IMMIGRATION NEWS - UNITED KINGDOM
(as published in our newsletters)
KINGDOM – IMMIGRATION QUOTA INTRODUCED
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
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
KINGDOM – NEW GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT QUOTA?
June 2010 - The new UK government took office last
month with Damian Green appointed as Minister for
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
KINGDOM - RADICAL TIER 1 VISA CHANGES PROPOSED
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
* 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
KINGDOM - NEW CITIZENSHIP ELIGIBILITY AND NEW ADVERTISING
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.
KINGDOM - SOME RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
October 2009 - The Home Office have now announced the
timeframe for introducing changes to obtaining UK
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.
KINGDOM - NEW PROPOSALS FOR 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
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.
KINGDOM - NEW RULES CLARIFIED
April 2009 - The government have now clarified the
April 1st changes to the UK Tier 1 General (Highly Skilled)
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
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.
KINGDOM – CITIZENSHIP CHANGES PROPOSED
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
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!