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News Update 23 February 2018

Hello and welcome to’s UK Visa Update for 23 February 2018.  I’m Sanwar Ali

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The UK visa changes contains some good news and some bad news.  A number of changes took place on 11 January 2018 It is now easier for tier 2 visa holders to gain indefinite leave to remain. Previously many tier 2 visa holders who experienced significant delays in obtaining a new job and new tier 2 visa during the five year qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) no longer met the requirements for ILR.

Tier 4 students can now apply for tier 2 visas after completing their degree. They do not have to wait for their results. At the same time there have been immigration changes that have made things more difficult for migrants. Overall the UK visa system remains difficult, expensive and overly complicated.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

The criteria for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa have not been changed, but guidance notes have been clarified and expanded. For instance, new guidance notes state that the ‘recycling of funds’ will no longer be permitted. Applicants can no longer use funds already used by another tier 1 entrepreneur applicant, funds in their own business or funds from family members.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

Coinciding with changes announced in the 2017 Autumn Budget, annual Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa allocation numbers will be doubled from 1,000 to 2,000. The extra 1,000 visas will be set aside in an unallocated pool and issued on a first-come, first served basis.

Exceptional talent visa holders may be eligible for accelerated indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after three years, rather than the usual five years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain for Tier 2 Visa Holders

Before the recent changes, tier 2 visa holders with more than a 60 day gap between job roles prevented Tier 2 Visa holders from meeting the criteria to apply for indefinite leave to remain ILR after five years.

However, under the new rules, Tier 2 Visa holders with more than 60 days between Tier 2 job roles may still be eligible for ILR when they have served five-continuous years of employment.

Switching from a Tier 4 Visa to a Tier 2 Visa

Tier 4 (General) Visa holders on non-PhD courses will be permitted to switch to a Tier 2 Visa upon completion of their course instead of having to wait for their degree results. Under old rules, students had to wait until they had received their final results. This is especially beneficial for Master’s degree students who are often forced to wait months to receive their course results.

Family members of Points Based System (PBS) Migrants

Points Based System migrants lodging an application for ILR are prohibited from leaving Britain for more than 180 days in any 12 months during the qualifying period. Under previous rules, PBS dependents were not subject to this legislation.

However, following the recent changes, the 180-day rule has been extended to dependent partners (spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners) of those in the UK under the PBS, including Tier 1 and Tier 2 Visa holders. This change is applicable to partners who are granted new periods of leave after 11 January, 2018.

Electronic Entry Clearance Visa

Apart from the new rule changes, the Government plans to pilot a new initiative to grant UK entry clearance – for visas obtained outside Britain – in an electronic format, rather than the traditional passport stamp.

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