October 2013 Changes to the Immigration Rules which HR Advisors and their international staff must know
1. Changes to the Business Visitor Route
- A change has been made to allow internal auditors from global corporations to undertake short internal audits as business visitors rather than using Tier 2 (ICT).
- A change has been made to expand the training a business visitor can receive to include corporate training that is for the purposes of the visitors employment overseas, delivered by a UK company that is neither part of the persons employers corporate group nor whose main activity is the provision of training.
2. Changes Relating to Tier 2
- English language requirement for applicants in the Tier 2 (ICT) category extending their stay beyond three years has been removed. This change is made to reflect the fact that Tier 2 (ICT) categories do not lead to settlement and therefore a need for “integration” is less relevant.
- A Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) can switch into Tier 2 without the need for a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and can be paid “new entrant” rather than “experienced worker” salary rates.
- Tier 2 (General) migrants who earn more than £152,100 are entitled to own more than 10% shares in the sponsors business (those earning less than this salary are only entitled to a maximum of 10% shares in the business in which they work).
- A “genuiness” test is being added to the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) category i.e. migrants under this category will be subject to more scrutiny through interview or the request for further documentary evidence for clarification.
- For a Tier 2 migrant to qualify for settlement, their sponsor must certify that they are still required and are being paid the appropriate rate for their occupation. An additional requirement has been introduced in October 2013 that requires Tier 2 sponsors to still hold (or have applied to renew) a Tier 2 sponsor licence in order to endorse settlement applications.
- An exemption will be in place for a further six months (to April 2014) requiring NHS positions to be advertised via Jobcentre Plus.
3. Changes Relating to Tier 5
- As a reminder, Tier 5 caters for Youth Mobility and temporary workers and consists of two categories; Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker). The temporary worker category consists of five sub categories: Creative and Supporting, Charity Workers, Religious Workers, Government Authorised Exchange and International Agreements. Applicants must have a Tier 5 Sponsor which is usually their UK employer.
- A “genuiness” test is being added to the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) category i.e. applicants under this category will be subject to more scrutiny through either an interview or the request of further documentary evidence.
- Tier 4 students who have completed degrees in the UK will be entitled to take corporate internships which directly relates to their degrees. These internships will take place in the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange sub-category. As with all work experience schemes in this sub-category, roles must be supernumerary and stay is restricted to twelve months. Switching into Tier 2 at the end of the internship will not be permitted i.e. the intern will have to return back to their country and seek entry clearance under the Restricted Certificate route.
- Hong Kong has been added to the list of participating countries for the Youth Mobility Scheme.
4. Other Minor Changes
- Flexibility will be given in decision making for applications where not all the “specified” documents have been provided so long as the information required can be gathered from other documents.
- Changes to the requirements to provide bank statements for UKBA applications are being made to allow electronic bank statements to be submitted for all bank accounts, not just those which are exclusively online accounts.
- Changes have been made to allow migrants who are in the UK to switch into “dependents” of those who are migrants in the UK under the Points Based System. However, a person looking to switch into a dependent must not be an illegal entrant or be here on a visitor’s visa.
- The present restrictions on switching the other way round i.e. from a dependent to being a main applicant in a person’s own right, will remain. This will continue to prevent main applicants and their dependents from continually swapping status’ in order to prolong their stay in the UK.
Please note that this is a bullet point summary of the main changes that took place in December 2012 and therefore if you would like further expansion or clarification on any of the points raised in this document please contact the