A number of changes to the immigration rules will come into force on 13th December 2012. These changes impact upon all migrants in the points-based system and those applying for settlement and particularly apply to Tier 1 entrepreneurs and investors, Tier 2 skilled workers, Tier 4 students, Tier 5 youth mobility and temporary workers and those seeking settlement in the UK.
Here is a brief overview of the forthcoming changes:
Entrepreneurs and Investors
These categories relates to those people with financial backing or sufficient independent funds who are coming to the UK to set up or be actively involved in the running of a business (entrepreneurs) and those people making a substantial financial investment in the UK.
In summary the main changes in relation to these categories are:
- A lowering of the English language requirement for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) from level C1 (advanced) to level B1 (intermediate).
- Ending switching from Tier 4 (Students) into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) unless the migrant has £50,000 funding from a specified source (registered venture capitalist firms, UK Government Departments or listed seed funding competitions).
- The curtailment of a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant’s leave if they fail to maintain the required level of investment for the duration of their leave.
- No points will be awarded for the business funds required for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) applications if they are held in a financial institution which the UKBA is unable to satisfactorily verify. Secured investments and investments in offshore custody will not qualify to ensure that the investments are under the applicant’s control and are genuinely benefiting the UK.
This category relates to skilled workers with a job offer, and consists of four categories: Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer), Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson). Furthermore, the Intra-Company Transfer category consists of four sub-categories: Short Term Staff, Skills Transfer, Graduate Trainee, and Long Term Staff.
The main changes introduced under these categories are:
- An increase in the maximum stay in the UK for senior intra-company transferees earning £150,000 or above from 5 years to 9 years. Employer pension contributions do not count towards appropriate salary points for Tier 2 ICT.
- A change to the operation of the Tier 2 ‘cooling off period’ rule to increase flexibility for some migrants who leave the UK before their visas expire and wish to return 12 months later.
- Allowing absences from the UK of up to 180 days per year for those seeking settlement through Tier 2 and other work routes.
- Tier 2 migrants will be permitted to take up supplementary employment provided this is in a shortage occupation, even if this is a different occupation to the one they are being sponsored to work in.
The changes to be introduced are aimed principally at facilitating the entry requirements for international businessmen (both entrepreneurs and investors) and skilled migrants in order to avoid potentially deterring migrants capable to make a valuable contribution to the UK economy.