Work changes from 6 April 2015

27 February 2015

The Immigration Rules are changing on 6 April 2015. Some of these changes affect work routes.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants must not intend to run a business in property development or property management if the aim is to generate income from rent or the increased value of property. The intended business sector or intention must be included in the letter of endorsement provided by the institution. Time spent with Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) leave can no longer count towards the period required in the UK for eligibility for settlement under Tier 2.

The minimum wage level for Tier 2 (General) applications increases from £20,500 to £20,800 if the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued on or after 6 April 2015. Other minimum wage levels specified in the Codes of Practice in Appendix J of the Immigration Rules also increase. The list of shortage occupations in Appendix K of the Immigration Rules is amended, mainly in relation to medical and other health sector professions. 

Tier 1 and Tier 2 applicants can provide evidence of a Master's degree or PhD taught in English, and the list of secure English Language Tests is restricted to IELTS tests taken anywhere in the world at an approved centre, or Trinity College London qualifications taken in the UK. There is a transitional measure for those who have a different approved English language qualification they took before 6 April. This can be used in an immigration application until 5 November 2015.

There are a couple of small changes to the list of schemes under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange): the BOND business scheme is described in more detail, and the UK-India Education and Research Initiative is removed.

If you apply for leave under any work route and the application is granted on or after 6 April 2015, you will be subject to a study condition. This condition means that if you choose to undertake degree-level study in a subject area listed in Appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules, you must obtain Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before you start your study or research. The clearance certificate must be for the course of study and the institution at which you wish to study, and you must provide a print-out of the certificate to your institution before you start the course. The application process is online and free of charge but can take around a month. Ask the college or university where you want to study if this affects you.

In addition to these changes, if you apply in the UK on or after 2 March 2015 under Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 or as a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 dependant, and your application is refused you will have no right of appeal to an independent tribunal against that refusal. Instead, you can apply to a Home Office caseworker for an administrative review of the decision. This does not affect you if you apply before 2 March, even if you receive a decision after that date.

Application fees are likely to increase in most routes from 6 April.