On 29 October 2015 The Home Office announced that it would be making further changes to the Immigration Rules. The majority of these changes will affect applications made on or after 19 November 2015.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa

One of the key changes in the Business Immigration arena for the better, and in an effort to help boost the fast growing technology sector, is in relation to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. The threshold for applicants in the digital industry has been lowered to some degree so that individuals who are in the early stages of their career and who may not have been able to satisfy Tech City’s current criteria may now qualify for this visa. Tech City UK will now be able to consider applications from individuals who are able to show “Exceptional Promise”, which is already accepted in other Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) categories.

There will also be a fast-track application procedure for digital businesses in the seven cities within Tech North’s remit (including Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester). Tech City UK will allow companies to recruit a team of up to five individuals and this will enable an entire team to apply for a visa at the same time.

For applicants to succeed in the digital technology category, they must first obtain an endorsement from Tech City UK and once an endorsement is secured, they would then need to apply for the requisite Tier 1 visa. Previously the very strict criteria meant that only a very small number of applicants were able to qualify in this category. Consequently UK tech businesses as well as the economy had been losing out by not having these talents on board. Tech City UK will now introduce a specific provision to assist companies in recruiting talented people.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category was originally designed for high-value migrants who had been endorsed by a Designated Competent Body as an internationally recognised leader, or an emerging leader, in the arts, science, humanities, engineering or digital technology sector.

Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System

The above is subject to the following changes:

  • Nurses and four digital technology jobs have been added to the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List.
  • There will be changes to clarify the charity worker rules for sponsors and applicants.
  • Minor amendments to the list of Government Authorised Exchange Schemes.
  • Setting the annual allocation of places available under the Youth Mobility Scheme for 2016.

There are also changes that relate to Private Individuals…

Asylum Claims

  • EU nationals will no longer be allowed to make asylum claims in the UK unless they are able to demonstrate exceptional circumstances in their case which would mean that their case should be given consideration.
  • There are clarifications to the Rules which determine the circumstances in which refugee status will be withdrawn.


  • Applicants applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and citizenship, who rely on an English language qualification, will be required to take a Secure English Language Test (SELTS) for applications filed on or after 12 November 2015.
  • As of 6 April 2016, Tier 2 applicants wishing to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK would need to demonstrate that they have a minimum income of £35k from their employment with a Tier 2 sponsor. Therefore sponsors might have to consider increasing salaries where the migrant workers’ salaries are below this threshold.

Family/Private Life

  • Children applying to come to the UK will be refused leave to enter where the Secretary of State considers that the sponsor or the sponsor’s partner poses a risk to the child.

If you have any questions regarding the above please contact Dhruti Thakrar – Head of Immigration, or a member of the Immigration team at Edwin Coe.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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