NEWSLETTER No. 33 - February 2011


Since the Coalition government came to office last year, a number of key changes have taken place in UK immigration, in an effort to reduce the overall levels of migration.

Employers and applicants need to be aware of these changes and their potential impact. The following are some of the most recent developments;

Tier 2 (General) visas
Feb 2011 - The Migration Advisory Committee has recently published their report into the list of occupations that are eligible for Tier 2 (General) visas – i.e. work visas sponsored by an employer. This has resulted in the threshold level being increased from National Qualification Framework level 3 to graduate degree level.

Consequently, many occupations are no longer eligible for the Tier 2 (General) visa. This doesn’t affect normal graduate level recruitment (or skilled occupations requiring a higher degree or extensive experience). 

However, employers need to be sure that the position they are offering matches an occupation on the revised list. Some occupations that will no longer eligible for Tier 2 (General) visas under this proposal include Retail Managers, Laboratory Technicians, Science and Engineering Technicians. 

Student visas / Post Study Work visas 
Jan 2011 - A major new consultation has just been finalised on reforming the student visa system. Several new proposals are included as part of the consultation including stricter entrance requirements and limitations on in-country student visa extensions.

Most importantly, the 2 year Post Study Work visa is earmarked for abolition. This is the work visa, that many graduates obtain, allowing them to work in the UK and then switch to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 work visa.

Tier 1 (General) visas
Most recently in December 2010, the UK Border Agency announced that the Tier 1 (General) visa category is closed to overseas applicants. This category will also be closed to UK based applicants after April 2011.

“UK based applicants” include those living and working in the UK on a substantive visa – such as a work permit, Tier 2 visa or Post Study Work visa.

These changes should NOT affect those who have already secured a Tier 1 (General) visa and wish to apply for an extension in the UK. This should still be possible, as normal.

We advise anyone interested in applying for a Tier 1 (General) visa in the UK, to look at starting this process immediately, before this category is closed in April.

For advice on applying for UK visas or citizenship, Tier 1 extension after April 2011 or similar, then please contact us

* Our free Online Assessment Form

* United Kingdom info page with the latest migration news


Intending applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker category should be aware that there is an overall limit of 20,000 places in the year which commenced on 26 June 2010.
There is also an annual limit of 1,000 places per eligible occupation.

This has lead to the limit being already reached in 2 occupations;

1. Registered Nurses

2. Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management

Therefore, no more applications can be accepted for such occupations until after June 2011. The limit is also close to being reached in many other occupations.

However, these limits do not apply to applicants who have an approved offer of “arranged employment” or are nominated by a Provincial government.

If you are interested in moving to Canada, then please contact us through our website

* Canada info page with the latest migration news

Previous Newsletters on migration issues:
Newsletter 1 - January 2007
  Newsletter 2 - March 2007
  Newsletter 3 - April 2007
  Newsletter 4 - May 2007
  Newsletter 5 - May 2007 - In Focus: Australia
  Newsletter 6 - June 2007
  Newsletter 7 - July 2007
  Newsletter 8 - August 2007
  Newsletter 9 - October 2007
  Newsletter 10 - November 2007
  Newsletter 11 - December 2007
  Newsletter 12 - February 2008
  Newsletter 13 - March 2008
  Newsletter 14 - June 2008

  Newsletter 15 - July 2008
  Newsletter 16 - September 2008
  Newsletter 17 - November 2008
  Newsletter 18 - December 2008
  Newsletter 19 - January 2009

  Newsletter 20 - February 2009
  Newsletter 21 - April 2009
  Newsletter 22 - June 2009
  Newsletter 23 - August 2009
  Newsletter 24 - October 2009
  Newsletter 25 - December 2009
  Newsletter 26 - February 2010
  Newsletter 27 - March 2010
  Newsletter 28 - June 2010
  Newsletter 29 - July 2010
  Newsletter 30 - September 2010
  Newsletter 31 - November 2010
  Newsletter 32 - December 2010

Contact us

Commonwealth Immigration Consultants Ltd.

based in London and Cambridge

Tel. +44 (0) 1223 830 916

Australia Immigration and ResidencyAUSTRALIA - STATE MIGRATION PLANS OPEN

All states / territories in Australia are now looking to attract migrants through their State Migration Plans. 

This allows states to select migrants according to state specific occupation lists – i.e. what occupations are in acute shortage in that state. State sponsored migrants are processed as priority applicants, so this is a preferred option for many migrants.

States such as Western Australia and South Australia have long lists of occupations that they will consider for sponsorship. Other states such as Queensland and New South Wales are more specific – often targeting specific industry sectors that they want to develop.

It is important for migrants to remember that your occupation is not the sole factor in obtaining approval under a State Migration Plan. English language ability, available financial resources and employment research are additional factors that many states see as vital.

Furthermore, some occupations are subject to a quota. For instance, the state of Victoria has recently stopped accepting applications for ICT occupations, having received the limit of places under the annual quota for such occupations.

State Migration Plans are an increasingly important part of migration to Australia. The criteria varies from state to state and is often subjective – how can the applicant show he / she will settle successfully in that state.

Applicants intending to apply for residency through State sponsorship need specialist advice in making an application and demonstrating their suitability to that State.

* Our free Online Assessment Form

* Australia info page with the latest migration news


Please see our dedicated webpage on all EEA applications - EEA Family Permits, Residence Cards, Permanent Residence.

You can also obtain your FREE EEA GUIDE (emailed directly to you) providing detailed information on making applications, supporting documents and specialist advice.

See our EEA webpage at

* EEA info page with free Guide on EEA applications


Make sure you use a reputable and competitive currency provider when transferring funds to the UK or to any other country. 

Most banks offer poor exchange rates meaning that simply by using a dedicated currency provider, you can save a lot of money.

Make sure you use a currency provider that is fully registered by the UK authorities. 

We recommend Worldwide Currencies who have assisted many of our clients in the past and can offer exchange rates with no commission or charges, and often up to 5% better than the banks. 

For more information contact Richard Bass, Worldwide Currencies;
Tel +44 (0) 20 3326 4403  

Commonwealth ImmigrationKEEP UP TO DATE THROUGH OUR


We hope that this newsletter has 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 +44 (0) 1223 830 916

We would love to hear from you!

Tim McMahon
Commonwealth Immigration

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