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Важные изменения в Правилах в отношении Coronavirus Concession

>>> Some coronavirus concessions are now included into the Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc-617-10-september-2021

There three COVID-19 concessions that previously only appeared in Home Office guidance. They will now form part of the Immigration Rules.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

The latest version of the Entrepreneur guidance contains several COVID concessions for this cohort. These include:

 time spent by employees on furlough counts towards the job creation requirement
 applicants can combine multiple jobs to meet the job creation requirement
 applicants whose businesses have created two qualifying jobs, but who have been unable to employ the relevant employees for the required 12 months because of COVID, can temporarily extend their visa

None of the above is actually being incorporated into the Rules. This is a new rule for those applying for settlement after relying on the last of the concessions above. They will now have to meet a second job creation requirement in order to qualify for settlement, over and above the one that normally applies.

The change is being made to Table 6 of Appendix A, which contains the main requirements for settlement in this route. In other words, anyone who extended their Entrepreneur visa by relying on this concession will have to show that they have either created four jobs that have each lasted for 12 months, or two jobs that have lasted for 24 months, when they apply to settle.

As a result, the COVID concession for Entrepreneurs will not be a “freebie” with respect to the job creation requirement, but rather a loan. The Home Office will extend your visa without you meeting the requirement, but you must settle the debt when you come looking for indefinite leave to remain.

Although this was already in the guidance, it is still likely to take some applicants by surprise, particularly as there is no mention of this condition in the gov.uk overview of COVID concessions.
These changes take effect from 6 October 2021 but with no provisions for applications to be decided under the old rules if a settlement application is lodged before this date. This is likely because the changes reflect existing guidance.

EU Settlement Scheme


Appendix EU is being amended to reflect concessions that extend the range of circumstances in which continuous residence is not deemed to be broken as a result of excessive absences from the UK. Those concessions are currently in Home Office guidance. They are important because excessive absences can leave EU citizens with pre-settled status unable to upgrade to full settled status.

The majority of the EU Settlement Scheme rules are found in “Annex 1 – Definitions.

There are five relevant new or improved provisions in this sub-paragraph, which broadly reflect the existing guidance. As before, we’ll put new text in italics.

The first provision (aa) amends the existing rule allowing absences of between 6 and 12 months for an “important reason (such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting, or because of COVID-19)”.

The second provision (bb) incorporates the guidance-dwelling concession that permits absences of 6-12 months if the applicant intended to be absent for only six months but exceeded this “because of COVID-19“. So where you had a COVID-related absence of 6-12 months, you are allowed a second absence of up to 12 months for an “important reason” unrelated to COVID or to care for someone seriously ill with COVID. Only six months of this second absence can be counted towards your five-year residence period for getting settled status, though.

The fourth provision is a mirror of the third, allowing the same thing the other way round. So where you had an absence of 6-12 months that was for an important reason unrelated to COVID or to care for somebody seriously ill with COVID, you are then allowed a second absence of 6-12 months which was COVID-related. Again, only six months of this second absence positively counts towards your UK residence period.

Finally, the fifth provision states that you are also allowed to be out of the UK for more than 12 months in one go, but only if COVID meant you couldn’t come back or were advised against — rather than if you just chose not to come back.

These changes take effect from 6 October 2021, with no provisions for applications to be considered under the old rules if lodged earlier. This is likely because the changes reflect existing guidance.

Skilled Worker and Sportsperson


In what appears to be an entirely new concession, the settlement requirements for both the Skilled Worker and Sportsperson routes are being amended. It takes five years to qualify for settlement in these routes. The rules will now allow applicants to count the time they had permission in any other route while they were waiting for a decision on their Skilled Worker/Sportsperson application towards these five years. This is provided that said application:

(i) was for permission to stay; and
(ii) was made between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2021 (inclusive); and
(iii) was supported on the date of application by a certificate of sponsorship assigned by a licensed sponsor; and
(iv) was granted.

It was always possible to include time spent waiting for a decision on an in-time application that was then granted where the person was extending their permission as a Skilled Worker or Sportsperson. The significance of this change is that it allows applicants to count time waiting for a decision on an ultimately-successful application while they were in their UK with permission in a different route entirely.

The existing T2 Sportsperson route is being replaced by the International Sportsperson route, so the rule “change” is technically a brand new rule in a brand new route, but the concession will cover people on the old version of the route as well.

The new International Sportsperson route goes live on 11 October 2021, while the Skilled Worker changes will be in force from 6 October.
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