UK Visas and Immigration announced the latest changes to immigration rules on October 29 2015. The majority of changes will affect applications lodged on or after 19 November 2015, with new rules being implemented across nearly every UK immigration route.
A summary of the key changes for each UK immigration category are provided below:
- Asylum claims made by EU nationals will be invalid, apart from cases in which exceptional circumstances apply
- Making clear the reasons why a person's refugee status has been removed
- New rules concerning non-EEA children, which will enable UK immigration to stop entry into the country, if they suspect that because of the sponsor or sponsor's partner, entry of the child to the UK will put the child's safety at risk
Settlement (indefinite leave to remain)
- A requirement that those applying to stay in the UK indefinitely to show evidence of their English language skills by sitting an English language test at a government approved test centre. Alternatively, you must demonstrate the necessary level of English with an English language qualification from the Home Office Secure English Language Test list
- As previously announced a minimum salary of £35,000, with the exception of occupations on the shortage occupation list and certain PhD level jobs, will be required to be eligible for UK indefinite leave to remain. This rule will affect most
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent, Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Investor of the points-based system
- Revisions to the tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa scheme which it is claimed will alleviate skills shortages in the UK tech sector. Changing the endorsement criteria, used by Tech City UK, will hopefully lead to an increase in the number of applicants with the potential to add value to the UK's digital economy qualifying for this UK visa route
- A requirement that additional documentation be provided by tier 1 entrepreneur visa applicants, including documentation relating to continuous trading, jobs created and past investments
- Further clarification that tier 1 investors are not permitted to invest using shares or loan capital in consortiums
Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system
- The addition of four digital technology jobs (product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist) and nurses to the tier 2 visa shortage occupation list, paving the way for Tier 2 visa applications for applicants in these occupations to be prioritised during monthly tier 2 visa allocations.
- Changes that clarify the rules for sponsors and applicants for Tier 5 temporary charity workers. UK immigration says that this is to stop permanent job roles being taken by temporary staff
- Confirmation of annual visa allocations for the 2016 Youth Mobility Scheme; 45,000 places will be made available to nationals of Australia and 12,000 to nationals of New Zealand
- Minor adjustments to the UK government's list of authorised exchange schemes
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