UAE expat alert: Major changes to UK immigration rules expected next week

Skilled labour programme likely to be affected, says top consultant

Big changes will be made to immigration rules for the United Kingdom next week, according to consultants dealing with immigration to the country.

While the details of the changes are not yet clear, it is expected that the skilled labour programme is likely to be affected.

Changes could also be made for current investors and business people, who can apply through the Tier 2 programme.

The UK is one of the popular immigration destinations for UAE expats seeking long-term residency abroad.

Over the past couple of years the options for skilled labourers have been at a minimum and the UAE saw mostly investors or business people take off the country. "The skilled labour programme is not a very popular programme," says Pej Mohyeddin, Immigration & Business Consultant at Bayat Legal Services.

Immigration opportunities to the UK are most appealing for investors and business people, who can apply for a visa through the Tier 2 programme.

This programme offers investors the opportunity to settle in the country on the grounds that they have a net worth of GBP2 million (nearly Dh12 million) or a capital of GBP 1 million on their account, which can be invested in government bonds, for example.

The investor option is facilitated by financial institutions, which offer to finance the investment.

"A lot of investors used to do this. But over the last couple of years the interest rate over these loans have become very high," says Pej.

"The programme is not as popular as it was before."

Business people are subdued by another list of conditions. The business person must have an amount of GPB200,000 (nearly Dh1200,000) on his account, have business experience and hire at least two UK citizens in the company.

Both groups are required to prove to have sufficient English language skills; a minimum score 7 in the IELTS test needs to be acquired.

"This year we saw maximum 25 people apply for immigration to the UK through these programmes," says Pej, adding that the skilled labour programme is not really an option at the moment.

However, the UK remains a popular destination for immigration among UAE residents and is probably the most opted country after Canada and Australia.

"People choose for the UK because it is nearby," says Pej. Other countries in the EU are less popular because of possible language barriers.

Image via Shutterstock

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