From Monday 19th July 2010, the UK Border Agency will be introducing two major changes to the way Tier 1 (General) applications are processed.

Interim Limit

From the 19th July until a permanent limit is introduced in April 2011 (a consultation as to the details of this limit is currently taking place) the UK Border Agency has announced that it will place a limit on the number of Tier 1 (General) applications submitted each month. It is important to note that the UKBA has placed this limit on the number of applications submitted, rather than the number of applications approved. The limit will only apply to those applications submitted from outside of the UK. Applications submitted from within the UK (either switching from another category or extending from HSMP or Tier 1 (General)) will not be included within the scope of this limit.

Applications within the scope of this limit will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Any applications over and above the monthly limit will be held in a queue until the next month.

The UK Border Agency has not yet announced what the monthly limit will be. We will confirm this ‘quota’ as when this information is released by the UKBA.

Change in qualifying criteria

From the 19th July, applicants under the Tier 1 (General) scheme will need to gain an extra 5 points (100 instead of 95) in order to qualify for the scheme. This change will apply to all applicants (including in-country applications) except those who are extending from a highly skilled category (i.e. HSMP or Tier 1 (General)). The UK Border Agency has not yet announced whether they will be changing the points allocation for various attributes or even where this extra 5 points must be gained. This being said, it is likely that it will simply be a case of applicants needing to score an extra 5 points in the main ‘attributes’ section, i.e. from the ‘Age’, ‘Qualifications’, ‘Previous Earnings’ and ‘UK Experience’ sections.

We will confirm the details regarding the implementation of this change as soon as this information is released by the UK Border Agency.

We would advise all individuals interested in making an application under the Tier 1 (General) scheme over the coming months to contact UK Work Permits immediately with a view to submitting the application as soon as possible, and if viable, before the 19th July 2010.