Business Immigration Quarterly Update: January 2022
Wishing a very happy new year to all our readers. The year 2022 promises to be another exciting year in the world of immigration. We aim to provide you with quarterly updates covering any new immigration routes, new guidance and new rules being implemented by the Home Office so that you are kept up to date with all upcoming changes.
Changes to right to Work
From 6 April 2022, individuals in possession of Biometric Residence Permits (BRP), Biometric Residence Cards (BRC), or Frontier Worker Permits (FWP) will evidence their right to work in the UK exclusively via the Home Office online checking service. As such, a physical document will no longer be acceptable. In practice this means UK employers will no longer be able to accept or check a physical BRP, BRC or FWP as valid proof of the holder’s right to work, even if the document shows a later expiry date. This will be a significant change for employers. We will continue to keep you updated on this.
On 17 January 2022, the Home Office added a new Annex F to its employer right to work checks supporting guidance which contains guidance for employers carrying out right to work checks on British and Irish citizens from 6 April 2022 using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT). IDVT is a new digital tool which will allow British and Irish individuals to upload images of their physical right to work documents and have these analysed remotely to verify their identity. This will be a welcome change following the end of the adjusted right to work checks after 5 April 2022. It is intended by the Home Office to act as a more long-term solution to facilitate remote right to work checks without the need for physical document handling by the employer. This is all part of the Home Office’s long-term plan to digitalise the immigration system.
Finally, whilst it is a legal requirement for employers to check that all job applicants possess lawful immigration status in the UK before entering employment, they do not need to retrospectively check the status of employees in possession of BRC, BRP or FWP who were in employment up to and including 5 April 2022. Employers will maintain a statutory excuse against any civil penalty if the initial checks were undertaken in line with the guidance that applied at the time the check was made.
Updates on eVisas (electronic visas)
As of 30 December 2021, the Home Office has updated Appendix D: keeping documents – guidance for sponsors to reflect the introduction of eVisas. Where the worker has been issued with an eVisa only, employers must check this, and retain evidence they have done so, by using the Home Office view and prove service. Where the worker has been issued with both an eVisa and a BRP, employers can choose which document to check and make a copy of. EEA nationals who have a biometric passport applying under the Student or Child Student routes using the ID Check app will receive an eVisa rather than a vignette and a physical BRP. The validity of the Student or Child Student permission will be confirmed on the eVisa. The Home Office has also updated its Skilled Worker caseworker guidance in relation to eVisas. The updated guidance documents state that non-EEA nationals who have previously enrolled their biometric information and who are applying to switch routes, change employment or extend their stay from within the UK may be permitted to use the ID check app, and therefore be issued an eVisa.
Iceland and India join the Youth Mobility Scheme
The UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme is a visa route which allows young people from a select group of countries aged 18 to 30 to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years without requiring sponsorship. The countries previously participating in this scheme included Australia, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Iceland, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The Home Office has updated its Youth Mobility Scheme guidance to reflect that Iceland and India have the joined the scheme as of 1 January 2022.
Upcoming visa routes
Several new visa routes are due to open in Spring 2022. These include the “Scale-Up” visa, “High Potential Individual” visa and “Global Business Mobility” visa. Further details on the specifics of these new visa routes are expected to be disclosed in the coming months. We will provide updates on these new routes in our upcoming quarterly updates.
If you have any questions in relation to the above, or have general queries in relation to UK immigration, please do reach out to our National Immigration Team for further assistance.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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