On 7 March 2019 the government issued a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules in a 296 page document. These changes take effect from 30 March 2019 and can be found here:
In a written statement to the House of Commons, immigration minister Caroline Nokes gave the following details on the changes:
"My rt hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 1919).
"Entrepreneurs and investors play key roles in creating jobs and driving economic growth and innovation in the UK. The Government is committed to ensuring our immigration system continues to attract individuals from around the globe who will create innovative businesses in the UK and make substantial investments in our economy.”
The main summary of the changes to the rules and new introductions are as follows:
The new Innovator category and the closure of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route is set to close on 29 March 2019. Those who wish to make an application to enter this category must submit it on or before 28 March 2019 in order for it to be considered.
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route will be replaced by the new Innovator category (which from the statement of changes appears to only be open to applicants from 1 August 2019). Individuals applying under the Innovator category will need to have access to investment funds of £50,000, unless an exception applies, and be endorsed by an approved endorsing body. The endorsing body must confirm that the applicant’s business idea is innovative, viable and scalable in order for it to be considered under this route.
The new start-up category
The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme is to be replaced by a new start-up category. This category will be open to applicants from 1 August 2019. Those applying under this category need to show what funds are available to them. It is also important to note that the applicant does not need to be a graduate; however they do require an endorsement body to endorse their idea.
The endorsement body can be one of the following:
Tier 1 (Investor) changes
- • AUK Higher Education Institution with established processes for ‘identifying, nurturing and developing’ entrepreneurs among its students;
- An organisation with a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs; or
- A new organisation set up for this purpose by another body with a track record for endorsements of this sort, and its request to become an endorsing body is supported by a UK or devolved government department as being clearly linked to the department’s policy objectives.
The main changes to Tier 1 (Investor) are that an applicant must show that they have held 2 million funds from the past two years. The applicants will no longer be investing in bonds but in UK businesses. In addition, they must provide evidence from the bank that they have carried out all their due diligence checks.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension and settlement applications
Changes are being made to provide greater assurance that Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants are genuinely engaged in business. Applicants will be asked to provide an overview of their business’ activity, details of their role within the business, and the job titles/ descriptions for the settled worker employees for whom they are claiming points.
The explanatory memorandum accompanying the new statement states that:
‘[T]he government has judged it proportionate to apply these changes to future extension and settlement applications by entrepreneurs already in the category’.
Tier 2 (General)
The minimum salary threshold will be updated with effect from 30 March 2019. The Codes of Practice at Appendix J of the Rules have been amended, resulting in an increase in the minimum salary sponsors will need to pay applicants for many Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes.
There is also a technical change to the salary bands that inform the monthly quota of Tier 2 (General) visas. Essentially, visa applications get a higher priority in the quota allocation the higher the applicant’s salary, but the points only increase every £5,000. This means that when the quota is oversubscribed, a whole batch of applications that are on all the same points are rejected en masse, as there is no fair way of being able to decide which to approve and which not to. The statement of changes has assured:
‘To address this issue, the Government has removed the bands and instead awarded one point for each £1,000 of gross annual salary. The effect of this change will mean more applications could be awarded within a monthly allocation, reducing potential refusals.’
Students on Tier 4 leave who are eligible to switch to Tier 2 (General) can apply up to three months before the expected completion date of their course (rather than after they completed the course).
Tier 2 migrants applying for indefinite leave to remain will need to earn a minimum salary of £38,800 if the date of application is on or after 6 April 2023, and £40,100 if the date of application is on or after 6 April 2024.
Tier 4 changes will come into effect on 6 April 2019.
The list of ‘low risk’ nationalities under Appendix H
will be updated to include nationals from Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia. Nationals listed within this Appendix can provide a lesser degree of documentary evidence in a Tier 4 application. However, nationals from Argentina, the Maldives, and Trinidad and Tobago will be removed from this list.
Tier 4 (General) students will also be able to use loans provided by financial institutions in order to meet the maintenance requirements. Tier 4 (Child) students will be able to rely on funds held or being provided to them by a foster carer or close relative.
Leave granted under Tier 4 (General) to students who are under 18 years old will not be included in study limit calculations. This ensures that the Immigration Rules reflect the current guidance.
Finally, the definition of ‘Employment as a Doctor in Training’ will include Postgraduate Dentists. Reference to the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board will be replaced by the General Medical Council.
EU Settlement Scheme
Some changes have been made to the EU Settlement scheme ahead of the scheme being opened fully to the public on 30 March 2019.
The scheme is currently in a pilot phase allowing certain EU nationals and their family members to apply for settled or pre-settled status. From 30 March, nationals of EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and nationals of Switzerland, along with their family members, will also be able to apply. Eligible applicants will be able to make an application under the scheme from overseas.
Applicants will also be able to post relevant documents or attend their local scanning centre instead of using the much commented upon app.
The scheme will also be open for more complex cases including ‘Surinder Singh’ cases and those who have a derivative right to reside including ‘Chen carers’, ‘Ibrahim and Teixeira’ cases, and ‘Zambrano carers’.
If you require assistance with any issue arising as a result of the changes to the Immigration Rules, or another immigration matter, immigration director Tamana Aziz
can assist. Her specialist practice includes immigration applications under EU law, business immigration under the Points Based System, complex appeals (including deportation and country guidance cases) in Immigration Tribunals, the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Tamana also advises employers and provides bespoke training on subjects such as compliance with the Home Office’s Prevention of Illegal Working regime and how to use the online sponsorship management system. In addition, Tamana advises high net worth and skilled individuals on extending Tier 2 (General) visas, spousal applications, applications for settlement and British Citizenship. Tamana also has significant experience assisting clients with immigration applications under EU law.
Tamana, alongside fellow director Vicash Ramkissoon
, can be contacted on:
, or 020 3114 1130
, or 020 3114 1105
Duncan Lewis Business Immigration Solicitors
Our Immigration department is ranked as a top-tier practice in Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay matters in The Legal 500 2019. As leading immigration specialists we advise on business immigration, right to work in the UK, Tier 2 visa applications, student/graduate visas, spousal visas and visa overstays.
Our broad practice provides a full service to SME business clients across the UK in relation to the Points Based System (PBS); Sponsorship license applications and immigration strategy/compliance advice. Our specialist solicitors are also able to advise businesses and individuals on any changes to UK immigration law during Brexit negotiations and after 29 March 2019, post-Brexit.
For expert legal advice call Duncan Lewis immigration solicitors on 033 3772 0409