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UK Visa Changes Made in 2008

The UK Government re-vamped the entire UK visa and immigration system with the first wave of changes for Tier 1 migrants coming into action on 29 February, 2008, with a second wave on 1 July, 2008.

By replacing the current immigration system with a points based system (similar to the model used by Australia), the government hopes to make the immigration system more streamlined. 

The points-based immigration system

The new points-based system implemented consists of five tiers:

Therefore, there will still be an appropriate visa class to fit accordingly to the current range viable candidates who wish to work or study in the UK.  However, we anticipate that rather than each visa class having a distinct set of requirements and criteria, there will now be a universal points test with a different points requirement for each visa type.

When was the points-based immigration system implemented?

 Tier 1 was fully implemented on 1 July, 2008 and the other tiers had staggered implementation thereafter.

UK migrant sponsorship

It was anticipated that once the new points-based system is implemented, a key principle will be that all migrants will require a sponsor (except for highly skilled applicants applying under Tier 1 and Tier 5 Youth Mobility applicants). 

Sponsorship licenses

Sponsors can be employers, colleges and others who might benefit from the applicant's migration and wish to act as sponsors of skilled, temporary and student migrants.  However, the organisation will need a licence to do so.  According to a Statement of Intent issued by the government, it will be possible to apply for sponsorship licences from early 2008.  The prospective guidelines for attaining a sponsorship license can be outlined accordingly:

Tier 1 - Highly Skilled Migrants

The Statement of Intent on Tier 1 for highly skilled migrants explains how the system will work, but please consider that the government have warned that it could change before the Tier begins or at any point afterwards. The following changes for Tier 1 migrants came into action on 29 February, 2008 for applicants in the UK and from India, and became universally applicable on 1 July, 2008.

Main points from the Statement of Intent on Tier 1 include;

Further information

The UK Government is clear that the rules contained in the Statements of Intent published so far can change at any time prior to or after the implementation of the different tiers. There are also no definite time lines available as yet, although it is anticipated that all tiers other than Tier 3 will be introduced by the end of 2009.

If you are unsure of whether you qualify to emigrate to the UK under the current UK immigration system, complete a UK Visa Online Assessment or Request a Call from one of our migration consultants in order to determine your eligibility. The Online Assessments contain current UK Visa legislation and will help you determine which UK Visa best suits your needs.