The Home Office has published a Statement of Changes to the UK Immigration Rules, the majority of which will take effect from 6th April 2016.
It is worth noting that these rule changes do not include any reforms resulting from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)’s recent reviews of Tier 1 or Tier 2. The Government has not yet announced its response to those reports, but we will bring you further news as we have it.
The main changes from 6th April are:
- Domestic workers will be permitted to change employer within their six month visa. Furthermore, domestic workers with a conclusive grounds decision that they are trafficked or enslaved will be allowed to apply for leave to remain for up to two years
- Time spent in the UK with leave under Tier 4 (General) under the age of 18 will count toward calculation of the maximum period an individual can spend in the UK under Tier 4 (General)
- A new discretionary power is to be introduced to refuse applications on the basis of any outstanding litigation debt owed to the Home Office by applicants. The new rule will encourage applicants to pay litigation debts that they owe and assist the Home Office in recovering the costs incurred in dealing with the unsuccessful litigation
- The same power will also apply to:
- Appendix V, which contains ‘suitability requirements’ for applicants under the visitor route; and
- the ‘suitability requirements’ in Appendix FM and Appendix Armed Forces so that applications made under those Appendices may also be refused on the basis of litigation debt
In summary, in the Tier 1 category:
- Across Tier 1, there are changes to allow for accounts and supporting letters from certain sources of funds, or from UK Trade and Investment, to be used in support of an application instead of a third party declaration
- The evidential requirements for applicants applying under Tier 1 and using funding from venture capital firms are being expanded
- There are some clarifications to the rules for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs seeking an accelerated route to settlement, plus further clarifications on creation of jobs under the same route
- There are some changes to endorsement letters for applicants under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
- Some minor amendments have been introduced to the criteria used by Tech City UK for endorsing applicants under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
Under the Tier 2 route:
- To better reflect seasonal demand for places across the year, based on recent trends, there are changes to redistribute the monthly allocations of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) under the annual limit
- An annual uplift is being applied to the earnings threshold for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) settlement application; the uplifted threshold will apply to settlement applications made from 6th April 2021
- Previously only seen in Home Office guidance, the requirement that an application cannot be made earlier than three months before the start date given by the sponsor will be moved to the Immigration Rules for Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
In other changes, the “points based calculator” will no longer exist after 5th April 2016, replaced by UK NARIC VisasAndNationality. See this DWI news update for more details.
A further change will allow Masters degrees and PhDs taught in English to be used to satisfy the English language requirement for Representatives of Overseas Businesses.
Please contact one of DWI’s specialist #ukimmigration advisors if you have any queries.