UK Immigration – statement of intent regarding new change
Further to the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, the UK Border Agency has issued a statement of intent. The following categories will be affected by the changes:-
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
A new Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route is due to be introduced by the UK Border Agency once the current Tier 1 Post Study Work visa ends in April 2012. However, it has been made clear that any time spent in this category will not count towards permanent residence.
This route for those UK graduates who have been identified by UK universities as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, but who are not yet in a position to meet the full requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. Universities will be given the freedom to decide how to best identify the strongest candidates, but please note that there will be an overall limit of 1,000 places for the first year.
If successful, an applicant will be granted a visa for 12 months initially, which may be extended for a further 12 months, providing the sponsoring University is satisfied with the progress made. As part of this visa, an applicant will be expected to spend the majority of their time developing their business, but may also undertake other work for up to 20 hours a week to support them. At the end of the second year in this category, an applicant must either switch into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa which requires an investment of at least £50,000.
A minimum salary threshold of £35,000 has been proposed for Tier 2 migrants looking to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence. This change will apply to all Tier 2 (General) migrants who entered the United Kingdom or switched into the Tier 2 (General) category on or after April 6 2011. At the time of making the application, sponsors will need to confirm in writing that the migrant is being paid the salary stated on the certificate of sponsorship, which will need to be at least £35,000 or the minimum salary specified by the code of practice, whichever is higher.
It is important to note that migrant workers who hold a doctorate-level qualification or are in a shortage occupation role will be exempt from meeting this requirement.
Settlement for Tier 2 migrant workers
From 6 April 2012, a maximum stay of six years will be introduced for Tier 2 migrant workers. After spending six years in the UK, the migrant worker must either apply for settlement or leave the United Kingdom.
A “cooling-off” period of 12 months has been proposed by the UK Border Agency for those who leave the United Kingdom. This would essentially mean that continuity of leave will be broken for the purposes of settlement.
Please note that these proposed changes will not apply to Tier 1 migrants.
Domestic Worker category
This category will close to all new applicants from 6 April 2012. Only those migrants will be permitted to enter the United Kingdom who will be coming to the UK with their employer who is entering the UK as a visitor. The maximum stay will be six months, with no extensions and no right to settlement. It will also no longer be possible to change employers during the six-month period.
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