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.


Unfortunately students and youth mobility visa applicants will, from 8th January, need to pay £300 per year instead of the current £150.

All other applicants will be charged £400 per year, double the current charge of £200.

It is becoming ever more expensive to come to the UK and to stay here.


The Immigration White paper, published by the Government on 19th December 2019, has perhaps attracted most media attention with its proposal that future skilled workers- to include those from the EU- will be expected to earn £30000 pa. This is  not set in stone and there will be a period of consultation. For a period of time lower skilled workers from some “ low risk “ countries will be permitted to work in the UK for a maximum of 12 months and must then leave for a “ cooling off period” of at least another 12 months. They will not be able to extend their stay , to settle here or even to bring dependants for the year that they are here.

It isn’t all bleak though and employers will no doubt be pleased by the proposal to abolish the annual cap on skilled workers who can come to the UK plus the abolition of the Resident Labour Market Test.

There is no doubt a lot of debate to be had and nothing is concrete as yet but if you do wish to discuss any issues raised in the paper please e mail us on


From 21st January 2019 a much wider group of people will be able to apply for the post-Brexit immigration “ settled status”. Earlier pilot phases seem to have been successful and from January 21st eligible EU nationals with a valid passport and their eligible  non- EU family members with a valid biometric residence card will be able to apply under the scheme before it’s fully rolled out in March 2019.

For information on who is likely to be eligible for “ settled status” and on how to apply please contact us on


The Home Office is continuing  the process of replacing paper applications with compulsory on-line applications. Applications to extend stay in the UK as a partner of dependent child using Form FLR(M)

and applications on the basis of long residence using Form FLR(LR) are two of the applications which must now be made on-line.