Immigration update - December 2023

  • Market Insight 19 December 2023 19 December 2023
  • UK & Europe

  • Top workplace issues

The Home Secretary’s recent announcement headlining changes to the Skilled Worker category overshadowed significant changes to the UK Immigration Rules published on 7 December 2023 with varying implementation dates up to 31 January 2024. Our focus today is on some of the changes with greatest impact on the Business Immigration sector.

Changes to the UK Business Visitor Rules – Effective Date: 31 January 2024

In contrast to future protectionist changes to the Skilled Worker category, changes to the Business Visitor Rules provide welcome flexibility particularly for overseas employees of multinational businesses with a UK presence, entering for intra group activities. Changes include:

  • Permitting direct client interaction / meetings in the UK incidental to the overseas employment and part of a direct contractual service or project between the UK entity and the UK client. “Incidental" is not expressly defined but frequent visits to the UK, and certainly for extended durations, are indicators that the work in the UK is not incidental to the overseas employment and therefore not permitted Business Visitor activity. Literally interpreted and surprisingly, interaction with a UK based client in the UK pursuant  to a direct contract with the individual’s overseas employer and the UK client would be prohibited
  • Remote working in the UK for non UK employees is permitted provided it is not the primary purpose of the visit. Again “primary" is not expressly defined but in most cases this will be measured by the amount of time devoted to the remote working. For example, remote working for 3 out of 5 days of a UK Visit will likely be viewed as the primary purpose and fall outside permitted Business Visitor activity
  • A significant expansion of the activities permitted in the UK including providing advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing and providing transactional legal services, including drafting contracts and
  • Permitting paid speakers at UK Conferences

Any assessment of permitted activity remains subject to the duration and frequency of the visits and the individual visiting the UK not themselves being on a contract with a UK entity.

Expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme – Effective Date: 31 January 2024

Principal changes include:

  • The addition of 500 slots annually for Uruguayan nationals
  • Increasing the age eligibility range for Republic of Korea ( ROK) nationals from 18 – 35
  • Increasing the annual slot available for Japanese and ROK nationals to 6,000 and 5,000 slots respectively and
  • Simplifying the application process for Japanese nationals

For further information and advice on all UK immigration issues, contact Jonathan Chaimovic.


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