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Key changes affecting PBS migrants, domestic workers and visitors!

14 May 2012

This articles provides a useful summary of the major amendments to the Immigration Rules introduced by the UK Border Agency affecting migrants in their work, study, eligibility for settlement and visitor rights.

Tier 1: closure of Tier 1 (Post-Study Work); expansion of routes for entrepreneurs and investors; creation of the Exceptional Talent and Graduate Entrepreneur routes.

Tier 2: limit on numbers of Tier 2 (General) migrants; new rules on intra-company transfers; minimum skills level of NQF4, rising to NQF6 from 14 June 2012; changes to the Resident Labour Market Test; minimum English language requirement of B1 for Tier 2 (General); maximum period of stay for those entering Tier 2 (General) after April 2011 of six years, with a ‘cooling off period’ of 12 months before any further Tier 2 leave.

 New settlement rules for Tiers 1 and 2: migrants to meet the same pay criteria at settlement as apply at the further leave to remain stage; to be clear of unspent criminal convictions; requirement to pass the Life in the UK test; no settlement for intra-company transferees. From 2016, we will require Tier 2 (General) and sportsperson migrants applying for settlement to be paid at least £35,000 per annum or the appropriate rate for their job, whichever is higher, with some exemptions for PhD and shortage occupations.

Tier 4: various changes to the sponsorship regime for education providers, English language ability of students, entitlements of students to work and to sponsor dependants; rules restricting extended periods of study.

Tier 5: certain Government Authorised Exchange schemes (intern/work experience/youth exchange type programmes) are now restricted to 12 months.

Overseas Domestic Workers: restrictions on entry and limitations on stay for those entering under these routes; a new package of protections to minimise the possibility of abusive relationships.

Visitors: a new route for Prospective Entrepreneurs with ability to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route; a new route for Permitted Paid Engagements, to allow a small group of professionals, artists, entertainers and sportspersons entry to undertake short-term paid engagements for up to one month.


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.