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Immigration Rules: Statement of Changes

Volume 664: debated on Monday 9 September 2019

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a statement of changes to the immigration rules (HC 2631). Copies will be made available in the Vote Office and on

I have made a change to the immigration rules which will reduce costs and bureaucracy for doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives looking to come and work in the UK and support our NHS. This change will ensure that these medical professionals, who have passed a robust English language test, which includes identity checks, and are required to register with their regulatory body, do not have to sit a separate, lower level immigration English language test. This will support the Government’s desire to continue to attract the best and brightest global talent to the UK and to encourage migrants to integrate into society, without compromising the safety of those using our health services.

The United Kingdom is committed to providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with its international obligations. Those who fear persecution should however claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not put their lives at risk by making unnecessary and dangerous journeys to the UK. Illegal migration from safe countries undermines our efforts to help those most in need.

To support these principles, the immigration rules already provide for inadmissibility processes, under which we can decline to substantively consider the asylum claim of a claimant in the UK and remove them to a safe third country, provided the claimant has, or could have claimed asylum there, has refugee status there, or has some other relevant connection to the third country such that it would be reasonable for them to return there. This process requires the co-operation of the safe third country.

Some of these rules are drafted in the context of the UK’s membership of the EU. As such, we are making minor amendments to the rules, to allow us to use inadmissibility processes for broadly the same range of case types once we leave the EU.

Finally, we are also introducing wider changes through these immigration rules to appendix EU which sets out the rules governing the EU settlement scheme (EUSS). This provides the basis for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, to apply for UK immigration status which they will require to remain here permanently after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The changes make revised provision for access to the EUSS for the family members of UK nationals returning with them from an EEA member state or Switzerland, having lived there together while the UK national exercised their free movement rights, in line with the announcement on such access made on 4 April 2019.

We expect the vast majority of EUSS applicants to be genuine, and for there to be little need for status granted under the EUSS to be cancelled at the border or curtailed in-country. However, it is appropriate that, to safeguard the integrity of the EUSS, its status should be covered by some of the same powers as other forms of immigration leave, so that appropriate action can be taken where necessary. The changes therefore amend part 9 of the immigration rules to provide additional grounds for the cancellation and curtailment of EUSS status and leave acquired having travelled to the UK with an EUSS family permit, e.g. on grounds this was obtained by deception (such as where the person had claimed to be the family member of an EEA citizen when they were not). The changes also amend part 9 to provide discretionary grounds for EUSS status and leave acquired having travelled to the UK with an EUSS family permit, to be cancelled at the border, in a “no-deal” scenario, on the grounds that cancellation is conducive to the public good, as a result of the person’s post-exit conduct.

The changes provide a right of administrative review where status granted under EUSS is cancelled at the border because the person no longer meets the requirements for that status, e.g. where, as a non-EEA citizen granted pre-settled status under the EUSS, they have ceased to be the family member of an EEA citizen. Such cancellation could only occur where the person no longer met any of the bases for eligibility for status under the EUSS. The changes also bring the time frame for applying for an administrative review under the EUSS in line with all other administrative reviews in cases where the applicant is detained pending their removal from the UK, which will help ensure detention is kept to a minimum.