The Government has today launched a public consultation on reforms to work routes leading to settlement with a stated aim of reducing the number of migrants who can qualify for indefinite leave to remain.  The categories considered as part of the review are:

  • Tier 1 (not entrepreneurs or investors)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 5
  • Overseas domestic workers


The following issues are considered as part of the Consultation.  Please note it is proposed that these changes will be applied retrospectively to anyone entering as a PBS migrant after 6 April 2011.

Clearly define temporary and permanent migration routes

Categorise all visas as either ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’. Permanent visas will be those which allow migrants to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.

Allowing only the brightest and best workers to stay permanently

Consider capping the maximum period of Tier 1 temporary leave at 5 years and restricting the number of exceptional talent migrants granted settlement.

Define Tier 2 as temporary and end the assumption that settlement will be available for those who enter on this route.

Consider whether certain categories of Tier 2 migrant (for example ministers of religion, elite sportspeople, those earning over £150,000) should retain an automatic route to settlement.

Create a new category into which, after 3 years in the UK, the most exceptional Tier 2 migrants can switch and go on to apply for settlement.

Apply robust selection criteria to those Tier 2 migrants who wish to switch and possibly a limit on the total number of migrants allowed to switch.

Allow those Tier 2 migrants who do not switch into a settlement route to stay for a maximum of 5 years with the expectation that they and any dependants will leave at the end of their leave.

Apply these changes to those entering the PBS from April 2011.

English language requirement for dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying for a route to settlement

Introduce an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement.

Tier 5 Temporary workers

Consider restricting the maximum period of leave in Tier 5 (Temporary workers) to 12 months.

Consider removing the ability of Tier 5 (Temporary workers) to sponsor dependants and/or remove the right of their dependants to work.

Raise the minimum skill level in the government authorised exchange sub-category to graduate level.

Overseas Domestic Workers

Close or reform routes for overseas domestic workers.

Accessing the Consultation

The full Consultation document can be found here

Closing date for responses

We would encourage all interested parties to respond to this Consultation to influence Government thinking.  Submissions must be received by 9 September 2011.