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Changes to immigration rules

A package of measures designed to drive forward radical reforms to the immigration system and ensure the UK attracts only the brightest and best migrants has been laid in Parliament.

A new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 for skilled temporary workers wishing to apply for settlement will mean that only those who make the biggest contribution to the UK economy will be able to stay here permanently. The income requirement will take effect in April 2016.

The annual limit for the Tier 1 exceptional talent route – designed to meet the needs of exceptionally talented leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts – will remain the same for the next two years, at 1,000 visas.

There will be a number of changes to the student entry route, which will take effect on 6th April, including:

  • the closure of the post-study work route,
  • the introduction of a five-year time limit for study at bachelors and masters degree level, to ensure the student route serves its proper role as a means of temporary entry to the UK, not of achieving permanent settlement here;
  • limiting the time students are allowed to spend on work placements, to crack down on those who come to the UK to work, rather than study; and
  • offering the brightest and best university graduates who have a compelling business idea the chance to stay on through our graduate entrepreneur scheme.

When reforms to the student visa system have been fully implemented, the government estimates that there will be around 70,000 fewer student visa grants a year and around 20,000 fewer visas issued to dependants.

Other Immigration Rules changes laid before Parliament include provisions to:

  • provide for mandatory, rather than discretionary, curtailment of leave to remain in the UK when a migrant fails to start or withdraws from their job or study course;
  • reform the overseas domestic worker routes, as announced by the Home Secretary last month; and
  • allow certain professionals, artists, entertainers and sports-people to carry out paid activities in the UK for up to one month, also as announced last month.



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