UK announces visa points system changes

by Ray Clancy on November 27, 2012

Changes to immigration rules due to come into effect next month

The UK Border Agency has published a number of changes to the country’s immigration rules which are due to come into effect next month.

There are changes for sponsors and migrants coming to the UK under the points based system including Tier 1 entrepreneurs and investors; Tier 2 skilled workers; Tier 4 students; and Tier 5 temporary workers.

There are also amendments to clarify the absences from the UK that are allowed during the continuous residence period for Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 and pre-points based system work routes, for example work permits, self employment and business persons.

Minor changes to the child and parent routes are being made to make them as clear and comprehensive as possible and some changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme quotas and Tier 4 loan letters in early 2013.

The changes which come into play on December 13, involve lowering the English language requirement for entrepreneurs in response to concerns that the high requirement was a possible deterrent to potentially successful businesses.

They will restrict the ability of students to switch into the entrepreneur route, due to concerns about abuse and restrict investors from working as professional sportspeople, to prevent them circumventing the Sports Governing Body endorsement needed in the dedicated routes for sportspeople.

There will be additional controls to ensure entrepreneurs and investors genuinely have access to the funds they claim they do and leave to be curtailed if they fail to maintain the required level of investment.

There are also clarifications to confirm that points will not be awarded for investments against which applicants have taken out loans, or investments that are held in offshore custody.

Meanwhile, the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 have changes to set out the rights of EEA nationals and their family members to enter and reside in the UK and the criteria for rights to permanent residence.

The key changes to the regulations include the removal of the requirement in regulation 8(2(a) that an extended family member must have resided in a country in which the EEA national also resides.

There is also a reminder that all student visa applications made in India must now be accompanied by a valid tuberculosis (TB) clearance certificate for visas longer than six months.

‘You do not need a TB clearance certificate if you are coming to the UK on a six month student visitor visa,’ said a spokesman who added that only TB screening and certificates from a clinic approved by UKBA in India will be accepted.

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