Immigration Law: Recent Changes

This is the second of a series of blogs which will cover all of the recent updates made to Immigration Law. Written by our director and experienced barrister, Ghulam Mustafa, these blogs cover the changes made and what impact they will have.

Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme (ETA)

As part of the Government’s commitment to enhanced safety and security at the UK border, the ETA is being introduced, initially to be applicable to certain nationalities only who are travelling to the UK and who do not require a visa to enter.  

The scheme will be similar to the electronic system for travel authorisation application (ESTA) scheme for travellers to the US, which requires all visitors to complete an ESTA prior to their visit. This is effectively a prior approval for travel to the country for those who do not require a formal visit visa.   Those who already hold a UK entry visas, as well as British and Irish nationals returning or travelling to the UK, will not be required to obtain an ETA.

The ETA is due to start from November 2023 for citizens of Qatar, and will be extended to citizens of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE from February 2024. 

The ETA scheme will take the form of an online application, requiring various personal and travel details and a payment (with the amount yet to be confirmed).  The application, like ESTA, will be valid for an unlimited number of trips over a two-year period and airline carriers will be responsible for ensuring individuals have an appropriate ETA prior to travel. Those who do not may face a fine. 

In view of the speed with which these changes are likely to be introduced across all nationalities, it is essential that businesses who regularly have business visitors in the UK remain up to date.

Good News for Indian Young Professionals

The Government has launched a new immigration scheme offering Indian nationals between 18 and 30 years old the opportunity to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.  Like the conditions that are in place under the Youth Mobility Scheme, which allows nationals of certain Commonwealth and other countries to come to the UK for up to 2 years, there is an invitation to apply under the new scheme. This means that applicants must be selected in a ballot before they can apply for the visa.

The first ballot of 2023 is now closed, with future ballots anticipated. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be an Indian national between 18 and 30 years old.
  • Have a qualification at Bachelor’s level or above.
  • Have at least £2,530 in savings to support themselves in the UK.
  • Pay the £259 Indian visa fee and make a £940 Immigration Health Surcharge payment.

Need Help? Book Your Appointment with our Immigration Barrister or Immigration Team

For expert advice and assistance in relation to a UK visa application or immigration appeal, contact our immigration barrister on 07970286466 or call the office at 02078704870. You can also book the appointment online here.

Written by:

Ghulam Mustafa

Director, Barrister