Changes to Immigration rules: 14 March 2014Changes to the Immigration Rules have been presented to Parliament which affect all tiers of the points based system. These include broadening of the Exceptional talent route to include the digital technology sector, as well as extending the length of stay to five years for successful Tier 2 applicants.
These changes are less drastic than recent years and also unusually offer a greater flexibility to key groups. In detail, the proposed changes are as follows:
- Tier 2 applicants will be granted leave to remain for five years. This means that they can go on to apply for settlement without having to reapply for further leave to remain after three years.
- The salary and maintenance thresholds for sponsoring dependents will be changed with effect from 1 July 2014.
- Applicants for Tier 4 visas from Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates will be given more generous documentary requirements and the exemption from the genuineness test will end.
- Expanding the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category to include leading talent in the digital technology sector, who are endorsed by Tech City UK. Applicants who go on to apply for settlement will also be able to count time spent in other immigration categories towards their residence requirement.
- Removing ring-fencing of MBA graduates for Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) applicants as well as restrictions on applicants’ graduation dates.
- Requiring all visitors from Venezuela to get a visa before entering the country.
The press release does not indicate what the new salary/maintenance thresholds will be, or any of the implementation dates other than those indicated above.