Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire has announced new changes to Immigration Rules meant to help UK businesses employ skilled international workers.
The changes are also meant to support the government’s long-term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and improve links with China.
Under the new rules, from 13th March 2014, the Exceptional Talent visa route was opened up to world-leading individuals in the digital technology sector by enabling Tech City UK to endorse visa applications.
A new category for government sponsored language teachers has been created. It will enable teachers to share knowledge and awareness of foreign languages and cultures in the UK. The first of these schemes will support a Mandarin teaching scheme designed to foster good cultural relations between the UK and China.
Skilled workers will now be offered a 5-year grants of leave instead of 3. Home Office said the move will benefit businesses allowing them to send employees on business trips overseas around the time when they would otherwise have needed to make their extension applications.
Mr Brokenshire said the new changes “will ensure that the UK remains competitive in attracting global talent to work for British businesses.”
He added: “We are building an immigration system that works in the national interest as part of our long term economic plan. One that is fair to hard-working British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who break the rules or flout the law.”
Expanding the exceptional talent route was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last December. It will allow Tech City UK to endorse top innovators and professionals in their field so that they can then come to the UK without the need for a sponsoring employer. The government believes that this will make the UK more attractive to top digital tech specialists and allow UK’s digital technology industry to attract the best global talent in the world.
The government has also introduced a visa regime for all visitors from Venezuela. The new regime will be implemented from 5th May 2014.
The threshold for maintenance funds for student, worker and family migrants, has been increased in line with the costs of living in the UK. These changes will affect all applications made from 1st July 2014. As applicants need to have held the funds for 28 or 90 days, anyone planning to apply from July is advised to take note of these changes now.