The government has published a statement of changes in relation to immigration rules.
These changes, outlined below, have been identified as areas that may affect your overseas workforce. They will come into effect today, 11 January 2018.
Tier 4 changes
Students switching to Tier 2
Tier 4 students will now be able to switch to a Tier 2 visa once they can evidence that they have completed their course. This will supersede the need for the student to wait until they have passed their course before switching to a Tier 2 visa.
Studying on a part-time basis
Tier 4 (General) students can now apply to study a part-time course under their Tier 4 visa as long as the course is studied at an academic level over RQF level 7. Tier 4 students studying part-time courses cannot:
- extend their leave in the UK under the new Tier 4 rules
- bring family members into the UK as a dependant under their visa
- work during their studies
- switch visa categories in-country.
Tier 2 changes
Return to practice nurses
Nurses undertaking a Nursing and Midwifery Council approved programme with a view to returning to practice will now be given provision to be sponsored under a Tier 2 Visa. After completion of this programme the applicant will be able to apply for readmission of the NMC register.
Changes for dependants
Indefinite leave to remain
When applying for indefinite leave to remain, absence requirements have previously only applied to the main applicant (ie spending no more than 180 days per 12 month period outside of the UK). The new immigration rules, however, have extended the absence requirements to dependants (including dependants of Tier 2 migrants). This means that dependants who make any visa application (including an extension application) on or after 11 January 2018 will need to ensure that they are not away from the UK more than 180 days in a rolling 12 month period.
You may wish to make your overseas staff aware of this if they have family members who do not regularly reside in the UK.
The new immigration rules now require points-based system dependents to assure the UKVI that their relationship to the main applicant is both subsisting and genuine. This is unlikely to cause an issue for your employees however it is worth being aware that applicants may have to provide evidence of relationship in the future.
The full statement of changes made by the government, can be found here.