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Changes to UK Tier 1 visa from 1 October 2009

The following changes to the Tier 1 visa of the points based system will come into place on 1 October 2009:

  • The most significant change is probably that under the Tier 1 (General) visa students will no longer gain points for previous earnings before they became students. Therefore, you will only gain points for earnings over the last fifteen months if you were actually working during this time and earning a high enough salary to be awarded points under previous earnings. In practice this is likely to mean that students in the UK and recent students outside the UK wishing to apply under Tier 1 will be unable to do so. Students will probably have to come under Tier 1 Post Study Work or Tier 2. Then at a future date they may be in a position to apply for Tier 1. The Government says that this will better demonstrate an applicant's work experience and earning capability and suitability for the UK Labor market.

  • Now anyone who has studied lawfully in the UK with a relevant qualification can apply under the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category. Previously only those migrants who studied whilst in the UK as a Student, Tier 4 migrant or family member could apply. This increases the number of people who are eligible to apply under this category.

  • The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education is added to the list of eligible qualifications that may be awarded points under the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category. It is already the case that points can be awarded for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

  • 10 points will be awarded automatically for English language ability as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant for extensions where the applicant was previously granted entry as a Business person. The Business person category was replaced by the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category on 30 June 2008. This is a transitional arrangement to allow those granted a visa under the previous Business person category to extend their visa without the need to show English language ability.

  • Tier 1 Migrants will be allowed to work on the Foundation Programme or as a doctor in speciality training where their previous leave was not subject to a condition restricting their employment. This confirms an operational instruction agreed with the Department of Health.

  • A drafting error is corrected. The immigration rules now say that those migrants who were already in Tier 1 (General) or HSMP before 31 March 2009 will be awarded points under the immigration rules in place before that date. On 31 March 2009 there were changes to Tier 1 (General) so that no points would no longer be awarded for a Bachelors degree or for previous earnings under £20,000.