Immigration changes coming up in January 2018
4th January, 2018
The Home Office has recently set out its forthcoming changes to the Immigration Rules. In this newsflash, we set out the key changes that employers and visa applicants need to be aware of.
Tier 1 – Exceptional Talent
- The number of endorsements available for the Exceptional Talent visa will be doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 for the 12 months from 6 April 2018. These additional endorsements will not be specifically assigned to one of the five Designated Competent Bodies (DCBs) that endorse individuals as being leaders or emerging leaders in one of the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or the arts. Instead they will be available to DCBs on a first-come first-served basis when their specific allocations have run out. This is obviously a substantial increase in the number of endorsements being made available and demonstrates the government’s recognition of the UK’s current skills shortage and popularity of this visa type.
- The number of years needed to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK under the Exceptional Talent visa will be reduced from the current five years, to just three years. This brings the requirement in line with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Investor visas, which also offer the 3 year accelerated route to settlement. This is significant news for visa holders endorsed for having exceptional talent, however, it has been confirmed that those who have been endorsed as having exceptional promise, will still require five continuous years to qualify for ILR. This change applies to applications for ILR made on or after 11 January 2018.
Tier 2 – General
- For Tier 2 General visa applications submitted on or after 11 January 2018 students who hold a Tier 4 General visa will no longer have to wait for their final academic results to be released by their academic institution. Instead they will be able to apply to switch in to Tier 2 General as soon as they have completed their full time course of study.
- Restrictions in the current guidance on changing a migrants’ start date after they have been granted leave will be incorporated in to the Immigration Rules with effect from 11 January 2018. Currently the start date detailed in the Certificate of Sponsorship can be delayed by up to 28 days. Changes that go beyond this will be classed as a prohibited change.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Previously, partners of Points Based System (PBS) migrants did not have to comply with the same 180 day or less absence requirement in any 12 month period that PBS migrants had to if they wished to apply for ILR. However, the requirement to have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days per year will now also apply to PBS migrant’s partners. It has been confirmed that only absences from the UK during periods of leave granted under the rules in place from 11 January 2018 will count towards the 180 day threshold. This means that the 180 absence rule will not apply to partners whose visas or extensions were granted before 11 January 2018.
- Those with a Tier 2 visa will no longer have to have been continuously employed throughout the five year qualifying period to be eligible for settlement. Previously, those who had a break of 60 days between periods of employment could not apply for ILR after five years which, for applications made on or after 11 January 2018 will no longer be the case.
How can Ward Hadaway help?
We can provide advice and guidance on such recruitment decisions and the visa application process and discuss in more detail what these changes mean for you and/or your business.
For further information on how we can help, please contact a member of our Immigration Team.