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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.