Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has laid before Parliament a new Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules.

To read the full ministerial statement, please click here.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TESTING

The changes will remove all tests provided by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), and specific tests provided by Cambridge English and Trinity College London from the list of approved English tests.

This will affect a wide-range of applicants and migrants as English language tests, approved by UK Visas & Immigration, are used in a variety of applications, from Tier 2 and Tier 4 to settlement and naturalisation applications.

Those affected should seek advice immediately.

ENTREPRENEURS

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) sub-category is for migrants who wish to establish, join, or take over one or more businesses in the UK and who are then able to create jobs and, hopefully, boost economic growth. Additionally, one of the conditions imposed on Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants’ leave is that they may work only in the business(es) which they establish or join.

However, the Immigration Minister stated that checks against the tax records of existing Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants suggest that only a few have engaged in ‘genuine entrepreneurial activity’ and that many have taken employment in breach of their conditions of leave, including at low-skill levels.

Mr Brokenshire went on to say that ‘It has […] become clear that the majority of those applying in-country for leave [as Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrants] are those who have come here for the purpose of study and are making speculative or fraudulent applications simply to extend their stay in the UK.’

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) sub-category will remain open, including to those who already have leave under this route. The new restrictions will not apply to:

  • migrant students qualifying on the basis of seed funding or funding provided by another government department; and
  • Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants, who have already established a genuine business prior to making the application to switch.

The written ministerial statement suggests that these changes will not affect genuine applicants, including migrant student entrepreneurs, who can apply under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) sub-category, a route which is ‘significantly undersubscribed’.

Potential applicants should be aware that the aforementioned changes will take effect as of 11 July 2014.

TIER 5 (TEMPORARY WORKER - GOVERNMENT AUTHORISED EXCHANGE)

The changes also add a new 12-month ‘mathematics teacher exchange’ scheme to the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange) sub-category. This ‘mathematics teacher exchange’ is aimed at sharing best practice in the teaching of mathematics in schools across England and China, and it supports the objectives of the Department for Education, which will administer and fund the scheme.

FAMILY AND PRIVATE LIFE

There are also amendments to family and private life applications in order to bring the requirements in line with public interest considerations.