UK Immigration Rules Changes January 2018


A number of changes have been announced to the UK Immigration Rules that will take effect from 11 January 2018.

We provide a brief summary of some of the updates. For more detailed advice or specific questions, please contact us to speak with one of our immigration law specialists.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur 

The requirements for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa have not in themselves been changed, however the new guidance clarifies and expands the previous wording.

For example, the new wording seeks to prevent ‘recycling’ of funds i.e. applicants cannot base their application on funds already ‘used’ by another applicant, or family members.

Further detail is also provided on documentary evidence, and the rules concerning creation of jobs for domestic workers have been clarified.

If you are applying for a new Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, or to extend an existing, seek advice to ensure your application meets the newly-published requirements.

Read more about the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

In support of the changes announced in the Autumn Budget 2017, the number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas allocated annually is being doubled to 2,000.

The additional 1,000 visas will be held separately, in an unallocated pool draw on a first-come, first served basis.

Exceptional talent visa holders (but not exceptional promise visa holders) are also now permitted to qualify for ILR after three years,

Resident Labour Market Test new exemptions 

In a move welcomed by the higher education sector, new exemptions to the Resident Labour Market test have been introduced in respect of researcher and reader posts.

Posts that will be held by sponsored research team members or researchers in receipt of supernumerary research Awards and Fellowships are no longer subject to the RLMT.

Indefinite leave to remain for Tier 2 visa holders

Prior to the rule change, a 60 day ‘gap’ between roles prevented Tier 2 holders from meeting the five-year requirement, and thus being able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Under the new rules, Tier 2 visa holders who have more than 60 days between Tier 2 employments are no longer precluded from applying for ILR when they reach the qualifying mark of five-continuous years employment in the UK.

Tier 4 switching to Tier 2

Tier 4 visa holders on non-PhD courses can now apply to switch to Tier 2 when they finish their course, and will no longer have to wait until they have received their final results.

PBS Visa Dependants 

PBS migrants applying for ILR are not permitted to be out of the country for more than 180 days in any 12 months during the qualifying period. Dependants of PBS migrants however had not been subject to this rule.

The new changes now bring dependents under the 180 day requirement, and will apply to all ILR applications made after 11 January 2018.

This may affect Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Investor visa holders, where the business person had been in the UK on a dependant visa to enable them to benefit from the more relaxed travel restrictions in the lead up to ILR qualification. We can advise if you have any questions on the impact of the 180 day rule on Tier 1 dependants.


From 11 January 2018, visitors who hold a standard or marriage/civil partnership visit visa will be allowed to transit the UK without the need to obtain a separate transit visa.

There is also clarification that visitors are not permitted to study at an academy or a school maintained by a Local Authority.

Electronic entry clearance 

A new electronic entry clearance system is being rolled out from 2018. Individuals with electronic clearance will only have to present their passport or identity documents at the UK border for the Immigration Officer to check electronically for entry clearance. Electronic entry clearance will be trialled initially with a pilot group, ahead of wider implementation.

UK immigration rule changes January 2018 – do you have a question?

If you have a question about how the changes affect you or your organisation, please contact us. Our team of UK immigration law experts are on hand to answer your queries.

The full statement of changes in Immigration Rules can be found at HC309


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

Contact DavidsonMorris
Get in touch with DavidsonMorris for general enquiries, feedback and requests for information.
Sign up to our award winning newsletters!
Find us on: