Some key changes to the immigration rules affecting a number of categories will soon be implemented by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Make sure you know where you stand when making your immigration or visa application.
Closure of Tier 1 (General) and Tier 1 (Post-Study Work); expansion of routes for entrepreneurs and investors; creation of the Exceptional Talent and Graduate Entrepreneur routes.
Limit on numbers of Tier 2 (General) migrants; new rules on intra-company transfers; minimum skills level of NQF4, rising to NQF6 from 14 June 2012; changes to the Resident Labour Market Test; minimum English language requirement of B1 for Tier 2 (General); maximum period of stay for those entering Tier 2 (General) after April 2011 of six years, with a ‘cooling off period’ of 12 months before any further Tier 2 leave.
New settlement rules for Tiers 1 and 2
Migrants to meet the same pay criteria at settlement as apply at the further leave to remain stage; to be clear of unspent criminal convictions; requirement to pass the Life in the UK test; no settlement for intra-company transferees. From 2016, we will require Tier 2 (General) and sportsperson migrants applying for settlement to be paid at least £35,000 per annum or the appropriate rate for their job, whichever is higher, with some exemptions for PhD and shortage occupations.
Various changes to the sponsorship regime for education providers, English language ability of students, entitlements of students to work and to sponsor dependants; rules restricting extended periods of study.
Certain Government Authorised Exchange schemes (intern/work experience/youth exchange type programmes) are now restricted to 12 months.
Overseas Domestic Workers
Restrictions on entry and limitations on stay for those entering under these routes; a new package of protections to minimise the possibility of abusive relationships.
A new route for Prospective Entrepreneurs with ability to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route; a new route for Permitted Paid Engagements, to allow a small group of professionals, artists, entertainers and sport.