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Insights & Events > Immigration Rules changes: Students’ eligibility for work visas, construction roles on the Shortage Occupation List, and extending pre-settled status

Immigration Rules changes: Students’ eligibility for work visas, construction roles on the Shortage Occupation List, and extending pre-settled status

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Students restricted from switching and bringing dependants

New rules published at 3pm on 17 July 2023 and immediately effective render Student visa holders ineligible to switch into the Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility including Senior or Specialist Worker, Scale-up or International Sportsperson routes before either:

  • Completing the course of study for which their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned; or
  • Being within 3 months of their course completion date; the work start date must be after the course completion date.

There is an exception for PhD-level students, who are eligible to switch after 2 years or more of study.

Equally, a Student cannot switch into being the dependant of a Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility Worker or Scale-up Worker or International Sportsperson before completing the course of study for which their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned.

The new restrictions on switching mean that employers who wish to sponsor Students before their course ends should be ready for the candidates to spend some time overseas to make their visa applications.

Another notable change is that if an international student’s course start date is on or after 1 January 2024, they will not be permitted to bring dependants unless the course is a PhD, other doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree. Students’ dependants have the right to work in the UK. The prohibition on bringing dependants will reduce the pool of available labour in the UK and make the UK less attractive to international students.

Skilled Workers

Genuineness

The Rules also introduce a genuineness requirement to the Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility and Scale-Up routes, effective from 7 August 2023. An applicant must genuinely intend, and be able, to undertake the role for which they are being sponsored; and not intend to undertake employment other than in the role for which they are being sponsored or as otherwise permitted (supplementary employment, voluntary work and working out a contractual notice period for the job they had at the date of application).

The new genuineness requirement will allow for subjectivity in decision-making and has been historically reserved for self-employment and business routes. UK Visas and Immigration may request an interview with an applicant to assess genuineness.

Construction roles to be included on Shortage Occupation List

Construction roles are added to the Shortage Occupation List from 7 August 2023 including the following:

  • 5312 Bricklayers and masons
  • 5313 Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
  • 5315 Carpenters and joiners
  • 5319 Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified
  • 5321 Plasterers (including dryliners)

Changes to the EU Settlement Scheme

From 9 August 2023, the Secretary of State may extend pre-settled status by 2 years before it expires under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), without a person having to make a valid application to extend.

The Rule change implements a December 2022 High Court judgment in favour of The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements which challenged the Home Office’s position that citizens with pre-settled status must make a second application to the EU Settlement Scheme or face losing their rights under Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement.

It is not yet clear how the Secretary of State’s discretion to extend will work in practice.

Visit visas

Effective 19 July 2023, nationals of Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu must apply for a visit visa before traveling to the UK; they are no longer eligible to enter the UK as visitors without a visa. There is an exception for those who hold confirmed bookings to the UK made on or before 15:00 BST 19 July 2023, where arrival in the UK is no later than 16 August 2023.

Please note that the information presented here should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you would like to instruct us to provide legal advice, please get in touch.

Publication Date: 21/07/2023

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Author avatar
Samar Shams
Managing Partner @ Changes Immigration
samar.shams@changesimmigration.com
+44 (0) 7591 385033