Tier 1 (General): Tier 1 (General) closed to new applicants in April 2011; however, the government aims to completely close the Tier 1 (General) sub-category in 2018. Since April 2011, existing Tier 1 (General) Migrants have been able to renew their visas and, if they qualify, apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The changes to the rules mean that, from 6 April 2015, existing Tier 1 (General) Migrants will no longer be permitted to extend under this category and will have until only 5 April 2018 to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

In practice, this means that current Tier 1 (General) Migrants must ensure that they will either be able to qualify for indefinite leave to remain by 5 April 2018 or switch immigration categories before then. This may be particularly problematic for holders of Tier 1 (General) visas whose travel commitments mean they have to spend more than 180 days outside the UK per year. Such travel precludes obtaining indefinite leave to remain under Tier 1 (General). Such individuals should take the necessary steps now to ensure that they will either be able to extend or apply for indefinite leave to remain in time.