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Immigration monthly round-up: January 2022

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

17-01-2022

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

Right to work check update

The Home Office’s right to work check guidance has been updated to reflect that from 6 April 2022, employers will no longer be able to carry out a manual right to work check on those who hold a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or a frontier worker permit (biometric card holders). Employers must carry out an online right to work check from this date, in the prescribed manner which establishes a statutory excuse, before employment commences.

The Home Office has confirmed that biometric residence cards, biometric residence permits and frontier worker permits will be removed from the lists of acceptable documents that can be accepted for a manual right to work check and that a retrospective right to work check on those who used a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or a frontier worker permit to prove their right to work during a manual right to work check will not be required.

Reminder: An employer will maintain a statutory excuse against civil penalty if the initial right to work check was undertaken correctly in line with the guidance applicable at the time the right to work check was made. It is important that employers familiarise themselves with the new guidance relating to right to work checks in preparation for the changes on 6 April 2022.

Tuberculosis test booking

Individuals applying for a TB test certificate in a number of African countries can now book their appointment online.

The relevant countries are:

Limitations of the new booking method: 

The online booking system cannot be used by the following:

  • applicants with previous registration
  • applicants under 11 years old
  • applicants booking for family members

ID check app update

The Home Office’s guidance Part 2 of the Worker and Temporary Worker Sponsor Guidance and Appendix D have been updated to confirm that non-EU nationals applying for leave to remain (otherwise now known as permission to stay) under the Skilled Worker route can now apply using the ID check app in instances where they:

  • have previously given their biometric information to the Home Office within the last 15 years
  • have a biometric residence permit

Individuals applying through the ID check app will receive an eVisa once their visa application has been successful. However, it is worth noting that visa nationals who apply through the ID check app will receive both an eVisa and a Biometric Residence Permit as proof of their immigration status.

Police registration

Some individuals who apply for a UK visa are subject to the police registration condition. An individual is usually subject to the police registration condition if all of the following apply:

  • the individual is 16 years old or older
  • the individual’s visa is for longer than 6 months
  • the individual’s nationality is listed as someone who is subject to the police registration condition
  • the individual is not exempt from the police registration condition

Individuals subject to the police registration condition will have a police registration condition imposed on their entry clearance vignette and/or on their decision letter confirming the outcome of their visa application. This condition must be met to avoid breaching the terms attached to the visa which can have serious consequences for the validity of the visa and any renewal.

If you need to register with the police, you must go to the police station within 7 days of entry to the UK for entry clearance/permission to enter applications or within 7 days of receiving their BRP for leave to remain/permission to stay applications.

However, due to a backlog of appointments at present, there may be a delay in obtaining an appointment but efforts to secure an appointment within the mandatory timeframe must be made.

Reminder: Individuals subject to the Police Registration condition should book their appointment within the specified timeframe. If they cannot attend an appointment within the specified period, they must be able to show that they have tried to comply with the Police Registration condition and keep evidence of this. For example, a dated screenshot from the overseas visitor registration office confirming that no penalty action will be taken as a result of earlier appointment not being available. Individuals not based in London can check the appointments at their local police by following this link.

Quarterly reports on civil penalties

The Home Office published its latest quarterly report in relation to illegal working civil penalties on 20 December 2021.

The report sets out the number and value of penalties issued, penalised employers and the number of illegal workers for the period 01 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Reminder: Employers are reminded to ensure that they have a right to work check process that is fit for purpose. Checks must be carried out in line with the guidance applicable at the time and employers should ensure they are tracking the expiry date of right to work documents to maintain a statutory excuse against an illegal working offence.

Employers should also regularly review the Home Office’s right to work guidance for any changes that will impact their right to work check processes.


Alerts, webinars & resource

  • Visa checker: The Home Office has created a page which allows an individual to check if a visa is required based on their nationality and their plans whilst in the UK.
  • Visa application fee tool: The Home Office has released a visa application fee tool to enable an individual to work out the cost of their UK visa application. 
  • Skilled Worker eligibility checker: The Home Office has created an eligibility checker which allows employers and potential employees of their eligibility for the Skilled Worker visa.

