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Summary of Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules


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In the second Statement of Changes this month, a number of adjustments to the Immigration Rules have been announced by Minister James Brokenshire. You can also read some propaganda about how great the changes are for geeks here. Link to the actual Statement of Changes to follow when available [here]. If you spot anything interesting in the ‘minor changes’ bits, do leave a comment below to flag it up.

The changes look like a mixed bag, with some quite welcome, some not so much so and some a waste of everyone’s time. Grants of leave of five years rather than three under Tier 2 are sensible and convenient. Adding Venezuela to the visa national list less so.

The announced changes are:


  • Expanding the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category to include leading talent in the digital technology sector, who are endorsed by Tech City UK, as well as making it easier for applicants in this category to apply from overseas, and to count time spent in other immigration categories towards qualifying for settlement.
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme to be made more flexible and simpler by removing the ring-fencing of places for MBA graduates and the current restrictions on participants’ graduation dates.
  • Tier 2 grants of leave for up to five years at a time, rather than a maximum of three years at a time as at present. Changes to Tier 2 requirements are also to be applied to Croatian nationals.
  • Ending the exemption from the genuineness test that applies to nationals on this list when applying for a Tier 4 visa.
  • Scheduled updates to salary and maintenance fund requirements, as well as a number of other minor changes to Points-Based System categories. The maintenance fund changes will take effect for applications made from 1 July.
  • New category for overseas government sponsored language teachers under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route. Apparently this will enable government sponsored teachers to share knowledge and awareness of foreign languages and cultures in the UK, starting with a Mandarin teaching scheme designed to foster good cultural relations between the UK and China.
  • Changes to the curtailment provisions in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules (General Grounds for Refusal) “to support the Home Office in its work to take robust action against those who attempt to abuse the immigration system and ensure that migrants do not retain leave to which they are no longer entitled.” In particular:
    • incorporate the grounds in section 10(1)(b) and (c) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 in preparation for the changes made by the Immigration Bill
    • enable leave to be curtailed where a Points-Based System sponsor notifies the Home Office that a migrant’s period of study or work is due to end earlier than had been originally planned when leave to enter or remain was granted
    • make further minor changes to ensure that the wording and the intentions of the rules are clear and consistent.
  • Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates added to the list of countries whose nationals benefit from different documentary requirements. Also, Bahraini nationals who hold diplomatic and special passports issued by Bahrain when travelling to the UK for the purpose of a general visit will no longer have to obtain a visit visa to travel to the UK.
  • But Venezuela to be added to the list of counties whose nationals require a visa to travel to the UK.
  • Discretionary policies for civilian employees of NATO and the Australian Department of Defence, and employees of firms under contract to NATO to be incorporated into the Immigration Rules.
  • Minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules relating to family life. Interestingly we are told:

These mainly reflect feedback from caseworkers and legal practitioners on the operation of the rules.

  • Clarification of the knowledge of language and life provisions which apply for settlement applications by partners and children of members of HM Forces.

Word is that a new rule preventing members of the metropolitan elite from benefitting from migration to the UK was vetoed at the last minute by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, who were worried about their childcare arrangements.




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Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


12 Responses

  1. Changes to family life :) do u think I should get happy about it? Any changes to income threshold?

    1. No changes to the £18,600 threshold. The HO are obviously awaiting the Court of Appeal’s decision here. This is arguably a very small victory since other thresholds (in PBS applications) have been adjusted upwards to reflect inflation. If the HO wins in the COA they’ll probably make the inflation adjustment then however…

  2. “increasing the threshold for maintenance funds for student, worker and family migrants, in line with the costs of living in the UK. These changes will affect all applications made from 1st July 2014. As applicants need to have held the funds for 28 or 90 days, anyone planning to apply from July is advised to take note of these changes now.” Nice of UKVI to give us 110 days notice!

  3. Omg I m desperately waiting for income thersholf outcome…I am one of them whose application ar on hold

  4. Note that the new statement of changes in the Immigration rules prevent all PBS dependants from switching to FLR(M) under 284 or 295D (56,58).

    What options would Long residence PBS dependants have then?

    They would be under the current partner rules and cannot use 287(a)(i)(d).


    7.11. Corrections are being made to enforce the intention that only dependants of individuals who qualified for settlement under the Points-Based System can apply for settlement as dependants of Points-Based System Migrants. Previously the Immigration Rules allowed dependents of those who qualified for settlement on the basis of long residence to also apply. The change will mean such dependants will need to apply for leave to remain under the rules for family members in Appendix FM before they can qualify for settlement.

    Effective 6th April 2014.

    1. They would have to use Appendix FM and take the 5 year route to settlement (or 10 year route).

      However, if at any point along said route they accumulate 10 years lawful residence in their own right, they can apply under SET(LR) for indefinite leave to remain.

  5. Tier 1 (General) holders beware:


    7.5. The Tier 1 (General) category, in which applicants scored points for their qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience, was closed to new applicants in April 2011 but remains open for extension and settlement applications. The following changes are being made to this category:

    Changes are being made to signal the Government‟s intention to close the category for extension applications on 6 April 2015, and for settlement applications on 6 April 2018. This should give enough time for applicants who entered the category before its closure to apply for settlement if they can meet the requirements to qualify; …

    1. Less highly skilled migrants! Just what Doctor May is prescribing for the UK economy…

  6. Am also waiting for income thershold outcome my case is on hold too. When is the outcome expected??

  7. (Originally) Maximum stay for Tier2 Visa was 5 Years and Visa was issued for 3 Years 1 Month. (Now) If I have ICT T2 Long Term Visa for 3 Years, will I get extension for 5 Years? And won’t there be any maximum stay criteria now?

  8. There’s quite a lot of meat hidden away under “minor changes”. I think they are doing the following:
    1) As pointed out above, it looks like they are closing all doors for PBS Migrants who’ve been here since before 9th July 2012 to use the old appendix 8 rules to switch to family status and now forcing them to go through Appendix FM.
    2) For those who have brought in a pouse under Appendix FM the financial requirements FM will be reassessed (at the higher, dependant child rates) if they wish to adopt a child who needs entry clearance.
    3) They are removing the specific provision for EEA nations who permanent residence to use the old rules to get a fiance visa for their proposed spouse / partner. Which must be a very unique case as the fiance must also have been here since before July 2012
    4) A (positive) change at para 298 enabling child offenders and children who are now over 18 but have not yet passed KoLL to remain with their parents on limited leave with no recourse to public funds.
    5) Extending the Armed Forces version of FM to cover “relevant civilian employees”
    6) Closing a potential loophole for those who have just set up their own business by requiring a full financial year’s returns and not just the previous financial year. Speculation: Could that mean that until 5th May those with their own businesses can run a shortened first financial year, complete their accounts and tax returns and use them to sponsor a spouse?
    7) Another positive change – extending the forms of unearned income to include insurance payments (e.g. long term disablement) and income from legal settlements
    8) Allowing workers to include their tips in their pay if it’s part of a registered scheme

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