In a recently published statement of intent, the UKBA has announced its new policy in relation to international students and graduates. Graduate Entrepreneur route will replace the Post-Study Work visa from April 2012.
Time that can be spent in the UK as Tier 4 General student will be limited to five years, with a few exceptions published in the Statement of Intent.
Concessions have been announced for students switching to Tier 2. These will include the right to join the UK labour market with a job offer at an appropriate salary rate in line with the relevant Code of Practice, and not less than £20,000 per year. The requirements for a restricted certificate of sponsorship will be lifted (non-restricted certificate of sponsorship will suffice from 12 April), and there will be no requirement to satisfy the UK labour market test. Tier 4 dependants will continue to be able to switch to Tier 2 General category in their own right, but will be subject to the numeric cap (i.e. will need a restricted certificate of sponsorship).
The new Graduate Entrepreneur route will offer 1000 places for students identified by UK universities as having developed word class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, but fall short of the standard requirements for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. Successful applicants will be granted 12 months’ leave initially, which may be extended for a further 12 months, provided the University which had “identified” them is happy with their progress. Graduate Entrepreneurs will be allowed to take up other work for up 10 12 hours a week.
Funds required for switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur route will be reduced for this group to £50,000. The same lower requirement will apply to those who are currently on PSW and have established their own business.
Maintenance requirements for points-based system migrants will rise from April 2012. We understand that this change WILL apply retrospectively. The new figures are summarised at pages 11-13 of the Statement of Intent. Those who intend to apply for extension of leave in April should make the necessary provisions and seek legal advice if they feel they will be unable to meet the new requirements.