A new immigration cap has been announced by the government, slashing the number of skilled non-EU workers moving to the UK to 21,700. But the good news is, Aussies and Kiwis coming here on a Youth Mobility Scheme visa won’t be affected.

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visas are outside the new immigration cap, so if you’re from Australia or New Zealand (South Africans are not eligible) and under 30 then you can still apply through this route to come to the UK.

If you’re already in the UK

If you’re already in the UK under one of the skilled visa categories then the new immigration cap won’t affect you, as it only applies to those applying to enter one of the skilled categories for the first time.

If you’re in the process of extending your current skilled visa from within the UK then you will similarly be unaffected by the change. However, if you need to go home to re-enter on a new visa then the new rules will affect you as of April 2011.

So who is affected by the new immigration cap?

Firstly, the Tier 1 (General ) Visa will cease to exist from April 2011.

This route will be restricted to all but Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Investor) categories with the introduction of the ‘exceptional talent’ route (ie, sports stars and scientists) of  which only 1,000 will be available for the year April 2011 – April 2012.

If you don’t happen to be about to discover the cure for cancer then you’re probably planning to come to the UK under a Tier 2 (General) visa.

20,700 Tier 2 (General) visas will still be available and Antipodeans coming to the UK with a job offer should go via this route. However, the role on offer must be considered to be of a graduate level or above, in conjunction with the relevant criteria for the points based system.

As before, Tier 2 (General) visas will only be granted if the UK company is a registered licence holder to offer certificates of sponsorships and in offering you a job, can prove that no UK resident can fill the position.

Visa experts 1st Contact said in a statement: “This new policy will be introduced from April 2011; therefore we highly recommend you contact us as soon as possible to initiate your UK skilled visa application, thereby avoiding the cancellation of the scheme in its entirety through any of the new policies outlined above.”

If you’ve got more questions about how the new immigration cap will affect you, visit 1stcontactvisas.com

If you’ve got more questions about how the new immigration cap will affect you, visit 1stcontact.com

Related: New non-EU immigration cap announced