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Immigration Rules change today | Immigration Matters

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 Categories : News


The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced that on Thursday 15 March 2012, a written ministerial statement has been laid in Parliament outlining a number of important changes to the Immigration Rules, which will affect thousands of migrant workers on Tier 2 and international students on Tier 4 visas.

The majority of changes come into effect on 6 April 2012, however some of the changes to Tier 2 will affect those who were granted leave after 6 April 2011.

The changes include:

Migrants under the points-based system

Tier 1 – high-value migrants

  • Closing the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route.
  • Introducing the new Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route.
  • Introducing new provisions for switching from Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-study work) into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
  • Renewing the 1000 place limit for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) for each of the next 2 years.

Tier 2 – skilled workers

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

Tier 4 – students

Implementing the final set of changes to the student visa system that were announced in March 2011, including:

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

Tier 5 – temporary workers

  • Limiting 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.
  • Allowing 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 in all tiers of the points-based system

  • Making 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 us, 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.
  • Reducing the curtailment threshold (the level of leave you have left which means that we will not normally pursue curtailment) from 6 months to 60 days.
  • Increasing 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.


  • The 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

Restricting all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join.

Removing the right for all migrants under the ODW category to apply for settlement.

Strengthening 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.

Permitting 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.

Restricting 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.

Permitting 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.

  • Introducing 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. We will publish the full range of service benefits in due course. The service will launch in the 2012-13 financial year.

In addition to these changes, the government is also making amendments to the extension of leave to remain.

The Home Office has also published two financial impact assessments: one on settlement and another on Tier 5 and overseas domestic workers, as well as a policy equality statement.

For full details of the changes please see the Statement of Changes to the Immigration rules (HC 1888) and the Explanatory Memorandum on the right side of this page. The written ministerial statement, impact assessments and the policy equality statement can be found on the Home Office website. Source: UK Border Agency.

Last month Damian Green published the government’s response to last year’s consultation looking at reforms to automatic ‘employment-related settlement’.

They have decided to abolish automatic ‘employment-related settlement’ in the UK, making these changes the most significant immigration reforms for many years.

Mr Green said that the changes will mean that skilled migrant workers coming to the UK under Tier 2 of the points-based system will no longer be able to settle in the UK simply based on the amount of time they have spent in the UK. 

Until now, migrant workers on work permits or domestic worker visas have come to expect that they could apply for permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain) after 5 years, and for British Citizenship a year later. 

The government has now introduced new Immigration Rules to restrict the arrival of foreign domestic workers to those who are travelling with their employers, such as diplomats or business people temporarily working in the UK. 

Under the new rules, overseas domestic workers who come to the UK with their employer must leave after six months. Those working in diplomats’ households can stay for up to five years. The workers will not be able to extend their stay, switch employer, sponsor dependants or seek settlement. 

The plans form part of government’s target to reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.  

Since the coalition came to power they have changed the Immigration Rules in order to slash the number of migrants from outside the European Union who can come here to work, and have introduced sweeping changes to the Tier 4 student visa system. 

Whilst these changes do not directly affect Bulgarian and Romanian citizens coming to the UK, for instance to exercise European Treaty Rights to study and work on Yellow Cards, the restrictions on non-EU workers and students will create more demand for EU and resident labour.

See also:

Immigrant skilled workers ‘essential to London economy’

UK share of overseas student market set to grow

Get over ‘addiction to migrant workers’ UK Immigration Minister’s message to business leaders

Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy

Britain will limit settlement to ‘brightest and best’ migrants under new plans

New student visa rules announced today

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

Cap on skilled worker permits to remain unchanged Migration Advisory Committee recommends

UK will abolish automatic residency for migrant workers

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email 

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

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31 Responses to “Immigration Rules change today”
Read them below or add one

  1. Hi I came to the Uk on a student visa met my ex partner and we have a child together who is a british citizen by birth and I submitted my boss application a month after it expired on a DLR basis, its been over a year and 3months now no response please is there anything I can do?

