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Changes to the Points Based Scheme and settlement applications

30 December 2010

In December 2010, the UK Government announced new measures to manage the numbers of people from outside of Europe who are allowed to come and work in the UK. Thus, as of 1 April 2011, the following measures will be introduced:

  • The Tier 1 General Scheme route will be closed as of 5 April 2011;
  • Tier 1 'exceptional talent' sub-category will be introduced. This route will cover migrants who have won international recognition in scientific as well as cultural fields with a limit of 1,000 places;
  • The Tier (1) Entrepreneur route will be reformed to make it more attractive and create a new avenue for promising start-up companies which do not meet the  investment threshold;
  • Tier 1 (Investor) route will offer an accelerated route to settlement, depending on the level of investment.

There will also be new changes affecting the Tier 2 Scheme and sponsored workers. In particular,  this route will be subject to a limit of 20,700 places for all UK employers.  However, this limit will not apply to in-country applications from those already in the UK, dependants of Tier 2 migrants, Tier 2 (General) applicants who are filling a vacancy with a salary of more than £150,000, Tier 2 Sportsperson and Minister of religion applicants as well as ICT applicants.

The criteria to qualify under the Tier 2 General Scheme will be restricted to only graduate-level vacancies. The existing Tier 2 (General) migrants in jobs below graduate level will be able to extend their permission to stay if they meet current requirements. Further, the minimum level of English language competency for will be increased from basic to intermediate level (B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference).

Applicants in the Established staff sub-category will be able to stay in the UK for up to 5 years if they are paid more than £40,000 per year. However, those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be able to enter for up to 12 months within a specified period.

We are also concerned that very significant changes might be introduced for settlement applications, in particular a higher criminality threshold, Tier 1 and Tier 2  holders  might be required to meet the salary criteria that applied when they last extended their permission to stay while highly skilled migrants will be asked to pass the 'Life in the UK' test prior to gaining settlement.

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Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.