9 April 2014
- On the payment of a higher filing fee, both Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General) applicants now have the opportunity to be granted up to 5 years’ leave from the outset (rather than up to 3 years).
- For a variety of Tier 2 applications, an increase to the salary thresholds and appropriate salary rates for individual occupations has been introduced. These updates are in line with changes in average weekly earnings for resident workers. The new thresholds also apply to settlement applications by Tier 2 visa holders. The revised minimum salary threshold for jobs which qualify for Tier 2 (General) is now £20,500 (up from £20,300).
- With effect from 1st July 2014, the maintenance funds thresholds for Points-Based System Migrants and their dependents are being updated. By way of example, the maintenance requirement for a Tier 2 migrant has been increased to £945 (from £900) and to £630 (from £600) for accompanying dependents.
- In line with the planned phasing out of the Tier 1 (General) category, extension applications made under this category will not be accepted beyond 6th April 2015. Applicants with permission to reside in the UK under this category have until 6th April 2018 to apply for settlement if they meet the requirements to qualify.
- The 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.
** 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.
New Application Fees
- Whilst the Home Office has sought to limit most fee increases to 4%, there have been significant increases to bring dependent fees in line with main application fees and for those customers seeking to register for British citizenship.
- With effect from 5th May 2014, all Venezuelan passports holders will be required to obtain a visa before visiting the UK.
For further clarification on the latest UK immigration changes introduced, please contact Smith Stone Walters today.