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UK visa and immigration changes- Impact on migrants

Posted on October 31, 2019
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UK Visa and Immigration

The UK government announced many visa and immigration changes that came into effect from the beginning of this month. Among the changes, the important ones were in the following visa categories:

  1. Tier 2 (General) visa category
  2. UK startup and innovator visa schemes
  3. Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route
  4. EU Settlement Scheme

Let us look at the changes and their impact under each category.

Tier 2 (General) visa category:

The Tier 2 (General) visa category has undergone several changes. With the Tier 2 Sponsor License and Tier 2 visa UK companies can sponsor skilled, non-European Economic Area (EEA) citizens for jobs in the country.

The cap on the number of Tier 2 visas which can be issued to migrants from outside UK is fixed at 20,700 in a year which is further split into monthly allocations. On an average this comes to 2,000 Tier 2 visas in a month. However, there is no cap on the employment of migrants on Tier 2 visas who are living in the UK. These are some of the other changes in the Tier 2 visa category:

An important change was made with the expansion of the Tier 2 shortage occupation list (SOL). Many occupations were added to this list to tackle the skills shortage in the UK.

The SOL for this visa category will now include veterinarians, architects, and web designers as per the Migration Advisory Committee. There are additional occupations listed in the Scotland specific list.

Applicants to jobs listed in the SOL will get priority for a Tier 2 visa before job roles not on the list.

PhD level jobs will be removed from the Tier 2 general visa quota. This gives space to include skilled roles that can contribute to the development of the economy.

Migrants on a Tier 2 visa absent for long periods due to ill health, parental leave or involved in volunteering work for a humanitarian or environmental cause or action in a legal capacity will not be penalized.

This means Tier 2 migrants will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for these reasons.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa:

This visa is reserved for highly talented individuals in the field of engineering, science, humanities, arts, and digital technology who wish to come to the U.K without any sponsorship.

Applicants for this visa must be endorsed by either The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society or The British Academy.

Startup and innovator visa:

This visa was first introduced in March 2019, to help international entrepreneurs set up a business in Britain, that is backed by an approved body.

EU Settlement Scheme:

Those belonging to the EEA and Swiss nationals who want to remain in the UK after 2020 with their family members must make an application to stay in the country under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The changes introduced under this category are family members of EEA citizens who are non-EEA members can apply for the EUSS travel permit if their biometric card is misplaced or stolen overseas. They can travel to the UK for a replacement.

Migrants whose immigration status is revoked at the border by an immigration officer can appeal for an administrative review.

Post-study work visa:

Students on a Tier 4 visa will be allowed to work or search for work for two years after they complete their course in the UK.

Among the changes introduced in UK visas, there was vociferous support for the move to provide the post-study work visa for students to help them work or look for work for two years after they complete the course. This move was welcomed by British employers as it gives them an opportunity to hire international students.

The changes in the UK visas will create an impact on migrants there and individuals who want to migrate here. The help of an immigration consultant will help you understand such changes and handle them in a better way.

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