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Applying for a Tech Nation Visa? You need to know about these changes
The Tech Nation Visa remains in high demand. Since the beginning of April 2016 we have received more than 170 applications, more than 110 of which have been endorsed. Less than 90 endorsements are still available until April 2017.
On 3 November 2016, the Home Office published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules which govern applications for the Tech Nation Visa and other immigration routes in to the UK. Minor changes have been made to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa, of which the Tech Nation Visa is a sub-category, but there are no fundamental changes which will affect you applying for this visa or your company using it to bring staff in to the country this way.
There are some important changes that have been made which our partner law firm Ward Hadaway recommend that you are aware of:
Changes to the ’28 day’ rule
Visa applications submitted from within the UK should be done so before your current visa expires. For a number of years, if you stayed in the UK after your visa expired for 28 days or less, this period of overstaying would not automatically lead to a subsequent visa application being refused. The 28 day rule is now going to be abolished.
However, a visa application will not be refused if the application is made within 14 days of your current visa expiring if you explain in the application and the Secretary of State considers that there is a good reason beyond your control why you could not make the application before your visa expired. One of the worst things you can do is become an over-stayer, and what little flexibility there was is being severely restricted.
Tier 2 General salary threshold
If you are sponsored or your business sponsors employees under the Tier 2 General category; the salary threshold for experienced workers has been increased to £25,000 for the majority of new applicants. This will take effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after 24 November 2016. The salary threshold for new entrants has been maintained at £20,800.
If you apply to extend your visa in this category before 24 November 2016, the £25,000 threshold will not apply. In April 2017, the Government intends to increase the threshold to £30,000. If you are due to extend your Tier 2 General visa in the near future and your salary is less than £30,000, it is recommended that you consider applying to extend sooner rather than later.
Many visas, including the Tech Nation Visa, allow the visa holder to bring their family partners to the UK. A new English language requirement is being introduced for partners and parents from outside the EU.
Get free visa advice
We’ve partnered with law firm Ward Hadaway to offer free Visa Surgery Sessions in November. Whether you want advice about the Tech Nation Visa, sponsoring staff under Tier 2, extending or switching your visa, you can reserve a free, 30-minute one-to-one session with an expert. Book a slot now.