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UK business immigration announcements in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Jeremy Hunt

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement included a couple of hints of United Kingdom business immigration policy for 2024.

On business visitor visa reform the statement said: “The government will expand the business visitor rules to allow businesspeople to engage in a wider range of permitted activities and paid engagements, to take effect from January 2024. The government will also explore further reforms to the #businessvisitor rules, during 2024.”

The Autumn Statement added: “changes from January 2024 that will broaden and clarify the activities that can be undertaken in an intra-corporate setting, offer wider coverage for the legal services sector and simplify arrangements for those undertaking paid engagements. During 2024 the government will explore further improvements to the business visitor rules alongside the potential for further enhanced provisions linked to trade negotiations.”

(For details of the current UK visitor visa rules and permitted business activities, see our explainer here.)

There is not much new here, but with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt walking a tightrope between business immigration measures to help economic growth and fight inflation and his more anti-immigration colleagues’ calls for more punitive UK immigration rules following a post-pandemic spike in migration figures, the statement also stressed: “Given these changes relate to short-term business visas, they do not impact on the overall level of net migration.”

On Youth Mobility Schemes (YMS): “The government is signing and expanding new and existing Youth Mobility Schemes to improve UK and overseas nationals’ opportunities to live, work, and travel in each other’s countries.”

The statement added: “This year the government has increased the places available on the YMS with Australia and Canada by 7,000 and, for 2024, added a further 9,100 places through new and expanded agreements, including with Japan and South Korea. In 2023 the government has also expanded the eligibility and length of stay available for participants from Canada, New Zealand and Australia.”

(For the latest details of the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme and its recent expansion find our latest summary here.)

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