UK Immigration Rules: Upcoming Changes Announced


The Home Office has published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, HC 1248.

The majority of the amendments affect UK work and study visas under the points-based system, with most due to take effect on 6th April 2021, unless otherwise stated.

Graduate route

From 1 July 2021, student visa holders in the UK will be able to apply under the new Graduate route to remain in the UK after completing their studies.

Under the new visa, graduates will be able to work in any kind of role and at any skill level for up to two years, or three years if they have a phD. There is no requirement to be sponsored.

To be eligible, applicants must attain 70 points covering criteria including graduating with a bachelor’s or master’s degree or certain professional qualifications from an institution with a “track record of compliance”.

Applicants must also show sufficient presence in the UK during their period of leave as a student, with a minimum length of time depending on the duration of the course, subject to exceptions for distance learning due to COVID between January 2020 and September 2021.

Details of the new visa can be found in the new Appendix Graduate.

Changes to UK Shortage occupation list

The Shortage Occupation List is being updated to include eight new healthcare roles:

  • 1181 Health services and public health managers and directors – all jobs.
  • 1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors – all jobs
  • 3111 Laboratory technicians – all jobs
  • 6146 Senior care workers – all jobs
  • 2213 Pharmacists – all jobs
  • 2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobs
  • 2221 Physiotherapists – all jobs
  • 6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistants – all jobs

Experienced deckhands on large fishing vessels and vent chicken sexers have also been added to the list.

Chefs, however, have been removed, although this role is now eligible under the Skilled Worker visa.

Minimum salary calculation for Skilled Workers

New guidance states the salary level for Skilled Worker visa roles must be calculated by the hour, and not by annual salary level. The change is designed to prevent sponsors from requiring workers to work excessive hours to meet the minimum threshold.

Minimum pay can not be less than £10.10 an hour, even where the annual salary is above the applicable lowest threshold, ie either £25,600 a year or the relevant lower amount if the role is a shortage occupation, the applicant is a new entrants or has a PhD.

Global talent eligibility

The application process for the Global Talent route – which is for individuals who can evidence exceptional talent or exceptional promise within certain professional fields – is being amended from 5 May 2021.

Previously, all applicants first had to secure professional endorsement from an approved body before they could proceed with their visa application.

Under the new rules, certain individuals can by-pass the endorsement stage if they have already been awarded a ‘prestigious prize’, as per Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, such as Nobel Prizes, Oscars, Golden Globes, Tony Awards.

T5 changes

Under new rules for the Temporary Creative or Sporting Worker route, the visa holder and their sponsor will be permitted to ‘stop the clock’ between engagements where the visa holder is not present in the UK. Previously, only 14 days were allowed between paid engagements.

The change is designed to align better to the needs of the creative sector.

Allocations for the Youth Mobility Scheme have also been confirmed for 2021:

  • Australia – 30,000 places
  • New Zealand – 13,000 places
  • Canada – 6,000 places
  • Japan – 1,500 places
  • Monaco – 1,000 places
  • Taiwan – 1,000 places
  • Hong Kong – 1,000 places
  • South Korea – 1,000 places
  • San Marino – 1,000 places


UK Immigration Rules: Upcoming Changes Announced 1

Gill Laing is a qualified Legal Researcher & Analyst with niche specialisms in Law, Tax, Human Resources, Immigration & Employment Law.

Gill is a Multiple Business Owner and the Managing Director of Prof Services - a Marketing Agency for the Professional Services Sector.

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