May responds to pressure to relax immigration rules

14 Mar 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Theresa May, the home secretary, has responded to pressure to relax the UK immigration regulations and announced a number of improvements to the system.

The Home Office announced the changes today (March 14th) as part of a series of changes designed to streamline the immigration system while encouraging business in the UK.

Essentially, the announcement means that there will be more opportunities for students and senior executives to access UK visas in one form or another.

For students, the Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme will be extended to allow up to 1,000 international business Masters graduates from British universities to remain in the country after their period of study.

At the moment, all international graduates have the option of remaining in Britain if they find a graduate level job, but this extension is designed to offer graduates the time to find new opportunities to expand their knowledge base and contribute their skills to the British economy.

Immigration minister Mark Harper commented on the news: “Latest net migration statistics show numbers are coming under control and our radical changes are having the desired effect – abuse has been stamped out and net migration is down, while the number of skilled workers and university students coming to the UK is up.

"Today's changes will help ensure this pattern continues – we are lowering administrative burdens on employers and giving greater flexibility to those senior executives and elite graduates who want to work and study here.”

Meanwhile, high-paid employees at British businesses should find that they have less red tape to navigate when it comes to accessing visas and work permits. Employees on Intra-Company Transfers who are paid over £152,100 will no longer be required to take an English test in order to extend their right to leave and the amount of documents they need to provide is being reduced to ease the administrative burden on businesses and employees.

The final update to be announced today was the news that staff who are paid over the £152,11 threshold will no longer need to wait a year before taking up a new post.

These changes will come into effect from April 6th this year and are all designed to “encourage the brightest and the best to come to the UK”.