Open Navigation

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules December 2023

The government has this week announced numerous changes to the UK Immigration Rules, to be introduced during 2024. The key changes are summarised below:


Changes to Visitor Rules – effective from 31 January 2024

On 22 November 2023, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer made several immigration-related announcements in his Autumn Statement 2023, notably about business visitor visa reform. This Statement of Changes delivers on the promises contained within the speech to broaden and clarify permitted activities.

**Remote Work**

The Immigration Rules will be amended to confirm that a visitor to the UK can work remotely whilst they are in the UK – in relation to their overseas employment – but that remote working must not be the primary purpose of their visit. In other words, an individual visiting the UK for purposes such as tourism, attending a conference etc, can continue to write e-mails, make phone calls etc for their overseas employment, but they cannot come to the UK for the purpose of working remotely.

This permission is in Home Office guidance currently, but the changes mean that this will be formally incorporated in the Rules, rather than just in guidance.

The usual restrictions continue to apply in terms of length of stay – i.e. a visit to the UK can be for a maximum of 6 months, but the Home Office will also consider length of time in assessing whether a visit is for a genuine purpose permitted under the rules. So, for example, if an individual states the primary purpose of their visit is attending a conference, the Home Office will expect the visit to last only a matter of days. If the visit is longer, they may question whether the visit is genuine or if there is a different purpose which may or may not qualify under permitted visitor activities.

Other familiar restrictions continue to apply. For example, the visitor must not receive payment from a UK source (with limited exceptions e.g. to cover costs of travel and subsistence.)

**Intra-Corporate Activities**

The changes will also expand permitted intra-corporate activities. It will no longer be prohibited for visitors to work directly with clients in the UK, however there will still be significant restrictions on client-facing work.

An employee of an overseas-based company will, as a visitor, be able to advise, trouble-shoot, provide training and share skills and knowledge directly with a client whilst in the UK, but this work must be:

  • Incidental to an individual’s overseas employment
  • Required for delivery of a project or service by the UK branch of the visitor’s overseas employer. It must not be part of a project or service being delivered directly to the UK client by the overseas employer themselves.

The statement accompanying the changes makes it clear that any work by visitors with clients in the UK must not amount to the offshoring of a project or service to an overseas employer, and we expect that this is something that the Home Office will be looking out for.

We also anticipate that the Visitor guidance will be updated following the rule changes, and we hope that this will clarify the new permissions further, including how the Home Office will assess whether work with clients fits within the rules e.g. whether they have expectations of how long this new permitted type of work would take.

**Permitted Paid Engagements (“PPE”)**

The Government is also moving the provisions of the PPE Visitor route into the Standard Visitor route. This means all visitors will be able to undertake PPE without the need for a special visa. However, visitors intending to undertake PPE must have arranged their PPE activity prior to travel to the UK, and this must be undertaken within 30 days of arrival in the UK as a Visitor.


EU Settlement Scheme changes– effective 16 January 2024

The government will prevent any application under EUSS as a joining family member being made by an irregular arrival to the UK (including small boat arrivals) or by an illegal entrant.

Any person entering the UK as a visitor to make an application under EUSS as a joining family member will need apply within three months of their arrival. This is subject to any reasonable grounds given for a delay in applying.


Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse – effective 31 January 2024

The Home Office will be introducing a new Entry Clearance route for victims of domestic violence who were abandoned overseas. This will also be open to dependant children to apply at the same time as or after the parent’s application.


Youth Mobility – effective 31 January 2024

The UK has negotiated a Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) arrangement with Uruguay which will be added to the list of countries and territories participating in this route and the Rules are being amended to reflect the requirements for Uruguayan citizens coming to the UK.

Changes have been made to enhance the arrangements with Japan and The Republic of Korea.  These nationals will no longer need an invitation to apply.

From 31 January 2024 the age range for applicants will be extended to 35 years old for nationals of Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, as well as nationals of New Zealand, who are already eligible up to this age.

Should you have any questions relating to these changes, do not hesitate in contacting your usual Magrath Sheldrick LLP contact who can assist further.

Discover how our specialist team can help you.

Request a callback

Join Magrath Sheldrick LLP Mailing List

Sign up