Upcoming changes to UK Visas and new maintenance levels

22 February 2012

The UK Border Agency has reported on upcoming changes to the Tier 4 student visa route in a new Statement of Intent. This shows that the government is planning some radical changes which may limit an international graduate’s ability to apply for UK work experience.

The UKBA has also stated that there may be an increase to the maintenance requirement under all Point’s Based System visas.

It is also likely that the UK Long Residency category may be abolished as there are plans to restrict the total period an international student can spend in the UK to five years. Exceptions will apply to those students who are studying on a master’s, PhD or specific courses such as medicine dentistry and law.

Graduate Entrepreneur

With the Tier 1 Post-Study Work Visa set to be closed on April 5, 2012, there are talks of a new Graduate Entrepreneur route set to replace the visa designed to allow talented graduates to develop and establish business ventures and ideas in the UK. However, there is a very high possibility that this will be limited to just 1,000 visa per year. To be eligible, students will need the backing of their universities as sponsors and there are further announcements that the route could lead to the full Tier 1 Entrepreneur route in the future with only £50,000 (as opposed to the £200,000) of investment funds needing to be shown.

Tier 2 Work Permits

The good news is that international students will be able to make the Switch to a Tier 2 Work Permit without their employer having to meet the resident labour market test by fist advertising any job positions available. However, the job will need to be of graduate level and the minimum salary on offer must be at least £20,000.

The changes are due to come in to effect on 6 April 2012 in addition to planned changes to the settlement, Tier 2 and domestic work visa routes.