There are a number of important changes to the immigration rules that come into force on the 24th November 2016.
In terms of the United Kingdom’s points-based 5 tier visa system, the changes are mainly to Tier 1 (referred to as ‘high-value migrants’ from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)), Tier 2 (referred to as ‘skilled workers’ from outside the EEA) and Tier 4 (students aged over 16 from outside the EEA who wish to study in the UK)
The first phase of Tier 2 changes recommended by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee are being implemented as follows:-
- An increase in the general salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000.00 (with certain exemptions). There will be a further increase in April 2017 to £30,000.00
- An increase in the intra-company transfer (ICT) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000.00
- A reduction in the ICT graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000.00. An increase to 20 places per company per annum
- Closure of the ICT skills transfer sub-category
The Government will shortly be annoucing a date from which intra-company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge
The Tier 4 changes include amendments to the academic progression rule and will include maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. Evidence of overseas qualifications must be provided, and overseas qualifications must be UK level equivalent. There are also some minor and technical adjustments.
The Tier 1 changes include a ban on accountants self-certifying their own accounts. Those who are required to provide copies of bank statements are not required to do so over a 90 day period.
Other changes include:-
- Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme – must be able to maintain/accommodate themselves for the first month on £945.00
- Level A2 English language requirement for non-EEA partners and parents. Applies to those extending stay after 2.5 years in the UK and who are on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM (Family Member) of the Immigration Rules. Also applies to those whose current leave under the family Immigration Rules is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017.
- The 28 day grace period is being reduced to 14 days
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