Changes to Immigration Rules

The government has today laid before Parliament its Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules (previously announced in outline) to come into force on 6th April, 2013.

Most changes are minor so we will list only the most significant here.

PhD students at a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) will be able to stay in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, sponsored by the HEU, for 12 months after successfully completing their PhD.

The Codes of Practice will be revised from 6th April 2013 to simplify and update the ‘going rate’ in each occupation.  Overall salary thresholds will also be increased.  The lists of skilled occupations will also be updated.  Those Tier 2 migrants who apply before 6th April 2013 will be considered under the current rules.

The Resident Labour Market Test criteria will also be revised to provide a simple set of criteria in respect of appropriate advertising.

‘Cooling off periods’ will not apply to Tier 2 migrants in a job with a salary of at least £152,100 a year.

Time spent outside the UK in Crown Dependencies will be counted as time spent in the UK for the calculation of continuous residence for settlement applications in the work-related immigration categories. 

A concession will be introduced for Tier 2 migrants on maternity, paternity or adoption leave so that they will not be required to be paid at the appropriate salary at the time of an application for indefinite leave to remain.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category is being expanded to include entrepreneurs from overseas HEIs under the UK Trade and Investment’s elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme.  The annual limit is being increased from 1,000 to 2,000 places: 1,000 places for MBA graduates of HEIs, 900 for graduate in any subject from UK HEIs and 100 places for elite global graduate entrepreneurs.

The Tier 1 (General) category will be modified slightly in respect of previous earnings, in light of the government’s new ‘employee-owner’ initiative.  If applicants exchange some of their employment rights for shares as an employee-owner, the value of those shares cannot be claimed as previous earnings.


Posted on Mar 13, 2013.

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