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:
- The Immigration Cap, this will not apply to you, OR
- 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 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 0330 390 9021 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.