UK closes Tier 1 (General) Visa to applicants outside the UK, Tier 2 interim limit back in place

The UK Government is closing its highly skilled immigration route to applicants from outside of the United Kingdom on 23 December 2010; This is despite the recent High Court ruling that stated its interim immigration cap was unlawful. There is still no limit on Tier 1 visa applications made from within the UK until March 2011.

In addition, the interim limit for Tier 2 visas for skilled workers with a job offer is back in place and effective immediately. There has already been talk of a legal challenge to the reintroduction of the interim immigration cap. It remains to be seen exactly how long the interim cap will last for this time.

The limit on Tier 1 visas was ruled unlawful by the High Court on 17 December 2010; Despite this the UK Border Agency plans to impose the immigration limit (effectively closing it down as they have received enough applications before the permanent cap takes effect in April 2011).

The UK Border Agency is moving forward with its plans to impose an interim limit on Tier 2 immigration after making changes to the laws which they feel will deal with certain legal issues that resulted in the interim cap on Tier 2 visas being declared unlawful by High Court Judges on 17 December 2010.

"The Divisional Court determined that in order for the Government's interim limit policy to have legal effect the level of the limit should be specified in the Immigration Rules, as opposed to UK Border Agency guidance," the Home Office said in an official Statement of Changes document.

"The Statement of Changes remedies the matter," they added.