Statement of Changes to UK Immigration Rules

The Home Office published its Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, on 4 March 2021. Some of the key substantive changes are summarised below.

This followed the UK Budget on 3 March 2021 which had announced some immigration changes.

Introduction of New Graduate Visa Category

The new Graduate route will be open for applications from 1 July 2021. This visa category will allow international students, who have successfully completed their higher education either as a Student or Tier 4 migrant, to apply for a 2 or 3 year visa to work (including self-employment).

Skilled Worker Route

Eight occupations are being added to the 'Shortage Occupation List', in the health and care sectors, including: Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Nursing auxiliaries and assistants, and Senior care workers.

Modern foreign language teachers will also be added to the 'Shortage Occupation List', but skilled chefs will be removed.

Jobs on the 'Shortage Occupation List' score more points towards the minimum 70 points required in this visa category.

In addition, the minimum hourly wage rate must be at least £10.10, even if the minimum annual salary threshold is met. These changes will go live on 6 April 2021.

Global Talent

Where applicants have received a 'prestigious prize', they will no longer need to seek endorsement from an endorsing body. A prestigious prize includes the following (in specified categories):

  • Academy Awards
  • Brit Awards
  • Golden Globes
  • Nobel Prize

Bypassing the endorsement stage allows an applicant to apply directly for the visa, which can save on time and costs. Some of the changes will go live on 6 April 2021 and others on 5 May 2021.

Additional Future Changes

Following on from the UK Budget, we can expect to see in the next 12 months:

  • an elite points-based visa, by March 2022
  • review of the Innovator visa
  • launch of the new Global Business Mobility visa by spring 2022, for overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK – this will possibly replace the current Sole Rep visa category
  • modernising the immigration sponsorship system

Originally Published 5 March, 2021

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