02 Feb Closure of Tier 1 (General) Scheme
The Tier 1 (General) route was introduced in 2008 to replace the old Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). This route allows migrants to score points in terms of their qualification, age, previous earnings and UK experience and to be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK for a period not exceeding 3 years. Having spent at least five years in the UK, of which the most recent period must have been spent with leave as a Tier 1 (General) Migrant in any combination of the categories specified in paragraph 245CD(c) of the Immigration Rules, the applicant can apply for settlement, subject to meeting the relevant Immigration requirements. Unfortunately, on 23 December 2010 this category was closed to those applying from outside the UK and on 6 April 2011 for those applying in the UK – as a result, no new entrants were allowed to apply under this scheme and applicants could only extend or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
However, according to the Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules presented in Parliament on 13 March 2014, Tier 1 General Migrants will no longer able to apply for the extension of leave under this Scheme as of 6 April 2015. Between April 2015 and April 2018, Tier 1 General visa holders will be able to apply only for settlement in the UK by providing all the necessary evidence. This immigration category will cease operation all together in April 2018.
If the applicant for any reason is not able to satisfy the Immigration Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK before 6 April 2015, we would strongly advise him/her to apply for an extension before this option is closed.