Changes for highly skilled workers sans Master’s degrees, short-term transfers by multinationals, asylum seekers.
19 March 2010: A new points tables for Tier 1 and Tier 2; a simpler route for very highly skilled workers without Master’s degrees; greater flexibility for short-term transfers by multinational companies; and lowering the marriage visa age to 18 for serving members of the armed forces and their partners — these are the highlights of the changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the points-based system, and marriage visas for the armed forces members.
Changes have also been announced to prevent asylum applicants from claiming humanitarian protection, where there are serious reasons for considering they have engaged in undesirable behaviour.
The changes, announced by Borders and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas, come into force on 6th April; and follow Government’s acceptance of changes to Tier 1 recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
The UK Border Agency claimed the changes will also ensure more protection against such transfers being used to fill long-term vacancies that should go to resident workers.
Woolas said: ‘We’ve always said that we would run our immigration system for the benefit of the UK and that is what we are doing.
‘The changes that we are making today will build on an already robust system which is now the envy of the world. The strength of the points-based system is the flexibility to predict and respond to events.
‘By utilising the flexibility of the points-based system we are now ensuring that only those that we need to come to the UK to work can do so.
‘I will continue to ensure that immigration does not act as a disincentive for employers to employ and improve the skills of the British workforce.’
These changes are included in the latest Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, laid before the Parliament. The other changes to the Immigration Rules include: changes to the provisions governing English language qualifications for applicants applying for permanent residence to ensure that applicants relying on qualifications in English for Speakers of Other Languages will study at accredited colleges, and to clarify the progression which migrants are required to demonstrate before applying for permanent residence.
Besides this, the other changes are aimed at clarifying interview procedures for unaccompanied asylum seeking children; removing a requirement for an asylum seeker to be asked to sign the interview record due to other safeguards in place; lowering the marriage visa age to 18 for serving members of the armed forces and their partners, recognising the role of partners in supporting those on the frontline and reflecting the unique circumstances in which the armed forces operate; and adding Monaco to the Youth Mobility Scheme.
This Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules will be incorporated into a consolidated version of the Immigration Rules. Applications that are made before the new rules come into effect will be considered under the rules in place on the date of the application.
Those who wish to apply in person should note that the date of their application is the date when they go to the public enquiry office. Applicants should consider this when they book an appointment.
The Statement of Policy setting out the changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2, and the written ministerial statement regarding changes to the Immigration Rules, can be downloaded from the UKBA website.