A statement of intent has been released by the UK Government which announces new immigration rules that will take effect in the coming weeks. These changes are designed to prevent abuse of the student visa route by both students and Tier 4 sponsors, whilst ensuring that graduates who can bring valuable ideas and business to the UK are encouraged to remain here.
Furthermore, the maintenance requirements for migrants and any accompanying dependants who come to the UK under any of the Tiers of the Points Based System, (PBS), will be raised to ensure that foreign nationals will be able to support their families without recourse to public funds.
We have summarised some of the key changes below. Please note that these will not come into force until 6th April 2012 when the official policy guidance is released:
- Tier 4 Sponsors who have applied for Highly Trusted status and are awaiting their inspection will have a further CAS allocation made available to them until they are assessed.
- The maximum time students can spend studying in the UK under Tier 4 will be set at 5 years with some exceptions, the English language requirements will be tightened for pre-sessional courses and new work placement restrictions will be applied to international students not studying at degree level.
- Tier 1 (Post Study Work) will be closed and new provisions introduced which allow graduates with a job offer to switch into Tier 2 (General), provided they meet the criteria for that visa category. In these circumstances, employers will not need to complete a resident labour market test and these jobs will not be subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 numbers.
- A new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme with a limit of 1,000 places will be set up for foreign graduates who have innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills but do not yet meet the full requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.
- Maintenance requirements will be raised for migrants applying through both the study and employment routes of the PBS. The amounts of money that migrants must prove they have so that they can support themselves, and any dependants accompanying them to the UK, will be increased.
If you have any questions or queries on how these changes may affect you, please contact us.