Immigration Law Changes Announced in the UK

A number of changes to the immigration policies that govern the United Kingdom were announced last week and these will come into force on December 13th 2012.

The UK Border Agency announced new immigration laws last week that aim to tighten rules against potential abuse and attract more investment into Britain. The changes to the immigration system impact applications under the points-based systems that are currently applied to the Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5 visas, as well as family and private life applications.

The changes are as follows:

Tier 1 (Enterpreneur)

• The English language entry requirement will be reduced from Level C1 (advanced) to Level B1 (intermediate).
• Visas will be cancelled if the entrepreneur does not maintain the required level of investment throughout the duration of his or her stay.
• Investments cannot be held in offshore accounts.

Tier 2

• Intra-company transfer migrants who are senior staff members who earn more than 150,000 GBP per year can now remain in the UK for nine years, as opposed to five.
• Migrant workers who leave the UK on or before the expiry of their visa and required to complete a 12 month cooling off period before being readmitted to the country. This period will now commence from the date the worker left the United Kingdom, not the date of expiry of the visa.
• For all migrants in Tier 2 and other work routes who are eligible to apply to settle in the United Kingdom, permitted absences will increase to 180 days per year over the five years required to qualify.
• Migrant workers are now permitted to take on supplemental employment if the job is classified as a shortage occupation.

Tier 4 (Students)

• Students who are in the UK under a Tier 4 visa will only be permitted to switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) if they have funding of at least 50,000 GBP from a reliable source.