Article7 key changes in the UK’s visitor rules

The UK Home Office has announced a series of transformative updates to its immigration framework, as detailed in the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC246), released on 7 December 2023. These changes encompass various UK immigration routes and introduce new appendices to the Immigration Rules. Set to take effect from 31 January 2024, 7 key changes to the UK visitor visa rules are essential for applicants to understand.

  1. Expansion of intra-corporate activities: The UK is lifting the ban on intra-corporate visitors working with clients directly. However, such client interaction must be a secondary aspect of the visitor’s employment abroad. This will help prevent the visitors from outsourcing projects or services to their foreign employer.
  2. Introduction of remote working facility: Visitors will now be allowed to work remotely while in the UK, reflecting the evolving landscape of flexible work. However, remote work should not be the primary reason for their visit. It only aligns with the need for adaptability in today’s work environment.
  3. Adjustments for the aviation sector: The policy now allows flight crew members to enter the UK under specific Civil Aviation Authority-approved wet lease agreements, particularly from March to October. This practice is formally integrated into the visitor rules from an existing concession outside the rules.
  4. Enhanced research opportunities for scientists and academics: The UK is broadening the scope for researchers, scientists, and academics to engage in research activities during their visit beyond just independent research. Note that this does not apply to those on a 12-month visit visa or looking to extend their stay in the UK.
  5. Increased flexibility for legal professionals: Legal professionals visiting the UK will benefit from a wide range of permissible activities, offering more flexibility during their visits.
  6. Payment Opportunities for Conference Speakers: Conference speakers can now receive payments for their contributions. This aims to recognise the value of their expertise. This activity is now being included in the list of Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE).
  7. Merging of the Permitted Paid Engagement Route with Standard Visitor Route: The Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor route is merging into the Standard Visitor route. Visitors can undertake PPE without a special visa. However, they need to arrange their activities before arriving in the UK and complete them within 30 days of entry.

These adjustments to the UK visitor visa rules represent a significant shift in the UK’s immigration policy, reflecting the government’s commitment to a dynamic and responsive immigration system. The proposed changes cater to the evolving needs of the modern workforce, the aviation industry, and the academic and research communities, ensuring the UK remains a hub for international talent and expertise.

For those planning to visit the UK after these changes come into effect, it is crucial to understand these new rules and how they may impact your visit. Professional advice from an immigration lawyer can be invaluable in handling this new landscape, ensuring compliance and making the most of the opportunities these changes bring.

Get in touch: For a comprehensive understanding of your options or queries on UK immigration matters, reach out to GigaLegal at 02074067654 or click here to book a no-obligation consultation with an immigration expert.