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Rule Changes to UK Immigration from January 2018

If you are one planning to migrate to the UK or are already living in the UK as a migrant, it is always best for you to know the latest changes in UK immigration law as any changes made will affect you directly or indirectly. In this regard, it is important to note that a new statement of changes was passed to the Parliament on the 7th December 2017 in the UK. These changes have come into effect from the 11th January 2018. Apply for a UK visa

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Previously, the applicant could rely on funds or investment provided by another Tier 1 entrepreneur migrant, that migrant’s business or a close family member. However, the latest change means that recycling of funds will not be possible. This means that Tier 1 entrepreneur applicants will not be able to base their application on funds already used by another applicant or family member. Additional details have also been provided in terms of documentary evidence, while the rules concerning job creation for domestic workers have been updated.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Previously, the number of endorsements per year allowed in Tier 1 exceptional talent was 1,000. However, the number of Tier 1 Exceptional talent allocated annually has now doubled to 2,000. The additional 1,000 visas will now be held separately on a first come, first server basis in an unallocated pool draw. In addition, exceptional talent visa holders are now eligible to qualify for ILR after three years - this has decreased from 5 years, which was the case previously.

Tier 2 Visa Holders

Previously, the rule was that Tier 2 migrants had to be continuously employed throughout the qualifying period of 5 years in order to be eligible for settlement or indefinite leave to remain. They were allowed breaks of employment for less than 60 days only. Following the recent changes, Tier 2 visa holders with more than 60 days between Tier 2 employments will be eligible to apply for ILR after they have completed 5 years of continuous employment in UK.

Tier 4 Students Switching to Tier 2

Previously, students on a Tier 4 visa had to successfully pass their course in the UK to be able to switch to Tier 2 sponsorship without the sponsor being required to undertake the RMLT. Now, as per the new change, Tier 4 student visa holders will be eligible to switch to Tier 2 once they complete their course and they now don’t have wait until they get their final results. This rule change also allows certain part-time students to secure a Tier 4 visa. However, they do will not have the right to work in the UK and they cannot bring their dependents to the UK.

PBS Visa Dependents

Previously, the point-based system migrant who looked to apply for ILR was not permitted to be out of the UK for more than 180 days within 12 months during the qualifying period. This rule, however, did not apply to the dependents of PBS migrants. With the new changes, even the dependents of PBS migrants are now subject to the 180 days requirement and this will apply to all ILR applications made after the 11th January 2018.


Previously, visitors who had a standard or marriage/civil partnership visa required a separate transit visa to travel to the UK. This is now no longer the case. Clarity has also been made with regard to other aspects of the regulations; for example, visitors are now not permitted to study at an academy or a school maintained by a Local Authority.

Electronic Entry Clearance

The UK government now aims to issue entry clearance in electronic form. Due to this, there have been changes in the rules regarding the format of entry clearance. After the trial is successful, entry clearance issued in electronic form will be rolled out at a later date. This means people who have electronic clearance will only have to present their passport or identity documents at the UK border in order to be checked by an Immigration Officer electronically for entry clearance. This electronic entry clearance will be trialed initially with a pilot group before it is implemented on a wider basis. 


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.