Welcome Immigration Updates from the UK Government for Visitors

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On 7 December, the UK government issued the latest Statement of Changes to its immigration rules, bringing notable updates in various areas, including some welcome changes to the visitor category. This alert outlines the key changes, and the expected impact of these updates, which are scheduled to take effect from 31 January 2024.

Expanded Activities for Visitors:

  1. Intra-Corporate Client Work:
    • Change: Visitors will be permitted to engage in client-facing work if they are in an intra-corporate setting. This work must be incidental to their employment abroad and required for the delivery of a project or service by the UK branch of the visitor’s employer. It is not for projects or services being directly delivered to a UK client by the visitor’s employer outside of the UK.
    • Impact: This change facilitates more direct interaction between international businesses and their UK branches, encouraging global companies to utilise UK locations for client meetings and project work.
  2. Permission for Remote Work:
    • Change: The changes explicitly state that visitors will be permitted to work remotely while in the UK, providing the remote work is not the primary purpose of their visit.
    • Impact: This long-awaited change is welcome. The flexibility is likely to appeal to international business travellers who have until now had to take steps to mitigate risk.
  3. Research Opportunities for Academics:
    • Change: Scientists, researchers, and academics will be permitted to conduct research in the UK as part of a visit. The changes do not affect academics applying for 12 month visitor visas or seeking to extend their permission from within the UK.
    • Impact: This change will make the UK a more attractive destination for short-term academic collaborations and research projects, boosting the UK’s standing in the global academic community.
  4. Extended Legal Activities for Lawyers:
    • Change: Lawyers visiting the UK will be able to conduct additional activities, including providing advice, acting as an expert witness, appearing in arbitrations, litigating, and teaching.
    • Impact: Enhances the UK’s appeal as a hub for international legal services and arbitration, potentially attracting more legal professionals for short-term work and conferences.
  5. Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Route Changes:
    • Change: The Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Visitor route will be moved under the Standard Visitor route. Individuals conducting paid permitted engagements will no longer need a specific visa but must arrange their activity prior to travel and undertake it within 30 days of arrival.
    • Impact: Simplifies the visa process and reduces costs for professionals engaged in short-term paid activities, making the UK a more accessible destination for international artists, speakers, and other professionals.
    • Change: Visitors will be able to be paid for speaking at events and conferences while in the UK, as these activities will be added to the list of Permitted Paid Engagements.
    • Impact: Encourages high-profile international speakers to participate in UK events, contributing to the country’s intellectual and cultural scene.

Youth Mobility Scheme Expansion:

  1. Inclusion of Uruguay and Increased Allocations:
    • Change: Uruguay is added with an allocation of 500 places. Allocations for Japan and South Korea are increased to 6,000 and 5,000 respectively, up from 1,500 for Japan and 1,000 for South Korea.
    • Impact: Expands cultural and work exchange opportunities, fostering international relations and enriching the UK’s cultural diversity.
  2. Age Range Expansion and Relaxed Requirements for South Korea and Japan:
    • Change: For South Korean nationals, the age range is expanded to 18-35. The requirement to obtain an invitation to apply for the programme is removed for nationals of South Korea and Japan.  
    • Impact: Increases accessibility for a broader range of young people from South Korea, enhancing opportunities for cultural exchange and international work experience.

Relaxed Travel Requirements for French School Groups:

  • Change: School children from France, including EU/EEA/Swiss national children and visa national children resident in France, will be able to visit the UK on organised trips without passports or visas. EU/EEA/Swiss national children can use national identity cards instead.
  • Impact: Encourages educational and cultural exchanges between the UK and France, fostering closer ties post-Brexit and simplifying travel for educational purposes.

These comprehensive changes are a welcome relaxation and enhancement of the UK Visitor Rules. For detailed guidance or assistance with these updates and how they may affect you or your organisation, please contact us for a chat.

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