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26th September 2013

Changes to the Immigration Rules in October 2013

It has been announced that the following changes to the current immigration rules are due to take place on 1 October 2013. The changes are intended to enable greater flexibility for businesses, workers and business visitors.

Amendments to Tier 1 (highly skilled migrants)

Graduate Entrepreneurs will be added to the list of categories that can benefit from the post-study work provisions when switching into the Tier 2 (General) category. These applicants will not need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test, and can be paid “new entrant” salary rates, rather than “experienced worker” rates.

Amendments to Tier 2 (skilled workers)

The English language requirement for applicants in the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) category who are extending their stay beyond three years will be removed. Currently, only those paid £152,100 or over are exempt.  Further, the rule that Tier 2 (General) applicants cannot own more than 10% shares in the sponsor’s business will be waived for those who earn £152,100 or more.

Amendments to Tier 4 (students)

Students in Tier 4 who have completed degrees in the UK will be allowed to undertake corporate internships that directly relate to their degrees. The internships will fall within the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange sub-category. Businesses have recommended that such a change will make it easier to recruit graduates with specialist skills for internships with a view to offering permanent positions in the future.

Business visitors

Business visitors are currently not permitted to study in the UK. If they wish to study, they have to apply for entry as a student visitor in order to stay for up to six months. From 1 October, visitors will be able to undertake up to 30 days of recreational, English language or academic study provided that it is not the main purpose of their visit. Recreational study is defined as leisure and holiday-type courses (with examples given such as pottery and horse-riding). Any other study (including study of the English language) can only take place at an institution that holds a licence under Tier 4 of the points-based system or which is accredited by a Home Office-approved body.

The activities that a business visitor can undertake whilst in the UK will also change as follows:-

  • To allow internal auditors for global corporations to undertake short internal audits as business visitors, rather than using the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer route.
  • To expand the training a business visitor can receive to include corporate training that is for the purpose of the visitor’s employment overseas. The training must be delivered by a UK company that is neither part of the visitor’s employer’s corporate group, nor whose main activity is the provision of training.

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