the date that the premium appointment is attended, as now.
  • Where an application is invalid, the Home Office may notify Applicants and give one opportunity to correct the error or omission within the timescale specified in the notification letter. However, the Home Office will have a discretion to consider invalid applications as valid provided certain requirements are met i.e. payment made and proof of identity provided.

Copy documents accepted for all applications e.g. partner & Tier 2

Under the current Immigration Rules, Applicants need to submit originals of the supporting documents specified in the Immigration Rules e.g. pay slips and bank statements.

From 5 November Applicants will be able to submit copies of documents rather than the originals.

This will save Applicants the hassle of obtaining original documents and also, for out of country applications, the cost and risk of posting or couriering their original documents from one country to another as copies will be accepted.

If you are intending to submit an application you may decide to wait until after 5 November 2018 to benefit from these changes.

Evidential flexibility for Point Based System applications

This has been widened so that Home Office caseworkers will be able to request specified evidence that has been omitted, not just those missing form a sequence and also to ask for more evidence as many times as they like, rather than just once as now.

They will also be able to grant an application even if a specified document is missing or in the wrong format provided the information is verifiable from the other documents submitted with the application.

Fee Waivers

From 1 November 2018 Applicants will be able to apply for a fee waiver online ahead of making their application rather than at the same time, as now.

The date of application will be the date the fee waiver was submitted.

If the Home Office grant a fee waiver then the application for Leave to Remain will need to be submitted within 10 days.

If the fee waiver is refused, Applicants can still avoid becoming an overstayer provided that an application is submitted within 10 days of the refusal of the fee waiver, paying the relevant fees.

EU Settled status

Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules will be amended to reflect the next second trial phase of the scheme. There will also be a right to Administrative Review.

Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website and also our Brexit page, links below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/immigration-rules-next-phase-of-eu-settlement-scheme-confirmed

https://www.davidgray.co.uk/services/immigration-to-the-uk-during-brexit/

Exemption from meeting the English Language and Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements on medical grounds

Applicants will need to use the form published on the GOV.UK website when requesting an exemption from meeting the English and Life in the UK requirement based on medical grounds.

The form must be completed by a professional who is either:

  1. The Applicant’s GP or GP based in the practice with which the Applicant is normally registered, or
  2. A General Medical Council registered consultant.

The doctor will need to have met the Applicant in person, assessed their ability and supports their request for an exception.

Please contact our Immigration Team if you require any advice or assistance with an immigration application. You can email Immigration.Enquiries@davidgray.co.uk or call 0191 243 8164.