A host of changes to the immigration rules came into force on 22 November 2012. They include the following:
- A lowering of the English language requirement for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) from level C1 (advanced) to level B1 (intermediate), in line with other points-based system categories. This change is being made in response to concerns that the high requirement was a possible deterrent to potentially successful entrepreneurs;
- Ending switching from Tier 4 into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) unless the migrant has £50,000 funding from a specified source (registered venture capitalist firms, UK Government Departments – which we are expanding to also include Devolved Administration Departments – or listed seed funding competitions);
- The curtailment of a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant’s leave if they fail to maintain the required level of investment for the duration of their leave;
- An increase in the maximum stay in the UK for senior intra-company transferees earning £150,000 or above from 5 years to 9 years;
- A change to the operation of the Tier 2 ‘cooling off period’ rule to increase flexibility for some migrants who leave the UK before their visas expire and wish to return 12 months later;
- The introduction of provisions for workers covered by the UK’s international trade commitments in Tier 5;
- Allowing absences from the UK of up to 180 days per year for those seeking settlement through Tier 2 and other work routes;
- Allowing migrants in Tier 2 and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) to undertake supplementary employment in a shortage occupation, even if this is a different occupation to the one they are being sponsored to work in. This will provide migrants with more flexibility and help to ease shortages in these occupations.
If any of these rule changes affect you please do not hesitate to contact us for immigration advice.