New opportunities for Tier 1 (Post-study work) migrants
On 15 March 2012, a written ministerial statement was laid in Parliament outlining a number of changes to the Immigration Rules.
From 6 April 2012, the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category will close to new applicants. However, it will now be easier for existing Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants to extend their stay in the United Kingdom by switching into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.
Whereas most individuals who apply to enter the UK or switch from another category into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category are, with certain limited exceptions, required to demonstrate that they have access to at least £200,000, the funds requirement will be substantially reduced for post-study workers.
From 6 April 2012, any individual who is currently in the UK with leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrant and who wishes to switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category will now only need to demonstrate that they have access to at least £50,000.
Post-study workers will be able to rely on money that is held in their own account or in someone else’s account, provided that the third-party confirms that the funds are available to the post-study worker for investment in a UK business. In either case, the money will need to be held in a regulated financial institution such as a bank or building society and be capable of being spent in the UK
Two post-study workers will be able to apply together as an ‘entrepreneurial team’, provided that they both have equal access to the investment funds.
However, applicants should be aware of one potential restriction. Post-study workers switching into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category will need to have already registered as self-employed or as the director of a business, and be engaged in business activity, other than in the work necessary to administer their business, in an occupation at National Qualifications Framework level 4, at the date of their application for an extension of stay.