Category Archives: Tier 1 (HSMP) News

UK opens its doors for exceptional talent

Aiming to remain a competitive force around the world the government has decided to encourage exceptionally talented leaders from science, humanities, engineering and the arts fields to come to the UK in order to maintain excellence.

A new Tier 1 category- Exceptional Talent- will open on 9 August 2011 available to those who have been recognised and those with the potential to be recognised as leaders in their respective fields. During the first year of implementation a cap of 1,000 places has been issued. Between the 9 August and 30 November 500 places are available and from 1 December to 31 March 2012 a further 500. At the end of March 2012 places will be reviewed.

The UK Boarder agency will be advised by the world renowned ‘competent bodies’, on Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) to ensure ‘exceptionally talented’ migrants are the brightest and best in their field:

  • The Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists, will be able to nominate up to 300 places;
  • Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, will also be able to nominate up to 300 places;
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain’s national academy for engineering, will have up to 200 places to nominate; and
  • The British Academy, the national academy for the humanities and social sciences will be able to nominate up to 200 places.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
“The UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering and we are a cultural centre for the arts: we will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy. Our new exceptional talent route, available for up to 1,000 applicants, will ensure that we continue to attract the brightest into the UK and keep the UK a global leader. This comes at a time of major reform of the immigration system to bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands, tackle abuses and make sure that the immigration system meets the needs of the country.”

Migrants seeking entry to the UK under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) will not need to be sponsored by an employer, but will need to be recommended by one of the competent bodies.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:
‘We welcome the launch of this special visa scheme, which will enable the very best artists of international standing to live and work in the UK. ‘The international exchange of artists enriches their art, and I’m sure audiences will welcome the opportunity to experience the finest artistic talent from across the world.’

Each competent body will select those who will qualify for recommendation; the UK Boarder Agency has published the criteria for their endorsement.

The President of the British Academy, Sir Adam Roberts, said:
“The Humanities and Social Sciences are flourishing in the UK and attract many excellent scholars from overseas. The British Academy is ready to play its part in identifying those outstanding scholars for whom Tier 1 is the appropriate visa category.”

The government has allotted a number of places to each body; nevertheless it will be open to the competent bodies to transfer additional places to those with more demand if necessary.

The President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, said:
“The UK is a global leader in science because we can attract the best minds from around the world to work with our own home-grown talent. The government has listened to the science community’s concerns about jeopardising our international leadership by restricting the immigration of scientists and the Royal Society will play its part in ensuring that the very best international talent can continue to come to the UK to work.”

Those admitted under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) category will initially be granted permission to stay for 3 years and 4 months. They will then be able to extend their stay for a further 2 years, and settlement may be available after 5 years residence in the UK.

President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir John Parker FREng, said:
“In order to safeguard the UK’s future competitiveness, we must ensure that it remains an attractive destination for world class engineers. I am confident that this new visa route will help to encourage global excellence to come to the UK.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Tier 1 Application Limit Reached for December 2010

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced that theTier 1 application limit (Immigration cap) for December 2010 has now been reached and no more applications will be processed until January 2011. If you are considering applying under Tier 1 General your last chance to apply may be in January 2011 as (1) Tier 1 General will be abolished in April 2011, AND (2) there is already a backlog of cases that the UKBA will look to casework before addressing any newly submitted applications.

On the UK Border Agency’s website the following announcement was made ‘’On 19 July 2010, the UK government introduced a limit on the number of UK Visa applications that can be issued under Tier 1 (General) of the points-based system until 31 March 2011. The limit does not affect applications from dependents or applications to switch into Tier 1 (General) from a different immigration category, or applications to extend to existing Tier 1 (General) visas. The limit is administered on a monthly basis, and as the December allocation has been reached the department will not issue any more visas under Tier 1 (General) applications made overseas until allocation reopens in January 2011. If you are applying under Tier 1 (General) from overseas you can still submit an application for Tier 1 (General) during this closure period but if your application is successful the visa will not be issued until the limit re-opens.”

