The British Government has published a statement of changes in the UK Immigration Rules HC309, which will come into force between 28th December 2017 and 11th January 2018. We provide a brief overview of the most significant changes.

One of the main changes is within the application for Indefinite Leave to Remain for PBS migrants. Previously, only main applicants had to meet a requirement of no more than 180-day absence. All applications made after 11th January 2018 will place the same burden on the applicant’s partner. This means that family members must spend less than 180 days outside the UK during their 5 years qualifying period. This undoubtedly will cause problems for dependants who previously benefited from non-restrictive travel within qualification period.

Migrants under the Tier 2 (General) visa are no longer required to be continuously employed during their qualifying period in order to be eligible for settlement. If previously the allowed period of employment was no more than 60 days, now breaks will not have any impact on the application.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Category Changes

The following changes were brought to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category:

  • A number of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas doubled from 1,000 to 2,000. These places will create a pool of potential applicants and will be drawn to the need on a first-come-first-served basis in addition to existing 1000 places held by a Designated Competent Body.
  • Applicants who hold high academic posts or holding scientific grants will be guaranteed Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas.
  • Finally, the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain for Exceptional Talent visa holders was lowered to three years.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Changes

Requirements for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) had minor changes to make them clearer and easier to follow. However, the attention should be paid to the following:

  • Restrictions for the applicant to rely on investments and funds already relied on by another Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) holder or that migrant’s business or close family member in order to avoid recycling of funds between visa seekers.
  • Visa holders who were granted their Tier 1 visa prior to 6th November 2014 and invested 25% in the residential property purchase, in order to extend their visa, must present evidential documents that property is for their continuous residence. Please note if there are more than one owner, only the part owned by the applicant will be considered.

Changes in Tier 4 Visas

  • Some categories of part-time students will be able to secure Tier 4 visas. However, it should be noted that under proposed provisions, part-time students will not have any work rights and neither will be able to bring their dependents to the United Kingdom. Additionally, Tier 4 part-time visa holders will not have an opportunity to extend their leave inside the country.
  • Some positive news for applicants switching from Tier 4 visa to Tier 2 (General). If previously students had to wait for their final results, from 2018 it will be possible to switch straight after the end of their course. It will give an opportunity for students apply within the UK without the need of returning to the country of their origin.
  • Recipients of supernumerary research Awards and Fellowships as well as established research team members who are sponsored by a Higher Education Institution or a Research Council will be exempted from the Resident Labour Market Test.

Transit visa Changes

Visitors who hold a standard or marriage/civil partnership visit visas will be exempt from the need to obtain a separate transit visa.

Issue of Entry Clearance

The government is trialling a new system of issuing entry clearance in electronic format. It will give an opportunity to issue an entry clearance in an electronic form as well as a standard endorsement in a valid passport.

You can see full statement of changes published by the UKVI – Statement of changes to the immigration rules HC309, 7 December 2017 (web accessible).

Our lawyers at Edmans & Co are always updated with the latest changes in Immigration Rules. Contact us if you need any help with UK Visas and Immigration.

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