The government has laid in Parliament a package of measures aimed at radically reforming the immigration system and ensuring the UK attracts only the brightest and best migrants.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “For too long immigration was allowed to get out of control. Our radical reforms are ensuring that we are selective not just about who can come here but also who will be allowed to stay permanently.”
The latest changes, Mr. Green said, “represent real progress on our promise to bring immigration back to sensible, sustainable levels, and to bring in only those migrants who can make the greatest contribution to life in the UK.”
The written ministerial statement laid before Parliament on 15th March 2012 shows that from April 2016, the government will introduce a new minimum pay requirement of £35,000 for skilled temporary workers wishing to apply for settlement.
Home Office said that the new income requirement will mean that only those who make the biggest contribution to the UK economy will be able to stay here permanently.
The annual limit for the Tier 1 exceptional talent route – designed to meet the needs of exceptionally talented leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts – will remain the same for the next two years, at 1,000 visas.
The post-study work route will be definitely closed on 6th April 2012. Home Office said that the post-study work route was far too generous in offering a two-year visa with no work restrictions.
The government will also introduce a five-year time limit for study at bachelors and masters degree level. The Home Office believes that this ensure the student route serves its proper role as a means of temporary entry to the UK, not of achieving permanent settlement here.
Time students are allowed to spend on work placements will be limited to crack down on those who come to the UK to work, rather than study.
Only the brightest and best university graduates who have a compelling business idea will be given the chance to stay on through the graduate entrepreneur scheme.
The government estimates that when reforms to the student visa system have been fully implemented, there will be around 70,000 fewer student visa grants a year and around 20,000 fewer visas issued to dependants.
Other Immigration Rules changes laid before Parliament include provisions to provide for mandatory, rather than discretionary, curtailment of leave to remain in the UK when a migrant fails to start or withdraws from their job or study course; reform the overseas domestic worker routes, restricting all overseas domestic workers (ODW) to only work for the employer with whom they entered the UK, or whom they came to join; and allow certain professionals, artists, entertainers and sports-people to carry out paid activities in the UK for up to one month.