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Chancellor's Spring Statement indicates greater flexibility for PhD level migrants

The Spring Statement from Chancellor Philip Hammond on 13 March 2019 provides good indications that UK visa Tier 2 worker applications for jobs at PhD levels will be removed from the cap. Many experts feel this is a promising indication that the government are starting to address the current skills gap in the UK.

What was announced about Tier 2 visas in the Spring Statement?

The Chancellor’s statement made it clear that by the autumn of 2019 all jobs at PhD level will be removed from the cap currently placed on Tier 2 visas for skilled workers and it will also be easier for visiting researchers to travel to and from the UK while conducting UK-sourced research projects. 

Philip Hammond stated that: “A key pillar of our plan is backing Britain to remain at the forefront of the technology revolution that is transforming our economy. And to support that ambition, from this autumn we will completely exempt PhD-level roles from the visa caps.” In addition: ” . . . from autumn 2019, PhD-level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 (General) cap, and at the same time the government will update the immigration rules on 180-day absences so that researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK.”

Employers have welcomed this news as it will make it far easier to sponsor researchers and health workers in the UK, without a requirement to wait lengthy periods of time for the issue of a restricted certificate of sponsorship. It will make it possible to issue visas within just a few days.

Although visa limitations had already been lifted on doctors and nurses applying for visas, it was highly likely that quota limitations would have impacted immensely on graduate visa applications. This new ruling means this will no longer be the case. 

The UK is also abolishing landing cards from June, so that nationals from a variety of locations including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea can take advantage of e-gates at UK border posts. 

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