March 8, 2019


8 March 2019

Dear colleague,

Legislation was laid in Parliament yesterday (07 March) which sets out a number of changes to border and immigration fees. Most of these changes will come into effect from 29 March 2019; with changes to the EU Settlement Scheme from 30 March 2019; the fee exception for Afghan Locally Employed Staff from 06 April 2019 and Border Force above-basic services and Fast Track from 01 July 2019.
The UK Government welcomes genuine visitors to the UK, whether they are coming as tourists, on business or to see family and friends. The Home Office continues to process significant numbers of visa, immigration and nationality applications each year. Current forecasts for 2019-20 expect approximately 4.2 million visa applications, from those planning to come to visit, work and study in the UK, contributing significantly to the UK economy and supporting economic growth. The Home Office continues to provide an excellent customer service with 98% of all non-settlement visa applications being decided within the standard 15 day processing time.
Careful consideration is given when setting fees in line with the powers set out in the 2014 Immigration Act, to ensure that we are reducing the contribution from UK taxpayers to funding the Border, Immigration and Citizenship systems, whilst continuing to provide and invest in a service that remains attractive to our customers and competitive with other countries.
Nearly all applications for individuals seeking to visit, work or study in the UK are now made online and the application is simple and straightforward to complete.
The key changes are:
• Increased fee for the 6 Month Short Term Visit Visa from £93 to £95.

• Increased fee on 2,5 and 10 Year Long Term Visit Visas.
o from £350 to £361 for the 2-year visa;
o from £636 to £655 for the 5-year visa; and
o from £798 to £822 for the 10-year visa
• Increased fee for Academic Visitor and Private Medical Treatment visas from £186 to £190
• Increased fee for overseas optional Priority Visa – Non-Settlement service to £220.
• Increase fees for Priority Services:
o The in-country Super Priority fee from £610 to £800;
o The in-country Priority service from £477 to £500;
o The out-of-country Priority Visa (General) service fee from £212 to £220
Please note – Fees for entry clearance to enter the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, as a visitor, and for the priority visa service, will rise in-line with the same fees charged for applicants coming to the UK.
• Increased fee for Electronic Visa Waiver fee from £15 to £30
• Increased fee for Border Force Fast Track service at Heathrow Terminals 2,3 and 4 from £3.90 to £5.20
• The Border Force Hourly Rate for “above-basic services” will continue to be charged at the current fee of £53.08 until the end of June, after which two new fees will take effect to provide distinction between services offered. A fee of £57.33 has been set to reflect administrative functions provided, including services to other government departments; whilst another fee of £77.40 has been set to reflect the increased premium nature of commercial based services.
• New fees for the “Innovator” and “Start-Up” routes replacing Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), and transitional arrangements for these legacy routes. The new fees are at the same level as for the Tier 1 routes they replace.
• New fee of £244 for entry clearance to enter the Bailiwick of Jersey under their new Temporary Seasonal Work Permit arrangements. The fee is the same as that which will be charged under Tier 5 in the UK, for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot.
We are not making any changes to fees under the sponsorship system, which have been held since the last change in April 2015. All other fees are being held at the current rate.
If you have any queries regarding the fee changes, or would like to discuss any particular areas of interest, please contact:

Yours sincerely,

Simon Bond
BICS Strategic Director
Home Office

March 7, 2019

Changes to the Immigration Rules – 7 March 2019

Dear colleague,

Today, 07 March, we have brought forward a number of changes to the Immigration Rules, which further demonstrate our commitment to attracting leading talent, whilst also cracking down on abuse.

Tier 1 business

The Rules will provide skilled business people access to two new visa routes to set up businesses in the UK. The Start-up visa route will be open to those starting a business for the first time in the UK, while the Innovator visa route will be for more experienced business people who have funds to invest in their business.
Both routes will see endorsing bodies and business experts – rather than the Home Office – assessing applicants’ business ideas. This will make sure that the routes are focussed on only the most innovative, viable and scalable businesses.

Alongside these new routes, the Home Office is also bringing forward reforms to the Tier 1 (Investor) route. The reformed route will better protect the UK from illegally obtained funds, whilst ensuring that genuine investors have access to a viable visa route. Applicants will be required to prove that they have had control of the required £2 million for at least two years, rather than 90 days, or provide evidence of the source of those funds.

Tier 2 salary exemption

We will also extend the salary exemption in the Tier 2 (General) visa so that the NHS and schools can continue to attract and hire experienced teachers, nurses and paramedics from overseas. The salary exemption applies to all nurses and paramedics, medical radiographers and secondary school teachers whose subjects are in maths, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin.
Commenting on the changes, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:
“My priority is making sure that talented business people continue to see the UK as an attractive destination to develop their businesses. This will help create more jobs across the country and ensure our economy continues to thrive.
“In addition to welcoming those who wish to contribute to our economy, we also recognise our duty to support the vulnerable. That is why I am proud to announce that we are extending our commitment to the brave Afghan interpreters and their families so that they can rebuild their lives here, together, in safety.
“However, what we will not tolerate is those who seek to abuse our system and that is why I am bringing forward new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”
Other changes to the Rules include:

The list of countries which benefit from the streamlined documentary requirements, found in Appendix H, has been updated to include Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia. This change will not only benefit students, who will be able to apply for visas through a more streamlined process, but also help to ensure that the UK’s world-leading education institutions remain competitive internationally.

We are increasing the initial period of leave granted to those who qualify for Stateless Leave from 30 months to five years’, making it easier for those who are genuinely stateless and not able to live in any other country and cutting unnecessary bureaucracy. Also, to deter those who seek to abuse the system to benefit from stateless leave, changes are being made to the Rules to make sure that only those who are genuinely entitled to stateless leave can qualify. This makes clearer that an individual is required to show that they have tried to obtain a nationality or right of residence in another country that they could reasonably expect to be entitled to, before benefitting from stateless leave. The Government is clear that we will not tolerate those who seek to play the system to remain in the UK.
A new two-year scheme which will allow up to 20 nurses from Jamaica to come to the UK to gain vital experience in NHS hospitals as part of an exchange scheme.
In recognition of the support of brave Afghan interpreters and their families to the UK armed forces, we have brought forward rules changes so that eligible partners and children of interpreters still in Afghanistan can relocate to the UK at a date later than the relocation of the individual interpreter.
We remain committed to bringing net migration down to sustainable levels, but also recognise the need to attract people who bring benefits to the UK and enable employers to have access to the skills they need.


Home Office communications.

February 5, 2019

Registering to remain in the UK if you are an EU Citizen

For the moment, the UK intend to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. The UK government have put in place a new scheme called the EU Settlement Scheme (Scheme) which permits EU Citizens to register in the UK to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

This Scheme replaces the residence scheme which operates under the EU regulations. The EU regulations or freedom of movement permits EU Citizens entry to the UK for 3 months before having to demonstrate ‘exercising a treaty right’ through working, self-employment, retirement, studying or being self-sufficient to continue to remain lawfully in the UK.

Many EU Citizens currently in the UK have not registered under the old residence scheme because it was never compulsory.

It will be compulsory for all EU Citizens to be registered in the Scheme by 1 July 2021 if they want to continue to reside in the UK.

The Scheme will grant ‘pre settled status’ to those who have resided lawfully in the UK for less than 5 years or ‘settled status’ to those who have resided for 5 years or more.

The Home Office introduced testing phases of the Scheme to mainly public sector workers since October last year. The test pilots have been so successful that they will open a new phase of testing from 21 January 2019. The new test phase is open to all EU Citizens who hold a valid passport.