On 11 October 2018, the Home Office has published the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 1534) which the Home Secretary laid down before the Parliament for approval. The statement is around 50 pages long and with changes taking effect from 1 November 2018. It can be accessed here.
The Statement of Changes has three main purposes. Firstly, it introduces Changes in Appendix EU and implementation of a second pilot phase of the EU Settlement Scheme for resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain UK immigration status, to run from 1 November to 31 December 2018. This phase will test the full end-to-end online application process, will significantly scale up the testing, including, on a voluntary basis and with the agreement of the Devolved Administrations, staff in the higher education, health and social care sectors across the UK. This phase will also include some vulnerable individuals as them being supported by a small number of local authorities and civil society organisations in order to enable testing of the operation of the scheme for those with support needs.
Secondly, the Statement of Changes further introduces the “Calais leave”, a form of leave to remain for children transferred to the UK as part of the Calais camp clearance to reunite with their family between 17 October 2016 and 13 July 2017 and who do not qualify for international protection (i.e. refugee status or humanitarian protection). As it would not be in interest of those children to separate them from their families but rather to reunite with their families and integrate in the UK, this support from the UK authorities is perceived as a significant positive change to Immigration Rules.
Thirdly, there are changes to the general visa application process, including the requirements to post passports and original documents, in order to support the operation of the new application process in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). By amending the Rules on the requirements for a valid application, the majority of those applying in the UK to extend their stay or apply for citizenship will be able to submit key documents and personal information in a more secure way while retaining their passport and supporting evidence which will make an application process more flexible and accessible.
However, there is one controversial major change introduced in the Statement. The immigration health surcharge will double from £200 to £400 in December 2018 for non-EU nationals. This has been explained as a necessary and fair contribution from long-term migrants to long-term sustainability of NHS service. These changes affect neither permanent residency holders nor certain vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers and modern slavery victims.