The processes for individuals wishing to extend their stay in the UK and continue living and working in Britain will be affected, where expert immigration and financial services group 1st Contact has provided a series of solutions.In an attempt to boost Britain’s economy by attracting a favorable international skills base, 29 February 2008 saw a dramatic change in UK immigration policy, where Minister Liam Byrne announced the changes in the points based system (PBS) for highly skilled workers.
According to Stephen Atkinson, head of immigration at 1st Contact, the immigration policy change has created a number of predicaments for individuals wanting to obtain a skilled visa that allows them to work independently of their employers in the UK.
“As of 1st July 2008 changes to the Immigration rules have meant that it is not possible for individuals to switch from the Working Holiday Visa to the new Tier 1 general migrants category from within the UK. Further to this, the Home Offices’ UK Border Agency will be taking over the application process for the acquisition of UK based work permits, which means that non-EEA nationals or residents will need to return to their country of origin to submit their applications,” says Atkinson.
Atkinson states that the most difficult changes for individuals under the new PBS have been the maintenance requirement, whereby an applicant must prove they have had liquid assets available to them for the three months prior to their applications. This has caused the delay of application dates for many individuals.
The second phase of changes under the new points based system is expected late in the month of November 2008.
One major change is the removal of the working holiday visa as it is currently known and the introduction of the new Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa. Under the proposed YMS, applicants will need to meet certain points based criteria, where points will be awarded for age, being a national of a participating country (including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan) and meeting the proposed Maintenance Requirement. This tier is unfortunately unlikely to be available to South African nationals.
Under the YMS, it is highly likely that once implemented in November 2008, applicants will be required to demonstrate that they hold sufficient funds in savings to support themselves in the UK. To do so, they must provide specified documentation demonstrating that a sum of at least £1,600 – or the equivalent thereof, is available to the applicant. It is possible, although not yet confirmed, that this sum of money has been held and maintained, as personal savings in a bank account over the three month period immediately preceding their application. If this rule is to be put in place the bank account must not have dropped below this figure at any time in the 3 months preceding an application.
1st Contact has expert services and processes to curb the aftermath of the difficult predicament that this policy change has posed onto current and potential migrants.
How can 1st Contact help?
With a team of international professionals who have individually been through the UK immigration process, 1st Contact has the knowledge and experience to make the process as efficient and easy as possible. We offer an efficient and expert immigration service. Call us now to speak to one of our advisors so that we can perform a free assessment of your needs and recommend your best options.
Why Use 1st Contact Visas?
- We offer a no visa, no fee guarantee
- We can provide a fast track service (24 hours) where applicable
- We are the longest established UK immigration firm in our market
- Our experienced and expert consultants are registered with the Office for the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
- We receive regular referrals from the Australian, New Zealand and South African High Commissions and have offices in central London, Australia and South Africa, making for greater convenience.
- Call us now, in the UK on 0800 856 2473, in South Africa on 0800 003 163 or in Australia on 1800 835 148