Business Immigration Update: new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

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25 July, 2023

Mohammad Chaudhry

On the 17 July 2023 the Government published a new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules. The statement contains a number of changes, but what we believe to be the most notable are discussed below:

Skilled Worker Shortage Occupations List

The skilled worker shortage occupations list includes jobs that are considered to be in short supply in the UK resident labour market. In order to meet any shortfall and attract migrant workers to come and work in the UK, the jobs named on the shortage occupations list come with certain benefits for employers which are allowed under the immigration rules. These include benefits such as paying a lower application fee to the UKVI and paying a lower salary to the migrant worker as compared to the general salary threshold.

Due to the increased shortages of workers in the labour market following Brexit and the pandemic, the Government have now added bricklayers, roofers, tilers, carpenters, joiners and plasterers to the shortage occupations list. They hope that doing so will alleviate this problem as employers will be able to recruit skilled workers from overseas more easily. However, employers must be aware that to do so they must be approved by the Home Office to sponsor migrant workers.

Student Route

The statement of changes has also made modifications to the student route. These include removing the right for international students to bring dependant family members to the UK unless they are taking postgraduate courses which are designated as research programmes. This will come into force from 1 January 2024. Additionally, the ability for international students to switch out of the student route into work routes before they have completed their studies has been removed. This change is more imminent and will come into force from 17 July 2023.

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme enables those from the European Union, other European Economic Area and Swiss citizens who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020, to obtain the UK immigration status they require to continue living in the UK. Under the changes to the EUSS people with pre-settled status will automatically have their status extended by 2 years before it expires if they have not obtained settled status. In further changes to this, EUSS 'Surinder Singh' applications for family members and 'Zambrano' applications for carers will be closed to new applicants.

Ukraine Extension Scheme

The Ukraine Extension Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals who held permission to be in the UK between 18 March 2022 and 16 May 2023 to extend their stay. Ukrainians are also eligible to apply if they previously had permission to be in the UK, but such permission expired on or after 1 January 2022. It was thought that this route would close to new applicants on 16 November 2023, however, the statement has extended this deadline to 16 May 2024.

Employers should ensure that they understand the new updates and the impact that they might have on their business activities.

For more information contact Mohammad Chaudhry in our Business Immigration department via email or phone on 01772220225. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Business Immigration department here

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