Changes to the UK Immigration Rules- 7th March, 2019

Summary of the New Statement of Changes to the UK Immigration Rules- 7th March, 2019.

A new set of changes have been introduced to the UK Immigration Rules for UK Tier 1 entrepreneur and investment visa routes. The new statement of changes to the UK Immigration Rules was published on 7th March 2019 and these new rules will take effect on 30th March 2019. It means that these new UK Immigration Rules will affect the present UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa routes. These visa routes will now be replaced by the new UK Tier 1 Innovator and UK Tier 1 Start-up visas. EU Settlement Scheme is also set to be reformed under the new UK Immigration Rules.

Recently, a new set of UK Immigration Rules have formed two new types of visa routes under UK Tier 1 investment and entrepreneur category. Firstly, the UK Tier 1 start-up visa is replacing the UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route. This means that UK Visa routes is now updated and expanded. The second visa formed is the UK Tier 1 Innovator visa and it is set to replace the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route. These two new UK Tier 1 visas routes are contained in the newly added appendix W (W means ‘Workers’). It is also hinted that after the UK Tier 1 Innovator and Start-up visa categories, more UK Worker Visas will be added to the Appendix W. This implies that UK Immigration system is aiming to change and reform in the coming years.

Newly Changed UK Tier 1 Visa Routes and Appendix W.

Two new UK work visas categories of UK Tier 1 Innovator and UK Tier 1 Start-up are introduced recently by the UK Visas and Immigration. These new UK visa routes will be replacing the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur routes. Both of these new UK Tier 1 Visa categories require applicants to be endorsed by the UK organisations, which are trustable and credible. Some of these organisations include UK business bodies, UK government agencies and UK higher education providers.

As given in Appendix W of UK immigration rules for the UK Tier 1 Innovator and UK Tier 1 Start-up visa categories;

* applicants must be in regular contact with their endorsing bodies

* Prior to application, the applicant must hold £945 in their accounts for 90 days

* Applicants must be able to speak English at level B2

* Applicants business plans must be credible

* Applicants will be able to bring in their family members or dependants with the same UK immigration rules as currently applied to UK immigrant workers

UK Innovator Visa Route

The new Innovator Visa is replacing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa route. This new category is set to entertain more experienced business persons. The applicant will be required to invest £50,000 (reduced for most applicants from £200,000) from a legitimate source into his business, along with endorsement. With the UK Innovator Visa Route, successful applicants will lead to settlement in the UK. The requirements for UK Innovator Visa are given in part 6 of the new Appendix W. The 3 key endorsement criteria as similar to that required for the start-up visa route are; scalability, viability and innovation. It is expected from the applicant to demonstrate the essential skills and the endorsers must be reasonably satisfied with him. After three years of continuous residence in the UK, innovators will be eligible to apply for ILR (indefinite leave to remain). But they must satisfy at least two of a list of criteria that relate to how many jobs they have created/ or how much business have they expanded and or how much money have they invested.

Changes to UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Route

There are some significant changes made to the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa. Some of these changes include;

* Must open a UK bank account before the application of Investor visa

* Applicants will no longer be eligible to qualify as investors by buying UK national debt

* Funds must be held prior to application of visa, which is from 90 days to 24 months period

* The requirement for purchasing UK government bonds as a qualifying investment has been excluded

The Changes to EU Settlement Scheme

Reforms and changes have been introduced on settled status for EU citizens, under Appendix EU in the UK immigration rules. Some of the key changes are that

* now EU nationals can apply from outside the UK

* Family permits valid up to 6 months will now be given to non-EEA citizens in order to accompany or join an EEA citizen, who have been granted leave through settlement scheme. Applicants can apply for “EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit”

* Free of charge applications will be allowed under Appendix EU

* Now administrative reviews can be initiated even when an applicant is outside of the UK

* EU citizens can count this route towards residency for settled status if they have been working for the UK armed forces or government

Exemption of Tier 2 Salary Levels

The salary exemption in the Tier 2 (work) visa has been extended so that educational institutions and NHS may continue to hire and attract experienced paramedics, nurses and teachers from

other countries. This salary exemption is applicable to all the medical radiographers, paramedics and nurses, and secondary school teachers whose subjects are in Mandarin, computer science, chemistry, physics and Maths. This exemption was made for certain professions, when UK Home Office increased the minimum salary last time and it was due to be expired in July 2019, but the latest update has now kept this exemption extended.

