New changes to the UK Immigration Rules took effect from 6th July 2018.

Changes to Tier 2 Visas

In June 2018, Home office excluded overseas doctors and nurses coming to work in the UK from the visa cap under Tier 2 category.

The Home office also made it clear that when obtaining Tier 2 visa, the applicant can not directly or indirectly hold  more than 10%  of the shares of the sponsor company.

While applying for settlement, migrants residing in the UK on Tier 2 visa, who took parental leave, are now required to provide documentary evidence of birth or adoption when submitting the application.

Changes to Tier 1 visas

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Talented designers from fashion industry can now apply for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas. The competent authority will be the British Fashion Council, which operates under the endorsement remit of Arts Council England.

Tier 1 (Investor)

Home Office confirmed the evidence requirements to prove financial assets for Tier 1 Investor applicants.Applicants must submit a portfolio report to confirm the required level of investment (£2 million). These reports should be signed by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Financial institution must also confirm that the funds were invested only in investments that meet all the requirements of Home Office and there are no loans against the funds.

Changes to Tier 4 (student) visas

Home Office introduced changes to the conditions of obtaining visas for dependents whose relatives undergo postgraduate studies in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. The duration of courses, eligible to bring dependants, has now been reduced from twelve to nine months.

Also Home Office confirmed that now there is no need to submit the original document, confirming previous qualification (for example, a diploma). It will be sufficient to submit an on-line printout from awarding bodies' online checking services. However, they reserve the right to request the originals.

The Home Office has reduced the list of supporting documents while applying for Tier 4 (Student) visa for students from Bahrain, Cambodia, China, Macau, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Serbia and Thailand.

Students who undertake study or research of any length as part of an overseas postgraduate qualification will  have to provide ATAS test certificates. Previously, it was only required if the length of the stay in the UK was longer than 6 months.

The continuity of leave

Applicants who submitted the in-country applications and were refused can apply for a new out-of-country application within 14 days of the refusal. The continuity of leave in the UK will not be affected if the new application is approved.

Calculation of absences

When applying to ILR applicants who have certain types of visa categories, including working visas needs to show that they have been continuously residing in the UK for period of five years. The applicant can not be absent from UK for more than 180 days in a year. Until 11th of January 2018, the yearly absence limit could not be exceeded in  12-month period prior the date of the ILR application. However, after 11th of January 2018, new rules regarding the calculation of absences were introduced whereby, the Home Office will calculated absences of 180 days in any consecutive 12 months period during the five years of residency in the UK. This change is applicable for leave granted after 11th January 2018.

Further changes are made on the same day to discount any absences from the UK from counting towards the 180 day limit, where the absence was due to the applicant assisting with a national or international economic or humanitarian crisis, such as the Ebola crisis which began in West Africa in 2014.