UK: Changes to Immigration Rules Announced by the Home Office

November 6, 2015

On the 29th October 2015, the UK government announced a number of significant changes to the Immigration Rules.

The announced changes are thought to affect a majority of visa application routes. The majority of the changes will take effect for applications submitted on or after the 19th November 2015, whilst some changes will be implemented in early 2016.

Some of the changes announced for Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System (PBS) are:

Changes to the Shortage Occupation List:

The following “Digital Technology” positions will be added to the UKVI Shortage Occupation List:

  • Product Manager

  • Data Scientist;

  • Senior Developer; And

  • Cyber Security Specialist.

The addition of the digital technology jobs relate specifically to positions that are within small and medium-sized qualifying companies (between 20–250 employees),  that require a minimum of five years relevant experience along with proof of experience of having led a team.

NHS Nurses are being added temporarily to the Shortage Occupation List, although this step is to be reviewed again in February 2016. Including nurses into the Shortage Occupation List means that nurses who apply for settlement will no longer be subject to the minimum earnings threshold which is to be introduced in April 2016.

Sports’ Governing Body Endorsements:

Applications for UK Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain under the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) categories must be supported by a valid Governing Body endorsement letter which must be provided as part of the application.

Applications submitted without the supporting letter can be refused.

Children of a Relevant PBS Migrant:

All children of a Relevant PBS Migrant, who are under the age of 18 when they apply, will be issued with new conditions of leave prohibiting employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).

Other changes to Tiers 2 and 5 of the PBS include:

  • Entry clearance grants to be post-dated in line with the applicant”s stated date of travel to the UK, to enable more flexibility for the collection of Biometric Residence Permit cards;

  • Amendments to the provisions in Tier 2 covering maternity, paternity and adoption leave to incorporate the shared parental leave, which was introduced by the Government in April 2015;

  • New maintenance rules for family members of Tier 2 migrants applying to extend their leave at a later stage to the main applicant.

    Family/private life, Settlement, Asylum, and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) of the PBS are other categories affected by the announced changes.