21 December 2010
Overseas Tier 1 (General) UK Visa applications close 23 December
Earlier today, the UK Government laid a Statement of Changes to the UK immigration rules relating to Tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system.
The UK Border Agency has announced that from 00:01hrs (GMT) on the 23 December 2010 the agency will no longer accept Tier 1 (General) UK Visa applications made overseas. Tier 1 (General) applications made in the UK will remain open until 5 April 2011, when the
Tier 1 (General) will be closed permanently.
The Border Agency says the action has been taken to ensure that the interim UK immigration limit set by the UK Government for Tier 1 (General) visas issued between 19 July 2010 and April 2011 is not exceeded.
All potential Tier 1(General) applicants overseas will need to have applied and paid their fee by the end of 22 December (GMT). Any applications received after this time will be rejected.
The second of the changes, regarding the level of the Tier 2 (General) interim limit in the UK Immigration Rules, has been made in response to the Court judgement of 17 December 2010 in which a legal challenge to the UK Visa cap was upheld.
The High Court judges, Lord Justice Sullivan and Mr Justice Burton, ruled that ministers had "sidestepped" Parliamentary scrutiny.
The Court determined that in order for the Government's interim limit policy to have legal effect the level of the limit should be specified in the Immigration Rules.
The Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules means that the interim limit on Tier 2 (General) will apply from 21 December 2010 until 5 April 2011. The level of the limit is 10,832 and will apply to the number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) available to licenced Tier 2 (General) sponsors under the Employer Sponsorship Licence program.
The changes will take effect immediately to ensure that employers and other users of the UK's immigration system have certainty about its operation.
Any existing Tier 2 (General) CoS allocations will remain unaffected by this change.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK Visa applications to the British Embassy.