Tier 1 changes go live today

- Posted in United Kingdom by Visa Bureauon 01 April 2009

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."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.