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What you need to know about the new Immigration Rules

The Government has announced significant changes to the Immigration Rules this week. A summary of the key changes are below.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

Architectural applicants

  • The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is for migrants who can demonstrate that they are a recognised or an emerging leader in the field of digital technology, engineering, humanities, science or the arts. The migrant must be endorsed by one of the five Designated Competent Bodies (DCB) as having exceptional talent before being granted their visa.
  • The DCB for the arts is the Arts Council England and the endorsement of arts applicants is being widened to include those in the field of architecture. The Royal Institute of Architects will assess applicants under the remit of the Arts Council who will then provide successful candidates with their endorsement allowing them to apply for this visa.
  • One key benefit of this visa is that migrants are not required to be sponsored by a specific employer to work in the UK and therefore can be self-employed.
  • This change will be implemented on 10 January 2019 with the hope that the greater flexibility of the Tier 1 visa will attract top architectural talent to the UK.

Digital technology applicants

  • A small but practical change for those applying in the field of digital technology is that they will no longer need to send paper copies of their evidence to the Home Office when applying for their Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. This should make the process less of an administrative burden and quicker for applicants.

Tier 2 General Visa


  • Tier 2 visas are for migrants undertaking skilled employment in the UK with a licenced employer.
  • Usually, a pre-requisite is that the employer must carry out the Resident Labour Market Test before sponsoring a migrant. This requires them to advertise the job to ensure that there are no settled workers available to do the job in the first instance.
  • The new rules update the guidance to make clear that if the employer is advertising the job on the Government website, the appropriate website is no longer Universal Job Match which formally closed in June 2018. Adverts should now be posted on the new Find a Job service.

Nurses and Midwives

  • Tier 2 visa holders must be paid the “Appropriate Rate” for the job they carry out.
  • The updated rules clarify that the appropriate salary for nurses or midwives who are undertaking the Observed Structured Clinical Observation Examination (OSCE) to obtain their NMC registration is at least the appropriate rate for a Band 3 and equivalent nurse or midwife.

Tier 4 General Visa

  • This visa type is for students who come to the UK to study in higher education.
  • Changes are being made to the rules on funding to make it clear that students who rely on funds from a student loan or an official financial sponsor no longer need to show that they’ve held these funds for a period of 28 consecutive days.
  • They must now show that they have the funds available to them on the date of their application, or alternatively where the funds are provided as a loan, confirmation of when these funds will be made available to them. This change comes into force on 10 January 2019.

Tier 5 – Introduction of the new Seasonal Workers Scheme

  • In preparation for Brexit, the legislative framework for the new Seasonal Workers Scheme pilot has been put in place. This will allow 2,500 non-EEA migrant workers to come to the UK to undertake seasonal employment in the “edible horticulture sector”.
  • Migrants will be granted a visa in the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Seasonal Worker category for a maximum of six months.
  • The two pilot operators have been named as Concordia (UK) Ltd and Pro-Force Limited, who will be the only organisations who will be able to issue Certificates of Sponsorships to migrants under the new Tier 5 Pilot. Following the pilot further information about this being rolled out will be provided.

Future changes

  • Earlier this year, the Home Secretary announced that those who wanted to start a business in the UK would be able to apply for a new “Start-Up” visa. This would replace the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, which was exclusively for graduates who had been sponsored by a University to start a business. The new Start-Up visa will be available to a wider pool of migrants (not just graduates) who can be sponsored by a either a University or an approved business sponsor, such as an accelerator.
  • A new Innovator route for “more experienced business people” has also been announced which will replace the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route but will “have a similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability”.
  • We are still awaiting further details from the Home Office about both of these new routes.
  • It was announced that the Tier 1 Investor route (which allows migrants to live and work in the UK after investing two million pounds) had been suspended when in actual fact it has not. This route will however be overhauled to prevent “financial crime” but details of when and how are awaited.

If you require further information on any of these changes, please get in touch.