Changes to the Immigration Rules due in October 2013

Changes 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.

You can find more information about the changes on the UKBA website and in the Statement of changes in Immigration Rules HC 628.

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