If you believe that you qualify under Tier 1 General please contact us immediately for a professional assessment of your case. In April 2011 Tier 1 General will be abolished and stricter Immigration Controls will be introduced which will make it far more difficult to apply for a work visa in the United Kingdom. At the present time Commonwealth Contractors has a range of solutions which allow highly skilled and skilled workers from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) to work in the UK however the number of options will be reduced in April 2011 (with the abolition of Tier 1 General).

Tier 1 changes in April 2011

  • Tier 1 General: The ‘General’ subcategory of Tier 1 will be closed all together
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur):  The ‘Entrepreneur’ sub category of Tier 1 will be reformed to make it more attractive to international Entrepreneurs. Promising start up companies which do not meet the investment threshold will be offered an route to doing business in the UK. This Immigration route will not be subject to the Permanent Immigration Cap
  • Tier 1 (Investor): The ‘Investor’ subcategory will be reformed to offer an ‘accelerated route to settlement, depending on the level of investment’. This Immigration route will not be subject to the Permanent Immigration Cap
  • A new route for Persons of Exceptional Talent: A new Immigration route will be introduced for persons of exceptional talent (the old HSMP route used to include points for such people). This category will be limited to 1,000 places and will be for those migrants who have ‘won international recognition in scientific and cultural fields, or who show sufficient exceptional promise to be awarded such recognition in the future’. Migrants applying under this category will need to be endorsed by a competent body in the relevant field.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partner

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Apply For A Tier 1 General Visa Now!

Are you considering applying under Tier 1 General? Do you believe that you qualify? If so contact Commonwealth Contractors immediately to find out about submitting an application. In April of next year Tier 1 General will be abolished altogether however this does not mean that you have until next April to apply. Under the temporary Immigration Cap cases are worked month by month by the UK Border Agency however they are assessed on a first come first served basis. Undoubtedly the number of applications will increase significantly over the next month following the announcement therefore the number of Tier 1 General Visas may run out altogether by the end of this year! Contact Commonwealth Contractors immediately to discuss applying under Tier 1 General or alternative visa options for post April next year!

The end of Tier 1 General

The end of Tier 1 General has come as something of a surprise due to the fact that it only deals with truly highly skilled professionals. However following the recent publication of a Home Office report which found that 33% of Tier 1 General visa holders are working in low-skilled jobs such as shop assistants and supermarket cashiers the Government found that it had a case to abolish Tier 1 General in favour of a new route for persons of exceptional talent. This new visa category will be limited to 1,000 places and will be for  those migrants who have ‘won international recognition in scientific and cultural fields, or who show sufficient exceptional promise to be awarded such recognition in the future’. Migrants applying under this category will need to be endorsed by a competent body in the relevant field.

Recently, in response to the report the Coalition Government’s Immigration Minister, Damian Green, said that ‘While it is important that low-skilled jobs are filled, there are hundreds of thousands of British people who could be doing them instead of a migrant. Those coming into the UK under the highly skilled migrant route should only be able to do highly skilled jobs – it should not be used as a means to enter the low-skilled jobs market. Investors and entrepreneurs aside, this report questions the value of this route into the UK, and the findings will play a key part in discussions on how the annual limit will be shaped.’

