Changes in UK immigration rules with effect from 6th April 2015

UK immigration changes

The Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules has been published for 2015; the following is taken from the document with respect to Tier 2 applications and will take effect from 6th April 2015.

Applicants who are applying outside of the UK for a visa (staying six months or more) will now be required to give their biometrics upon application.

The biometric residence permit (BRP) requirement will be implemented in a phased country-by-country approach ending on 31 July 2015.

Applicants who are applying outside of the UK for a visa (staying six months or more) will now be required to give their biometrics upon application.

The biometric residence permit (BRP) requirement will be implemented in a phased country-by-country approach ending on 31 July 2015.

UK Immigration

Tier 1 visa changes

Tier 1 (Investor) visa applicants will be required to open a Financial Conduct Authority-regulated bank account before making their application.

All Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants will be required to take a new genuine entrepreneur test.

Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders will be able to reinvest any proceeds from their investment portfolio instead of only reinvesting the original purchase price of their investment – as long as they do it within six months of the sale of those investments or before the next reporting period, whichever occurs first.

Tier 2 visa changes

The Tier 2 (General) immigration cap will stay at 20,700, but the restricted certificate of sponsorship will be cut to 1,650 per month as of 30 April.

The 12-month cooling off period for Tier 2 visas will be removed for visas issued for three months or less. The cooling off period will not apply to previous grants of Tier 2 leave of three months or less, this change is welcome and as intended will improve flexibility for businesses who need to transfer key staff for very short periods, rather than to fill ongoing vacancies in the UK.

All Tier 2 visa applications made from within the UK must go through UKVI’s online portal as of 6 April.

Changes in the minimum Salary threshold for Tier 2 categories: 

Salary rates have been clarified with respect to the “new entrant” and “experienced worker rates”.

Tier 2 General Jobs which qualify for Tier 2 (General) £20,500 £20,800

Tier 2 (General) Jobs which are exempt from advertising in Jobcentre Plus (or Job-Centre Online if the job is based in Northern Ireland) £71,600 £72,500

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Jobs which qualify for the Short Term Staff, Skills Transfer or Graduate Trainee categories (maximum stay either six months or one year) £24,500 £24,800

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Jobs which qualify for the Long Term Staff category (maximum stay five years) £41,000 £41,500

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Jobs which qualify for transfers of up to nine years and are exempt from the 12-month cooling-off period £153,500 £155,300

Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sports-person) Earnings which qualify for settlement (those working in PhD-level or shortage occupations are exempt) £35,800(for settlement applications made on or after 6th April 2019) £36,200(for settlement applications made on or after 6th April 2020)

Visitor visa changes

The 15 visitor visa categories will be condensed to just four: business/tourism visitors, performers waiting to undertake paid performances, people visiting the UK to get married, and transit visas.

Applications for visitor visas that exceed a six-month stay will have to submit their applications from outside of the UK before they travel.

Please note: UK visa application fees will increase from 6 April 2015

New NHS surcharge

A new National Health Service (NHS) surcharge is being introduced and will apply to almost every new entrant with a visa valid for six months or more.

The surcharge will also apply to people who need to extend their current visas and is applicable whether you are applying from within the UK or your home country.

The fee will not, however, apply to people holding Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visas or their families.

The surcharge will cost applicants £200 for every year that the visa covers and will need to be paid in full when applying. Tier 4 (General) student visa holders will only have to pay £150.

The surcharge will come into effect on 6 April 2015 and will apply to applications where payment is made on or after this date.

Sharanya Bharathwaj

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