The United Kingdom has announced changes to the UK Immigration Rules with effect from 6th November 2014. The Home Office has amended various requirements related to Tier 1 category visas, Tier 2 category visas, and visas for individuals visiting the UK for business purposes. The changes
The Tier 1 Investor category, which enabled investors to obtain a long-term residence visa by meeting mandated investment requirements, now requires an increased investment of £2 million as opposed to the earlier requirement of £1 million. Applications made on or after 6th November, 2014 must fulfill the increased investment requirement.
Earlier, the Rules permitted investors to either retain a quarter of the investment amount in a UK bank account or utilize the same to purchase property in the UK. The balance 75% of the £1 million had to be invested in specified investment options. The amended rules require the entire £2 million to be invested in the prescribed options. Investors are no longer allowed to deposit 25% in a bank account or invest the same in property in the UK.
Earlier, investors were required to invest additional sums to ensure the market value of their investment did not fall below the prescribed limit. Investor immigrants applying after 6th November, 2014 just have to ensure the qualifying investments meet the prescribed limit of £2 million at the time of purchase of the investments. Subsequent fall in market value will not require a top up.
However, investors will be required to make additional investments if they sell a part of their portfolio. Along with the replacement investments, the total investment portfolio must not fall below the minimum limit of £2 million.
Earlier, investors were allowed to use borrowed funds to comply with the investment requirements. The amended law has removed this provision. Investment immigrants are no longer permitted to use borrowed money to obtain the Tier 1 Investor category visa.
Those who have applied for this visa on or before November 5th, 2014 will not be subject to the amended provisions when applying for extension of the visa or for indefinite leave to return to the UK.
Those seeking entry through the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category visa will now be assessed by the Home Office to ensure the funds allocated towards the minimum investment are genuine. The applicants are now required to hold the amount that they seek to invest in the business in the UK until the verification process is complete.
Those applying under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category will enjoy leave to reside for a period of five years. Under the old rules, the visa was valid for three years only. Further, those applying for extension of visa under this category will no longer be subject to any English language requirement. However, those applying for indefinite leave to remain will have to fulfill the minimum language requirements.
Applicants under the Tier 1 General category cannot apply for extension or indefinite leave to remain after 6th April, 2014. Migrants applying for extension on or after 6th November 2014 can stay for an extended period of three years or for a period necessary to take the total leave to five years.
The amended rules governing Tier 2 category visa allow Entry Clearance officers and caseworkers to reject applications where job are either non-existent or have been exaggerated to comply with the skills threshold of the visa. Applications can be rejected if the resident labor market test has been conducted by the employer with the specific intention to exclude local applicants.
The law allows Officers and caseworkers to reject the visa if they feel the applicant is not qualified to perform the job in the UK. Further, proof that the vacancy is genuine and that the resident labor market test has been conducted must be submitted by Tier 2 General and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer applicants.
The rules governing the Business Visitor category now allow scientists and researchers entering the UK as business visitors to share their expertise in international projects led by the UK. However, scientists and researchers are not allowed to carry out research that requires a Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa or Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa.
The rules now allow overseas lawyers of international legal firms with offices in the UK to cater directly to UK clients when holding a Business Visitor visa.
With effect from 6th November, all applicants undergoing English Language tests must take the test in a SELT Centre with adequate proof on the test certificate and through the online verification tool of Trinity College London.
Further, the Home Office has introduced a British-Irish visa that allows Chinese and Indian migrants to travel to the UK and Ireland with a single visa. This scheme covers single visas, short stay general visas, and business visas.
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