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Immigration monthly round-up: February 2022

Immigration monthly round-up: February 2022
  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration


Welcome to our regular immigration round-up, providing a helpful summary of what's new and in the pipeline for UK immigration, along with links to a wealth of detailed resources and courses at your disposal.

In this edition, you can find:

We hope you find these updates useful.

UK immigration updates

COVID-19 RTW Checks: temporary adjustments to Right to Work (RTW) checks

The Home Office has released updated Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks guidance confirming the temporary adjustments to RTW checks will now end on 30 September 2022 (and not 05 April 2022 as previously mentioned). The adjustments will allow employers to continue conducting virtual checks however this is limited to those who are not within the scope of the online RTW checks.

Note: Individuals who hold biometric cards (BRP, BRC and FWC) must use the online RTW checking processes from 06 April 2022.

Reminder: Retrospective checks

You do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2022 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports business during this difficult time.

View and Prove Status Share Codes

Individuals using the online right to work check service (“View and Prove”) for the purpose of sharing their immigration status to prove their status in the UK must select this option when obtaining a share code. It is important to note that a share code generated for the purpose of providing right to work status can only be used in the ‘View a job applicant’s right to work details’ online service.

To assist individual’s with distinguishing the purpose of their share code, the codes now begin with a letter denoting what they can be used for. A share code for the purpose of providing right to work status will begin with the letter ‘W’.  This will indicate that the share code has been generated by an individual to evidence their right to work status.

If an individual provides a share code that begins with ‘R’ (evidence of right to rent) or ‘S’ (evidence for another reason other than rent or work) then this cannot be used for the purpose of conducting an online right to work check.

Share codes will always be 9 characters long and the validity period (from 17 February 2022) will be 90 days from generation. On receipt of the share code, employers should continue to use the View a job applicant's right to work details online service.

Draft Statement of Changes: Summary

The government has issued a draft Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, which is due to come into force in Spring 2022. The draft changes include the following references:

  • reference to successor to the Sponsorship Management System has been added under the definition of CoS. This suggests that the Home Office is planning on introducing a new SMS

  • reference to Provisional rating has been added which suggests that there will be an additional rating for sponsors listed on the register of licensed sponsors

  • the Intra-Company Transfer route will be replaced by the Global Business Mobility visa which is categorised into Global Business Mobility - Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, Secondment Worker, Service Supplier, or UK Expansion Worker. The current Intra-Company Transfer route and previous Tier 2 ICT route will still fall under the Global Business Mobility much like the Tier 2 Gen which is the same as Skilled Worker

Home Office Consultation on Code of Practice for Employers

The UK government recently held a consultation on the code of practice for employers. The code of practice provides guidance to employers on avoiding unlawful discrimination whilst preventing illegal working. The proposed changes to the code of practice address direct and indirect indiscrimination, harassment and victimisation, unlawful race discrimination in employment as well as fair practices to avoid discrimination.

The consultation was aimed at those who undertake RTW checks such as employers and recruitment agencies. There are likely to be some changes to the Code of Practice following the consultation. In the meantime, employers are encouraged to review the Amendments to the Home Office code of practice for employers.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) portal

As of 1 February 2022, the Immigration Health Surcharge portal has been updated. Those applying for a visa under the Worker and Temporary routes will now be promoted to ensure that the fee payable for the Immigration Health Surcharge is calculated based on the total length of leave granted instead of the Certificate of Sponsorship dates. The purpose of this is to remove the need for any additional top-up amounts that may be required for some applicants.

End of Fee Reductions for EU Nationals on 26 February 2022

UKVI have confirmed that the fee arrangement for CESC nationals concession will shortly come to an end.  A recent message on the Sponsor Management System (SMS)confirmed that:

Nationals of countries which have ratified the European Social Charter (CESC nationals) currently benefit from reduced visa fees and free Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). This concession will end on 26 February 2022.

Visa applications submitted by, and CoS assigned to, CESC nationals on or after 26 February 2022 will incur the full standard visa or CoS fee. This includes Skilled Worker Defined CoS allocated to your account before 26 February 2022, but not assigned to a worker before that date.’

The full list of current fees has been updated to reflect the ending of this concession.

Visa Decisions: delays with processing times

Note: UKVI are currently experiencing a high-level of demand across all visa routes. At present applications are taking an average of 6 weeks to process. The delay in the processing periods have been reflected in the Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK.

VFS Global change of website

The VFS Global website domain has now updated to:

Closure of the Tier 1 (Investor) route

The Home Office has announced the closure of the Tier 1 (Investor) route with immediate effect from 16.00 on 17 February 2022. The route is now closed for new applicants.

Those with existing leave in the route will still be able to extend their stay, including making an application for entry clearance outside the UK if they have held leave as a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant in the 12 month period preceding the date of application and apply for settlement.

Travel to the UK - COVID-19 international travel rules

The UK Government has taken a step to further relax the travel restrictions for those arriving in the UK. For eligible fully vaccinated passengers arriving to the UK all testing requirements have now been removed since the 11 February 2022.

Passengers who are not recognised as fully vaccinated will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day 2 after they arrive in the UK.

With regards to quarantine on arrival, ‘the Government is looking to replace the hotel quarantine policy with other contingency measures including home isolation’. Further details of this will be set out in Spring 2022. The guidance for travelling to England from another country during coronavirus will continue to be kept up to date with the latest rules required for travel to England.

The ‘red list’ will continue to remain in place however at present there are currently no countries or territories on the red list.

