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UNITED KINGDOM: No More Extensions for Tier 1 (General) Migrants

Following changes to the Immigration Rules in April this year, migrants holding a Tier 1 (General) visa will no longer be able to extend their leave after April 5, 2015, or apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom (UK) after April 5, 2018.

Extensions

The Tier 1 (General) category first opened to migrants in 2008 but was subsequently closed to new applicants after April 5, 2011.  To remain in the UK in this category, those migrants who have a visa expiring on or before April 5, 2015, should ensure that they submit their extension application in a timely manner before this date.

The rule changes also provide for an increase in the maintenance requirement for all tiers.  Specifically, the maintenance requirement for migrants in the Tier 1 (General) category rose from £900 to £945 effective July 1, 2014.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Where possible, these migrants should also submit an application for ILR once they have resided in the UK for 5 years either solely in the Tier 1 (General) category, or in combination with another category, where permitted by the Immigration Rules.  In any event, they will need to do so before April 5, 2018, after which date ILR in this category will no longer be an option.

To qualify for ILR in the Tier 1 (General) category, migrants will need to meet the strict residency requirements of keeping their absences from the UK below 180 days per year in any 12-month period over the 5 years preceding an application for ILR, counting backwards from the date of submission of the application.

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