The Government has announced a number of significant changes to the UK’s Immigration System.
A Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules laid before Parliament on 16 October 2014 introduces a number of new measures and will impact, inter alia, the following categories:
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- Tier 1 (Investor)
- Tier 2
- Tier 4
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
Changes are being made to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route which will come into force on 6 November 2014.
The most important change relates to those who are applying from inside the UK. Under the new system, they will have to demonstrate that the funds that are being invested into the business they are establishing or joining are in the UK. At the moment, the funds can be in the UK – and if they are that simplifies the evidence needed concerning funds significantly – but they do not have to be in the UK.
A number of other technical changes are being made, the full detail of which can be found here.
Tier 1 (Investor)
For new Tier 1 (Investor) applicants, the Government has announced that, as from 6 November 2014:
- The current £1 million minimum investment threshold is being raised to £2 million.
- The full amount must be invested in prescribed forms of investment (share or loan capital in active and trading UK companies, or UK Government bond), rather than 75% as at present.
- There will be no need for investors to ‘top up’ the investment if it falls below market value. Investors will only need to purchase new qualifying investments if they sell part of their portfolios.
- Entry Clearance Officers and UKVI caseworkers will be able to refuse an application if they consider that the applicant is not in control of his or her funds or the funds were obtained unlawfully or the character, conduct or associations of a party providing funds mean that approving the application is not conducive to the public good.
A new test to assess whether or not a genuine vacancy exists in being added to Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General). This will empower Entry Clearance Officers and UKVI caseworkers to refuse applications where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job described by the sponsor does not genuinely exist, has been exaggerated to meet the Tier 2 skills threshold, or (in relation to Tier 2 (General)) has been tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited, or where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not qualified for the job.
In relation to Tier 4, as from Monday 20 October 2014 those applying under this route from inside the UK will no longer have the right of appeal against a refusal decision and will instead be subject to a new administrative review process as defined by the Home Office. UKCISA has covered this in more detail.
Numerous other changes are being introduced by virtue of these announcements and it is therefore advisable to read the detail in full.
If you require legal advice concerning these or any other matters, please contact us.