UK to introduce tougher criteria for settlement

9 June 2011

The immigration minister Damian Green has announced a proposal that will mean migrants coming to the UK to work on temporary visas will no longer be eligible to apply for settlement.

The proposal is part of the government’s reforms on the UK immigration to bring the levels down to manageable levels. Launching a public consultation on the UK work visa route, Damian Green intends to re-classify the visas as either ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’ as well as introducing overall tougher criteria for those who intend to settle in the UK.

He commented:

“The proposals I am making today are aimed at breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration. Settlement has become almost automatic for those who choose to stay. This needs to change. The immigration system has got to be made to work properly.

We want the brightest and best workers to come to the UK, make a strong contribution to our economy while they are here, and then return home.”

The UK government has already introduced new eligibility requirements to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the points-based system which requires applicants to demonstrate that they meet the English language requirement, show that they continue to meet the salary requirements and to meet the requirements of a newer and tougher criminality test.

The main proposals during consultation period are as follows:

  • re-branding Tier 2 (the skilled worker route) as temporary, ending the assumption that settlement will be available for those who enter on this route;
  • allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK, to retain an automatic route to settlement;
  • creating a new category into which, after three years in the UK, the most exceptional Tier 2 migrants may switch and go on to apply for settlement;
  • allowing Tier 2 migrants who do not switch into a settlement route to stay for a maximum of five years with the expectation that they and any dependants will leave at the end of that time;
  • introducing an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement;
  • restricting the maximum period of leave for Tier 5 Temporary Workers to 12 months; and
  • closing or reforming routes for overseas domestic workers.

Green added:

‘A small number of exceptional migrants will be able to stay permanently but for the majority, coming here to work will not lead automatically to settlement in the UK.’