Shake up of UK Settlement Visas

2 March 2012

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has released a new Statement of Intent which could have dramatic consequences on those applying for UK settlement under employment related categories such as Tier 2 work-permits, Tier 5 temporary workers and the Domestic Worker visa category.

It is likely that the new changes would be implemented in April 2012.

The government intends to:

  • continue to provide a direct route to settlement for investors, entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented migrants under Tier 1;
  • continue to provide a route to settlement for the best Tier 2 migrants, if they meet a minimum salary threshold of £35,000;
  • allow those who enter as PhD-level scientists and researchers to qualify for settlement without having to meet the £35,000 minimum salary threshold;
  • ]make all workers in shortage occupation jobs (currently including specialist nurses, teachers and social workers) exempt from the minimum settlement salary threshold of £35,000;
  • allow Tier 2 migrants to extend their temporary permission to stay in the UK up to maximum of 6 years, and introduce a 12-month ‘cooling off’ period;
  • retain a route for overseas domestic workers in private households, but only when accompanying a visitor and limited to 6 months’ stay with no right to change employer;
  • retain the current route of entry for private servants in diplomatic households under Tier 5 (Temporary worker – International agreement), with a maximum stay of 5 years and no ability to change employer or to settle;

Damian Green said:

“Settlement in the UK is a privilege. We are sweeping aside the idea that everyone who comes here to work can settle, and instead reserving this important right only for the brightest and best.”

“Our reforms of the immigration system will ensure we are more selective not only about those who are allowed to come here but also those who are allowed to stay permanently.”