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Following changes to the Immigration Rules in April this year, migrants holding a Tier 1 (General) visa will no longer be able to extend their leave after 5 April 2015 nor apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK after 5 April 2018.
The Tier 1 (General) category first opened to migrants in 2008 but it was subsequently closed to new applicants after 5 April 2011. In order to remain in the UK in this category it will be important for those migrants who have a visa expiring on or before 5 April 2015 to ensure they submit their extension application in good time before this date.
The rule changes also included provision for an increase in the maintenance requirement for all tiers and specifically migrants in the Tier 1 (General) category should note that the maintenance requirement will rise from £900 to £945 with effect from 1 July 2014. Therefore any extension application submitted after this date will need to be accompanied by evidence of the migrant having at least £945 for each day of the 90 day period prior to submission of the extension application.
Where possible, these migrants should also submit an application for ILR once they have resided in the UK for 5 years either solely in the Tier 1 (General) category, or in combination with another category, where permitted by the Immigration Rules. In any event they will need to do so prior to 5 April 2018, after which date ILR in this category will no longer be an option.
In order to qualify for ILR in the Tier 1 (General) category, migrants will need to meet the strict residency requirements of keeping their absences from the UK below 180 days per year in any 12 month period over the five years preceding an application for ILR, counting backwards from the date of submission of the application.
Further Update on the ETS TOEIC and TOEFL English Test
On 10 June 2014 the Home Office announced that ETS BV will be removed from the approved list of Secure English Language Test (SELT) suppliers, with effect from 1 July 2014. Appendix O will be updated at this time. We last wrote to you on 20 February with an Immigration Update regarding the suspension by the Home Office of accepting ETS TOEIC and TOEFL SELT as evidence of English language ability.
Transitional arrangements will be in place to ensure that genuine applicants who have not yet applied for a visa overseas are not unduly affected by this change. Therefore migrants based overseas can make a visa application relying on an ETS certificate as long as the visa application is made and the visa fee is paid before 22 July 2014.
For migrants already in the UK and wishing to apply for further leave to remain, the Home Office is still advising that a certificate from an alternative provider should be submitted, to avoid having their application held over pending further enquiries.
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