United Kingdom UK immigration visa informationThe UK is noted for its liberal, tolerant society and throughout history has been very successful in attracting immigrants from all over the world. Such immigrants have contributed greatly to economic growth and with an increasingly aging population the demand for skilled immigrants is unlikely to diminish.

We are fully registered UK Immigration Consultants and we have an unrivalled track record in obtaining visas for clients across all visa categories. Through our status as approved agents, we also have a facility where we can have many UK visa applications approved in 24 hrs with the Home Office. Please contact us for details of this fast-track service.

Some of the areas we specialise in include;

Work Permits and Training Permits – this is where you have a UK employer willing to offer you employment or training in the UK. The employer then sponsors you to remain in the UK.

Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) – this is an excellent visa which allows you to work or set up in business in the UK. It aims to allow highly skilled migrants the opportunity to move to the UK and to give them freedom to find employment or establish a business. Eventually it leads to settlement in the UK. 

Recently the rules were changed for this visa. It operates on the basis of a complicated points system. The application process for this visa is highly detailed and many applicants are rejected for an ambiguous or incomplete application. This is a really good visa option but make sure you avail of our specialist knowledge when applying. 

Spouse and unmarried partner visas - Our service ensures a dedicated and highly personalised approach to processing your application. Every application under this category is different and we need to assess each application individually. Please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you with applications in these categories.

Investor Category - this is another route to achieving UK residence. Through a suitable, guaranteed investment in the UK economy, investor immigrants become eligible for residence and eventually UK citizenship. Applicants need to have a total net worth of UK£1 million. 

Commonwealth Immigration have recently developed a partnership agreement with a leading international banking corporation. This provides for a service whereby applicants can receive financing for most of the required investment amount. This then frees up their capital to purchase a home or a business when they arrive in the UK, while complying fully with UK Home Office regulations. Please contact us for details of this excellent facility. 

Ancestral visas – if you have a UK-born grandparent and you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country, then this visa can allow you to work in the UK and later to obtain settlement. 

Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) and UK Naturalisation / Citizenship - we have many years experience in handling these applications, which are normally the prized ultimate goals of UK immigrants. Indefinite Leave to Remain allows one to stay permanently without restriction in the UK. Naturalisation / Citizenship allows one to become a British citizen and obtain a passport. 

For further information on migration to the United Kingdom, please call us on (+44) (0) 20 8365 3380 or complete an Online Assessment form on our website www.commonwealthimmigration.com.

(external links with general information on the United Kingdom)
Wiki: United Kingdom (UK) - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
CIA - The World Factbook: United Kingdom
BBC News - Country profile: United Kingdom
National Statistics Online - United Kingdom statistics data

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Commonwealth Immigration Consultants Ltd.

based in London and Cambridge

Tel. +44 (0) 1223 830 916
Email: info@commonwealthimmigration.com

OISC, UK visa, immigration services

Commonwealth Immigration Consultants
UK Government Registered Immigration Consultants No. F200100020

Member of the Association of Regulated Immigration Advisers (ARIA)
Affiliate Member of the Australian Institute of Migration

ILPA, Immigration Law Practitioners' Association

ILPA - Immigration Law Practitioners' Association

(as published in our newsletters)


July 2010 - The UK government have announced that they are pressing ahead with plans to implement a cap or quota on all non-EU economic migrants. This was predicted in our previous newsletter.

This is likely to affect all applications for Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas.

A permanent cap is set to be introduced from April 2011. In the meantime, a temporary cap is to be imposed which will see overall numbers between now and April 2011, reduced by 5 %.

The criteria for Tier 1 visas (Highly Skilled workers) has been tightened from July 19th by increasing the points threshold by 5 points. 

We therefore advise all applicants and employers to look at applying for such visas, as soon as possible. The announcement of a cap is unprecedented in UK immigration and is likely to lead to an increase in applications.

This may then lead to visas being unavailable until the new visa year commences in April 2011. The new criteria effective from April 2011 may well see further restrictions to ensure an immigration cap is effective. 

A review by the Migration Advisory Committee has been launched into the permanent cap. There are a broad range of proposals on how the government should implement a cap and also what the final quota numbers should be.