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners

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Tier 1 Immigration Cap Reached For October

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced that is has reached the interim Immigration Cap for the month of October and no more visas will be issued to overseas applicants under Tier 1 General until the limit allocation reopens once more on Monday the 1st November 2010. If you are applying from outside of the UK you can still submit a Tier 1 General application during the current period however the visa will not be issued until the limit reopens once more. If you are applying from inside of the UK for a Tier 1 extension or to switch into Tier 1 General from another UK immigration category you will not be affected by the interim limit. How does the Temporary Immigration Cap work? The UK Border Agency operates the system on a first come first served basis with a limit placed on the number of Tier 1 General Visa applications considered in any one month. If an application is submitted after the limit for a month is reached, the application is held and considered in the following months limit. Applications continue to be accepted during the period in which the limit has been reached; however the UK Border Agency will not process an application until the next month. Applications are held in a queue by order of the date in which they are received. Applications in the queue are processed when the following month’s limit is open. If application numbers look as though they will exceed the total limit for the whole of the interim period, the UKBA will notify the individual at the time of application. What Subcategories of Tier 1 does the Immigration Cap relate to? The Temporary Immigration Cap relates to out of country Tier 1 General Visa applications only. If you are already in the UK and you wish to submit a Tier 1 extension application you will not have to worry about:

  1. The Immigration Cap, this will not apply to you, OR
  2. The Increase in Tier 1 General Points. You will not have to gain 100 points rather than 95 points to qualify

The other subcategories of Tier 1 will be excluded from the limit, namely; Investor, Entrepreneur & Post Study Worker (see below). In 2009 there were only around 1,000 Investor & Entrepreneur Visa applications and the Government believe that applicants make such a contribution to the UK that they should be excluded. Although the Post Study Work subcategory of Tier 1 has been excluded for the moment it remains to be seen whether this will be the case in April when the permanent cap is introduced. Commonwealth Contractors Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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Tier 1 General Temporary Immigration Cap Details Released By UK Border Agency

The UK Border Agency has today released details of the Temporary Immigration Cap placed on Tier 1 General (formerly HSMP), which is due to be implemented on the 19th July 2010. They have also said that the pass mark for Tier 1 General will increase from 95 points (75 points for Attributes + 10 points for English Language + 10 points for Maintenance) to 100 points. The temporary Immigration Cap for Tier 1 General is believed to have been set at 5,400 until April 2011, which is actually the same number of people who were granted approvals last year. If you are planning an out of country Tier 1 General Visa application and you have enough points to qualify at the present time you are strongly urged to submit the application now, rather than wait until after the 19th July.

How will the Temporary Immigration Cap work?

The UK Border Agency will operate the system on a first come first served basis with a limit placed on the number of Tier 1 General Visa applications considered in any one month. If an application is submitted after the limit for a month is reached, the application will be held and considered in the following months limit. Applications will continue to be accepted during the period in which the limit has been reached; however the UKBA will not process the application until the next month. Applications will be held in a queue by order of the date on which they were received. Applications in the queue will be processed when the following month’s limit is opened. If application numbers look as though they will exceed the total limit for the whole of the interim period, the UKBA will notify the individual at the time of application. Details of waiting time will be announced on the UK Border Agency Website.

As the Temporary Immigration Cap for Tier 1 General is believed to have been set at 5,400 for the remaining 8 and a half months of the financial year the monthly limits are believed to be:

  • 318 Tier 1 General applications in July 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in August 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in September 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in October 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in November 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in December 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in January 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in February 2010
  • 635 Tier 1 General applications in March 2010
  • Permanent Immigration Cap Set in April 2010

What Subcategories of Tier 1 will the Immigration Cap relate to?

The Temporary Immigration Cap will relate to out of country Tier 1 General Visa applications only. If you are already in the UK and you wish to submit a Tier 1 extension application you will not have to worry about:

  1. The Immigration Cap, this will not apply to you, OR
  2. The Increase in Tier 1 General Points. You will not have to gain 100 points rather than 95 points to qualify

The other subcategories of Tier 1 will be excluded from the limit, namely; Investor, Entrepreneur & Post Study Worker (see below). In 2009 there were only around 1,000 Investor & Entrepreneur Visa applications and the Government believe that applicants make such a contribution to the UK that they should be excluded. Although the Post Study Work subcategory of Tier 1 has been excluded for the moment it remains to be seen whether this will be the case in April when the permanent cap is introduced.

