Immigration Rules Changes

Changes to the Immigration Rules have been presented to Parliament and will come into force on 6 July 2018. There are a number of minor and technical changes but the main headline grabber is the removal of NHS staff from the Tier 2 cap. The main changes to note are:

  • The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa will now include those applicants who operate a leading designer fashion business. These applicants will be assessed by the British Fashion Council operating within the endorsement remit of Arts Council England. In addition, all applicants should review the criteria for endorsement for their field of expertise, as changes are being made by each Designated Competent Body. This includes changes to the evidential requirements for applicants holding a peer-reviewed research fellowship; changes to the criteria and list of eligible awards for applicants in film and TV; changes for digital technology applicants to reflect the rebranding of “Tech City UK” as “Tech Nation”.
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  • Tier 1 Investors should note that they may no longer withdraw interest and dividend payments generated by their qualifying investments if these were generated before they purchased the portfolio of investments. A further change requires financial firms to confirm that the funds have only been invested in qualifying investments, and that no loan has been secured against those funds.
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  • The requirements for letters from legal representatives confirming signatures have been clarified for Tier 1 Entrepreneur In addition, the provision for accountants to confirm that investment has been made on an applicant’s behalf has been restored
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  • Tier 2 has been amended so that doctors and nurses are exempt from the Tier 2 (General) Limited. Health sector employers will not require restricted certificates of sponsorship but still must meet the requirements of the RLMT. This change will be kept under review and the government intends to commission the Migration Advisory Committee to review the composition of the Shortage Occupation List to look at which posts are in national shortage and should be given priority.
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  • Indefinite Leave to Remain rules have been amended to allow a transition period whereby the new absences calculation rule does not adversely affect applicants whose absences occurred during leave granted under Rules in place prior to 1 January 2018. This means that from 11 January 2018, any absences totalling over 180 days in any 12 month rolling period will break continuity of leave, but prior to this date only absences over 180 days in each consecutive 12 month period will break continuity.
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  • Turkish Workers and Business Persons will be able to obtain indefinite leave to remain, subject to eligibility criteria, as long as their most recent period of leave was under the European Communities Association Agreement. The qualifying period is 5 years, in line with other settlement routes.

If you would like any further information or need immigration assistance, please contact our business immigration specialist Charlotte Ashton 0161 926 1592 or email charlottea@mlplaw.co.uk.