Key changes to PBS Migrant, Domestic Worker & Visitor Routes

14 May 2012

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.

Tier 1

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.

Tier 2

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.

Tier 4

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.

Tier 5

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.

Visitors

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.