Changes to UK Immigration Rules - | Hudson McKenzie


Changes to UK Immigration Rules

March 19, 2012 | News

Further to a written ministerial statement which has been laid in Parliament, the UK Border Agency has outlined a number of changes to the Immigration Rules.

Most 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:

Tier 1

  • The Tier 1 (post Study Work) route will be closed.
  • A new Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route will be introduced.
  •  New provisions will be introduced for changing immigration status from Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-study work) into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.
  • The limit of 1000 places for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) will be renewed for each of the following two years.

Tier 2

  • Limit 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).
  • Introduce 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 in the UK from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).
  • Introduce a ‘cooling-off period’ across all the Tier 2 routes. That is to say, Tier 2 migrants will be required to wait for 12 months from the expiry of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa.
  • Introduce new post-study arrangements for graduates switching into Tier 2.

Tier 4

  • Extend the interim limit for sponsors that have applied for educational oversight and Highly Trusted Sponsor status and have not yet been assessed.
  • Introduce limits on the time that can be spent studying at degree level.
  • Tighten work placement restrictions.

Tier 5

  • Limit the length of time temporary workers can stay in the UK, under certain Government Authorised Exchange schemes, to a maximum of 12 months. The schemes affected are intern, work experience and youth exchange type programmes.
  • Allow sportspersons who enter under the Tier 5 creative and sporting sub-category to undertake some guest sports broadcasting work where they are not filling a permanent position.

Changes affecting all tiers of the Points-Based System

  • Make curtailment mandatory where a migrant under Tiers 2, 4, or 5 of the points-based system has failed to start, or has ceased, their work or study with their sponsor. This includes cases where a sponsor notifies the UKBA, via the sponsor management system (SMS), that a migrant is no longer pursuing the purpose of their visa. The Rules will also set out the limited exceptions to mandatory curtailment.
  • Reduce the curtailment threshold from 6 months to 60 days.
  • Increase the funds applicants will need to provide evidence of, in order to meet the maintenance requirements for all routes in the points-based system. For Tier 4 and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme the changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012. For Tier 1, Tier 2 and temporary workers under Tier 5 the changes will come into effect on 14 June 2012.


  • A 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.

Overseas Domestic Workers

  • Restrict all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join.
  • Remove the right for all migrants under the ODW category to apply for settlement.
  • Strengthen 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.
  • Permit all ODWs who have applied for leave to enter or remain on or before 5 April 2012, to continue to be treated under Immigration Rules in place on that date.
  • Restrict 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.
  • Permit ODWs in diplomatic households to apply to extend their stay for 12 months at a time up to a maximum of 5 years, or the length of the diplomat’s posting, whichever is shorter.


  • Introduce a Premium Customer Service for those A-rated sponsors in Tiers 2 and 5 who wish to apply and pay for a range of benefits. The UKBA will publish the full range of service benefits in due course.

For further information on the above or how we can assist you, please get in touch with the Global Mobility professional you deal with at Hudson McKenzie.

Alternatively, please send an email to one of our London Immigration Lawyers at or call us on 020 3553 7711.