Legal Updates

Important changes to Immigration Rules from the Home Office

Written by Alan Platt

On 16 March the Home Office laid before Parliament a package of Immigration Rule changes. These changes mainly affect applications using Certificates of Sponsorship assigned by sponsors on or after 6 April 2017, as outlined below. For full information please contact our Immigration team.

Overseas criminal record certificates

The Home Office is extending the requirement to provide a criminal record certificate to Tier 2 (General) applicants coming to work in the education, health and social care sectors and to their adult dependents.

Immigration Skills Charge

An Immigration Skills Charge of £1000 per skilled worker per year is being introduced for employers in the Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) routes. The charge is £364 for small and charitable sponsors.

There are exemptions, however. Call our Immigration team to find out more on +44 (0) 20 7493 6151.

Immigration Health Surcharge

Since 2015 non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join family for a period of more than 6 months have to pay a surcharge. It is also paid by non-EEA nationals who are already in the UK and apply to extend their stay.

From 6 April 2017, those applying for a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) will be required to pay a surcharge of £200 per person per year. Dependents pay around the same amount as the main applicant.

Other changes to Tier 2 applications

From secondary school teacher exceptions and exemptions to immigration rules relating to family and private life, the Home Office will be bringing in a raft of changes. Call our Immigration team on+44 (0) 20 7493 6151 to obtain full details.

Genuine student rule

The Home Office is making an amendment to Tier 4, for those applying at the age of 16 or 17.

Maritime training courses

An amendment is being made to extend the current time limit for courses which are below degree level.

Probationary sponsors

Where applicants are under the 18 years old, an amendment is being made to allow sponsors who have probationary status to sponsor students to undertake courses at a lower level than was previously stipulated.

Parent of a Tier 4 (Child)

In some circumstances, the Home Office is making an amendment which will allow older siblings within the Tier 4 (Child) route to also reside with their parent(s). Also the Home Office is changing an explicit requirement with regards to Tier 4 students who rely on funding from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Call us on +44 (0) 20 7493 6151 to find out more; ask for our Immigration team.

Loans for maintenance purposes

Under the Tier 4 (General) route, an amendment is being made to allow loan funds to be paid directly to the educational institution in the UK, with the living costs portion of the loan released to the applicant before or on arrival in the UK.

For more information on any of the above changes and amendments, contact our Immigration team on +44 (0) 20 7493 6151.


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Alan Platt

I have over 40 years’ experience working in and practising United Kingdom immigration and nationality law, in the Home Office and in private legal practise. I began working for the Home Office UK Border Force as an Immigration Officer in 1983 and after spending four years based at Heathrow Airport I was seconded to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and posted to Nigeria for five years to work in the British High Commission in Lagos as a Consular & Visa Officer, dealing with a full range of UK visa applications, British Citizenship and consular matters. Upon my return to the UK I worked at Stansted Airport and then in the UK Border Force Headquarters in Croydon, training air and sea carriers operating to the United Kingdom on the detection of passengers travelling with forged and counterfeit documentation and developed and implemented legislation known as The Carriers Liability Act. In 2002 I formed and managed Platt & Associates, a United Kingdom immigration, nationality and work permit law consultancy, advising clients in the corporate and private sectors in these areas. In 2016 we merged with Gordon Dadds LLP and from this new platform continue to provide clients with clear and well founded advice on business, family and work permit options within the United Kingdom Immigration Rules and the EEA Regulations. I currently spend 100% of my time at Gordon Dadds advising clients on UK immigration and nationality matters. Outside of work my interests are classic cars and I am an active member of the MG Car Club. I also enjoy travelling and spending time with my family.

Gordon Dadds