What happens if I apply for a Tier 1 General Visa between now and the 19th July 2010

If you apply for a Tier 1 General Visa between now and the 19th July 2010 your application will continue to be assessed as normal. No Immigration Cap will be applied during this period and you will be able to apply with 95 points, rather than 100 points.

What if I am already in the UK under Tier 1 General and I want to apply for an extension?

You will be excluded from the limit if you are already in the UK under Tier 1 (General) and you apply for an extension, or if you are already in the UK under another Immigration category and you switch into Tier 1 (General). For example those already in the UK on Tier 2 General Visas (formerly UK Work Permits) will be able to apply for a Tier 1 General Visa without having to worry about the cap.

Will the UK Border Agency increase Tier 1 General Requirements?

The UK Border Agency has announced that it will increase the pass mark for Tier 1 General from 95 points to 100 points. The increase is expected to come from the Attributes points scoring areas (i.e. Qualifications, Previous Earnings, Age and UK Experience) rather than the English Language or Maintenance Requirements.

An updated application form and guidance document will be published on the 19th July 2010. Please note that you will not have to meet the increased points mark if you are already in the UK in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
  • Writer, composer or artist
  • Self-employed lawyer

If you are in the UK in any other immigration category and you apply to switch into Tier 1 (General), or if you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to score 100 points.

When will the Permanent Immigration Cap be introduced?

The Permanent Immigration Cap will be introduced at the start of April 2011. Full details of the cap will be announced around the time.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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Changes to Tier 1 General in April 2010

On the 6th April 2010 the UK Border Agency will make significant changes to Tier 1 General (Highly Skilled) of the Points Based Immigration System (PBS). The changes will have a significant impact on highly skilled workers who are either planning to come to the UK for the first time on Tier 1 General or who are already working in the UK on another visa that allows an individual to switch into Tier 1 General (i.e. Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit)).

Headline Changes to Tier 1 General

  • Bachelors Degree Qualifications are to be reintroduced into Tier 1 General after a 12 month absence. In April 2009 following challenging economic conditions the UK Border Agency increased the minimum requirements for Tier 1 General from a Bachelors Degree to a Masters Degree. This change not only reduced applications from those looking to come to the UK for the first time but also the retention of existing visa holders (such as those already in the UK on a Working Holiday Visa (now Tier 5) or Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa)
  • Significantly higher bandings for the Previous Earnings requirement are to be introduced (minimum £25,000 required, previously applicants only required £40,000 to score 45 points, now £40,000 only secures 25 points)
  • 75 Points awarded for highly skilled workers with income of £150,000 or above
  • Points awarded for age right up to 39 years of age
  • Tier 1 General approvals will now be granted for an initial 2 years, after which time an applicant can apply for a 3 year extension. Previously applicants were granted an initial 3 years after which time they could apply for a 2 year extension

Tier 1 General Points Required

In order to qualify for a Tier 1 General Visa (formerly the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Visa) an individual must score at least 75 points for Attributes (Qualifications, Previous Earnings, Age and UK Experience) and validate the English Language and Maintenance Requirements.

Qualifications Requirement (Maximum 45 Points)

The Bachelors Degree Qualification has been reintroduced into Tier 1 General after a 12 month absence. Bachelors Degree qualifications were removed from the Qualification requirement due to the recession in April 2009.

  • Bachelors Degree Qualification – 30 Points Awarded
  • Masters Degree Qualification – 35 Points Awarded
  • PHD – 45 Points Awarded

In order to qualify against the requirement an individual must provide his / her original qualification. The qualification must be recognised as a qualifying degree by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC).

Previous Earnings Requirement (Maximum 75 Points)

The Previous Earnings Requirement has been revamped significantly. Highly Skilled applicants with income above £150,000 will now be able to qualify for a Tier 1 General visa outright. Otherwise the minimum earnings requirement has been increased to £25,000 from £20,000 and the bands have been shifted up significantly.

