Immigration Rule Changes from 6th April

The Home Office recently published a Statement of Intent setting out the government’s response to the Migration Advisory Committee's recommendations on the Tier 2 Codes of Practice, as well as detailing other immigration related changes.

The Statement of Changes to the Immigration rules was laid before Parliament last week.

the following rule changes, effective 6th April, have been made:

• The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) application process will be split into two; an initial application to the Designated Competent Body, followed by an application for entry clearance or leave to remain. A further change to the rules will allow migrants in any Tier 2 category to switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), not just those in Tier 2 (General), as presently.

• The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category will be expanded to include additional places for talented MBA graduates from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and will also include the UK Trade and Investment's elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme. A further rule change will see the current annual limit of 1,000 places increased to 2,000 places within the limit.

Tier 2 will see a number of changes to the lists of skilled occupations, salary requirements and minimum salary thresholds, and the Resident Labour Market Test. Other changes include:

• Tier 2 migrants who leave the UK and whose leave expires are subject to a 12 month “cooling off period” before they can return to the UK. A change is being made to remove the impact of this policy on the ability of businesses to recruit very senior staff, and so from 6th April, the “cooling off period” will no longer apply to sponsored Tier 2 migrants with an annual salary of £152,100 or more.

• Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees earning £152,100 a year or more will be exempt from the current requirement to demonstrate their English language ability when they extend their UK stay beyond three years.

• From 6th April 2013, Tier 4 students successfully completing a PhD at a UK HEI will be permitted to remain in the UK for 12 months on a Tier 4 visa, giving them a longer period in which to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur.

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