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A plethora of immigration tweaks were announced yesterday, mainly of a technical nature. There is still no sign of the introduction of a minimum income level nor the ending of Tier 2 settlement applications. It is beginning to seem likely that these will be announced at short notice, probably to avoid encouraging applications under the existing rules. Consider yourselves warned.

Changes yesterday included:

  • New Tier 1 forms and guidance.
  • New facility for in country online applications for Tiers 2 and 5.
  • Increase in the amounts required for maintenance for all Tiers and their dependents.
  • Replacement of Tier 1 (Post Study Work) with a new scheme. The key requirements will be graduating from a university and an offer of a skilled job at a salary of at least £20,000 (or more in some cases) from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency.
  • Creation of a new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route with 1,000 places available in the first year. It seems that the lucky few will be selected by their universities.
  • A new limit of five years maximum stay for degree level study, but with significant exceptions including those studying Masters, PhDs and various professional studies. Indeed, one wonders to whom the limit might actually apply in real life, as opposed to Migrationwatch Land.

These changes will take effect on 6 April 2012. The Statement of Intent with all the details can be found here.

These adjustments follow on from the introduction of new fees for immigration applications from the same date, announced last last week. Most of those increases were fairly minor in nature, in line with inflation.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


8 Responses

  1. FM, do you think the minimum income level would apply to everybody or only to those who were granted permits after 6 April 2011? I remember reading a statement by Damian Green that it would apply when the first batch under the new rules would be eligible to apply for settlement, i.e. April 2016.

    1. My guess is it would be new entrants only, but who knows? They have introduced new rules before that suddenly render people ineligible for settlement.

  2. While we await changes to EU Regs 2006 for Zambrano implementation by the European Team of the UKBA, headed by Mr Devereux, the Sanade & Others case provides interesting guidance.

    In Para 79, part of Mr Devereux’s submission is quoted as follows:
    “As we assert that Directive 2004/38/EC is not applicable, then the relevant principles governing the derogation on public interest grounds must be determined on the basis of the domestic laws of the Member States. The application of those domestic laws will, of course, be subject to the general principles of Union law (where the conditions set down in Ruiz Zambrano are met); and the ECHR. In this regard, the particular circumstances justifying a derogation on public interest grounds may vary from one country to another and from one period to another”.

    In para 80, the judge (Mr Blake) says:
    ” We do not accept the respondent’s (UKBA) submission that EU law leaves it to national law to decide whatever restriction on rights each country considers appropriate from time to time….”

    So Zambrano applicants will be afforded EU laws for protection of families in the UK with British Children.

    If Mr Devereux/UKBA was wrong on this, then potentially he/they could be wrong on other parts of their interpretation of EU Art.20/Zambrano ECJ.
    What do others think.

    1. Post on Sanade to follow soon, Mr T. I was in front of El Presidente yesterday and got a mild ticking off for not having read and digested it yet…

    2. Does, or should, the Zambrano judgment allow non-EU carers to apply for a “visa ” or residence status from outside of the UK ?

  3. Complex new maximum stay rules for students with complex exceptions.

    Immigration rules for students whilst students and afterwards when seeking to switch to a work route (ie. stay in the country they studied in) are more favourable in some EEA countries and even more favourable in Canada, for example. (As are Canada’a work migration routes.)

    The government seems to be doing everything to discourage this category of migration whilst publicly saying that foreign students are welcome and important.

    One day there will be (a lot) less of them and the government will have to make a genuine decision on whether they are welcome or whether to admit that tabloid opinion is more important. I suspect changes to tier 4 and the abolition of PSW and Tier 1 General are already factors for some seeking to study in another country.