What is the change? The Home Office has published a statement of immigration rule changes that take effect April 6.

What does the change mean? The changes clarify that family members of U.K. citizens or residents who apply for permanent residence based on five years of residency in the U.K. must meet all eligibility criteria, including those dealing with immigration status and financial and English language requirements, at all stages of the application in order to be granted indefinite leave to remain. Other changes clarify when asylum applications can be rejected and when cultural festival performers may be paid on a visitor visa.

  • Implementation time frame:  The asylum provision applies to all decisions made on and after April 6. The rule regarding residency and festival performers applies to applications submitted on and after April 6.
  • Visas/permits affected: Indefinite leave to remain; visitor visas; asylum applications.
  • Who is affected: Foreign residents on a path to settlement based on five years of residency; paid cultural performers at designated festivals who are applying for visitor visas; asylum applicants.

Background: The rules clarify the eligibility criteria for partners or parents of U.K. citizens and residents for purposes of attaining indefinite leave to remain based on five years of residency. The changes seek to confirm that all eligibility requirements must be met in order to qualify to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. through this route. The list of free cultural festivals for which foreign performers may be paid on a visitor visa has been updated for 2018 and 2019. (Normally, visitors are prohibited from conducting paid activities.) The full list is available at Appendix V of the Statement of Immigration Changes.

The rule changes also clarify that an asylum application will be inadmissible and will not be considered if an EU country has granted the individual refugee status or international protection status.

BAL Analysis: U.K. citizens and foreign residents who are applying for a partner or parent should be prepared to document that they have met all eligibility criteria for the entire five-year period. Visitors intending to perform at any of the listed free festivals may apply for a visitor visa even if they are paid for their performance.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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