Yes, we are still getting used to the last set of changes and there are more changes to come!
The change in rules are intended to ensure that those who do not qualify for international protection on account of their conduct, for example, serious criminality, are not granted settlement or Limited Leave to Remain under the Immigration Rules.
The Home Office are abolishing the ’28-day grace period’, during which the Home Office has accepted out of time applications for a range of routes including work and study. The Home Office states this is to encourage greater compliance with the Immigration Rules. The Home Office states that this will make clear that people must comply with the Rules and make any application for Further Leave to Remain before their current leave expires.
The Rule will therefore become within 14 days of leave expiring and with good reason. What will amount to ‘good reason’ is not clear as yet and only time will tell!
The changes also include the reduction in the threshold for NHS debt from £1,000.00 to £500.00 for family cases and armed forces cases to align with changes made elsewhere in the rules in April 2016.
This means that if an Applicant has an outstanding debt to the NHS to £500.00 or more, the Immigration Rules (as changed) allow for the application to be refused on this basis.
With regards to English language, the new requirement will require partners and parents under the five-year route to pass as a minimum, A2 level, Common European Framework of reference for languages speaking and listening test. It applies to those persons where their leave is due to expire on or after 01 May 2017 and thus those applying for their extension of Leave to Remain under this category under the five year route need to make sure that they have a minimum of A2 level approved examination certificate in this regard.
The section of the Immigration Rules dealing with how to make a valid Immigration application have also had some changes made. The idea is that the sections have been simplified so that they are easier to understand and follow. Whilst the wording itself has changed, there are not any major changes as such with regards to making a valid application.
Those making applications to the Home Office in the days to come should make sure they are familiar with the change in Immigration Rules in order to ensure that their application that is being submitted is indeed compliant to avoid a refusal for unnecessary reasons.