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Home Secretary proposes changes to the Life in the UK Test

The Home Secretary has proposed a series of reforms to British citizenship.

The reforms include proposals to reform the Life in the UK test to give greater prominence to the British values and principles expected of those wishing to call the UK their permanent home.  The Home Office says the proposals would ensure that the test is more relevant to daily life and culture in the UK.

There are also proposals for tougher English language requirements for people applying for British citizenship.

A public consultation will be brought forward on the Life in the UK test.

He also outlined that powers to deprive individuals of their British citizenship will be applied to individuals convicted of the most serious criminal offences, where it is in the public interest.

Arrangements for the Life in the UK Test will remain unchanged for now. Any changes to the test and study materials would be made and implemented after the completion of the public consultation.

Changes to the immigration rules from 3 November 2016

The Government have announced changes to the Immigration Rules which will take effect from 24 November 2016. The changes affect Tier 2, Tier 4 and spouse visas.

This new set of changes is being introduced as the first of two sets of changes to Tier 2 visas, as well as introducing new language requirements for spouses and partners hoping to go on and apply for citizenship. The key changes will be as follows:

English language requirement

A new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is being introduced for non-EEA partners and parents.

This affects those applying to extend their stay after 2.5 years in the UK on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM (Family Member) of the Immigration Rules. The new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave under the family Immigration Rules is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017.

Tier 2

  • The Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers will increase to £25,000, with some exemptions
  • The Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff will increase to £30,000
  • The Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold will be reduced to £23,000 and the number of places will increase to 20 per company per year
  • The Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category will be closed

The changes to Tier 2 will come into effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned on or after 24 November 2016. The date from which intra company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in due course.

Tier 4

A number of changes are being made, including amendments to the academic progression rule, maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme and evidence of overseas qualifications, UK qualifications used as evidence, and a series of minor and technical adjustments.