December 21, 2010

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced that no more Tier 1 (General) overseas applications will now be accepted.  The limit set under the interim cap has been reached, and the route as a whole will be closed when the permanent cap comes into force on 5 April 2011.  In addition, the UKBA has announced an amended interim limit for Tier 2 (General), to be in force until 5 April 2011.  These announcements follow a recent UK Divisional Court judgement  that found that the interim caps in place were unlawful. 

Closure of Tier 1 (General) Overseas

Effective 23 December 2010, no more applications for entry clearance under Tier 1 (General) made overseas will be accepted.  This is because the cap, as set under the interim limit, has already been reached, and because the Tier 1 (General) category will be closed from April 2011, and replaced by a new Tier 1 Exceptional Skilled category, to run in conjunction with amended Tier 1 Entepreneurs and Tier 1 Investor routes.  More information on the recent announcement from the UK Border Agency regarding the implementation of the cap can be found in Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Global Brief here.

It is important to note that the closure of Tier 1 (General) overseas applications does not affect applications to switch into Tier 1 (General) from a different immigration category, or applications to extend existing Tier 1 (General) visas. 

New Interim Limits for Tier 2 (General) 

The UKBA has announced a new interim limit for Tier 2 (General) of 10,832 Certificates of Sponsorship, to run until the permanent cap is introduced on 5 April 2011.

This new interim limit comes after the Divisional Court hearing that found that previous interim measures (a 5% reduction for all sponsors in allocated Certificates of Sponsorship) were unlawful.

According to a statement made today by Damian Green, the Minister of State for Immigration, the Divisional Court’s ruling was based on a technicality – the interim limit was found to be unlawful because the level of the limit was not specified in the Immigration Rules.

Therefore, today, Mr Green has laid a Statement of Changes before the House of Commons which states the interim limit for Tier 2 (General) as 10,832 Certificates of Sponsorship for the period from 21 December to 5 April 2011.

Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) applications are unaffected under the interim limit.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Note that Tier 1 (General) overseas applications will no longer be accepted with effect from 23 December 2010

Note that Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship are still limited under the interim cap, but the technical process of administering the limit has been slightly amended. However, this change is unlikely to affect employers.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.  Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in the United Kingdom to provide you this update.