01 April 2009

Tier 1 changes go live today

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Today, 01 April 2009, changes to the Tier 1 (General) skilled migration category will be implemented so that it is now harder to obtain a visa through the Tier 1 skilled migration category.

The changes to the Tier 1 skilled migration category mean that applicants for this type of visa will have to have at least a Masters' degree and a minimum salary of £20,000 in order to qualify for a Tier 1 skilled migration visa.  This also applies to those skilled migrants who are switching to the Tier 1 skilled migration system from another category; however, those applying for an extension of their Tier 1 visa will not need to comply with these new conditions.

The Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category also has new conditions starting from today; applicants will only be awarded points toward their application only if they have a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or PDGEs in Scotland.  Postgraduate Diplomas or any other type of Postgraduate Certificate will not count towards a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) visa application.

The Home Office is hoping the changes will "raise the bar" for UK immigration, so that British workers have a higher chance of getting work during the economic recession and only those skills critically needed to support the British economy are brought into the country.  The Tier 3 work permit category for lower skilled temporary workers has been suspended until the economy is ready to take on temporary lower-skilled workers to fill labour shortages.

"All workers now coming to the UK from outside Europe have to meet the requirements of the Australian-style points system, which allows us to raise or lower the bar on who can come here," Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary said in a statement.

"We have always said it is important to be selective about who comes here to work, and we have already put a stop to low-skilled labour entering the UK from outside Europe.  Just as in a growth period we needed migrants to support growth, it is right in a downturn to be more selective about the skill levels of those migrants, and to do more to put British workers first."


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