UK Immigration Cap – What Does this Mean for Australians & New Zealanders?

The new UK government rolled out the first of its changes aimed at limiting the amount of non-EU workers travelling to the UK for work and . A temporary cap limiting the number of non-EU workers coming into the UK, will come into effect between now and April 2011. The mechanisms

designed by the new UK government and implemented by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to limit this category of migrants are separated into two of the points based sections, these being Tier 1 and Tier 2 (General) visas.

Tier 1 Visas will be limited in the following ways

  • An increase in the points you need to score from 95 to 100.
  • A quota that restricts the number of Tier 1 visas that can be issued between now and April 2011, 5400.

These two measures have been introduced as of 19th July 2010. The quota of 5400 Tier 1 visas that can be issued between now and April 2011 equates to roughly 635 Tier 1 visas available to be issued each month by all British High Commissions (BHC) around the world.

In the 08-09 UK financial year an average of 204 Australians and 92 New Zealanders applied for entry clearance per month through the BHC in their home countries. Comparatively in the same period of time there was an average of 972 applications received each month through the BHC in India. Globally there were a total of 34,460 applications received in the year, an average of 2871 per month.

Simple arithmetic shows that should there be the same level of demand for this visa from around the world the possibility for many people to miss out on the opportunity to live and work in the UK on the T1 visa is very real.

So, what does this mean for Australian’s and New Zealanders wishing to relocate to the UK?

According to 1st Contact’s registered migration agent Melanie Pitt, those wishing to relocate to the UK for career motives on the Tier 1 visa should act sooner rather than later to avoid disappointments further down the line.

“Given the monthly quota system and the way in which valid applications not issued in one month, because of limits being reached, are then held over until the start of the following month a major backlog could develop. It is entirely possible that closer to January of next year we could find ourselves in a position whereby at the start of each month all allowable Tier 1 allocations are exhausted immediately due to those valid applications waiting in the queue for the monthly quota to open.”