UK Immigration introduced the Tier 1 Visa limit from 19 July 2010. This is the first time that there has been an immigration quota on Tier 1 visas, previously known as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. If you are making an initial application for a Tier 1 visa the two main changes to the Tier 1 visa scheme are as follows:
- There will be an interim limit on Tier 1 (General) visa applications from 19 July 2010 to 31 March 2011.
- You will need to gain 100 points instead of the previous 95 points if you are in another visa category and wish to switch to the Tier 1 visas scheme.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) now has a monthly immigration cap on Tier 1 visas. If you apply and the tier 1 visas limit has been reached then you will be considered for the visa allocation for the following month. You can still submit your application even if the visa limit has been reached. However, your visa will not be issued until visas are actually available.
The new immigration quota on Tier 1 visas could mean that it takes much longer to process your Tier 1 visa. If you meet the new requirements you should consider applying sooner rather than later to avoid possible visa processing delays.
If you are in the following situation the new Tier 1 visa limit will not apply:
- If you are already in the UK in a category that will allow you to switch to the Tier 1 visa. However, you will still need to gain the increased 100 points to come under the Tier 1 visa.
- If you are a dependent of a Tier 1 Visa applicant.
- If you wish to apply under the Post-study work, Entrepreneur or Investor categories of Tier 1.
Other changes to the Tier 1 visa category increase the number of points available for a small number of applicants:
- If you can show previous earnings of £150,000 your points score will increase from 75 to 80 points.
- If you have an MBA that meets the requirements your points score increases from 75 to 80.
If you wish to come under the Tier 1 visa category you should consider applying right now. You have a good chance of gaining a visa before the tier 1 visa quota starts to affect processing of your visa.