  • Previous Earnings under £25,000 – 0 Points Awarded
  • £25,000 – £29,999 – 5 Points Awarded
  • £30,000 – £34,999 – 15 Points Awarded
  • £35,000 – £39,999 – 20 Points Awarded
  • £40,000 – £49,999 – 25 Points Awarded
  • £50,000 – £54,999 – 30 Points Awarded
  • £55,000 – £64,999 – 35 Points Awarded
  • £65,000 – £74,999 – 40 Points Awarded
  • £75,000 – £149,999 – 45 Points Awarded
  • £150,000 or above – 75 Points Awarded

Please note that if you are a contractor income received in the form of reimbursed business expenses will not qualify as a suitable form of remuneration. Ideally applicants will be able to show stamped and signed payslips for a 12 month consecutive period in the prior 15 months. Gross salary before tax and social security deductions will be assessed.

Age Requirement (Maximum 20 Points)

As the Previous Earnings Requirement has increased significantly the Age Requirement has also been increased with points awarded to individuals who are aged up to 39.

  • Over 40 years of age – 0 Points Awarded
  • 35 to 39 years of age – 5 Points Awarded
  • 30 to 34 years of age – 10 Points Awarded
  • 29 years of age or under – 20 Points Awarded

Applicants normally prove age by providing a valid Passport. Age is considered to be the age at which the applicant submits the application.

UK Experience (Maximum 5 Points)

  • Qualification Obtained in the United Kingdom – 5 Points Awarded
  • £25,000 or higher in previous earnings in the United Kingdom – 5 Points Awarded

Recognising Professional Qualifications

For some time there have been calls for the UK Border Agency to recognise a greater number of professional qualifications, especially those in Accountancy and Law. In the recent announcement the UK Border Agency has said that it already awards Tier 1 General Points for Professional Qualifications and that many Professional Qualifications already exist on the Points Based Calculator. All qualifications on the Points Based Calculator have been recommended to the UKBA by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC).

The UKBA suggests that if an individual disagrees with the Points Based Calculator that should contact their awarding body and ask them to contact UK NARIC in order to assess whether the qualification is suitable.

Tier 1 General Applications

If you are a highly skilled worker who is interested in applying for a Tier 1 General Visa contact Commonwealth Contractors today for a professional visa assessment. The Points Based System is flexible and therefore regularly changes. Commonwealth Contractors OISC registered partners can ensure that highly skilled individuals stay abreast of the latest changes and give themselves the best chance of securing a highly skilled visa.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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Earned Citizenship & Identity Cards

On the 5th January 2010 Alan Johnson (the Home Secretary) confirmed that the National Identity Register is linked to an Individual’s National Insurance Number. Mr Johnson said that “a National insurance number will be used to aid identity verification checks for Identity Cards, and in time, passports”. This leads one to wonder whether, in time, National Insurance numbers will also be used to ensure a migrant has been paying taxes and has been “economically active” when applying under the new Earned Citizenship system, due to be implemented in July 2011.

The new Earned Citizenship System will be split into 3 parts:

  1. Temporary Residence (time spent on Tier 1 (formerly HSMP) or Tier 2 (formerly UK Work Permit))
  2. Probationary Citizenship
  3. British Citizenship or Permanent Residence

In order for a migrant to progress from the Temporary Residence stage to the Probationary Citizenship stage he or she will need to:

  • Spend a minimum amount of time in the UK – 5 years for Tier 1 (Highly Skilled) & Tier 2 (Skilled) migrants
  • Obey the law
  • Pass an English Language Test and / or a Life in the United Kingdom Test
  • Meet additional requirements – those on the Work route will need to still be employed and paying taxes

By providing Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants with an Identity Card and linking the National Identity Register to National Insurance Numbers will the UK Border Agency in future check with the HM Revenue & Customs to ensure tax compliance? At present a worker normally provides a letter from his or her employer to confirm that the employment is ongoing but no investigation is made by the UK Border Agency as to whether taxes are being paid.

