Students will again be able to remain in the UK and to work for up to two years after they have graduated.

A similar scheme was abolished back in 2012 and there has been a lot of pressure on the Government to re-introduce it.

The recent news has been welcomed by students, universities, and employers.

It is not yet clear whether those who are already studying university courses will benefit.

Eligible students starting in the academic year 2020 will be able to stay and work at the end of their studies.

For information on this or any other aspect of immigration law please contact Jenny Harvey on

Extension of Registration Scheme Unlawful

The Supreme Court has recently decided that the extension of the registration scheme between 1st May 2009 and 30th April 2011 was unlawful. Under the scheme nationals of the 8 countries which joined the EU in 2004 were obliged to register as workers before they could start work or change jobs. It was a criminal offence for employers who employed an “ A8” national who had not registered ( with some defences.) Employers who were convicted during this period may wish to see if they can have their convictions overturned.

Applications for confirmation of permanent residence have in some cases been refused on the grounds that Applicants were not registered and that their time working in the UK prior to 30th April 2011 was “ unlawful” This has had a knock-on effect on applications for British Citizenship. If you have been affected by the extension of the scheme , now found to have been unlawful, please feel free to contact Jenny Harvey for advice.

EU Settlement Scheme now open

Applications can be made from nationals of the EU as well as nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway plus family members.

Depending on how long they have lived in the UK those eligible will be granted “settled status” or “pre-settled status.”

There have already been some technical hitches but applications are generally straightforward and free of charge.

You will see lots of relevant information in the link above but please contact Jenny Harvey on if you have questions or would like assistance with an application. It may be sensible to ask for advice before making an application if you have lived in the UK for more than 5 years and if you are hoping to apply for British Citizenship. Settled status will not be backdated and you may need to wait a further year until you are able to apply to become British. If you “acquired” permanent residence under current EU rules you may already be able to apply.

Refunds of “Settlement Scheme” Fees to be made automatically

If you have applied under the “Settlement Scheme” you should receive an automatic refund of your £65 fee.

The Home Office has published information about how this should work

Please contact Jenny Harvey on if you have questions about this or about any other aspect of the “settlement” and “pre-settlement” schemes.

PHD Level Jobs to be exempt from Tier 2 Visa Cap

From the autumn of 2019 PHD-level jobs will not be included in the monthly allocation of sponsorship certificates. This should make it easier for employers when recruiting for such posts and will free up some of the allocation for less-skilled employees.

Start-up Visas to replace the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa Route

A new“ Start-up” visa route will be introduced on 29th March 2019 and will replace the previous Tier 1( Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route.

There are some key differences between the new route and its predecessor:

Applicants will need to be endorsed but not necessarily by their own university and the “ endorsing body” will check the business at certain intervals to check for “ reasonable progress.”

Visas will generally last for 2 years and will not lead to settlement but a start-up visa holder may be able to switch into the new “ Innovator “ category and settle after 3 years in that route. No investment will be needed if switching from a start-up visa.

Employment will be permitted in addition to working for the business established and a visa holder can be accompanied by dependents.

For more information on this new route or on any other aspect of the immigration rules please email Jenny Harvey on

Changes to Investor Visa Route

Despite recent concerns that the route was going to be abolished, it is going to survive but with significant changes from 29th March 2019.

The investment funds will need to have been held for a full 2 years, rather than 90 days before an application is made and there will be tighter rules on what can be invested in. In particular, government bonds will no longer be accepted as a qualifying investment.

Those who already hold investment visas will be able to apply to extend their leave until 5th April 2023 and settlement applications will be possible until 5th April 2025.

For further information on this or any aspect of the immigration rules please contact Jenny Harvey on

No new entrepreneur visa applications after 29th March 2019

The Tier 1 ( entrepreneur ) visa will be replaced by a new “ Innovator “ visa though Tier 1 entrepreneurs will be apply to apply for extensions until 5thApril 2023 and settlement until 5th April 2025.

The new “ Innovator” category will be different from its predecessor in 3 main ways:

Firstly, anyone applying for such a visa will need to be endorsed by a “ trusted organisation” and to have ongoing contact with this organisation.

Secondly, they will need to speak English at a higher level- B2 rather than B1.

Thirdly, and a positive for many- they will need to invest £50000 in their business rather than £20000 as is currently the case.

Like the current rule for Tier 1 entrepreneurs, someone granted a visa as an “ innovator” will be expected to work full-time for their business.

For further information on the new” Innovator “ visa or any aspect of the immigration rules please contact Jenny Harvey on

On-line right to work checks introduced

Employers can now in most cases carry out their “ right to work checks” using an on-line system.

It is important to note that on-line checks may not be suitable for every prospective employee or employee and that you will need the consent of an individual to  carry out a check.

The amended Home Office guidance reminds employers not to discriminate against someone who prefers for a  manual check to be carried out rather than an on-line one though they can of course encourage the use of the new system.

£65 fee to be scrapped for post Brexit “settlement” applications

Teresa May has announced that the £65 fee for post-Brexit “settlement applications” will be scrapped. This is of course good news.

People who have already applied under the recent pilots will be reimbursed.