Important Changes to UK Immigration Rules will come into force on 13 December 2012


Immigration Rules, Home Office, Visa, TIER 1, TIER 2, TIER 4, TIER 5 04 December 2012
In a written ministerial statement on 22 November to the House of Commons and the House of Lords, changes to the Immigration Rules in the UK were laid out.

Most of the changes will come into force on 13 December 2012, with the remaining amendments coming into force on 1 January 2013 and 28 February 2013.

The statement clarified the law regarding absences from the UK for people applying for settlement on the basis of work or economic activity. During their continuous period of lawful residence in the UK (which is usually 5 years, with some exceptions), those here on the basis of UK ancestry and Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 (General), Sportsperson and Minister of Religion migrants and retired persons of independent means will be permitted absences of up to 180 days in a 12-month calendar period. This is provided that the absence is for a reason consistent with the migrant's purpose of stay in the UK or for serious or compelling reasons.

As well as the general changes outlined above, specific amendments are being made to certain categories of the points-based immigration system. These are summarised below.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Investor)

The changes being made to these categories include:

The statement also clarified that points will not be awarded for investments against which applicants have taken out loans, for investments that are held in offshore custody or for funds held in financial institutions against which the UK Border Agency cannot make satisfactory checks.

Tier 2 (General)

For skilled workers with a job offer (Tier 2 applicants), some minor changes will be made:

Tier 4 (General)

The changes applicable to Tier 4 (General) applicants are as follows:

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)

The changes applicable to applicants under the Tier 5 category will be as follows:

There will also be changes to the 'Family Life' and 'Private Life' categories, as outlined below.

Family Life

The changes to the 'Family Life' category include:

Private Life

Previously, a child could apply for infinite leave to remain if they had lived in the UK for a continuous period of 7 years, whilst a parent under the 'family life as a parent' category could only apply for leave to remain on the basis of their relationship to a child who had lived in the UK for a continuous period of 7 years. This has been corrected and the categories are now in line with each other.

Finally, there will be a number of changes in terms of criminality.

Criminality

The criminality framework against which immigration applications will be assessed will also be made clearer and more robust, with less individual discretion. The new changes will establish what level of offence will lead to an application's refusal; it is hoped that this will bring greater consistency to these decisions.

Additional changes regarding criminality include:

Tags: Immigration Rules , Home Office , Visa , TIER 1 , TIER 2 , TIER 4 , TIER 5

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