The Home Office has announced a number of changes to the UK work permit and other immigration regulations today (September 6th).
The changes were laid in Parliament in a written ministerial statement and will be brought into effect from the start of October.
Among the headline changes are the removal of the English language requirement for intra-company transferees and adaptations intended to make it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch to Tier 2 work permits.
Immigration minister Mark Harper said that the changes were designed to demonstrate that “the UK is open for business”. He added: “We are building an immigration system that works in the national interest and supports growth. Today's changes will ensure that the UK continues to attract global talent to work for British businesses and study at our world-class universities.
"Immigration reform is working. We have tightened immigration routes where abuse was rife while still encouraging the brightest and the best to come to the UK."
Further changes to the regulations include the power to refuse Tier 4 extension applications to students that can't speak English and, on the positive side, an extension to the Tier 2 work permit rules to allow those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply through this route.
In other good news, the rules will be adjusted to allow Afghans who worked as interpreters and in other roles assisting the British forces in the country to relocate to the UK.
The changes might not go quite far enough, but they are likely to be welcomed by businesses and higher education establishments in particular, both of which have been urging the government to reconsider its crackdown on immigration in light of the UK's position as a global centre for business and education.