  2. Dear sir,

    Please I have been denied visa based on discretionary greounds to remain. Came in sEp 2007 to do a masters programme and whist at it, I had two babies and their dad is not an EU or British citizen. I was then given a pSW which expired last month. I had no choice but to apply on further leave to remain but was refused.

    My first is five and d other is 1. Please help, any advice will be appreciated, thanks.

  3. What do you think Samon?

  4. i was refuse uk from 2002 for my fake certificate and after that i change my old passport now i have my new passport and with my new passport i want to submit again uk embassy in 2013 so is that will be any problem for me

  5. Difficult to assess without seeing the whole case history. You need to see a specialist immigration adviser for a confidential consultation to outline a possible application based on your human rights under article 8 – try 0208 905 1822.

  6. Hi
    Just want to know how the new rules affect my article 8 human right. Ukba refused my article 8 claim as i got my britsh boy and partner. They gave me right to appeal. Refused because i have used deception in previous application. How can i argue under human right article 8. The whole ordeal is devastating our life as they are trying to separate a baby from his dad and a wife from her husband.
    Need expert advice please.

    Many thanks

  7. Tahlia says :

    I am Australian and have been working for my employer for 12 months on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa. It is due to expire in August and I wish to continue working for my employer. I am now at a director level and know my employer would want to sponsor me but have not brought it up yet as I want to see what my options are first. The business would be considered small as we have around 40 employees.

    What is the process for apply for a new visa, is it the Tier 2 Visa? Do I need to leave the country? Will it be expensive for my employer to sponsor me? How long does the process take?

    Thank you for your help!


  8. You should get a visa, as even if you were banned, which is probably not the case, a ban would not apply to family visas.

  9. anu anna says :


    I overstayed in UK for 3 months and returned to my country last week.Now i want to marry my bf who is on work permit in UK.Will i get a visa?

  10. yogi soni says :

    Hi my name is yogi. I finished my NVQ level 3 and I will go for level 7 so when I was in level 3 I was applying for spouse visa but the UK BA refused my dependent visa on reason of changes of rules now I am going for level 7 so I want ask that is it possible in level 7 to bring spouse here and how many hours work allow for that thankse

  11. Hi
    I came to UK in 2005 as a student did my A levels, degree and masters upto now ( october 2012).
    My question is can I further extend my visa as a student to make 10 years for permanent residency? I have heard that there is cap now extending a student visa.
    I would be greatful if anyone can help.

  12. Abdul Haseeb says :

    hi,my name abdul haseeb.i am removed from uk before 6 months becoze im apply fake documents can i apply again student visa or no.please tell me how long a time i am apply again.thanks

  13. LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC visitor can apply for student visa?

  14. name imane i been living illegaly in uk since 2005 i came to irland as a tourist i stayed with my uncle who is british cetizen in irland and he brought me with him to london,after i stayed with him 4 about a month he got me married to somone who didnt know nothing about him or his family he got me married islamicly only as they say i have to show them am marring him to be with him not just to stay in uk,they promissd will get english after i be his wife in islam,and after we did married nothing happen but they start beating me and treth to kill me if i open my mouth i was no english speaking or no where or what to do i been a victim of abuse the police have my record i coudnt do nothing because my ex husband and his brother told me if i go to the court they will kill me and my unborn child at that time for that reason i coudnt folow my case a was going for long a took one year i was 8 weeks pregnant at that time and i had my baby girl and i was still going to court its long story am not whriteng every detail,he refuse to put my daughter on his name and told me if i do he will kill me and i didnt put her on his name he lied to me about his real name and who is he and where he from even to the home office when my daughter was 40 days old he left me without notice i think on the 4th of augost2008 with no home or money for me and my child i didnt have no where to go his brother want me to sing my child to his wife and when i refused the beat me up both of them and trow me out of the house i managed to live me and my child here and there i strugled a lot as am not aloud for no benefit or any thing i been to lawyers and cetizen beraux and they coudnt help me as am not legal in here,now am with my new partner who is british and am 9 and half week pregnant with his babymy problem now is my daughter she will be 4years in june and need a school i applayed for her and the council contacted me because she got place but they need a proof that she is my child they asked for a child benefit form or my credit work tax wich i dont have i cannot work and am no taking no benefit for her,i contact them and i explain tO THEM AM NOT TAKING any child benefit they aske me to bring my pasport or driving licence and birth certafcit i do have it but no pasport or driving licence what should i do please am tired of been illegaly its to hard to live haiding for about 7 years like am a ciminal wich am not i never hurt no one.please tell me what to do.many thanks