Reminder: It is important to monitor and continue to check the UK’s international travel rules before travelling as entry to the UK may be impacted and could change in the near future. Changes may be implemented with little or no notice as COVID-19 infections fluctuate. Furthermore, specific guidance should be checked should you be travelling to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland to ensure you comply with the relevant requirements which apply in those jurisdictions.

Information and Guidance Sheets

  • Service standard for BN(O) visas: The Home Office has introduced a 12-week service standard for BN(O) visa applications. This change applies to applications received from 01st February 2022 and not retrospectively.

  • UKVCAS change of address (Hull):  The service point for UKVCAS’ centre in Hull will move from 28 February 2022 to the following address:

Hull Central Library

Albion Street          



Applicants are able to book appointments at the location since 03 February 2022. Applicants who have already booked appointments at the current address (Regus House) will not be affected by the change of the location.

  • Statistics

The Home Office has issued new immigration statistics for the year ending December 2021.

Key statistics:

-        280,776 visas and permits were granted for family reasons in 2021, which is 105% more than 2020

-        239,987 work-related visas (including dependant visas under the work-related visa routes) were granted in 2021, which is 110% more than 2020

-        107,796 decisions on settlement applications in the UK were made in 2021, which is 24% more than 2020


-      User guide to: Immigration Statistics

-      EU Settlement Scheme statistics

-      EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, December 2021

-      Immigration statistics data tables, year ending December 2021

-      Migration transparency data

Alerts, webinars and resources

  • UK Immigration: adjusted right to work check update – In this short legal update, Partner Audrey Elliott outlines the changes in line with the updated Home Office’s guidance on right to work checks. The guidance was updated to extend the adjusted right to work check process currently in place as a result of COVID-19, until 30 September 2022 (inclusive).
  • Right to Work webinar

17 March 2022 at 11:00 am to 11:45 am – Following the major changes to the RTW checking processes, Principle Associates, Louisa Cole and Emily Hasted will be hosting a short 45 minute webinar covering the updates to the Home Offices’ guidance on RTW checks. Over the course of the webinar, Louisa and Emily will cover developments in the changes to RTW checks from 6 April 2022, the extension of the adjusted RTW checking process and a refresher on conducting online RTW checks.

Catch up with our latest immigration round-up, providing a helpful summary of what's new and in the pipeline for UK immigration, along with links to a wealth of detailed resources and courses at your disposal.

Bookmark: Brexit legal publication hub: resources and guides

Upcoming public courses

  • Commencing 09/03/2022 at 09:30 to 12:00 : Immigration UK – Business travellers: masterclass for HR practitioners: This UK immigration law course is aimed at those with some experience of managing immigration processes and are involved in immigration assessments for business visitors or regular intra-company travellers between the UK and European Economic Area. This course will address the issue of business travel post-Brexit and how the end of the post-Brexit transition period has changed this processes and requirements; including the activities that business visitors are permitted to undertake whilst in the UK, when a working visa may be required and where employees are required to undertake international business travel how they may continue to fulfil the current roles.
  • Commencing 28/03/2022 – 07/04/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 : Immigration UK – Sponsor licencing modules: This UK immigration law course is aimed at those who oversee and operate the Sponsor Management System (SMS) or those who intend to do so in the future. The aim of this modular training course is to advise of the strategic and practical issues that HR and global mobility professionals need to consider when sponsoring employees within the new immigration system. The course will be compromised of four short virtual modules including:
    • Module 1: 28/03/2022 - How to exercise the functions of an Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 or Level 2 user
    • Module 2: 30/03/2022 - Meeting the UK Visas and Immigration sponsor duties
    • Module 3: 05/04/2022 - Introduction to the new Points Based System
    • Module 4: 07/04/2022 - Managing the new Points Based System
  • Commencing 26/04/2022 – 28/04/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 : Immigration UK – Right-to-work in 2022: This UK immigration law course is aimed at those who responsibility for immigration issues. It is suitable for HR, global mobility and legal professionals who oversee, operate or implement RTW checking processes, compromising of the following two modules:
    • Module 1: Operating effective RTW checks: This module will cover how to make the relevant physical, on-line and virtual checks and how to identify potential issues including non-compliance, GDPR and discrimination and practical steps for addressing each issue. The module will also cover the situation with regards to EEA employees.
  • Module 2: Handling RTW problems: This module will cover the management of RTW process through to audit and inspection, discussion on the penalty regime and which action may be required when discovering non-compliance and liaising with Immigration Enforcement.
  • Commencing 10/05/2022 at 13:00 to 16:00 & 12/05/2022 at 13:00 to 16:00 : UK employment law training: This introduction to UK employment law course is aimed at all those who have responsibility for UK-based employees but are unfamiliar with employment law and HR practice in the UK, for example international HR managers and directors or inhouse employment counsel whose regional responsibility includes UK HR matters, but also UK based HR or line managers who are quite new to their role and looking for an introductory overview of how employment law shapes HR practice. It will also be useful to employers who anticipate entering the UK market and wish to develop an awareness of their potential employment responsibilities. A prior knowledge of the employment laws applicable in the UK is not required to attend this course.

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For Immigration updates select: Preferences > Service lines > Employment & Labor Law > Immigration and Global Mobility.

Tip of the month

Applicants applying for settlement under the Skilled Worker visa route can apply up to 28 days before they reach their qualifying period.

Immigration team members spotlight

Jiyin Oh is the newest addition to Eversheds Sutherland’s national immigration team.

Jiyin joined the team in January 2022 and has experience working with private as well as corporate clients on business immigration matters including sponsorship, family visas, settlement and naturalisation. She has experience advising on sponsor licence and compliance duties for companies ranging from the IT sector to hospitality.