UNITED KINGDOM – Changes to the Immigration Rules from November 2014
On 16 October 2014, the UK Home Office released a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, in which amendments are made across several categories of the UK immigration system.
Main Changes to Tier 2 of the Points-Based System
An assessment of whether a genuine vacancy exists is being added to the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General) routes.
This change empowers Entry Clearance Officers and 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 has been tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited, or where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not qualified to do the job.
Depending on how it is interpreted by the Immigration Service, this change may mark a move away from a purely objective points-based system.
Main Changes to Tier 1 (Investor)
This route is being reformed following recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), and will see an increase in the minimum investment threshold from £1million to £2million, as well as several other rule changes, effective 6 November 2014.
The £5 million and £10 million routes still exist for Tier 1 (Investor) applicants wishing to benefit from accelerated settlement.
The Business Visitor route is being expanded to include new eligible activities as follows:
- allowing scientists and researchers to share knowledge, expertise and advice on an international project which is being led by the UK;
- creating a provision for overseas lawyers, who are employees of international law firms which have offices in the UK, to provide direct advice to clients in the UK on litigation or international transactions provided they remain paid and employed overseas;
- allowing graduates of an overseas nursing school to be admitted as a Business Visitor in order to the sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
There are also some changes to the other Tier 1 routes (General, Entrepreneur and Exceptional talent) as well as to the appeals system for students under Tier 4. There are also several other minor changes; please see the full Statement of Changes for more details or contact us if you have questions.
- Note that the Statement of Changes gives greater discretion to Entry Clearance Officers to use their judgment to assess the genuine need for a Tier 2 applicant.
- For a more detailed assessment of the Statement of Changes, please contact us or one of our partners directly.