July 20, 2023

UK Government Releases Second Statement of Changes of 2023

At a Glance

  • The UK government released its second Statement of Changes of 2023 that include changes to the Ukraine Scheme Visa, the Visa Nationals List, the EU Settlement Scheme Route, the Student Visa Route, among others.

On 19 July 2023, the UK government released the second Statement of Changes of the calendar year. Below is a summary of some of the most important changes.

Ukraine Scheme Visa

The deadline for applications to this scheme has been extended to 16 May 2024. This will apply to applications made overseas and in the UK.

Additions to the Visa Nationals List

Citizens of the following nations will now be required to obtain a visa before traveling to the UK:

  • Dominica
  • Honduras
  • Namibia
  • Timor-Leste
  • Vanuatu

This change came into effect at 15:00 PM on 19 July 2023.

This change also annuls the Visa Treaty (1962) between Honduras and the UK, covering visa-free travel between the two countries, on grounds of  "public policy."

The Home Office hopes this will allow them to intervene before high-risk individuals travel to the UK by refusing to grant such persons a visa.

Changes to EU Settlement Scheme Route

EU Settlement Scheme Pre-Settled status holders will have their leave extended automatically by two years, prior to the expiry, if they fail to submit an extension.

This is intended to ensure no one loses their right to live in the UK.

The Home Office also intends to automatically switch people from the Pre-Settled to Settled Status once they are eligible, without having to make an application. Although this is yet to be confirmed.

Changes to Student Visa Route

Visa holders previously issued permission to enter or remain in the UK as Students must fulfil one of the following conditions when switching to any employment, UK Ancestry or Global Talent visas:

  • Completed their course of study.
  • The applicants must be/must have been studying a full-time course of study at a degree level or above with a higher education provider that has a track record of compliance.
  • The Certificate of Sponsorship issued to the applicants must have a start date that cannot be earlier than the course completion date or a start date no earlier than 24 months after the start date of the course.

This change is in line with the government’s intention to prevent people from using the student visa route as a means of quickly gaining entry to the UK and later switching to an employment permit/permission.

Student visa applicants will no longer be permitted to bring their family members to the UK unless the student is in a postgraduate programme with a research focus. This change will apply to students entering the UK from January 2024. This is in line with the government’s intention to reduce net-migration.

Changes to the "Genuineness Requirement" in Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility and Scale-Up Worker Visa Applications

Applicants must intend, and be able, to undertake the role for which they are being sponsored. And the applicant must not intend to undertake additional employment other than in the role they are permitted, or roles permitted by the Immigration Rules.

Applicants sponsored under the occupation code 2211 Medical Practitioners, to undertake General Practitioner (GP) speciality training will be granted leave valid until 4 months after the expiry of their CoS.

Changes to the Shortage Occupation List

The following codes have been added to the Shortage Occupation List:

  • 5119 agriculture and fishing trades not elsewhere classified – only jobs in the fishing industry.
  • 5312 bricklayers and masons – all jobs.
  • 5315 carpenter and joiners – all jobs.
  • 5319 construction and building trades not elsewhere classified – all jobs.
  • 9119 fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations not elsewhere classified – with some restrictions.

Changes to the Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Route

  • Applicants being sponsored in the horticulture sector or under occupation code 8111, 9111, 9119, or 9134 in the poultry production sector, must be paid at least £10.42 for each hour worked and receive at least 32 hours paid employment each week.
  • Applicants being sponsored under occupation code 5431 or 5433 in the poultry production sector, must be paid at least £10.75 for each hour worked and £26,200 per year.

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

The maximum total period of stay granted under this route is now three continuous years.

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