On 9 March 2023, the Home Office announced that it was expanding the Youth Mobility scheme for New Zealand nationals, setting out that from 29 June 2023 onwards, the age limit for New Zealand applicants coming to the United Kingdom would go up from 30 to 35 years old and the maximum length of time a New Zealand national could stay on this route would be extended to three years.
These changes were set out on the same day in the 9 March 2023 Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. While this statement set out the changes to the Immigration Rules to take effect from 29 June 2023, it did not provide any practical clarity on the process those New Zealand nationals currently in the United Kingdom on a Youth Mobility visa for two years will need to follow to extend their leave in-country for a further year prior to their current leave expiring.
After making enquiries with the Home Office, we have now received written confirmation that from 29 June 2023, New Zealand nationals with a valid Youth Mobility Scheme visa will be able to apply for a one-year extension, as long as they are in the United Kingdom at the date of application with a valid Youth Mobility Scheme visa and are a New Zealand national who continues to meet the suitability requirements, i.e., that they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal as part of the Immigration Rules.
Applicants must ensure that they submit their application for an extension prior to the expiration of their current immigration permission. The submission date is the date that the application is triggered online and therefore, as long as the application is made before their permission expires, the applicant’s conditions and right to remain in the United Kingdom will continue on the same basis until a decision is taken on the next application. In other words, they can continue to reside and work in the United Kingdom while their application is outstanding. However, it is very important for applicants to be aware that they should not travel outside the United Kingdom while their application is pending, as doing so would automatically withdraw the application. If successful, leave will be granted for a further one-year period.
The Home Office have confirmed that more information will be published shortly about the launch of the in-country route, including information on how to apply and which online application form to use, on the gov.UK Youth Mobility Scheme page which can be found here.
In the meantime, if you do have any questions in relation to the above or on any other immigration matters, we would be happy to help. Please contact us on 020 7401 6887 or by email at email@example.com.