Changes to the Immigration Rules announced on 10 September 2021: Skilled Worker, International Sportsperson, Global Talent, and more

This article will address some of the most noticeable upcoming changes to Immigration Rules that were presented to Parliament on 10 September 2021 (HC 617).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) concessions

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) (come into effect on 6 October 2021)

Under COVID-19 concession, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants were able to extend their leave as long as they have created the equivalent of two full-time jobs for settled workers at the time of application. They did not have to demonstrate that the jobs have existed for a minimum of 12 months.

However, the 12-month minimum job requirement, in addition to the usual job creation requirement, needs to be met in order for applicants to qualify for settlement.

EU Settlement Scheme (come into effect on 6 October 2021)

From 6 October 2021, coronavirus-related absences from the UK for people with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will cease to operate and will be replaced by changes to Appendix EU.

Skilled Worker route and Tier 2 Sportsperson route (come into effect on 6 October 2021)

Those, who applied for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2021, were allowed to start working for their sponsor while waiting for a decision on their visa application. The Home Office is now introducing changes to the rules so that in future settlement applications, the time applicants were waiting for their Skilled Worker visa would be counted towards the five years that are required for settlement as a Skilled Worker. This also applies to settlement applications as a Tier 2 Sportsperson.

International Sportsperson route (come into effect on 11 October 2021)

A new International Sportsperson route has been announced to replace both the Tier 2 Sportsperson visa and Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa for professional sporting workers. This new route provides a dedicated visa category that is more straightforward for professional sportspeople and their sponsors. The route requires both an endorsement from a Sports Governing body and a Certificate of Sponsorship from a club. There is also a requirement to demonstrate English language ability for those who apply for a stay that exceeds 12 months.

Global Talent route (come into effect on 6 October 2021)

In the field of arts and culture, letters of recommendation required by the endorsing body must specifically come from well-established ‘arts and culture’ organisations. Also, changes will be made to make it easier for applicants who are members of groups (e.g., internationally recognised orchestras or dance troupes) to qualify.

The minimum number of examples required for each of the exceptional promise criteria will also be reduced from two to one. In addition, being a board member of a product-led digital technology company is a role that can be used as evidence of being an exceptional talent in this field in relation to endorsements.

In the endorsed funder fast track pathway, the length of time remaining on an employment contract or hosting agreement has been reduced from two years to one year, to allow greater flexibility for individuals working on qualifying research (minimum of two years in duration).

The new changes also mean that there are more qualifying prestigious prizes that will be able to qualify on the Global Talent route without obtaining an endorsement from a Global Talent endorsing body. It needs to be noted that prizes must be given to named individuals, not to specific works or organisations. The prizes must also be open to all nationalities and the winners must be determined by experts or peers, rather than a public vote.

Youth Mobility Scheme (come into effect on 1 January 2022)

There are also changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme (formerly known as the ‘T5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme). Iceland is being added to the Youth Mobility Scheme country list as a country without Deemed Sponsorship Status. India is being added to the list of countries where invitation to apply arrangements apply. Moreover, the Scheme will allow citizens of applicable countries/territories without Deemed Sponsorship Status to apply for this route from any post that accepts such applications worldwide.

EUSS Family Permits (come into effect on 6 October 2021)

The amendments also addressed the concession which allows a joining family member of an EEA citizen to apply to the EUSS as a visitor. From 6 October 2021, this concession will cease to exist for certain family members.

ID cards and Travel Documents (come into effect on 1 October 2021)

It has previously been confirmed that consistent with Citizens’ Rights Agreements, EEA citizens and certain EEA family members who are resident in the UK by the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) can continue to use their EEA national ID cards to enter the UK until at least the end of 2025.

On the other hand, EEA citizens that are outside the Citizens’ Rights cohort (e.g. who do not have pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS) will need a passport to enter the UK, like other nationalities. Please be reminded that this will come into effect on 1 October 2021.

Should you have any questions regarding the upcoming changes please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration team.

Please note that requirements may vary from case to case based on the nuances of your situation, and the information on this page is not intended to replace legal advice.