Changes to the Immigration Rules

On 15 June 2018, changes to the Immigration Rules were laid in Parliament that will come into force on 6 July 2018.

The purposes of the main changes are to:

    • Make provision for returning residents, including those affected by Windrush.
    • Create a route for Afghan locally engaged staff to apply for settlement in the UK and to extend the ex-gratia redundancy scheme by six years, to include those made redundant on or after 1 May 2006.
    • Create a new settlement route for Turkish ECAA business persons, workers and their family members.
    • Exempt all doctors and all nurses from the annual Tier 2 (General) limit.
    • Create new provisions in the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category.

Returning residents

The returning residents rules set out the provisions relating to people who have acquired indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK and who are returning to the UK following an absence overseas. This could also include those returning to the UK, under these provisions, as part of the Windrush policy.

In this part, the changes to the Immigration Rules have been made to clarify the distinction between those who have been absent from the UK for less than 2 years and so retain their indefinite leave status, from those whose indefinite leave has lapsed due to an absence of more than 2 years. Those in the latter category must now apply for entry clearance and demonstrate they have strong ties to the UK in order to be issued indefinite leave to enter.

Tier 1 visas


Since this route closed on 6 April 2018, the rules relating to indefinite leave to remain for Tier 1 (General) Migrant will be deleted.

Exceptional Talent

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route allows talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology to work in the UK without a sponsoring employer. However, applicants must be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body.

The following changes to the Immigration Rules have been made:

    • The endorsement of arts applicants is being widened to include those in the fashion industry who are operating leading designer fashion businesses.
    • Other changes are being made to the criteria for endorsement by each Designated Competent Body, including to evidential requirements and eligible awards for applicants in film and television.
    • Amendments are being made so that endorsements for Croatian nationals no longer count against the number of allocated endorsements available to each Designated Competent Body.


The European Court of Justice will no longer have true jurisdiction in the UK meaning that the Supreme Court will become the UK’s highest court. However a referral mechanism is intended to be set up, whereby an independent arbitration panel would refer UK/EU disputes over to the CJEU, where they are competent to do so. Due regard will be given to any CJEU decisions that apply to the ‘Common Rulebook’ but won’t resolve any disputes and do not necessarily need to be followed.

Other Information

The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high net worth individuals making an investment of at least £2 million in the UK.

The following changes to the Immigration Rules have been made:

    • A change is being made to clarify that, while applicants may withdraw interest and dividend payments generated by their qualifying investments from their portfolios, they may not do so if these were generated before the applicant purchased the portfolio.
    • As evidence of their investment, applicants must currently submit portfolio reports signed off by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. There has been made a further obligation on financial firms to scrutinise the suitability of applicants’ investment by having to confirm that the funds have only been invested in qualifying investments, and no loan has been secured against those funds.


The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category caters for applicants coming to the UK to set up, take over, or be involved in the running of a UK business. Applicants must have either £200,000 or £50,000 funds (depending on the circumstances) to invest in their businesses.

There are minor amendments on when letters from legal representatives confirming signatures are required, and provision for accountants to confirm the investment has been made on the applicant’s behalf.

Tier 2 visas

Changes are being made to exempt doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 (General) limit. The changes will mean that health sector employers will be able to sponsor doctors and nurses without requiring restricted Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship or putting pressure on the limit.

Amendments are also being made so that applications for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship for Croatian nationals no longer count towards the Tier 2 limit.

From 14 June 2012, the skills threshold for jobs sponsored under Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) increased from Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 4 to RQF level 6. Therefore, there has been a deletion of references to jobs sponsored at level 4 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework.

A change is being made to expand the restriction on Tier 2 migrants holding more than 10% of shares in their sponsor so as also to restrict such ownership being held indirectly, such as via another corporate entity.

According to the changes to the Immigration Rules, applicants applying after 6 July 2018 who have been absent on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave will now need to submit evidence of the adoption or birth.

New Turkish settlement rules

New rules for Turkish nationals are being introduced to allow business people, workers and their family members to obtain indefinite leave to remain. Qualifying Turkish nationals will be able to settle in the UK after five years’ residency as either an ECAA business person or ECAA worker (or equivalent Points Based system routes), as long as the most recent period of leave was under the ECAA.

New asylum rules for children

Children transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (the Dubs amendment) who do not qualify for refugee or humanitarian protection, will now be entitled to a new form of leave to remain in the UK long term. They will be able to study, work, access public funds, healthcare and apply for settlement, after five years, without paying a fee.

Electronic visa waiver (EVW)

Improvements are being made to EVWs so that travellers from Oman, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait can present their EVW in either electronic or paper form, allowing for a smoother journey to the UK.

It should be noted that this blog post provides general information regarding the changes to the Immigration Rules.

If you are planning to apply for a visa or have any question about the procedure, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Law Department at +44 (0) 1273 696962 to discuss your eligibility and the options available to secure a visa. Alternatively, you can request a callback, or email You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for any other important news and updates.