New Immigration Rules have been laid and the majority of the changes are due to come into effect on 11 January 2018. We consider the main ones that are relevant to our clients.
Great news for exceptionally talented persons!
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category has been given a welcome boost with the number of available places being doubled to 2,000. The additional places will form a pool which can be drawn on, on a first-come first-served basis, by any Designated Competent Body that has used up its allocation. Individuals endorsed as ‘world leaders’ under this category will also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 3 years’ continuous residence.
We are assisting increasing numbers of applicants seeking leave to enter or remain under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and have a 100% success rate. We work with university academics, tech entrepreneurs and other talented people whom the UK Government wishes to welcome.
Not such great news for PBS dependant partners seeking ILR
The new Immigration Rules have, controversially, introduced a residence requirement, effective from 11 January 2018, for those who will apply for ILR as a partner of a PBS migrant (where permitted). The change means that partners of those with leave under Tier 1 and Tier 2 who are eligible and wish to apply for ILR must restrict their absences from the UK to no more than 180 days per year. The new Immigration Rules state that ‘any absence from the UK during periods of leave granted under the Rules in place before 11 January 2018 shall not count towards the 180 days’. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association has written to the Home Office requesting that the implementation of this change is delayed pending consultation, which the Home Office had previously agreed would take place before any change of this nature was implemented. We will update our website when we have news. (The latest position on this is here.)
Changes for those with or requiring leave under Tier 2
- Flexibility is being introduced to enable students to apply to switch to Tier 2 as soon as they have completed their course.
- Exemptions from the Resident Labour Market Test are being added for posts to be held by researcher applicants who are recipients of supernumerary research Awards and Fellowships, and for established research team members sponsored by either a Higher Education Institution or a Research Council.
- The requirement for those with leave to remain under Tier 2 to have continuous employment for five years before being able to apply for ILR is being relaxed. A break in employment will no longer place an application for ILR at risk.
Changes for those with or requiring leave under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- The job creation rules currently require jobs to have existed for at least 12 months during the applicant’s most recent period of leave. A change is being made to enable applicants to apply even if their current leave was granted less than 12 months ago. In such cases the jobs must have existed for at least 12 months before the date of the current application.
- Applicants will be required to confirm the paid hours of the employees in jobs they have created as well as the hourly rate.
- The rule which excludes buying the business from its previous owner from being considered as a qualifying investment is being clarified to mean buying any business from its previous owner.
- Changes are being made to prevent the ‘recycling’ of funds.
- Applicants relying on investment from a venture capital firm will be required to also provide a letter from the firm confirming the date(s) the funds were transferred to the applicant or invested in their business and that the firm was registered with the Financial Conduct Authority at the time.
Changes for those entering under Short-Term Study
- The minimum age under the Short-Term Study (STS) category is being reduced from 18 to 16. This will allow more students to study the longer English language courses of 11 months.
- The definition of ‘a course’ within STS is being revised to give clarity that more than one programme of study can be undertaken on the STS route as long as they are completed within the validity of leave.
- Those studying under STS will be able to remain in the UK for up to 30 days at the end of their period of study (providing they have leave to remain).
- STS students are not entitled to take part in any type of work, whether paid or unpaid. An amendment is being made to allow students to complete electives when they are studying towards a medical, dentistry or veterinary degree at an overseas Higher Education Institution (HEI) through the STS route. Those studying electives will continue to be unable to undertake any other type of work.
Changes for those with or requiring leave under Tier 4
- Part-time study, if the sponsor is a Higher Education Institution (HEI) and the course leads to RQF level 7 or above, is being included within Tier 4. Tier 4 students studying part-time courses will not be able to work, bring dependants or extend in-country.
- The rules on academic progression are being updated to allow students to apply for leave to remain from within the UK to complete a work placement or a study abroad programme, or to complete their course, after having completed a work placement or study abroad programme.
- Some minor changes relating to maintenance are being introduced.
If you require legal assistance about the new Immigration Rules or would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts on a no-obligation basis, please contact us.