Changes to Immigration Rules

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The government has recently published another Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules and this is the sixth Statement for 2014.

The changes will largely affect Tier 1 investors and entrepreneurs but with some minor changes to Tier 2 sponsorship. The key changes are as follows:

  • The Tier 1 Investor category caters for high net worth individuals making a substantial financial investment in the UK. Currently, foreign nationals who plan to relocate to the UK under this category must invest a minimum of £1 million here. This threshold doubles to £2 million from 6 November 2014. This change may mean an increase in applications over the next week or so while the current minimum threshold still applies. A further significant change is that 100% of the money must be invested in a prescribed way, essentially share capital or government bonds, whereas before £250k of the £1 million could be invested in other ways, such as property. In reality therefore the investment needed has more than doubled.
  • The Tier 1 Entrepreneurs category caters for applicants coming to the UK to set up, take over, or otherwise be involved in the running of a business in the UK. From 6 November 2014, applicants will need to show that the funds to be invested in the business must be in the UK. This will prevent applicants relying on funds which are outside the UK.
  • The Tier 2 category caters for migrant workers with an offer of a skilled job from a licensed employer. From 6 November 2014, an assessment of whether a genuine vacancy exists is being added to Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General) rules. Although immigration officers have always had the power to refuse applications where they have reasonable grounds to believe that the job described by the sponsor does not genuinely exist or has been exaggerated to meet the skills threshold or that the applicant is not qualified to do the job in question, the requirement that the vacancy is a genuine one is now officially part of the Rules.

Our Immigration team can provide more information on these recent developments as well as providing expert legal advice to companies on commercial business immigration and to individuals in relation to family based applications, settlement and naturalisation.