Visas, Permits and Immigration


UK visa and immigration changes to be introduced next month

by Ray Clancy on September 10, 2013

Changes to the immigration rules in the UK will come into effect at the beginning of next month which officials say will mean greater flexibility for businesses and workers.

The main changes, outlined in a written ministerial statement that has been laid in Parliament, will be operational from October 1.

ukmapFrom October 28th there will also be changes to the way applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK.

The first tranche of changes include removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees; making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2; waiving share ownership restrictions for some senior staff and allowing some students to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.

Tourist and business visitors will benefit from a number of changes. These include allowing tourists and business visitors to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit.

There will also be an expansion of the activities a business visitor can do in the UK, more checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for and the introduction of powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English.

New youth mobility scheme quotas for 2014 will be set and applicants who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts will be encouraged to apply under Tier 1.

There will also be new temporary immigration rules introduced so participants and personnel can get visas for the UK during the 2014 Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow, Scotland.

The round of changes also includes minor clarifications to the immigration rules, including those relating to family life.

At the same time Hong Kong is being added to the list of participating countries and territories on the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme which officials say will further strengthen business, trade and cultural ties.

‘The UK is open for business and we are building an immigration system that works in the national interest and supports growth. These changes will ensure that the UK continues to attract global talent to work for British businesses and study at our world-class universities,’ said Immigration Minister Mark Harper.

There are also changes to the visit visa requirement for Kuwaiti nationals holding diplomatic and special passports issued by Kuwait. When travelling to the UK for the purpose of an official or general visit, they will no longer have to obtain a visit visa to travel to the UK.

‘Individuals on graduate entrepreneur visas will be able to switch to a skilled workers visa more easily under the new rules, ensuring that the best global talent is able to stay in the UK to work. They will be able to switch visas for a job with a “new entrant” salary and the sponsor won’t have to complete a Resident Labour Market Test,’ said Harper. ‘Immigration reform is working and we have tightened immigration routes where abuse was rife, while still encouraging the brightest and the best to come to the UK,’ he adds.

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