09-05-12 – Overview of the budget 2012

As expected, the Budget announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, on 21st March stirred much debate, not just in Parliament, but across the country. Arguments for and against its impact on businesses, individuals and the economy in general, have raged on for the last week and, much like every budget through history, everyone’s stance is dictated by how it affects them personally.  In such circumstances it is difficult to find a view that is not tarnished by a subjective outlook, but now that the dust has settled on the budget, we will try to pick through the measures and provide...

09-04-12 – Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

This route is for graduates who have been identified by participating Higher Education Institutions as having developed world-class entrepreneurial ideas or skills to extend their stay in the UK after graduation in order to set up a business in the UK. The business can be as a sole trader, a partnership or a company registered in the UK.  There can be more than one business. Graduate Entrepreneurs can switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category and need only show £50,000 of investment funds (but will be required to show the normal maintenance funds). For detailed information p...

27-03-12 – Osborne Attempts to Stamp Out Tax Avoidance – Amendments to Stamp Duty in the Budget

In an effort close off tax avoidance loopholes, the Chancellor, George Osborne, has turned his attention to the property market in the Budget. This highly lucrative business sector is seen as an area where investors can legitimately avoid tax at present and hold onto their cash by careful manipulation of figures and terminology. For example, those in the know very often have chattels (fixtures & fittings) itemised and paid for separately, thereby reducing the price of the property. As the value of the property decreases, so too does the stamp duty payable on it and, in some instances, the pro...

21-03-12 – Britain is Open for Business – The 2012 Budget

In his annual budget yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne summed up his financial plan by saying that it “unashamedly backs business”. He claims his general aim is to “reward work” and sees the measures he plans on introducing as the right way to kick start the economy. So, is it a Ronseal budget in that it does exactly what it says on the tin? Or is it, as the opposition suggests, a “Downton Abbey” budget, aimed at out of touch millionaires who think they are born to rule?  The first item on the list is corporation tax, which has been falling year o...

18-03-12 – Changes to the Immigration Rules

From 14 June 2012, the personal savings of the applicants (maintenance) under Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5 categories must be as follows: Tier 1Tier 1 applicants - Entry Clearance - £3100Tier 1 applicants – already in the UK - £900Dependents of Tier 1 applicants who have been in the UK for less than 12 months - £1800Dependents of Tier 1 applicants  - all other applications - £600 Tier 2Tier 2 applicants - £900Dependents of Tier 2 applicants who have been in the UK for less than 12 months - £1800Dependents of Tier 2 applicants  - all other applica...

28-02-12 – Automatic settlement for skilled workers to end

The Immigration Minister announced today an end to ‘automatic settlement’ for skilled workers. In order to qualify for settlement Tier 2 General workers will need a minimum annual salary of £35,000 and be paid the ‘going rate’ according to the UKBA Codes of Practice. The £35,000 threshold will remain at that level until April 2018. Those Tier 2 migrants working in a shortage occupation, in designated PhD level jobs and ministers of religion will be exempt from the £35,000 threshold. The new rules will apply to those Tier 2 General applicants whose ini...

12-02-12 – Changes affecting study, post-study work and maintenance requirements for students and workers

The Immigration Minister has announced new changes to the immigration rules affecting study, post-study work and maintenance requirements for students and workers to be brought into effect from 6th April, 2012. The Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) route will close on 5th April, 2012, and be ‘replaced’ by new provisions under the Tier 2 (General) immigration category allowing those who have graduated from a UK recognised body with a  Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD (or a PGCE or PGDE) to work for a registered employer in a skilled job if the salary is at least &p...

09-02-12 – New immigration fees and new products announced

The Immigration Minister yesterday announced proposals to increase fees for immigration and nationality applications from 6th April, 2012.  Fees are proposed to increase by an average of 2%, although some categories will see larger increases in order to keep other categories’ fees lower to ‘support wider government objectives’, i.e. subsidise those immigration routes they like and discourage those they don’t like. It was announced early last year that the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category would be closed on 6th April, 2012.  The Immigration Minister has since...

02-02-12 – Migrant Settlement

Immigration Minister, Damian Greene, gave a speech at the Policy Exchange think tank yesterday outlining plans for reform to migrant settlement.  Mr Greene stated an intention to deny settlement to migrant workers who are earning less than £31,000 a year after five years in the UK.  He also stated there would be a review of the annual limit on skilled economic Tier 2 migrants and spoke about the changes to migration already being considered.  He went on to mention ultimately replacing the current Points-Based System with a contribution-based system so that migrants must, p...

06-11-11 – New policy guidance on the marriage visa age of 21

Following the judgment of the Supreme Court in Quila and Bibi  the minimum age requirement for entry clearance or leave to remain applications as a spouse, fiancee, unmarried partner, same sex partner, civil partner and proposed civil partner will be reduced to 18 from 28th November, 2011. Those applicants who were refused on the basis of their age between 27 November 2008 and October 2011 can apply for a review of the decision by 31st May 2012.  The UKBA has issued policy guidance for previous applicants affected by the judgment.