  15. […] you submit an application on or after 6 April 2012it will be considered under the new Immigration Rules which take effect on 6 April, regardless of which version of a form you […]

  16. Hi, my visa will expired this june 2012, im holding a student visa{old) was here 2009. My current employer wants to sponsor me. The company had already COS since last year 2011. Is it possible that they can help me a tier 2 visa? What are the possible reaquirements?

    Many Thanks,

  17. […] will close the tier 1 PSW (post-study work) visa category for new applicants as part of major Immigration Rule changes. After that international graduates will only be able to stay in the UK to work if they have a […]

  18. I am the student of Tier 4 and my husband has spouse visa (Tier-4) right now he is in UK with me.I am applying for post study work visa end of march 2012, my problem is i can apply for PSW but my dependent can’t apply visa with me due to his insufficient bank balance but after 15th may he can show his bank balance as per dependent visa required. So my question is can he apply for tier 1 dependent visa in the month of may from uk or else he needs to go back to home country to apply visa also please conform me that once i get PSW visa after that only he can apply for dependent visa or not.

  19. You should have regsitered with another college. Did you receive a letter from the UKBA.

    If you need a college call Joanna on 0208 207 1822.

    See also

  20. F Amed says :

    Hi, i am Faisal.I came UK April 2011 as a international student from Bangladesh bt in that year in September my college closed and now stile close,. So what can i do now. i have visa until march 2014.

  21. You should see an experienced immigration adviser as soon as possible. You may have Human Rights grounds to stay in the UK.

  22. rizwan khan says :

    my name is rizwan and i am an illegal immigrant i had a visa of international graduate scheme when i sent it for extention it was not extend so now i am living illegally in this country and i want to get married with a british girl what should i do?

  23. Mr Ahmad says :

    Dear Iqbal.

    Forget UK. U wont be able to get visa do not waste time and money n do not apply for uk. If u get married with british girl then u can apply other wise u wont be able to get visa in any category in next ten yeras. World is so big apply to any other european country.

  24. K Brown says :

    Dear mr Majid iqbal, did you pay for 4 years study at Redcliffe college to learn ENGLSH. if so, then immediately apply for your course fees to be repaid as you were robbed.

  25. carl dela cruz says :

    Hi Mr.Kelly, I am a Tier 2 migrant worker since 2009 and still working here in UK up to now. May I know if I will be affected by that ‘cooling off period’ under the new immigration rules. My visa is yet to expire next year. Thanks.

  26. An adviser will need to see all the paperwork and the refusal letter before advising whether or not an appeal is likely to succeed. You should first speak to an specialist before lodging any appeal or new applications. Try Bison UK on 0208 905 1822 or find an adviser (who must be at L3 on the OISC website. An adviser should only charge a small fee for a consultation.

  27. majid iqbal says :

    i mr majid iqbal entered uk in march 2002 on student visa,i did studied till 2006.after that my collge(redclif)in london staffs didnt send my visa extention on time,due to that i couldnt get my visa, home office issued me i carried on reporting every month in (ukba) solihul center.till 12oct2011.home office stoped me there in centre while i went for reporting.i haveve arrested in centre, than after tendays i have been removed from uk to pakistan now im in pakistan.i havent been given any right of apeal or any thing ,i dont know what should i do now, i dnt have any paper work with me,my all belonging still in uk.i worked there,paied txt,always followed the law.i have been told ,when u get in your country you will get right of apeal, but i didnt get any thing,i just want to know that may i apply for uk visa again or not?
    looking forward
    majid iqbal

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