Several changes to the Immigration Rules in the UK are now effective. The following are some of the areas affected by the new rules which entered into force on 1st October 2012.
New Rules now apply for extending your visa
If you are applying to extend your visa under the points-based system, all working and student routes, visiting routes, long residency routes and discharged HM Forces and UK ancestry routes, new rules will now apply.
If you have limited leave to enter or remain in the UK and wish to extend your visa, you must apply within 28 days of your current visa expiring.
Your application for further leave will be refused if you have overstayed your visa by more than 28 days when you apply.
If you have no right to be in the country the UK Border Agency expects you to leave voluntarily. They will enforce your return if you fail to do so. And if your return is enforced, you may be subject to a ban on re-entering the UK.
Changes to Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) route
Minor changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional talent route have also come into effect. These changes are intended to clarify the rules of this route and make it easier for suitably qualified applicants to apply.
An amendment has been made to the definition of the purpose of the scheme, to explain that the "exceptional promise" aspect does not apply to the field of the arts.
Small amendments have also been made to the criteria used by The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy to assess applicants, following discussions with these designated competent bodies.
The UK Border Agency has widened the eligibility by allowing Tier 2 (General) migrants and sponsored researchers who are Tier 5 (Temporary worker) migrants to switch into the Exceptional Talent route while they are in the UK.
New streamlined UK visa application process for students from Botswana and Malaysia
Botswana and Malaysia have now joined the list of low-risk countries, whose nationals applying for a Tier 4 student visa benefit from a streamlined UK visa application process.
Under the streamlined process eligible applicants will generally not be expected to provide documentary evidence of financial maintenance and education qualifications, making the application process simpler and easier.
Applicants from Botswana and Malaysia will still need to meet the requirements and students must be able to provide the appropriate documents if requested.
Further information on documentary requirements for low-risk nationals and who qualifies can be found on the Studying section of the UK Border Agency website.