This article aims to explain recent changes in UK immigration rules.
Three main areas that are impacted are:
- Student Visa Rules: Changes for international students and their families.
- EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS): Updates about European citizens living in the UK.
- Skilled Worker Route: Changes to job options for skilled immigrants.
New Rules for Student Visas
The UK government made some changes in the rules for students coming from other countries. These changes are explained in simple terms below:
Family Members of International Students
From January 1, 2024, international students will not be allowed to bring their families to the UK, unless they are doing a research course. But, this new rule will not affect the students who start their course in the autumn of 2023. These students can still bring their families if their government is paying for their studies, or if they are doing a Ph.D. or research course.
Switching from Student to Work Route
The government has also changed the rules about when students can change their student visa to a work visa. Starting from July 17, 2023, students will not be allowed to change their visa before they finish their course. There is an exception for those who are doing a degree course or above; they can change their visa before they finish their course, but they can only start working after they finish their course.
These changes are made to control the number of students changing their visa to work visa.
Updates on the EU Settlement Scheme
The EUSS lets European citizens and their families who were living in the UK before December 31, 2020, to keep living there. Some changes were made to this scheme, which are explained below:
Closing of Certain Routes
On August 8, 2023, two routes called the Surinder Singh and Zambrano, will be closed for new applications. This means that British citizens cannot use these routes to bring their non-European family members or caregivers to the UK. Instead, they will have to follow the regular family immigration rules, which may be more difficult.
Changes for Pre-settled Status Holders
Pre-settled status individuals can extend their stay in the UK without a new application.
To demonstrate their eligibility for work, they must apply separately.
Other changes include that illegal entrants can’t apply to EUSS as joining family members, and changes to dependent relatives to include “the child of a durable partner, where the child has turned 18 since they were granted pre-settled status under the EUSS”.
Changes for Skilled Workers
Skilled workers from other countries have new job options in the UK. These jobs are in the construction and fishing industry, and they were added to the Shortage Occupation List. This means these jobs are in high demand in the UK, and skilled workers from other countries can apply for them.
The changes also include new rules for doctors training to be General Practitioners and new requirements for workers to prove that they genuinely intend and are able to do the job for which they have been sponsored.
Other changes include extension for Ukrainian nationals to stay in the UK, changes for Hong Kong BN(O) individuals, and the introduction of the Diplomatic Missions Interns Scheme. From August 7, New Zealand nationals can now extend their two-year Youth Mobility visas for another year.
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