With the closure of the Tier 1 (General) skilled visa programme, it has become almost impossible to migrate to the UK independently.
28 April 2011
Visa Bureau responds to the closure of the skilled UK visa programme
As of 5 April, 2011, a UK immigration cap was put into effect and the Tier 1 (General) skilled visa programme was closed. This left the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) as the only visa for skilled migrants looking to migrate independently - a visa which is all but impossible to obtain and has been capped at being for just 1,000 people a year.
Both Tier 1 (General) and its predecessor the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) have proved highly beneficial to the UK. Since 2002, the HSMP and Tier 1 helped ensure that highly skilled workers attracted to working in the UK had a clear route to arrive independently.
Further changes have also been made to other UK visas, which has drastically changed the UK immigration landscape. A cap has also been placed on the Tier 2 visa which limits the number of non-EU migrant workers that all UK employers can hire to just 20,700 a year.
There will be no limit on the number of entrepreneurs and investors that can come to the UK, and Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visas will also be outside the cap, but intra-company transfer arrivals will only be permitted to stay in the UK for longer than 12 months if they are earning £40,000 a year or more.
It's an issue that seems to disregard any benefit that skilled migration has had on helping the UK economy in the past, and we have spoken more about it on the Visa Bureau blog.
On the blog, we address how the skilled visa programme has previously helped the UK economy, the reasons for the Government closing the skilled visa programme and whether there will be a skilled visa programme again in the future.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK immigration applications.