Border Agency publish new details regarding changes to the immigration rules

Following on from the announcement by the UK Border Agency late on Wednesday evening, UK Work Permits can now clarify the imminent rule changes to the following Tiers of the UK Points Based System:

  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 Post Study Work
  • Tier 2

Tier 1 (General)

The Border Agency has now published written guidance on the specifics of the new rules. The following is a summary of the key points stated in the new guidance:

1. The new rules will be coming into force on the 31st March 2009;

2. The new rules will affect all those applying for leave to enter or leave to remain under their first grant of leave of Tier 1 (General);

3. It has now been officially confirmed that those individuals who currently hold HSMP and Tier 1 (General) visas will not be affected by these rule changes;

4. Those individuals applying for their first grant of Tier 1 (General) leave from the 31st March will gain no points for Bachelor’s degrees or for earnings under £20,000 (or equivalent);

5. This means that it will now be a minimum requirement for applicants to have a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent). Please note that Master’s degrees from some countries do not meet the standard of a UK Master’s degree. If you are in any doubt as to whether your degree falls into this category, please get in touch with us;

6. Although under the new rules earnings under £20,000 will not lead to any points being awarded under the earnings section, it is not a mandatory requirement for applicants earnings to meet this level. It will still be possible, in rare circumstances, to gain enough points without claiming points for earnings;

7. All degrees other than Bachelor’s degrees will still gain the same number of points as they do now. Likewise, all other earnings brackets will gain the same number of points as they do now;

8. The points threshold will stay at 75 points (+10 for English Language and 10 for Maintenance).

We are now certain that the new rules will not affect HSMP holders, and as such these individuals will be able to make their applications under the rules as they stand now. They will still be able to claim 30 points for a UK Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent).

Tier 1 (Post Study Work)

It has been confirmed that, as of 31st March, it will no longer be possible for individuals to claim points under Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) for post graduate certificates and diplomas, except in the case of UK Postgraduate Certificates of Education (PGCE).

Tier 2

It has been confirmed by the Border Agency that as of 31st March 2009, advertising via JobCentre Plus (in addition to at least one other method of advertising specified in the Codes of Practice) will become mandatory for all positions before a Certificate of Sponsorship can be issued. This requirement will apply to positions where the salary exceeds £40k p.a, although the position will still only need to be advertised for a period of one week. It will not apply however to Intra Company Transfer cases, Shortage Occupation Cases, or where the individual is switching from one of the Post-Study Work categories (and has worked for the employer in the relevant role for 6 months before the CoS is being issued).