The UK Border Agency has announced that it will stop accepting Tier 1 (General) applications made overseas from 00:01 on 23 December 2010. This is to ensure that we do not exceed the limit set by the government for issued Tier 1 (General) applications between 19 July 2010 and April 2011.
Tier 1 (General) overseas will not reopen for applications. Tier 1 (General) in the UK will remain open until 5 April 2011. There will be transitional arrangements beyond 6 April 2011 for some applicants who are already in the UK, and we will announce details of these in due course.
Following a court judgement on Friday, the government has also set a limit until 5 April 2011 on the number of certificates of sponsorship that are available to licensed Tier 2 sponsors under Tier 2 (General). The level of the limit will be 10,832, and the changes will take place immediately.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
The recent Court ruling is about process, not policy – the policy of having a limit has not been found to be unlawful. The court’s ruling rests on a technicality, which we have set right today to ensure that from now on the interim limit is back up and running. This judgment does not affect the annual cap in any way. The interim limit was a temporary measure introduced specifically to tackle a rush of applications ahead of the introduction of the annual limit. As a result of the volume of applications received since the interim limit was introduced last July, no more Tier 1 visa applications from overseas will be accepted after 22 December. The government remains firmly committed to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands.