Today the 5 April 2011 is the last day to apply for your Tier 1 General Highly Skilled Visa, but only from within the UK. From tomorrow the only independent skilled migration visa that will be available is the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa which will be almost impossible to obtain and will be limited to only one thousand people a year Worldwide.
The Tier 1 General Visa and its predecessor the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme introduced on 28 January 2002 have been enormously beneficial to the UK economy. During the economic boom years highly skilled individuals were attracted to the UK because of opportunities in the UK and the availability of a skilled immigration visa that allowed you to work as an employee or be self employed or work via your own company. This enabled companies recruit overseas workers more easily and expand and grow which helped to make the UK one of the top economies in the World.
It is surely inevitable that some time in future there will be a new Skilled Migration visa in the UK. However, this is only likely to happen when there is more economic growth and more skills shortages in the UK and around the World.
In the meantime to live and work in the UK you will probably need to have a sponsor under say the Tier 2 visa scheme. This does not give you the same degree of flexibility as under the Tier 1 General Highly Skilled visa scheme.