The Home Office recently announced a number of changes to the UK’s immigration rules, most of which took effect from 6 April 2014, with many coming into effect on 1 July 2014.
In his statement, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said that the changes were being made in order to “improve flexibility for applicants and to help boost economic growth.”
Notable changes include the following:
Tier 1 (General)
This category will close for extension applications on 6 April 2015, and for settlement applications on 6 April 2018. Applicants who entered the route before its closure should have time to apply for settlement if they meet the requirements.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
Applicants qualify for this category on the basis of funds invested in their businesses for up to 12 months before application. From 6 April 2014, this was extended to 24 months for applicants switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).
Applicants qualify for extension of leave to remain in the UK if they can prove that their funds have been invested.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
From 6 April 2014, the requirement for applicants to have obtained their degrees within the last 12 months, or from a particular institution, was removed. The restriction of some places within the 2000 limit to MBA graduates only is to be removed. There will be 1900 places available to graduates of any subject from UK institutions and 100 places available to global graduate entrepreneurs identified by UKTI.
Tier 1 (Investor)
Those granted a visa under this category are required to invest their funds within three months of entering the UK or they will not be granted extensions, unless there are exceptionally compelling reasons for the delay in investing.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
From 6 April 2014, Tech City UK will have 200 endorsements for endorsing exceptionally talented applicants in the field of digital technology. Applicants will be permitted to apply from any overseas country, not just their own, and switch into the category from all other Tier 1 categories. They will also be allowed to amalgamate time spent in other Tier 1 and Tier 2 settlement routes towards the five-year qualifying period.
Applicants may be granted up to ﬁve years leave to remain upon payment of a higher fee. B-rated licences for applications under Tier 2 and Tier 5 will no longer be granted. Applicants must be able to achieve A-Rating.
From 1 July 2014, there will be increases to the maintenance fund requirements across all tiers for main applicants and their dependants. Tier 1 (General), Tier 2, and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) maintenance fund requirements will increase from £900 to £945 and from £600 to £630 for dependents.
For an advice or information on these and other rule changes, please visit 1st Contact Visas.