Bookmark: Brexit legal publication hub: resources and guides


Upcoming public courses

- On 09/03/2022 at 09:30 to 12:00: Business travellers: masterclass for HR professionals: This course addresses the issue of business travel post-Brexit and how the end of the post-Brexit transition period has changed this. We will consider the obligations employers have to assess business travel with reference to the right-to-work requirements in the UK. The programme will seek to present practical, pan-EEA solutions for HR practitioners who are looking at this issue for the first time or reassessing what needs to be done. It is intended that there will be discussion involving senior practitioners in respect of this.

- Commencing 28/03/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 & 30/03/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 (Alternative dates commencing on 05/04/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 & 07/04/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30): Sponsor licencing modules: Free movement of EEA and Swiss citizens ended on 31 December 2020. In anticipation of this, a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules took effect from 1 December. These are fundamental changes of which HR teams need to be aware since they impact on immigration compliance processes. Many challenges arise for organisations seeking to manage the Brexit changes in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Immigration changes take effect quickly and need to be applied to new EEA and Swiss citizen employees from 2021.

This is a modular immigration training course which we will offer throughout 2022. In the first four modules, our team advises of the strategic and practical issues that HR professionals need to consider when sponsoring employees within the new immigration system. Experienced lawyers from our UK immigration team will conduct modules which explain how to operate a sponsor licence effectively. With use of law, policy guidance and insights from practice, they will help you get up-to-speed with the new requirements and advise about how to manage UK immigration effectively.

- Commencing 26/04/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 & 28/04/2022 at 09:30 to 11:30 : Right to work in 2022: The adjustments made by organisations to immigration compliance processes following the end of the Brexit transition period and adjusted right-to-work requirements in 2021 continue to require careful consideration and review. A large number of such new hires are now, for the first time, required to demonstrate they hold permission to work in the UK. Some existing employees may have lost the right to work in the UK by failing to register for settled or pre-settled status. The move towards an electronic system of issuing permission to work means that use of UK Visas and Immigration’s online checking system is now essential and these challenges arise in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the modified checks, currently set to end on 1st September.

This course is led over two mornings by lawyers from our UK immigration team and is the second in a series of modular immigration training courses which we will offer throughout 2022. With use of law, policy guidance and insights from practice, we will help you get up-to-speed with the new requirements and advise about how to manage UK immigration effectively.

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


Tip of the month

Sponsored Skilled Worker migrants and their dependants should be tracking their absences from the UK in preparation of their indefinite leave to remain application (now known as “settlement”) or any other UK immigration application to ensure that they have a full and accurate travel history.

Under the five year qualification route, the current absences limit for Skilled Worker migrants and their dependant spouse/partner for those granted permission after 11 January 2018 is 180 days. This means that they must not spend more than 180 days outside of the UK in any 12 month rolling period during their qualifying period. However, it should be noted that the rules as to how absences are calculated have changed over the last five years, so specific advice should be sought on how to calculate absences depending on whether the absences fall before or after January 2018.

Child dependants under the Skilled Worker route are not subject to the absences limit but it is nevertheless good practice to also track their absences from the UK in case they are required to be disclosed later or for other reasons.

Individuals should be tracking:

  • the country they travelled to
  • date they left the UK
  • date they returned to the UK
  • reason for their travel

Horizon scanning

On 24 December 2021, the Home Office and DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) announced that the Seasonal Worker visa route will be extended until the end of 2024. However, the extension of the Seasonal Worker visa route has been introduced to support the industry while to allow transition to employing and prioritising domestic workers and cut its reliance on foreign labour.

It is worth noting that the number of visas under the Seasonal Worker visa route will start to decrease from 2023 and the sector will have to follow any changes that will be introduced at that time, which is likely to be focused on improving the pay and conditions of the workers in the sector.