UK Immigration Rules changes in January 2018
On 11th of January 2018 UK Visas and Immigration published changes to the Immigration Rules which, were previously announced by Statement of Changes HC309 on 7th of December 2017.
The changes while not considered to be major will have an impact on a number of Points Based categories as well as their dependants. The main change are highlighted below.
Tier 2 General
- A Tier 2 application cannot be made earlier than 3 months prior to the start date of the employment, as stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship
- A gap of more than 60 days (grace period usually given when a migrant’s visa was curtailed or the sponsor lost its license) between employments, under the old rules, used to prevent the applicants to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). With this recent change, that old rule is now scrapped. As of 11 Jan 2018, a gap of 60 days or more between employments will no longer prevent applicants from applying for ILR when reaching their 5 year qualifying period.
- Posts held by applicants who are in receipt of supernumerary research Awards and Fellowships and those established research team members that are sponsored by either a Higher Education Institution or a Research Council will now be exempt from conducting the Resident Labour Market Test.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur
There have been minor housekeeping changes to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Guidance. Immigration Rules have also been changed to clarify the position in relation to the documents required for extensions and ILR applications.
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants can no longer use funds that have previously been used by other Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants, or that have been provided to them by their close family members (this is left undefined which leaves room for interpretation in future applications).
- The transition period for applications made before 6 April 2014 has now been incorporated in the Immigration Rules and will continue to apply to extensions and settlement applications until 6 April 2019.
- Clarification in relation to applicants who join existing businesses and the jobs that they will create.
- Applicants relying on their source of funds from venture capital firms will now require a letter from the venture capital firm confirming the date the funds were actually transferred to the applicant or their business in addition to also confirming that the firm is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
- Minor changes have been introduced to clarify the position on the letters required from financial institutions, third parties and legal advisers.
If you are making an application as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur – either from within or outside the UK or if you are making an extension or settlement application ,you can contact our tem of experts to ensure your application meets the newly published requirements.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent:
- The number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas that are allocated annually has now increased to 2,000.
- Applicants who are holders of Designated Competent Bodies’ exceptional talent criteria (but, not those who have visas under exceptional promise criteria) can apply for ILR after completing 3 years of continuous residence in the UK rather than having to wait 5 years.
Tier 4 Students
- The main change here is that Tier 4 Students would now be now permitted to switch into Tier 2 General visas as soon as they have completed their course, without having to wait until their results are published , as was the case previously.
- Tier 4 Students who meet the above criteria will continue to be exempt from meeting the Resident Labour Market Test (RMLT).
Dependants of PBS Migrants
Dependants of PBS migrants will now be subject to the 180 days annual travel limit . This is a significant change for dependants who were previously not subject to travel limits and it will effect their future eligibility for ILR applications.
The good news for dependants however, is that the 180 days requirement will only count from 11 Jan 2018 onwards and not retrospectively.