In February 2015 UK Visas and Immigration (‘UKVI’ - formerly the UK Border Agency) will present to Parliament proposed changes to the Immigration Rules (‘the Rules’) to come in to effect in April 2015. A primary objective of the changes is to provide more flexibility as well as greater clarity in respect of the activities that can be performed by visitors.

Whilst the changes have not yet been rubber stamped by Parliament, UKVI are proposing to make a number of alterations to the Rules clarifying and extending the permitted and prohibited activities that visitors can undertake. In this e-flash we provide you with a glimpse of some of the likely changes.

Expansion of Permitted Activities for business visitors

The Rules list the permitted activities that a business visitor can undertake. The list is likely going to be expanded to include:

  1. volunteering for up to 30 days at a registered UK charity; further clarification will be required in respect of this but it appears to potentially permit short periods of voluntary work when it is not the main purpose for the migrant’s visit to the UK;
  2. Employees of an overseas training company delivering global training to employees with a multi-national company based in the UK; and
  3. Allowing training in specialist UK work practices and techniques to be delivered by non-corporate organisations, such as reference libraries.

Unfortunately it does not appear that UKVI has decided to grapple with the issues arising from the lack of definition of employment, as the updated Immigration Rules are unlikely to include a definition of employment. However, the amended Rules should provide more detail on the permitted and prohibited work that visitors can undertake.

It is possible that the changes may create situations where sponsorship under Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the Points Based System is not necessary for migrants entering the UK to undertake certain activities when previously it would have been.

Changing the period of leave granted

UKVI has also suggested that changes may be made to the period of leave to be granted when an Entry Clearance application is made or permission to enter is sought.

Under the current Rules for visitors, Entry Clearance or leave to enter is granted for a period of six months. Changes may be made to this so that Entry Clearance or leave to enter is issued for shorter periods, for example, up to 30 days or for the proposed duration of the migrant’s visit only. This would be a significant limitation on an individual’s ability to enter and remain in the UK and is likely generate an increase in the number of Entry Clearance applications and requests for permission to enter as well as increasing the costs incurred by migrants and their organisations.

The upcoming changes may include tweaks to other immigration categories; once the changes have been finalised, we will send out a further e-flash to outline the changes in more detail.

Philip Trott photo

Philip Trott

Partner and Head of Immigration

+44(0)20 7551 7652

View full information about Philip Trott
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Christopher Randall

Senior Associate

+44(0)20 7551 7786

View full information about Christopher Randall
Chetal  Patel photo

Chetal Patel

Senior Associate

+44(0)20 7551 7741

View full information about Chetal Patel

Posted on 20/02/2015 in Legal Updates

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