Changes to the Immigration Rules 7 March 2019

20 March 2019

The definition of a ‘professional sportsperson’ will be changed on 30 March 2019. These changes make very little difference to the amendments made on 10 January 2019. Please see our web page for details of the changes brought into force on 10 January 2019 and why these changes remain problematic. We at UKCISA will continue to lobby the Home Office concerning the activities students will be permitted to do according to this new definition.

Changes have been made to the list of ‘low risk’ countries whose nationals benefit from not being required to submit all of the mandatory documents with their Tier 4 applications. Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia have been added to this list.  Argentina, The Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago have been removed from this list. This change comes into force on 6 April 2019. Please refer to our website page on ‘low risk nationals’ for further details about the effect of being classified as a ‘low risk’ national.

If a Tier 4 dependant wishes to benefit from being able to not submit all of the required documents themselves, both the dependant and the Tier 4 student must be low risk nationals. This change differs from the current Rules in which it is stated that only the Tier 4 dependant needs to be a low risk national. The new changes to the Rules are drafted in a way that suggests that they need to be of the same low-risk nationality. However, this is not what the Explanatory Memorandum says is intended, and also is not in line with the PBS Dependant Policy Guidance. In addition, the dependant and the Tier 4 student must also be applying at the same time and in the same location (the country where the dependant is living, or in the UK). This change will come into effect on 6 April 2019.

Tier 4 leave that a student had before reaching the age of 18 in the UK, will not be included in the study time limits. This clarifies the position that Tier 4 (General) leave held whilst a student was below the age of 18 is not included in the calculation. This change will apply to applications made from 6 April 2019 onwards. Please refer to our website page on study time limits for further details on how the study time limits are calculated.

In the Tier 4 (Child) category, funds for maintenance purposes can be held by a student’s foster carer or close relative if a private foster care arrangement has been made. This change takes effect from 6 April 2019.

Changes to the working categories

Students with Tier 4 leave will be permitted to apply to switch into the Tier 2 (General) category, either once their course is completed or up to 3 months before their expected course completion date. This change is to take effect on 30 March 2019. It should be noted that the corresponding changes have not been made to the Tier 4 Rules. Those with Tier 4 leave continue to only be permitted to start employment with their Tier 2 sponsor once their course has been successfully completed.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category is to be closed and replaced by a new working category called the ‘Start-up’ category. This change will take effect from 6 July 2019. Any student wishing to switch to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category in the UK or make a new application from overseas, must submit their application by 5 July 2019.

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is to be closed to most new applicants. This change will take effect on 29 March 2019. Students will only be permitted to make applications in this category depending on what immigration permission they held previously. Where applicable, the deadline for initial applications is 5 July 2021. For those extending their leave in this category in the UK, the deadline is 5 July 2025. In all other cases the deadline is 5 April 2023.

A new ‘Innovator’ category is also to be created which will replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. Both the Start-up category and Innovator category will be open to applicants from 29 March 2019.