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Changes to UK immigration rules

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Home Office changes to existing visas and creation of new routes

On 15 June 2018, the UK Government published changes to the Immigration Rules affecting a number of categories, such as Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4, and also most vulnerable and talented people. These changes will come into force on 6 July 2018.

Changes to existing routes

The Tier 2 visa route has had an annual cap of 20,700 available places since 2011. The number of applications has recently exceeded the monthly allocation, mainly by applications from doctors and nurses. To open up more spaces for other highly skilled occupations, the Home Office intends to take doctors and nurses out of Tier 2 visa cap.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa is planned to include leading fashion designers that will be assessed by the British Fashion Council. The route has also been opened up to a wider pool of TV and film applicants.

To attract more students under Tier 4 category, the Home Office is streamlining the application process for students from a bigger number of countries, e.g. China. They will be subject to a reduced level of evidence while still required to comply with all the requirements.

Electronic Visa Waiver holders will have a smoother trip to the UK by being allowed to present their electronic or printed EVWs to carriers and Border Force.

Changes to new routes

A new form of leave will be created for children who do not qualify for refugee or humanitarian protection leave (the Dubs amendment). They will be able to stay in the UK long term, study and work there with recourse to public funds and healthcare. They will be also eligible for settlement free of charge after 5 years.

Afghan interpreters and their family members who have relocated to the UK will be able to apply for settlement after 5 years of continuous and legal residence. This rule will also include Afghan interpreters made redundant before 19 December 2012 and give them and their families an opportunity to relocate and settle in the UK.

A new settlement category was announced in March 2018 for Turkish business people, workers and their families who are in the UK under the EU-Turkey European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA). They are eligible for settlement after 5 years as long as the most recent period of leave is under the ECAA.

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