UK Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa - Major changes from 6 April

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21 March 2010

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As expected UK immigration will be making significant changes to the requirements for the UK Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa. The changes will take place on 6 and 7 April 2010. If you meet the requirements for the Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa you should seriously consider applying now before the changes in less than a month's time.

If you earn a high salary and have a Bachelors degree then you may qualify for the Tier 1 visa from 6 April 2010. Previously, you could not come under Tier 1 at all with a Bachelors degree. If you have a Master degree and not such a high salary it may be more difficult to come under Tier 1 from 6 April 2010.

The UK Government is reviewing the overseas earnings multipliers. This is important for those applying from abroad. This is used to calculate the equivalent salary in the UK for the purpose of calculating points. It is likely that changes will be introduced in future which will make it more difficult for people applying from a Country such as India to gain enough points to come under the Tier 1 visa. However, there will be no changes to the salary multipliers on 6 April.

Outline of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Visa Changes

The changes to the immigration rules follow recommendations for changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of 4 December 2009. The UK Government has decided to implement these changes and has now provided further details. The changes include the following:

Tier 1 General Visa Changes:

Tier 2 visa or Work Permit Scheme Changes:

Tier 1 Post Study Work

If you are a graduate of an UK medical school you will under the new rules be able to switch to Tier 1 PSW category within 12 months of completing the Foundation Programme. You will not have to wait for graduation to complete speciality or GP training.

Other changes to the Immigration Rules include

There will also be changes to marriage visa requirements for those in the armed forces, and changes in the way asylum cases are dealt with and changes to the English language requirements for non-native English speakers who wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas had the following to say:

'We've always said that we would run our immigration system for the benefit of the UK and that is what we are doing.

'The changes that we are making today will build on an already robust system which is now the envy of the world. A strength of the points-based system is the flexibility to predict and respond to events.

'By utilising the flexibility of the points-based system we are now ensuring that only those that we need to come to the UK to work can do so.

'I will continue to ensure that immigration does not act as a disincentive for employers to employ and improve the skills of the British workforce.'