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Applicants: Changes to the Immigration Rules come into effect

01 October 2012

As previously announced, a number of changes to the Immigration Rules are coming into effect today (1 October 2012).

New Rules now apply for extending your visa

If you are applying to extend your visa under the points-based system, all working and student routes, visiting routes, long residency routes and discharged HM Forces and UK ancestry routes, new rules will now apply.

If you have limited leave to enter or remain in the UK and wish to extend your visa, you must apply within 28 days of your current visa expirin... g. Your application for further leave will be refused if you have overstayed your visa by more than 28 days when you apply.

If you have no right to be in the country we expect you to leave voluntarily and we will enforce your return if you fail to do so. Where we need to enforce someone's return they may be subject to a ban on re-entering the UK.

Further information on the changes can be found in our news story.

Changes to Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) route

Minor changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional talent route come into effect today. These changes are intended to clarify the rules of this route and make it easier for suitably qualified applicants to apply.

The changes include:

  • An amendment to the definition of the purpose of the scheme, to explain that the "exceptional promise" aspect does not apply to the field of the arts.
  • Small amendments to the criteria used by The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy to assess applicants, following discussions with these designated competent bodies.
  • Widening the eligibility by allowing Tier 2 (General) migrants and sponsored researchers who are Tier 5 (Temporary worker) migrants to switch into the Exceptional Talent route while they are in the UK.
  • Changes to the unique reference number (URN) system.
  • Clarification of the evidence for extension applications.

New streamlined UK visa application process for students from Botswana and Malaysia

From today, Botswana and Malaysia have joined the list of low-risk countries, whose nationals applying for a Tier 4 student visa benefit from a streamlined UK visa application process.

Under the streamlined process eligible applicants will generally not be expected to provide documentary evidence of financial maintenance and education qualifications, making the application process simpler and easier. Applicants from Botswana and Malaysia will still need to meet the requirements and students must be able to provide the appropriate documents if requested. Further information on documentary requirements for low-risk nationals and who qualifies can be found on the Studying section of our website.