Tag Archives: Tier 1 General

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 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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