This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons by James Brokenshire MP and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.
Security and Immigration Minister (James Brokenshire):
My Rt Hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules.
These changes will implement restrictions on the ability of those already present in the UK as a Tier 4 (Student) or Tier 1 (Post Study Work) migrant to make an in-country application for an extension of stay as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is for those who wish to establish a genuine business which will generate jobs in the UK. It has, however, become clear that the majority of those applying in-country for leave in the category are those who have come here for the purpose of study and are making speculative or fraudulent applications simply to extend their stay in the UK.
Checks against the tax records of those who have been granted leave as entrepreneurs suggest that few have gone on to engage in genuine entrepreneurial activity, and that a significant proportion have taken employment in breach of their conditions, typically at low skill levels.
This shows that a robust response is required to protect the integrity of the immigration system and to make clear that systematic abuse will not be tolerated. The new restrictions on switching into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category will apply whilst we carry out further investigations into these abuses and review the route to ensure that it delivers its proper purpose, which is to help foster growth and innovation. The changes will come into force tomorrow, to guard against the possibility of any further intake of speculative or fraudulent applications.
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) remains open. Those who already have leave in the category will continue to be able to extend their stay. The new restrictions will not apply to those qualifying on the basis of seed funding or funding provided by another government department, nor, in the case of those switching from the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route, will they apply to those who have already established a genuine business. Those who graduate here will continue to be able to apply to extend their stay under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category, which is significantly undersubscribed. Those who have a genuine intention of establishing a business here will also continue to be able to apply from overseas.
In addition, this statement of changes to the Immigration Rules will remove all tests provided by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), and specific tests provided by Cambridge English and Trinity College London from the list of approved English tests. These changes are being made at the providers’ requests.
The changes also add a new 12 month ‘mathematics teacher exchange’ scheme to the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) route. This scheme is aimed at sharing best practice in the teaching of mathematics in schools across England and China, and supports the objectives of the Department for Education who will administer and fund the scheme.
This statement of changes also contains amendments to align the Immigration Rules on family and private life in Appendix FM and paragraphs 276ADE-276DH with the public interest considerations in section 117B of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 which apply to decisions engaging the qualified right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The changes also align the Immigration Rules on family and private life in Part 13, which relate to foreign criminals, with the public interest considerations in sections 117B and 117C of the 2002 Act. These considerations are inserted by section 19 of the Immigration Act 2014.
Section 19 gives the weight of primary legislation to parliament’s view of what the public interest under Article 8 requires, in particular in respect of controlling immigration to safeguard the UK’s economic well-being and in respect of preventing disorder or crime.
The statement of changes also contains amendments facilitating the use of the non-suspensive appeals provision, inserted by section 17(3) of the Immigration Act 2014. This provision allows the Secretary of State to certify an appeal where an individual is liable to deportation when, despite the appeals process not having been begun or not having been exhausted, removal of a person to the country or territory to which they are proposed to be removed, pending the outcome of an appeal in relation to their claim, would not be unlawful under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, for example the individual would not face a real risk of serious irreversible harm if removed.