Ten things you should know
about the forthcoming
changes to the
Immigration Rules

With the Home office’s statement of changes to the Immigration Rules taking effect from the 6th April 2014, here are ten alterations you should be aware of…

1.   5 year Term – On the payment of a higher fee, both Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General) applicants will have the opportunity to be granted up to 5 years’ leave (rather than up to 3 years).

2.  Salary Uplift – Updates are being made to the minimum salary thresholds and appropriate salary rates for individual occupations under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System. The revised minimum salary threshold for a Tier 2 Long Term Intra-company transfer will increase to £41,000.

3.  Dependant Restriction – In line with similar restrictions in other categories of the Immigration Rules, a change is being made to restrict dependants of Points-Based System Migrants from employment as a professional sports player or coach.

4.  Brightest and the Best – The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa** route will be widened to accommodate world-leading individuals in the digital technology     sector by enabling Tech City UK to endorse visa applications made by applicants in this field.

5.  Tier 4 Recognition – Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been included on the Home Office’s Appendix H list of countries and regions from which applicants are subject to less stringent documentary requirements when applying under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.

6.  Tier 5 Revision – A new 24 month category is being created under the Government Authorised Exchange route for overseas government language placements. This category will enable language teachers who are sponsored by their overseas government to carry out teaching placements at UK institutions through established government to government partnership agreements.

7.  Maintenance Increase – With effect from 1st July 2014, the maintenance funds thresholds for Points-Based System Migrants and their dependants are being updated. By way of example, a Tier 4 (General) visa applicant intent on studying in London will be required to show he/she has £1,020 per month (for up to nine months) when applying for entry clearance.

8.  Visa Restriction – In 2009 the Government introduced a visa regime for persons holding a Venezuelan passport that did not contain biometric information held in an electronic chip. The Government has now decided to expand the visa regime to all Venezuelan passports holders with effect from the 5th May 2014.

9.  Closing date – The Tier 1 (General) category was closed to new applicants in April 2011 but remains open for extension and settlement applications. Changes  are being made to signal the Government’s intention to close the category for extension applications on 6 April 2015, and for settlement applications on 6 April 2018. This should give enough time for applicants who entered the category before its closure to apply for settlement if they meet the requirements to qualify.

10.  New Application Fees – Whilst the Home Office has sought to limit most increases to 4%, there have been significant increases to bring dependant fees in line with main application fees and for those customers seeking to register for British citizenship.

** The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category was introduced for those who lead the world or show exceptional promise in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts, who have been endorsed by a Designated Competent Body and wish to work in the UK.


For further information on these forthcoming immigration changes, please contact Smith Stone Walters today.


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