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New visa category for UK graduates and changes to the maintenance requirement!

17 February 2012

The UK Border Agency has published a new Statement of Intent, which will bring radical changes affecting students and Tier 4 holders as well as their ability to apply for work experience in the UK.

In addition, the UKBA is proposing to increase the maintenance requirement for all categories under the Points Based Scheme.

It is likely that the long residence category might become redundant since the UKBA is planning to restrict to 5 years the total period of time which can be spent in the UK  under the Tier 4 Scheme studying at degree level. There will be exceptions for those pursuing a master's degree and PhD or enrolled in specific courses including medicine, dentistry, veterinary as well as architecture, law and music.  The current restriction is 3 years for students pursuing courses below degree level.

Graduate Entrepreneur

The Tier 1 PSW will close on 5 April 2012, but  the UKBA might introduce a new "Graduate Entrepreneur" category to allow bright graduates to pursue and establish innovative businesses in the UK.  Unfortunately, we have learn that there will be an initial limit of 1000 places.  Applicants will be selected by their universities which must  be a Highly Trusted or A-rated Tier 2 sponsor.  Leave to remain will be approved  or an initial year subject to a 12 months extension if satisfactory progress can be shown in the  development of the business idea.

Switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

Prior to the expiry of their leave, Graduate Entrepreneurs will be allowed to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur scheme with a lower threshold as they will only need to show funds in the amount of £50,000 as opposed to £200,000.

Settlement

Time spent in the Graduate Entrepreneur category, however, will not count towards settlement in the UK.

Tier 2 Work Permit visa

The one piece of unequivocal good news is that Tier 4 students will be allowed to switch into the Tier 2 Scheme without their employers having to meet the stringent resident market labour test. However, the job on offer will need to be considered skilled and be paid at least £20,000 or the minimum appropriate rate according to the relevant Code of Practice. In addition these applications will not be subject to the Tier 2 cap. To be noted that this  option will be open only to recent graduates who have been awarded a bachelor, master, PhD or PGCE or PGDE from a  UK recognized or listed body.

These changes will come into effect on 6 April 2012- however, we  have already been told that the UKBA is planning further amendments to the immigration requirements concerning the settlement of Tier 2 holder, overseas domestic workers as well as prospective applicants under the family route.

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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.