UK immigration statement of intent: changes to Tiers 1,2 and 5 from 6 April
Sunday, 04 March 2012 15:41
UK Immigration News 04.023.2012
The Home Office has recently published a Statement of Intent explaining proposed immigration changes from 6 April 2012. Smith Stone Walters summarizes the Governmentâ€™s intended changes.
Propsed changes will apply to:
- Those seeking settlement (i.e. Indefinite Leave to Remain) from Tier 2 of the Points Based system;
- Certain changes to Tier 5 and Overseas Domestic Worker routes; and
- The introduction of a new visa category outside of the Points Based System for short-term fee-paid visitors.
Tier 2 General: Settlement Proposals
- Applications for Settlement from April 2016 must meet a pay threshold of Â£35,000 p.a.*, or the going rate for their occupation (if applicable), whichever is higher. (*The pay threshold applies to applications submitted between April 2016 and April 2018, after which time the threshold will be revised).
- Temporary leave will be limited to 6 years if the individual does not meet the qualifying criteria for Settlement at this time.
- A minimum cooling-off period of 12 months will be introduced before a Tier 2 migrant can return to the UK under that Tier, or switch back into that Tier.
Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer
At present, no changes are being made to this route. All Immigration Rules are subject to change and individuals must meet the rules in place at the time of their application.
No changes to settlement will be introduced for Tier 1 migrants. However applicants are subject to the rules in place at the time of their application.
A new route for Graduate Entrepreneurs will be introduced from April 2012. Time spent in this route will not lead towards Settlement.
The Tier 1 Post Study Work category will be abolished from 6 April 2012. However the Resident Labour Market Test will not apply for migrants switching from this category (and Tier 4 Student) into Tier 2 General.
Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange
Only Government Authorised Exchange schemes and International Agreement sub-categories are affected: changes, which are dependent on route, are being made to the length of leave which is available and the ability of dependants to join or accompany the main applicant.
Overseas Domestic Workers
- Overseas Domestic Workers (ODW) with visas granted before 6 April 2012 will be able to apply for Settlement â€“ the pay threshold will not apply.
- From 6 April 2012, ODWs ofÂ private households of an employer applying to enter the UK will be limited to six monthsâ€™ stay. They will only be able to enter if accompanying their employer (or the employerâ€™s spouse or child) who is coming to the UK at the same time as a visitor. ODWs will not be able to change employer or switch immigration category whilst in the UK. This route will not lead to Settlement and they cannot bring Dependants.
- ODWs ofÂ private households of a foreign diplomat will be limited to five yearsâ€™ stay or the length of the employerâ€™s posting, whichever is shorter. No change of employer or switching immigration category is permitted and the route will not lead towards Settlement. Dependant applications will be permitted.
New Visitor Category: Permitted paid engagements (PPE)
Individuals coming to the UK from 6 April 2012 for a short period of up to one month to carry out one of the following permissible activities may apply under a new Visitor category. No formal sponsorship is required but the engagement must be evidenced by an invitation relating to the individualâ€™s expertise and/or qualifications and main occupation overseas. Visa nationals must obtain prior Entry Clearance to demonstrate that they are genuine visitors and intend to leave after one month. Switching into other categories or extensions will not be permitted.
- Visiting examiners or assessors: Academics, who are highly qualified in their field of expertise, invited by a UK higher education institution or other research or arts organisation, to examine students or participate in and/or chair a selection panel as part of that institution or organisationâ€™s quality assurance processes.
- Visiting lecturers: Professionals invited by a UK higher education institution or other research or arts organisation to give one or a short series of paid lectures in their field of expertise as a visiting lecturer.
- Designated overseas air-pilot examiners: Overseas designated pilot examiners invited by an approved UK based training organisation that is regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, to assess UK pilots to ensure they meet overseas countriesâ€™ national aviation regulatory requirements.
- Qualified lawyers providing advocacy, arbitration or alternative form of dispute resolution: To provide advocacy in a particular area of law as a qualified lawyer for the purposes of a court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of alternative dispute resolution for legal proceedings within the UK.
- Professionals in the arts, entertainment and sporting sectors: To undertake an activity as a professional artist, entertainer or sports-person by invitation of a UK based arts or sports organisation or broadcaster. Activities include: Artists, sculptors, photographers and writers exhibiting and selling their works; writers doing book-signings, participating in and/or chairing literary prize panels. Entertainers and performing artists giving one-off or a short series of performances. Sportspersons carrying out broadcasting activities in their field of sport.
The full Statement of Intent detailing the Governmentâ€™s proposals can be locatedÂ at theÂ Home Office website. Information provided courtesy ofÂ Smith Stone Walters.