If you wish to go ahead with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 application, then please contact us so that we can assess your eligibility

Australia Immigration and Residency VisaUNITED KINGDOM – NEW GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT QUOTA? 

June 2010 - The new UK government took office last month with Damian Green appointed as Minister for Immigration.

The coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has reached compromise on many issues. However the government has still retained the Conservative idea of a “cap” or quota on numbers, as their main immigration policy.

The following is an extract from the agreed Programme for Government on the subject of immigration;

“The Government believes that immigration has enriched our culture and strengthened our economy, but that it must be controlled so that people have confidence in the system. We also recognise that to ensure cohesion and protect our public services, we need to introduce a cap on immigration and reduce the number of non EU immigrants.”

No timeframe has been indicated for this and it is important to stress that it does not affect EU migrants or migrants in other categories such as spouses, students etc..

However, this may logically result in an annual quota of visas to be granted, in categories such as Tier 1 and Tier 2. Applicants intending to apply in these categories may be advised to start the process sooner rather than later, in case a future quota would work to their detriment.

In any event, new figures show that net migration to the UK is set to drop below 100,000 a year. This of course is a key target of the new government - the aim of reducing the level to "tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands".

New official immigration figures show that more eastern European migrants (from the 2004 Accession countries such as Poland) are leaving than arriving.

The annual citizenship figures for 2009 also published show more than 203,000 people were granted UK citizenship last year.

The overall statistics show a continued decline in net migration to the UK – the number of people coming to work and study minus the number of people leaving to live abroad – to 142,000 in the year to September 2009. This compares with a net migration figure of 160,000 in the previous year to September 2009.

UK Immigration and ResidencyUNITED KINGDOM – TIER 1 VISA CHANGES 

March 2010 - The UK Border Agency has announced an important change in UK immigration that will affect many overseas migrants looking to work in the UK through the Tier 1 visa. 

Effective April 2010, the minimum educational requirement for the Tier 1 visa has now been amended from a Masters degree to a Bachelors degree.

The points system has also been amended to change the qualifying criteria for previous earnings.

The Tier 1 visa allows overseas professionals to enter the UK to work or establish themselves as self-employed. Most importantly - this visa does not require a sponsoring employer. It is assessed on a points system with points awarded for age, education, previous earnings etc... 

This previous Masters degree requirement affected many overseas migrants who scored well on other assessment criteria but were ineligible for not having a Masters degree. This is a very significant change and will now allow many more overseas migrants to qualify to work in the UK without a sponsoring employer.


December 2009 - A recent review of the Tier 1 visa category has proposed some radical changes.

The review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published December 2009 has recommended;

* Reopening Tier 1 to applicants with a Bachelor’s degree as opposed to the current minimum Masters degree requirement.

* Changes to the overseas salary multipliers and the points awarded for earnings, requiring higher previous earnings.

* That migrants with previous annual earnings of UK £150,000 should not need to meet the educational requirements.

* Points should be awarded for age up until 39 years of age.

These are significant recommendations and would place a greater emphasis on previous earnings. The removal of the minimum Masters degree requirement would be very welcome.

The government have agreed to study the report carefully over the next few weeks and announce what changes will be introduced in early 2010.

The government have in the past followed many of the recommendations of the MAC so we expect changes to be introduced following this report.

We will of course keep subscribers updated through our newsletter.


December 2009 - The new citizenship rules are due to become effective on 13 January 2010.

These changes, introduced through the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, will mainly affect those born outside the UK to British mothers before 1961. Such individuals will now be allowed to apply for registration as “British citizens by descent”. 

For employers looking to sponsor migrant workers through the Tier 2 visa category, the government has now made changes to the length of time that the position must be advertised for. Effective from December 14th, this advertising period is increased to 4 weeks. The type and medium of advertising depends on the offered position.

If you are an employer looking to sponsor migrant workers, then please contact us so that we can advise on how and where you should advertise.


October 2009 - The Home Office have now announced the timeframe for introducing changes to obtaining UK citizenship.

The new process of “earned citizenship” will be introduced in July 2011. All applications for indefinite leave to remain and British citizenship received before earned citizenship is introduced will be dealt with under the current system. 

The government is still engaged in a consultation exercise, on the exact details of what “earned citizenship” will involve. However, this recent announcement will go some way to reassuring those who are hoping to secure indefinite leave to remain or citizenship before July 2011. 

