New Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules, HC 628, comes into effect on 1 October 2013 with some changes effective from 28 October 2013.
Some flexibility is added to the conditions attached to general visitor’s visa allowing general visitors to undertake a short course of studies without which would not involve work or work placement.
Prospective student visa is abolished from 1 October 2013. Prospective students wishing to visit the UK in order to finalise their arrangements for studies will have to apply for a general visitor’s visa before applying for entry clearance as Tier 4 migrants.
A “Genuine earnings” test is introduced in applications for extension of leave and settlement by Tier 1 General migrants.
For Tier 2 ICT migrants, English language requirement is removed for applicants extending their leave to remain.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrants are allowed to switch into Tier 2 General route without the requirement for the sponsor to meet the Resident Labour Market test.
Some changes are made to the appropriate hourly rates under the Codes of Practice for Tier 2 sponsors.
Effect has been given to the High Court judgment in R (on the application of Zhang) v Secretary of State for the Home Department allowing migrants to switch into immigration status of a PBS dependant in the UK without need to apply for entry clearance from abroad. This concession will not extend to migrants who are visiting the UK with leave to enter of up to six months.
Some amendments are introduced to the rules related to family immigration under Appendix FM. Applicants relying on funds available from proceeds from sale of property do not have to have the money in the account for six months prior to application, provided the property had been owned by the applicant or the partner during the relevant period totalling six months.
From 28 October 2013 new English language requirement is added for applications for settlement and British nationality. At present Knowledge of Life in the UK is required for most types of applications for settlement. For spouses of British citizens or persons settled in the UK Life in the UK test can be substituted by an English language test to A1 level with knowledge of life in the UK element. From 28 October, Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test will include an English language test to B1 level and will apply to all applications for indefinite leave to remain and citizenship. Exemption will apply to applicants over 65 years of age and those who have disabilities preventing them from mastering a foreign language.