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Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules

19 February 2024

 

Today, 19 February 2024, the government published a short statement of changes to the immigration rules. Further changes, including the upcoming changes to salary and financial requirements, are due to be published on 11 March. Today’s changes focus on the Ukraine Scheme visas, and Skilled Worker visas for care workers, senior care workers, and their dependents.

We provide an overview of the announcement below. If you are concerned that your business, your current visa permission, or your upcoming application may be affected by these changes, please get in touch to discuss your options.

Senior care workers and care workers

Changes to the immigration rules include the much-anticipated restrictions on care workers and senior care workers on Skilled Worker visas (under occupation codes 6145 and 6146). This has been made in response to findings of non-compliance and exploitation in the industry. There are two main changes to note:

  • A rule is introduced to require employers under this category in England to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and to be carrying on a regulated activity, to sponsor care workers and senior care workers in the relevant occupation codes. This provision does not apply in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Dependents can no longer join workers sponsored in these occupation codes in the UK. Children born in the UK will still be able to regularise their stay by applying to remain in line with their parent.

For those already in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa, or a PBS Dependent visa, who will no longer be able to meet the requirements for the visa because of these changes, the Home Office has introduced transitional arrangements. You will be able to apply to extend your permission with the same sponsor, as well as apply for indefinite leave to remain. If you make a change of employment application, you will need to ensure your new employer meets the CQC regulation requirement.

These changes will come into effect from 10 March 2024. Any application made before this date should not be impacted by the changes.

Ukraine Scheme visas

Today’s announcement confirms several important alterations to the special schemes for Ukraine citizens and their family members, some of which come into effect immediately. As well as additional grounds for refusal of an application, the following changes have been made:

  • The Ukraine Family Scheme is closing to new applications as of 3pm today, 19 February 2024.
  • The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme – the initial length of permission granted for new applicants under the scheme is reduced from 36 to 18 months. If you are already on the scheme, your current visa end date will not change.
  • The Ukraine Extension Scheme will close to new applicants for permission to stay in the UK from 16 May 2024. Children born in the UK after 18 March 2022 are eligible to apply under this route beyond 16 May 2024 and will be granted permission in line with the parent(s) holding a Ukraine Scheme visa.

Other changes

Finally, some minor changes have been made to the Youth Mobility visa route, to provide confirmation and clarity on what previous visa routes count as Youth Mobility (including the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) Scheme) before December 2020 and the Working Holidaymaker route before November 2008.

 

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