Changes to the United Kingdom Immigration Rules
Employers with transferees in the United Kingdom should be aware that the Home Office published a Statement of Changes to the United Kingdom Immigration Rules on December 7, 2017. These changes might impact transferees and their family members in several ways. Most of the changes are scheduled to take effect starting on January 11, 2018.
What are the Changes to the United Kingdom Immigration Rules?
- Currently, Tier 4 General visa students must pass their courses before they are eligible to apply for a Tier 2 General visa. Starting on January 11, 2018, Tier 4 students will be able to pursue a Tier 2 General visa application immediately after they complete their studies.
- The rules regarding the relationships for partners of points-based system (PBS) migrants are changing to reflect similar wording used in the rules for spouses and settled migrants, at the time a dependent application is submitted. The wording on relationships is changing from “subsisting” to “genuine and subsisting” and may require evidence of co-habitation as is currently the case for the spousal rule.
- A new restriction limiting absences to 180 days per year for partners of Tier 2 General visa and other PBS migrants will apply to all new applications starting on January 11, 2018. Prior to this rule change, a dependent spouse of a Tier 2 General visa holder could spend most of their time outside of the country and still receive indefinite leave to remain in line with their partner.
- Currently, entry clearances are attached to a page in an applicant’s passport, also known as a visa. The rules are changing to allow an electronic version to be issued in place of the passport entry. This new electronic format is undergoing testing in a few locations prior to a full implementation.
- The total number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas will double in number, from 1,000 to 2,000. These are allocated to the Designated Bodies, which in turn assign them to candidates they believe to be exceptionally talented in their respective fields. Additionally, expedited settlement will be made available to these Exceptional Talent migrants after three years, provided they meet all applicable criteria.
- The rules regarding Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications are changing to prevent funds or investments used by one applicant from being used by other applicants. This will prevent multiple Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants from relying on the same funds to enter the United Kingdom. Also, a rule is being clarified to confirm that buying a business from a previous owner does not constitute a qualifying investment for Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants.
What Does This Mean?
Employers should communicate these broad changes to the United Kingdom immigration rules immediately to transferees and their families. Those who might be impacted should receive guidance on appropriate actions to take regarding their specific circumstance.
Global Mobility Solutions’ team of global relocation experts can provide guidance and help HR teams communicate and understand the impact of these changes to United Kingdom immigration rules. Global Mobility Solutions can support your company, your transferees and their family members, and we can also help determine the best solution for their specific requirements. Contact us online or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.