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IMMIGRATION RULES UPDATE – UK VISA GUIDANCE IN 2021

Since January 2021 all nationals planning to come to the UK should meet the requirements of newly-introduced immigration routes, in other words, no matter what passport you have you will be ‘treated equally’ when applying for a visa to come to the UK.

Since the start of 2021, European Union (EU) citizens not already living in the UK have been treated the same way as those from the rest of the world. They need to apply for any visa that is most relevant to their personal circumstances.

Here is a review of immigration rules launched in 2021.

Skilled Worker (previous Tier 2 route) Visa is an option if you have secured skilled employment in the UK. Before applying for the visa, you should have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from an organisation that has a sponsor licence.

New post-Brexit rules say that resident labour market test is no longer required. Nevertheless, when applying for a sponsor licence the employer will need to clarify how they identified their prospective employee (if they have one) and provide some evidence of this, e.g., screenshots of their adverts, letter from the recruitment agency, etc.

In support of the application the following documents have to be provided: certificate of Sponsorship; proof of financial maintenance in the UK; proof of English Language level; Criminal Record Certificate from the countries you lived more than 12 months; Tuberculosis Test Certificate (for certain countries only).

Family Members (‘dependants’): You can apply to bring your family members with you as dependants on your application, subject to meeting requirements. This includes being able to prove that they can be financially supported.

 The fees for application consideration are as follows:

If you’re applying from outside the UK, the standard fee depends on whether you’ll be in the UK for:

  • up to 3 years – £610 per person
  • more than 3 years – £1,220 per person

If you’re applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, the standard fee depends on whether you’ll be in the UK for:

  • up to 3 years – £704 per person
  • more than 3 years – £1,408 per person

Immigration healthcare surcharge is also additionally paid, e.g., for 3-year visa it will cost extra £1,248.

The other important category introduced in July 2021 was Graduate Route – visa giving a permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK. the applicant must be in the UK when they apply.

You can apply if your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa; you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa; you’ve successfully completed that course

How long you can stay

A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years. If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years. Graduate visa cannot be extended, however, can be switched to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.

You must apply before your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.

You can apply as soon as your education provider (such as your university or college) has told you that you’ve successfully completed the course you took with your Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate.

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks.

How much it costs

When you apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to:

pay the application fee – this is usually £700

pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK

With a Graduate visa you can:

  • work in most jobs
  • look for work
  • be self-employed
  • continue living in the UK with your partner and children, if they’re eligible
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK

Innovator and Start-Up visa replaced entrepreneur route and can be a good choice for those who have innovative ideas to implement in the UK.

You can apply for a Start-up visa if:

  • you want to set up an innovative business in the UK – it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements

You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • a new idea – you cannot join in a business that is already trading
  • innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • viable – it has potential for growth

How long you can stay You can stay for 2 years if you either:

  • come to the UK on a Start-up visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK

Start-up visa cannot be extended.

You may be able to switch to an Innovator visa if you set up a business while on a Start-up visa and:

  • your endorsing body assessed and agreed it
  • it is active, trading and sustainable
  • you have day to day involvement in it

Fees

How much you pay for a Start-up visa depends on your situation and where you apply from.

Who you’re applying for   Apply (outside the UK)     Switch (in the UK)

Yourself                                             £363                                       £493

Your partner and children           £363 each person               £493 each person

You must prove you can read, write, speak and understand English to a level B2

Supporting yourself: You need to have had at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply, or if you’ve been in the UK for less than a year and applying to switch to this visa.

Requirements to be met for an Innovator visa:

  • you want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK – it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market
  • your business or business idea has been endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • new – you cannot join a business that is already trading
  • innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • viable, with potential for growth

How long you can stay: you can stay for 3 years.

Fees

How much you pay for an Innovator visa depends on your situation and where you apply from

Who you’re applying for   Apply (outside the UK)     Extend or switch (in the UK)

You                                                    £1,021                                               £1,277

Your partner and children           £1,021 each person            £1,277 each person

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

With an Innovator visa you can:

  • set up a business or several businesses
  • work for your business – this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 3 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You cannot:

  • do any work outside your business, for example work where you’re employed by another business
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension

If you want to set up a new business

You must have at least £50,000 in investment funds to apply for an Innovator visa if you want to set up a new business.

You’ll need to prove where you got your funding from.

You do not need any investment funds if either:

  • your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa
  • you’ve changed your business and already agreed it with your endorsing body

Sharing investment funds

You can form a team with other Innovator applicants, but you cannot share the same investment funds.

Your team must have £50,000 for each Innovator applicant. For example, if you have 2 Innovator applicants, your team must have £100,000 to invest.

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Master Legal Services is a company Registered in England & Wales No.10309474. We are authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

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7 Bell Yard London,

WC2A 2JR

Email

a.s@master-legal-services.com

Phone

020 8935 5205

+44 7710987064

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