Recent changes to the Immigration Rules
27 March 2014
On 13 March, a number of changes to the Immigration Rules were announced in the House of Commons, with the aim of improving flexibility for applicants and helping to boost economic growth.
Minister for Immigration and Security James Brokenshire laid out the series of immediate changes. The most significant changes are as follows:
To read the full statement of changes, click here.
- Expanding the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category: this visa type now includes "leading talent in the digital technology sector". It is also easier for applicants in this category to make their applications from overseas, and their time spent in other immigration categories counts towards their qualification for settlement.
- Changes to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme: the current restrictions on graduation dates have been removed, as has the ring-fencing of places for MBA graduates.
- Extension of maximum possible stay for Tier 2 migrants: applications can now be granted for five years at a time, rather than a maximum of three years.
- Changes for applicants from Oman, Qatar and the UAE: these countries have been added to the list of countries whose nationals benefit from different documentary requirements.
- Venezuelan nationals must now acquire visas before they can travel to the UK.
- Changes to exemption from the genuineness test: exemption from the genuineness test has been removed for nationals of countries on this list when applying for a Tier 4 visa.
- New category for overseas government sponsored language teachers: these applicants can now apply under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route.
- Changes to Part 9 of the Immigration Rules: the curtailment provisions for abusers of the immigration system have been altered.
- Changes for Bahraini nationals with diplomatic/special passports issued by Bahrain: holders of these passports will no longer require a visit visa to travel to the UK for a general visit.
- New discretionary policies for civilian employees of NATO and the Australian Department of Defence.
- Changes regarding family life in the Immigration Rules: minor changes and clarifications have been made.
- Knowledge of language and life provisions: amendments have been made regarding settlement applications by partners and children of members of HM Forces.
- As well as the immediate changes above, scheduled changes to salary and maintenance fund requirements will come into place for applications from 1 July.