On 17 January 2022, the Home Office published guidance on concessions for Afghans who are in the UK on study and work routes. They relate to the provision of supporting documents and restrictions on switching immigration routes in the UK.
The Immigration Rules have switching restrictions on some routes. For instance, you cannot switch to a Skilled Worker visa if you are in the UK on a visit visa. Under the rules, an individual must leave the UK and make an out of country entry clearance application.
In light of the volatile situation in Afghanistan, the Home Office recognises this may not be a possibility for Afghan nationals who would otherwise be eligible for other immigration routes. Therefore, this concession seeks to waive this requirement, provided the applicant meets the eligibility criteria.
To apply, the applicant must confirm in writing that they wish to apply under this concession, stating their reasons for making an in-country application.
Applicants may not be able to provide all the documents required for their application under the relevant route. The applicant must provide a letter explaining why they cannot provide the required document.
There is no need to provide detailed evidence in support of the letter however the applicant must give a ‘sufficient and reasonable explanation’. The guidance sets out acceptable explanations such as the institution from which the document is required is no longer functioning or no one else can reasonably be expected to obtain the document on the applicant’s behalf because it is unsafe.
The requirement to provide the document may be waived if the Home Office is satisfied a document from Afghanistan cannot reasonably be obtained.
The key requirements for both concessions are as follows:
1) The applicant must be an Afghan national, or their dependent partner or child.
2) They must be in the UK lawfully or have been granted an exceptional assurance or where they have overstayed it can only be for a very short time as allowed by the Immigration Rules.
3) They must have lawfully entered the UK prior to 1 September 2021 or made an application for a visa by that date and arrived later, on a temporary route. The list of routes can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghan-nationals.
4) They must be applying for permission to stay on one of these work or study routes:
- Skilled Worker (including Health and Care Visa)
- Global Talent
- Child Student
- Parent of a Child Student
- Intra-company Routes
- Representative of an Overseas Business
- T2 Minister of Religion
- International Sportsperson
- Temporary Work – Creative Worker/Charity Worker/Religious Worker/Government Authorised Exchange/International Agreement
- UK Ancestry (main applicant must hold Commonwealth citizenship)
5) They must meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules for the route on which they are applying, subject to these concessions.
Under the guidance, dependants can also switch in line with the main applicant or become a main applicant provided they meet the criteria.
It should be noted that applicants must meet all the criteria above otherwise their application will not be considered under the concessions. Further to this, the guidance states that the decision maker will consider each application on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all circumstances.
These concessions will be applied to all decisions made from 14 January 2022 and will be reviewed in a year.
Although temporary, the introduction of these concessions is welcomed, and will no doubt have a positive impact on the lives of many Afghan nationals.
If you require immigration advice in relation to the above, we would be happy to help. Please contact us on 020 7401 6887 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.