15 March 2012

million+ response to immigration rules changes

Responding to a Statement from the Minister for Immigration Damian Green MP, Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of the university think-tank million+, said: “The Home Office is using international student numbers to try to demonstrate to voters that they have reduced net migration into the UK. The reality is that few consider international students to be migrants at all and the majority of these students return to their home countries soon after they complete their studies, having made a valuable contribution to our economy and society. Rather than admit this, the Home Office seems intent on damaging the UK’s reputation as a country which welcomes international students.

“These latest changes are opposed by employers, multi-national companies, universities and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It is very unfortunate that the Home Office is being allowed to continue on a path which will undermine rather than enhance the UK’s competiveness.’’

Notes to editors:

  1. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information please contact Victoria Mills on 0207 717 1659 or 07900 277819.
  2. The Written Ministerial Statement on the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, made by the Minister for Immigration Damian Green MP, includes the following:
    a. Closing the post-study work route on the basis that ‘this route is inappropriate when UK national graduates are struggling to find work’ introducing a new Tier 1 route for Graduate Entrepreneurs and new provisions for graduates who have an offer of a skilled job to switch into Tier 2 (justified in terms of a focus on the brightest and best).
    b. Renewal of the annual limit for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) at the same level as last year of 1,000 places – a level that will remain until April 2014.
    c. Changes to the rules for entry clearance and leave to remain under Tier 2 which will apply to applications made after April 2012. Temporary leave as a skilled worker will be limited to a maximum stay of six years and will be granted in two blocks of three, rather than the current 3+2.
    d. Tier 2 migrants who leave the UK will need to wait 12 months after the expiry of their leave before applying to return under that Tier.
    e. The changes to the immigration rules for Tier 2 settlement, Tier 5 of the Points Based System, the visitor rules and the overseas domestic worker routes, will introduce a new minimum pay threshold for Tier 2 migrants eligible for settlement from April 2016, and limit the total amount of time a person may remain in the UK as a Tier 2 migrant to six years. They will also implement reforms to the Overseas Domestic Worker routes to return them to their original purpose, to enable visitors and diplomats to bring their overseas household staff with them to the UK for temporary stay. Taken together, these measures will break the link between coming to the UK to work and settling permanently.
    f. Those coming to participate in internships and work experience schemes under the Government Authorised Exchange sub-category will be restricted to one-off stays of a maximum of 12 months
    g. Sportspersons entering under the Creative and Sporting sub-category will allows individuals to undertake some guest sports broadcasting work.
    h. A new Visitor route (“Permitted Paid Engagements”) will be created outside the Points Based System for specific fee-paid engagements, which will enable some professionals, including artists and entertainers to come for up to one month without the need for formal sponsorship by a UK-based employer.
    i. The introduction of a Premium Customer Service for A-rated sponsors who wish to apply and pay for a range of benefits. These will include direct contact into the UK Border Agency, guaranteed access to Public Enquiry Office appointments and swift return of documents for their sponsored workers.
    j. Changes to Rule 323A to make curtailment of leave to enter or remain mandatory, rather than discretionary, where a migrant under Tiers 2, 4, or 5 of the Points Based System is not working or studying with their sponsor.