Another recent announcement concerns those applying under Tier 1 (General). Recent guidance published by the government removes the route where students could use their earnings from the 12 months BEFORE their studies commenced, to claim points for earnings in the Tier 1 (General) visa.

This is no longer possible, effective from October 2009. Only those on maternity leave / adoption absence can claim earnings from an earlier period. 

We will obviously keep applicants informed of any further announcements regarding the new rules for UK citizenship.


August 2009 - The Home Office have now announced proposals on future plans for applicants to obtain UK citizenship.

At the moment, after complying with rules on residence and character, applicants are normally eligible to apply for full UK citizenship.

The new proposals would allow the Home Office to introduce a points based system for UK citizenship. There would also potentially be a system of “probationary citizenship” before “full citizenship”.

As outlined by the Home Office, the new system 

“would see people rewarded for economic contributions, skills and English language proficiency above the level already expected. Points could be removed and citizenship withheld or delayed for those breaking the law or committing anti-social behaviour”.

This would obviously be a radical departure from the current system and potentially lead to much greater scrutiny of applicants. The timeframe to achieve full UK citizenship could also be longer.

At the moment, the proposals are still at the consultation stage until 26 October. After that, we expect details on the implementation of the new system. 

We will obviously keep applicants informed of any further announcements regarding the new rules for UK citizenship.

United Kingdom Immigration and UK ResidencyUNITED KINGDOM - NEW RULES CLARIFIED

April 2009 - The government have now clarified the April 1st changes to the UK Tier 1 General (Highly Skilled) category.

All new applicants applying in this category will need to have a minimum qualification of a Masters degree and previous earnings equivalent to UK £20,000 (adjusted for different countries). 

The new rules do not apply to those already in the UK on a Tier 1 General visa or the previous HSMP visa, who are extending their status while in the UK. However, they do apply to those in the UK such as students or work permit holders changing their UK status. 

Also, the rules have now been changed for the Tier 1 Post Study Work visa. From April 1st, applicants who have been awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate (unless it is a PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education) will not be eligible for this visa. There is no change for applicants who have a UK Bachelors degree or postgraduate degree.

United Kingdom Immigration and UK ResidencyUNITED KINGDOM - NEW RULES FOR MIGRANTS

February 2009 - Significant changes have just been announced for the UK Tier 1 General (Highly Skilled) category.

From 1 April 2009, overseas applicants applying in this category will need to have a minimum qualification of a Masters degree and previous earnings equivalent to UK £20,000 (adjusted for different countries). The Masters degree requirement is a major new development as currently the minimum qualification is a Bachelors degree. 

The new rules do not seem to apply to those already in the UK on a Tier 1 visa or indeed switching / extending their status while in the UK. The initial indication is that this would not affect students or work permit holders changing their UK status. 

In relation to Tier 2 migrants (sponsored by a UK employer), the government has asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review if further changes are needed to the list of occupations that can be sponsored.

These Tier 1 changes have just been announced and we are still waiting further detailed advice from the government on the new system and exactly how overseas applicants will be assessed. If the government introduce any more changes, we’ll let you know. 
ake sure you remain up to date with our newsletter.


February 2009 - The government is proposing to pass legislation later this year to amend the requirements to allow applicants to become British citizens.

The new requirements may involve a longer period of residence before qualifying for citizenship. Another proposal is that a new concept of “probationary citizenship” will be introduced before one can become a full citizen.

We must emphasise that the exact details of the new system or the implementation date have not yet been decided. However this is expected to receive approval by Parliament at some point this year.

Our advice to all applicants is to consider applying now, if you are eligible. Last week, the Home Office announced a significant increase in the number of citizenship applications being submitted.

If you wish to consider applying for UK citizenship at this point, then please contact us. 

We hope that these news have been informative for you. However, remember everyone's circumstances are different so if you or a friend or family member want to check your eligibility to emigrate then either

1) complete the Online Assessment Form on our website or
2) give us a call on
Tel. +44 (0) 1223 830 916

We would love to hear from you!

Tim McMahon
Commonwealth Immigration

Commonwealth Immigration Consultants Ltd. | info@commonwealthimmigration.com