UCL News


Immigration changes: employment-related settlement, Tier 5, students and post-study work

15 March 2012

Following a consultation last summer, the government has published the immigration changes they intend to make regarding rules on employment-related settlement, Tier 5, students and post-study work.

As a result of intensive lobbying by UCL and the HE sector, there are some helpful exemptions for academic and research staff.

Subject to the laying of Parliamentary rules, these changes will be effective from 6 April 2012. The HR website will be updated on this date.


The government has reiterated its intention that the UK remains open for business, and that the UK must continue to attract the brightest and best individuals. The changes proposed will break the automatic link between coming to the UK to work and settlement for all, ensuring that 'settlement is a privilege reserved for those who make the biggest economic contribution.' Settlement means the right to apply to stay in the UK permanently.

The government intends to:

  • Continue to provide a direct route to settlement for exceptionally talented migrants under Tier 1.
  • Continue to provide a route to settlement for the best Tier 2 migrants, subject to them meeting a minimum salary threshold of £35,000.
  • Allow those who enter as PhD level scientists and researchers to qualify for settlement without having to meet the £35,000 minimum salary threshold.
  • Exempt all those who are performing shortage occupation jobs from the minimum settlement salary threshold of £35,000.
  • Allow Tier 2 migrants to extend their temporary leave in the UK up to maximum total period of stay of six years and to introduce a 12 month 'cooling off' period (i.e. they must wait 12 months before reapplying for a temporary visa).
  • Make changes to the visitor rules to allow a defined group of professionals to undertake specific fee-paid activities for short stays of up to one month without formal sponsorship requirements. Permitted activities will include visiting to give a lecture, examining students and participation in or chairing selection panels.
  • Maintain current rules on student's permission to work
  • Introduce new provisions under Tier 2 (General) for graduates who would previously have been eligible under Tier 1 (Post Study Work), (ceases 5 April 2012).
  • Introduce a new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme

For more information about these changes, contact Fiona Daffern or Bob Carey in HR.

Fiona Daffern,  Head of Employment Policy Development, Human Resources