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Changes Announced to UK Immigration Rules

UK Border Agency amends Tier 2 "cooling-off period" and intra-company transfers, supplementary employment allowances and youth mobility places for Tier 5 migrants, and indefinite-leave-to-remain rules.

The UK Border Agency has announced changes to the Immigration Rules, many of which will take effect on 13 December 2012.[1]  A summary of the main changes impacting UK employers is set out below.

Tier 2

  • The 12-month "cooling-off period" for Tier 2 applications will start from the earliest date that applicants can demonstrate they left the UK, rather than the date of expiry or curtailment of their previous Tier 2 visa. The UK Border Agency will publish guidance on what is acceptable evidence to demonstrate when a migrant left the UK.
  • Changes to the Codes of Practice setting out appropriate salary rates and advertising media for barristers applying under Tier 2 will be published.
  • Tier 2 migrants will be able to undertake supplementary employment in a shortage occupation, even if the occupation is a different occupation than the one for which they are sponsored.
  • Tier 2 intra-company transfer migrants who earn more than £150,000 will be able to extend their stay for up to nine years (rather than the maximum of five years that is currently in place).

Tier 5

  • Tier 5 migrants will be able to undertake supplementary employment in a shortage occupation, even if the occupation is a different occupation than the one for which they are sponsored.
  • Australia's allocation of places in the Youth Mobility Scheme will be increased from 32,500 to 35,000 in 2013, and Canada's allocation will be increased from 5,000 to 5,500. South Korea's allocation will be increased to 1,000 places. All other participating countries' allocations (New Zealand, Japan, Monaco, and Taiwan) will remain the same in 2013.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

The Immigration Rules will also be amended to permit absences from the UK of up to 180 days per 12-month period for those seeking settlement through Tier 2 and other work routes. Absences must be for a reason that is consistent with an individual's ongoing employment in the UK (e.g., business trips, conferences, research collaborations, and annual leave) or for serious or compelling reasons (e.g., serious illness of a close relative).

[1]. Read the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules here.

Copyright © 2018 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.


About this Author


Tracy Evlogidis is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labour and Employment Practice. Tracy regularly advises companies and individuals on a full range of UK immigration issues, from visiting the UK to securing a British passport. 

Tracy has a wide client base, including media and entertainment clients and corporate organisations in industries such as financial services, technology, retail, education, and legal services. She also works with a number of private banks in advising high-net-worth individuals.

Tracy also advises on exceptional or complex applications for...

+44 (0)20 3201 5544

Nicholas J. Hobson is an associate in Morgan Lewis's Labour and Employment Practice and is also a member of the firm's Global Immigration Services Practice. Nicholas advises corporate and private clients on the full range of UK immigration matters and has experience advising corporate clients on preventing illegal working, sponsorship licence applications under Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points-Based System, issuing Certificates of Sponsorship as well as further leave to remain, entry clearance, and settlement applications for lead applicants and their dependants.

Nicholas has experience dealing with applications for highly skilled migrants under Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Investor), and sole representative routes for private clients. He also has experience with immigration matters for high profile clients in the media and entertainment, theatre, film, and digital sectors.

Nicholas is an active member of the Economic Migration Sub-Committee of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and the Employment Lawyers Association and regularly contributes to working groups on changes to immigration law. He is also a frequent author on immigration topics and has written briefing notes on UK immigration law for the Practical Law Company and the ELA briefing.

Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Nicholas spent four years at a City law firm in London and before that at a highly regarded media law firm in London, where he trained and practiced, on qualification, immigration law.

Nicholas earned his LPC in 2004 and his PgDL in 2003 from BPP Law School, London; his LL.M from King's College, London in 2002; and his LL.B (Hons) from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland in 2001.

Nicholas is admitted to practice in England and Wales as a Solicitor. 

+44 (0)20 3201 5649