Mastering Immigration Law Subscription Updates October 2023

Significant changes to the UK’s immigration system have been implemented across various visa categories.

The UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme went live on October 25th, 2023. The ETA is mandatory for visitors from Qatar starting November 15th and will roll out to other nationalities in phases through 2024. It costs £10, takes around 3 days to approve, and is usually valid for 2 years. Airlines may refuse boarding if a traveller hasn’t obtained an ETA. Compliance is advised but won’t be fully enforced until complete rollout.

A similar European ETIAS scheme for Schengen zone visitors has been delayed until at least January 2025 due to delays implementing the Entry/Exit System it relies on.

The Immigration Health Surcharge, paid by visa applicants to access NHS services, will increase substantially on January 16th, 2024. It will rise 66% from £624 to £1,035 per year of visa validity. Dependants and students will pay £776 annually, increased from £470. This will significantly impact visa costs. A 3-year Skilled Worker visa for on£6,000; can’t previously cost over £6,000, it now exceeds £7,500. Visa fees for a family of four rose from over £12,500 to nearly £17,500. Employers need to revisit immigration budgets.

Higher visa application fees announced October 4th are now in effect, ranging from 15% rises for work and visit visas to 35% increases for student visas. Faster processing options also went up. The hikes fund the immigration system and public sector pay. Applications submitted before October 4th aren’t exempt.

Employers must now enter their Companies House number in the Home Office’s electronic Sponsor Management System. This should expedite some sponsor requests.

Right to Work checks for EU Settlement Scheme applicants have changed. Previously employers verified status via Certificates of Application. Now applicants can share a code for simplified online checks. This only applies to digital certificates. Non-digital documents still require the old process. The update eases verification

These changes promise a transforming landscape across Britain’s immigration system. From new requisites on travel or hiring foreign talent to sweeping alterations of health surcharges or visa expenses, all stakeholders must take note. Individual visa applicants should confirm updated documentation demands, companies reliant on foreign employees need re-evaluate budgets, and organisations sponsoring workers ought to verify revised compliance duties.

Moreover, with phases of rollout still pending plus further policy expansions no doubt ahead, staying vigilant on immigration changes remains essential, however one engages with the apparatus. While adaptation may prove demanding initially, comprehending and meeting fresh requirements protects statuses, smoothest processes, and avoids disruption. With informed preparation, entities, and individuals reliant on visitor approvals, work authorisations, or settlement pathways can navigate the transitioning territory. Though the roadway forward may challenge at times, by working proactively with qualified counsel, the journey can unfold absent unnecessary troubles or surprising burdens.

With time, it has become even more crucial that immigration advisors stay current on these legal developments, which expand entry requirements, restrict migrant rights, and increase sponsor obligations.

The above developments reported are just the tip of the iceberg. Several other updates that have taken place are now a part of MIL contents and at the disposal of our valued subscribers.

By keeping informed about these developments, our MIL subscribers can provide their clients with the most accurate and effective legal advice, ensuring their immigration journeys are handled with expertise and care.

Happy practicing!


These and many more are now included in Mastering Immigration Law. A comprehensive list of all the updates are listed for our subscribers reference under the Updates & Documentation module. Please log in to access. Index also updated.

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