Changes to the Immigration Rules due in October 2013Changes to the Immigration Rules, due to come into effect on 1 October 2013, have been laid before Parliament. The planned changes will make it easier for graduates and intra-company transfers but also introduce more controls and powers of removal.
The announcement to Parliament includes a reminder that with effect from 28 October 2013 there are changes to the ‘Knowledge of life and language’ requirements for ILR/settlement and citizenship applications. For all applications submitted on or after this date you will now need to pass the Life in the UK test and have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.
The specific changes planned for workers and entrepreneurs are as follows:
- removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees
- making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2
- waiving share ownership restrictions for some senior staff
- allowing some students to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.
Changes have also been announced for visitor visas as follows:
- Allowing tourists and business visitors to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit. You are not allowed to study English language under this allowance
- Expanding the activities a business visitor can do in the UK
- Removing the prospective student route
Some of the other general changes are as follows:
- expanding checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for
- introducing powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English
- introducing a scheme which allows some locally engaged staff in Afghanistan to relocate to the UK
- setting new youth mobility scheme quotas for 2014
- enabling those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply under Tier 1
- changes to the way we handle settlement applications for refugees who have committed crimes, and adding the power to curtail leave for persistent or serious offenders
- introducing temporary Immigration Rules so participants and personnel can come to the UK during the 2014 Commonwealth Games
- minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life.