This will benefit high-skilled workers and bright students

Immigration rules that would benefit high-skilled foreign workers and “exceptionally bright’’ students came into force on Saturday amid growing pressure from businesses and universities who complained that the current harsh visa regime was hurting them.

The new rules would also make inter-company transfers easier — a long-standing demand of foreign investors, including Indian companies. However, the existing limit on not allowing more than 20,700 foreign workers to come to Britain over the next two years would remain.

“Intra-company transferees (ICT) who are paid more than £152,100 will no longer need to take an English test if they want to extend their leave in the U.K. To simplify the system even more, the government is also reducing the number of documents that need to be shown by ICTs to prove they have worked for the company for more than a year,’’ the Home Office said.

Foreign MBA students graduating from British universities would be allowed to stay on for up to a year after graduating as part of the expanded graduate entrepreneur scheme. Up to 1000 will be able to stay to develop their own business idea or work in a start up after which they can apply to stay as a skilled worker or entrepreneur.

Additionally, the changes would allow PhD students to stay on after their studies for up to a year and work, without having to switch courses.

“These changes expand the existing options for international students to stay and work after their studies. There is no limit on the number who can obtain a Tier 2 visa to stay and work, providing they can get a graduate-level job paying £20,300 [a year] or more,” the Home Office said in a statement.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the changes were aimed at attracting the “best and the brightest global talent” to Britain.

"We are building an immigration system which works in the national interest — supporting the U.K. economy by continuing to attract the brightest and the best global talent, at the same time as protecting our public services and taking a robust approach against those who want to come to the U.K. simply to exploit our welfare system," he said.