Immigration Update: Changes to Immigration Rules - Greater Flexibility for Businesses and Workers

12 September 2013

On 6 September 2013 a number of changes to the Immigration Rules were announced and laid before Parliament. The changes which will come into effect on 1 October 2013 will mean greater flexibility for businesses and workers and include:

  • removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees when they extend their stay in the UK after three years;
  • making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2;
  • waiving share ownership restrictions for senior staff earning more than £152,100; and
  • allowing some students to work as interns for up to 12 months under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.

Tourist and business visitors will benefit from the following changes:

  • allowing tourists and business visitors to do some study for up to 30 days, including English language in some cases, where it is not the main purpose of their visit;
  • expanding the activities a business visitor can do in the UK; and
  • removing the prospective student route.

Further changes include:

  • expanding checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for;
  • introducing powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English;
  • introducing a scheme which allows some locally engaged staff in Afghanistan to relocate to the UK;
  • setting new youth mobility scheme quotas for 2014 and adding Hong Kong to the list of participating countries;
  • enabling those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent);
  • changes to the way the Home Office deals with settlement applications for refugees who have committed crimes, and adding the power to curtail leave for persistent or serious offenders;
  • introducing temporary Immigration Rules so participants and personnel can come to the UK during the 2014 Commonwealth Games; and
  • minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life.

From 28 October 2013 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.

Click here for a link to the Ministerial Statement covering the changes.

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