For existing Tier 1 General visa holders, there are now only 6 months remaining for applicants to extend their current permission to stay in the UK under this visa category.
Do not leave your visa application until the last minute; otherwise you may be faced with the unfortunate situation of having to leave the UK.
The Tier 1 General visa, formerly known as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), is closed to new applicants.
This visa category opened in 2008 as a replacement for the HSMP and was part of the five-tier points-based immigration system introduced by the last Labour government in the UK.
The Tier 1 General visa allowed individuals who were “highly skilled” from around the world to come and live and work for any employer in the UK, including working for themselves.
Closing the category to new applicants
The Home Secretary announced its intention to close this visa category on 23 November 2010 and did so in two stages.
On 23 December 2010, the government closed the visa category to overseas applicants. On 06 April 2011, the government also closed the visa category to new applicants already resident inside the UK.
Closing extension applications to current Tier 1 General visa holders
From 6 April 2015, individuals on a Tier 1 General visa will no longer be able to extend their permission to stay in the UK under this visa category.
What are my options?
If you are facing this situation, then you have three options which will allow you to stay in the UK:
- If you applied for your initial Tier 1 General visa before 6 April 2010, then you can extend your current Tier 1 General visa before 6 April 2015 for a further two years (but you will not be able to extend your Tier 1 General visa again under this category); or
- Switch into another visa category before the expiration of your current Tier 1 General visa; or
- If you have completed 5 years or more in this visa category and you are eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) also known as UK permanent residency, then assuming you meet the ILR requirements, you may apply for ILR in the UK.
Unsure of what to do next or how to extend or switch your visa?
Redfern Legal can assist you with your immigration matters by providing you with sound advice and practical assistance to ensure that you choose the best visa route for your circumstances. We are able to complete your visa application for you from start to end and help you gather the correct supporting documents and submit the application in a timely manner.