The most recent statement of the Immigration Rules has been published. Changes to the rules came into effect from 27 February to 24 April (depending on the rule involved). They affect tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5. The number of visitor routes has been reduced from 15 to four, and there are new rules for visitors who request leave to enter. The rules also change the requirements for entry and leave as a student visitor undertaking a short term course. The rules ensure that overseas domestic workers have the protection of employment legislation and the national minimum wage.
Among other changes, rule 7.17 is particularly interesting. The explanatory note states: “The rules also clarify the assessments made by UK Visas and Immigration and Border Force to determine if a visitor is genuine. We are expanding our policy to allow any third party in the UK to provide financial support and accommodation to a visitor, where this was previously limited to friends and family. We expect the change to be well received by businesses and other organisations who provide financial support to visitors.”
There are also changes to the Shortage Occupation List, which is an official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill the vacancies. There is a separate list for Scotland, which in addition to the UK shortage occupations refers to certain physical scientists and a wider range of medical practitioners compared to the UK list.