Curbs on migrants relaxed to support business

Immigration rules are to be relaxed to give greater flexibility for business visitors and firms sponsoring international migrants.

The changes are designed to show the UK is “open for business”, Immigration Minister Mark Harper said.

Restrictions will also be eased to allow visitors and tourists to carry out a short period of study or training in the UK as part of their trip.

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The changes to the business visitor route will allow employees to undertake corporate training in the UK delivered by an external company or do a short course of study.

Multinational firms will also be able to bring their own auditors to the UK on a business visitor visa, making it easier for them to complete international audits.

Under other changes to the immigration rules, international students will be able to take up corporate internships after completing their degree and it will be made easier for graduate entrepreneurs to take up skilled jobs.

The rule that blocked skilled working visa applicants who earn over £152,100 from owning more than 10 per cent of the sponsor business’s shares will also be removed.

Mr Harper said: “The UK is open for business: 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.”

Tourists will not have to apply for a student visitor visa to complete training courses, such as in English or activities such as sailing or horse riding.

It will also become easier for artists “with exceptional promise” to come to the UK to work, rather than just those who have already proved themselves to be world leaders.

The changes will also implement the plan to allow interpreters and other staff who supported the UK effort in Afghanistan to settle in the UK.

Officials will be given more flexibility to investigate applications from people seeking visas to enter the UK as religious ministers or temporary workers and from students applying for further leave to remain.