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UNITED KINGDOM – Changes to the Immigration Rules from April 2016

On 11 March 2016 the UK Home Office issued a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, which are due to take effect from 6 April 2016.

However, these rule changes do not include any reforms resulting from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)’s recent reviews of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 2 visas. The Government has not yet published its response to those reports.

What are the Major Changes?

Below are the major changes announced in the Statement of Changes:

  • The maintenance requirements for students applying for leave to remain as a student union sabbatical officer, a dentist on a foundation programme or a postgraduate doctor have been reduced;
  • Tier 4 (General) students at independent schools can now extend their stay from within the UK;
  • Overseas domestic workers will now be allowed to take alternative employment as a domestic worker during their 6 month period of admission;
  • The period of leave granted to an overseas domestic worker, who is the victim of slavery or human trafficking, has been increased from 6 months to 2 years;
  • The maintenance requirements for Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) are amended to clarify that if a sponsor certifies maintenance, then that sponsor is confirming the applicant will not claim public funds during their stay;
  • The threshold at which cumulative debts to the NHS constitute a general ground of refusal is lowered from £1000 to £500
  • Applications can now be refused if a litigation debt is owed to the Home Office;
  • The “points based calculator” will no longer exist after 5th April 2016, replaced by UK NARIC Visas And Nationality See our previous alert;
  • Masters degrees and PhDs taught in English may be used to satisfy the English language requirement for Representatives of Overseas Businesses;
  • With regard to applications made under the Family and Private Life provision, the UK immigration authorities will have a power to refuse an application on grounds of suitability if false representations have been submitted, or there has been a failure to disclose materials facts, in a previous immigration application

Action Items

  • Note the above changes and look out for upcoming changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2.

The information in this alert was provided by Dearson Winyard, Newland Chase and Definitive.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.