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Marriage visa minimum age to increase

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The UK Border Agency has announce that the age at which someone can apply for a marriage visa will rise from 18 to 21 by the end of November 2008.

On and after 27 November 2008, both parties in a marriage will need to be 21 years of age before a marriage visa can be issued.

"Raising the age is...part of the Government's work to crackdown on forced marriage and on those who attempt to abuse the marriage visa route," the UK Border Agency said in a press release.

The adjustment to the marriage visa age requirement is part of a number of new immigration changes coming into effect in the near future.

During the course of 2008 and continuing through 2009, the United Kingdom is changing a wide range of immigration routes, including its popular skilled immigration schemes and student visas.

Starting on the same day that the UK changes the marriage visa age requirements, Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the United Kingdom's new five-tier points based immigration scheme will go live.

Tier 2 will cover skilled workers with a job offer, which is a similar scheme to the current UK Work Permit scheme. Under this points based scheme, workers need to score points for a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer, and need to score enough points under other criteria including qualifications, having a job offer on the shortage occupation list, etc.

Under Tier 5, applicants can come to the UK to work temporarily. This will include those on a Working Holiday visa and those attending various amateur sports-related activities, among others.

In spring of 2009, Tier 4 will come into effect, which covers foreign students wishing to study in the United Kingdom.