Annual limit for Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa applications
The Home Secretary implemented annual limits on Tier 2 applications from April 2011. Certain sections of Tier 1 were closed to new applicants. The current position is set out below.
- Tier 1 (General) route closed to new applicants.
- Tier 1 (Post Study Work) was closed to new applicants from April 2012.
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) was amended to introduce a lower investment threshold of £50,000 where the funding is from a venture capital firm or a government department. The £200,000 threshold for other applications remains untouched..
- Tier 1 (Investor) was amended to include two accelerated routes to settlement on investment of £5 million and £10 million.
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Investor) routes are not subject to a limit on numbers.
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) was introduced for migrants who have won international recognition in scientific and cultural fields, or who show sufficient exceptional promise to be awarded such recognition in the future. Applications by those with exceptional promise must be endorsed by a competent body in the relevant field. The 'exceptional talent' category is subject to a limit of 1,000 places.
- The Tier 2 (General) route is subject to a limit of 20,700 places for 2012/13.
This limit will not apply to:
- in-country applications from those already in the UK;
- dependants of Tier 2 migrants;
- Tier 2 (General) applicants who are filling a vacancy with a salary of more than £150,000;
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson) applicants;
- Tier 2 (Minister of religion) applicants; and
- Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) applicants.
- Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) applicants in the Established staff sub-category can stay in the UK for up to 5 years if they are paid more than £40,000 per year; those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 are able to enter for up to 12 months within a specified period.
- Tier 2 (General) applications are now restricted to graduate-level vacancies which are assessed to be at level 6 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF6). The Migration Advisory Committee advises UKBA as to what should be considered as "graduate-level", and UKBA amends the shortage occupation list accordingly. Existing Tier 2 (General) migrants in jobs below graduate level are be able to extend their permission to stay if they meet current requirements.
- The minimum level of English language competency for Tier 2 (General) applications is intermediate level (B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference).
- Applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship are considered on a monthly basis. If the monthly allocation is oversubscribed, applications will be ranked according to:
- shortage occupations in the first instance;
- whether the post requires higher academic qualifications; and
- Potential workers who are granted a certificate of sponsorship have 3 months in which to apply for a visa.