Effective yesterday, 19 July 2010, the number of highly skilled migrants applying under Tier 1 (General) of the points based system has been capped and the number of points needed by non-EU workers who come to do highly skilled jobs has increased from 95 to 100.
The UK Border Agency has also announced changes to Tier 2. Also effective yesterday, the number of certificates of sponsorship that licensed employers can issue to those who wish to come to fill skilled job vacancies under tier 2 has fallen by 1,300.
1. Immigration cap
a. How big is the cap?
An interim immigration cap on the number of applications from outside the EU that can be granted under Tier 1 (General) of the points based system will be administered on a monthly basis through 31 March 2011.
(NB. The Monthly Tier 1 (General) immigration limit page on the UK Border Agency website contains more information about the interim month-by-month limit.)
After a period of consultation, the government hopes to replace the interim cap with a permanent cap.
b. How will I know whether or not the monthly immigration cap is reached? What happens if my application is received after the cap has been reached?
If the limit is reached for a particular month, the UK Border Agency will publish the information as a news story on its website. It will still continue to accept applications even when the limit for the current month has been reached.
If your application meets all the requirements but the limit for that month would be exceeded if you were issued a visa, the UK Border Agency will defer your application to the next month when the limit allocation reopens. If your application does not meet the requirements, the UK Border Agency will process it as normal even if the limit has been exceeded.
All applications will be processed in the order in which they are received, as far as operationally possible. You will be informed in writing of the final decision on your application.
When making any travel plans, you should expect that your application may take longer than normal if the limit is reached.
c. Will the cap affect all applicants?
No. The interim limit will not affect:
- applicants who are already in the UK (with current permission to stay in any immigration category);
- dependants of Tier 1 (General) applicants; or
- applicants to the Investor, Entrepreneur and Post-study work categories of Tier 1.
2. Points required
As stated above, the number of points needed by general applicants who come to do highly skilled jobs from outside the EU has increased from 95 to 100.
- the points awarded to those with previous earnings of £150,000 have increased from 75 to 80; and
- the points awarded to those who have an eligible MBA have increased from 75 to 80.
Moreover, the points requirement will remain at 95 points for applicants who are currently in the UK under one of the following highly skilled worker categories:
** Additional help and advice **
If you need legal advice on any immigration issue, regardless of where you're located - be it in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, or elsewhere - you should speak to a local solicitor who specialises in immigration law.