A number of changes to the immigration rules in the UK have come into force this week including visa extensions.
Applications for visa extensions under the points based system, working and student routes, visiting routes, long residency routes and discharged HM Forces and UK ancestry routes are subject to the new rules.
Those with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK who want to extend a visa must now apply within 28 days of their current visa expiring.
‘An application for further leave will be refused if you the person has overstayed their visa by more than 28 days when the application is lodged,’ said a spokesman for the UK Border Agency.
‘If you have no right to be in the country we expect you to leave voluntarily and we will enforce your return if you fail to do so. Where we need to enforce someone’s return they may be subject to a ban on re-entering the UK,’ he added.
There are also changes to Tier I Exceptional talent visas. They are described as ‘modes’ changes that are intended to clarify the rules of this route and make it easier for suitably qualified applicants to apply.
The changes include an amendment to the definition of the purpose of the scheme, to explain that the ‘exceptional promise’ aspect does not apply to the field of the arts.
There are also small amendments to the criteria used by The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy to assess applicants, following discussions with these bodies.
The changes have also resulted in a widening of eligibility by allowing Tier 2 (General) migrants and sponsored researchers who are Tier 5 (Temporary worker) migrants to switch into the Exceptional Talent route while they are in the UK.
There is also a new streamlined UK visa application process for students from Botswana and Malaysia who join the list of low risk countries whose nationals applying for a Tier 4 student visa benefit from a streamlined UK visa application process.
Under the streamlined process eligible applicants will generally not be expected to provide documentary evidence of financial maintenance and education qualifications, making the application process simpler and easier.
Applicants from Botswana and Malaysia will still need to meet the requirements and students must be able to provide the appropriate documents if requested.