Important changes to the Immigration Rules

On 26 February 2015, the Home Office published a new Statement of Changes, which might have a significant impact on the current Immigration Rules as explained in the paragraphs below.

As of 6 April 2015 prospective Tier 1 Investor migrants might be required to open a UK-regulated investment account before making an initial application under this route. This change will ensure that UK banks and private investment companies carry out due diligence checks on prospective investors before they apply for an entry clearance or leave to remain, not after.

The minimum age of the applicants in this category is likely to be increased from 16 from 18, as the Home Office is doubtful that the applicants at the age of below 18 can be wholly in control of their own funds and investments.

Additionally, minor changes are likely to be introduced in relation to maintaining the level of investments. The applicants may no longer need to invest additional capital if they sell part of their investments at a loss; however they will be required to maintain all their capital within their investment portfolios.

Other significant changes are likely to impact the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur Scheme. As of April 2015, prospective applicants might need to provide evidence of the third party source of £200K, if the funds have been held for less than 90 days before making an initial application. Moreover, a business plan is likely to be a mandatory document when submitting an initial application under this scheme.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrants might be restricted from engaging in business principally concerned with property development or property management, for consistency with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category.

The changes, which were previously introduced to the Tier 1 General Scheme with regards to applying for an ILR before 6 April 2018, will remain in place.

Important changes are being introduced to the Tier 2 category. The Home Office has reviewed the annual minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 General and Tier 2 ICT applicants and appropriate salary rates for individual occupations as set out in the Codes of Practice. Moreover the earnings, which qualify for settlement applications made on or after 6th April 2019 and 6th of April 2020, will have to be in the amount of £35,800.00 and £36,200.00 respectively. The settlement earnings threshold only applies at the time an application for settlement is made, not throughout the five-years qualifying period.

According to the new requirements, the “cooling off” period will not apply to previous grants of Tier 2 leave of three months or less in order to improve flexibility for businesses, which need to transfer key staff for very short periods, rather than to fill on-going vacancies in the UK.

Additional changes are being made to the visitor, Tier 4 and Tier 5 routes; therefore we do advice to seek a legal advice before submitting an application under these schemes.

The Home Office is also adding a power to allow caseworkers to require migrants holding limited leave to enter or remain in the UK to show, that they continue to satisfy the requirements of the Immigration Rules by providing evidence and/or attending an interview, in order to curtail the leave of migrants, who no longer qualify to remain in the UK.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the upcoming changes, please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 20 3384 3075 or via email [email protected].

The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.