New and Closing Visa Categories are announced

Home office, TIER 1, TIER 2, TIER 4, TIER 5, Visa, Post Study Work, Settlement 20 March 2012

Las week, a written ministerial statement has been laid in Parliament outlining a number of changes to the Immigration Rules. ost of the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. Some of the changes to Tier 2 will affect those who were granted leave after 6 April 2011.

The changes include:

+ Closing the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route.

+ Introducing the new Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route.

+ Introducing new provisions for switching from Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-study work) into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).

+ Limiting the total amount of temporary leave that may be granted to a Tier 2 migrant to 6 years (which applies to those who entered after 6 April 2011).

+ Introducing a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 or the appropriate rate for the job, for Tier 2 general and sportsperson migrants who wish to settle here from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).

+ Introducing a 'cooling-off period' across all the Tier 2 routes. Tier 2 migrants will need to wait for 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa.

+ Introducing new post-study arrangements for graduates switching into Tier 2.

+ Introducing limits for TIER 4 visas on the time that can be spent studying at degree level.

+ The new visitor route will allow a small group of professionals, artists, entertainers and sportspersons who are invited to come to the UK to undertake short-term permitted fee paid engagements for up to 1 month.

+ Restricting all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join.

+ Removing the right for all migrants under the ODW category to apply for settlement.

+ Strengthening the requirement for the employer of an ODW to provide evidence of an existing employer relationship, and introducing a requirement for agreed, written terms and conditions of employment to be produced, as part of the application for entry clearance.

+ Restricting ODWs in private households to work for an employer who is a visitor to the UK. Permission to stay in the UK will be limited to a maximum of 6 months or the period of the employer's stay whichever is shorter.

+ Removing the current provision for ODWs to be accompanied by dependants.

In addition to these changes, the government is also making amendments to the extension of leave to remain.

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