Following yesterday’s Immigration Matters story about Government plans to introduce a restricted form of post study work visa, the UK Border Agency has published details of a written ministerial statement, which was laid in Parliament yesterday outlining a number of changes to the Immigration Rules.
The UK Border Agency said the new Immigration Rules (HC1039) will come into effect on 6 April 2013, and will include changes to:
- The Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route, to include additional places for talented MBA graduates from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This will also include the UK Trade and Investment’s elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme.
- The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) route, to split the application process so that applicants will no longer have to pay the full fee up front. This will also mean applicants will not have to submit their passport to us while their application for endorsement by a designated competent body is being considered.
- Tier 2, to improve the flexibility for intra-company transferees and for employers carrying out the resident labour market test.
- The shortage occupation list and the codes of practice for skilled workers.
- Tier 4, to allow completing PhD students to stay in the UK for one year beyond the end of their course to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur.
- Family and private life – these are minor changes to reflect feedback from legal practitioners and our caseworkers.
In addition a number of technical changes, corrections and updates to will also be made to the Immigration Rules. These include:
- Making minor changes to ensure there are the necessary requirements for granting discretionary leave to unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and amending the length of discretionary leave granted to these young people to simplify the process and provide some continuity for them;
- clarifying the general visitor rules;
- updating the provisions in Tier 5 for temporary workers;
- minor changes to the Rules on long residence and on work-related settlement; and
- introducing a new protection route recognising stateless persons.
For full details of the changes please see the Statement of Changes to the Immigration rules (HC 1039) and the Explanatory Memorandum on the right side of this page. The written ministerial statement can found on the Home office website. Further information on the Changes to Tier 4 and Tier 1 are available on the relevant pages of the UK Border Agency website. Source: UK Border Agency.
This surprise minor relaxation of the Immigration Rules is the first time the coalition Government has eased up on its plans to reduce migration to ‘tens of thousands’ by 2015.
The Home Office said:
“International students and businesses will benefit from a series of changes to the Immigration Rules.
“The changes are part of the government’s continuing work to ensure the best and brightest talent can come to the UK to work, study and invest in business.
“From April 6 the UK Border Agency will expand the Graduate Entrepreneur scheme to allow up to 1,000 international MBA graduates from British universities to stay in the UK for a year after graduating.”
The Home Office go on to describe a scheme which sounds remarkably similar to the one they abolished last year: the Post Study Work Visa.
“These gifted graduates will be able to develop their own business idea, or work in a start-up, after which they will have the option to stay on in the UK as a skilled worker or entrepreneur.”
International student graduates are already able to remain in the UK after their studies, but only if they get a graduate level job, which is easier said than done when the job has to be at such a high level. Even resident graduates do not all walk into high level ‘graduate’ management positions, and many start at the bottom and work their way up.
However, these new measures will create greater opportunities for PhD students by allowing them to stay on after their studies for up to a year and work, without having to switch routes. The Home Office said this recognises the “unique contribution university research has on the education system and the economy”.
If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: