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UNITED KINGDOM – Changes to the Immigration Rules from April 2016

, 23/03/2016

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.