If in future the UK Border Agency intends to check whether an individual is employed and paying taxes will they:

  • Request a letter of employment and ask the employer to declare that all taxes are being legally paid?, OR
  • Request confirmation from the HM Revenue and Customs? If so what happens where the migrant does not have a National Insurance Number? Where they have yet to submit a Self Assessment Tax Return? Where they owe outstanding tax to the HM Revenue and Customs? Will issues negatively affect an application?

Of course, all of these questions are simply theoretical at the moment, however it is worth considering as the Government has come under pressure to make it more difficult for migrants to gain UK Permanent Residence & Citizenship (hence the Earned Citizenship system). This is due in part to the prospect of UK population hitting 70 million by 2028 & greater pressure on Public Services etc.

If you are a Tier 1 or Tier 2 migrant Commonwealth Contractors recommends gaining a National Insurance Number and ensuring all appropriate taxes are paid to the HM Revenue and Customs during the course of Tier 1 or 2 employment. If you are a freelance contractor on a Tier 1 visa it may be a good idea to avoid using a Contractor Limited Company until Probationary Citizenship has been secured. For Non EEA nationals on Tier 1 visas better options exist for dealing with project billings than using a Contractor Limited Company.

For more Information call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you.

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Changes To Tier 1 In 2010

The Points Based System (PBS) is a flexible tool for controlling migration to the UK. It allows changes to be made based upon the circumstances of the day e.g. changing economic circumstances. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recently completed its review of Tier 1 and recommended the following changes to the UK Border Agency for the year 2010 / 2011:

Recommendations for Tier 1 General (formerly the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme):

  • A minimum Bachelors Degree qualification should be reintroduced to Tier 1 General, at present applicants require at least a Masters Degree of better: In April 2009 following challenging economic conditions the UK Border Agency increased the minimum requirements for Tier 1 General from a Bachelors Degree to a Masters Degree. This change not only reduced applications from those looking to come to the UK for the first time but also the retention of existing visa holders (such as those already in the UK on a Working Holiday Visa (now Tier 5) or Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa). By reducing the minimum education requirement the UKBA will:
    • encourage more fresh Tier 1 visa applications
    • improve the retention of those on Working Holiday Visas & Tier 1 Post Study Work Visas
    • reduce the number of applications currently made under Tier 2 General (formerly UK Work Permit)
  • Successful applicants should receive an initial two year stay rather than the current three years. If they are in highly skilled employment they should be able to apply for a three year extension at the end of two years.
  • Professional qualifications should be considered equivalent to a Masters Degree. Qualifications include those in Accountancy, Healthcare, Finance etc
  • The ‘Salary Multipliers’ should be reviewed: Salary Multipliers are used where an individual has income from a foreign country. The multiplier takes into affect the regional differences in income
  • Significant increases should be made to the thresholds under which applicants claim points for previous earnings. Anyone with income below £24,000 should not receive any points: At present those with income between £20,000 & £22,999 receive 15 points and those with income between £23,000 and £25,999 receive 20 points. Those that wish to claim maximum points for previous earnings in the future may also require greater income (at present 45 points are awarded for £40,000+)
  • High earners with income of at least £150,000 should not need to satisfy the educational requirement
  • Applicants under the age of 39 should receive points: At present anyone aged 31 or below scores points under Tier 1. The age category is likely to be raised due to the fact that the Previous Earnings requirement will be increased and the Salary Multipliers will be made more difficult. Younger applicants are less likely to earn as much as older applicants.

Recommendations for Tier 1 Post Study Workers:

  • The Post Study Work sub category of Tier 1 should continue, however the MAC suggests that the Government should access whether all courses and colleges should be treated in the same way.

The Government is expected to make an announcement on changes to Tier 1 in early 2010. Normally the MAC’s recommendations are fully implemented.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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