The UKBA has introduced new Immigration Rules with effect from 13 December 2012 covering applications under the points-based system in Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5, as well as family and private life applications. The residency requirement for settlement applications has been relaxed to permit applicants to have up to 180 days of absences in each 12 month period over the five years needed to qualify. Within Tier 2 there has been a relaxation of the intra-company transfer rules relating to the length of time senior staff earning £150,000 or more, can remain in the UK, up from five years to nine years. Also the rules relating to the 12 month cooling off period have been relaxed to allow migrants to commence the 12 month cooling off period outside the UK from the date they leave the UK, rather than the date of expiry or curtailment of their visa. Click on the date above to read the full update.