A technical change has been made in the salary bands, which inform the quota of UK Tier 2 (General) visas on monthly basis. The migrants applying for ILR under UK Tier 2 Migrants route will be required to have the minimum income of £38,800 and £40,100if the date of application is on 6th April 2013 and 6th April 2014, respectively.

Family Members of Afghan Citizens

Those Afghan citizens who may have worked in Afghanistan with UK forces can be relocated to the UK under a scheme. But earlier it was set that their family members have to accompany them at the same time or they will not be allowed. However, the new Rules have changed which now give permission to “pre-existing dependents, who would otherwise qualify for relocation, to travel to the UK after the LES [locally engaged staff] has already relocated”.

Some Other Changes Introduced in the New Rules

Some other important changes made in the new UK Immigration Rules are as follows;

* Lower documentary evidence required under UK Tier 4 student visa have added Tunisia, Peru, Oman, Mauritius, Kazakhstan and Brazil to their list of countries. Whilst, removing some countries which are, Trinidad and Tobago, Maldives, and Argentina.

* A certificate of sponsorship will no longer be required from UK Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) applicants from Hong Kong before their application

* The list of Government Authorised Exchange schemes has approved the addition of the Jamaican Nursing Exchange scheme

* Some changes have been brought for UK Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applications requirements in showing of specific evidence

* The time spent studying below the age of 18 will not be included upon the time limits set for studying at degree level or above

UK Tier 1 Start-up Visa Route

The UK Tier 1 Start-up visa will be replacing the UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route. It has been explained that the key aspects of the start-up visa route are;

* It is an expanded version of the UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

* For people establishing a new business in the UK for the first time

* Applicant does not need to be graduate

* Does not need to secure initial funding

* 2 years leave will be granted to successful applicants (earlier 1 year)

* To continue developing their business after the prescribed period, applicants may progress to UK Tier 1 Innovator visa category

Applicants need to understand that a direct settlement cannot be given under UK Tier 1 Start-up Visa route but they may switch to UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa after fulfilling all the set requirements. Under the new Appendix W, Part W5 specifies certain requirements for the start-up visa route.

UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa Route

The new UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa is replacing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa route. This new category is formed for experienced businessmen, establishing a new business in the UK. The applicant will be required to invest £50,000 (reduced for most applicants from £200,000) from a legitimate source into his business, along with endorsement from a credible UK organisation. With the UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa Route, successful applicants will lead to settlement in the UK. The requirements for UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa are given in part 6 of the new Appendix W. The 3 key endorsement criteria as similar to that required for the UK Tier 1 start-up visa route are; scalability, viability and innovation. It is expected from the applicant to demonstrate the essential skills and the endorsers must be reasonably satisfied with him. After three years of continuous residence in the UK, people living under UK Tier 1 innovator visa category will be eligible to apply for ILR (indefinite leave to remain). But they must satisfy at least two of a list of criteria that relate to how many jobs they have created/ or how much business have they expanded and or how much money have they invested in the UK.

Changes to UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Route

There are some significant changes made to the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa category with the onset of the new statement of changes to the UK Immigration Rules. Some of these changes include;

* Applicant must open a UK bank account before their application for UK Tier 1 Investor visa

* Applicants will no longer be eligible to qualify as investors by buying UK national debt

* Funds must be held prior to application of the UK visa, which is from 90 days to 24 months period

* The requirement for purchasing UK government bonds as a qualifying investment has been excluded