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UK eases visa rules to allow more business visitors and foreign students

ukborderMinisters have announced changes to immigration rules in a bid to ease restrictions faced by business visitors and companies bringing foreign workers into the UK.

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, said the amendments make clear that the UK is “open for business”.

Companies will now be allowed to bring their own auditors to the UK on a business visitor visa rather than applying for more formal transfers.

International students will also be able to take up company internships after finishing their degrees, and graduate entrepreneurs will find it easier to get skilled jobs.

The updated visa terms will benefit language and further education colleges, since visitors and tourists will be permitted to carry out a short period of study or training in the UK as part of their trip.

Home Office ministers have tightened border controls in an attempt to bring down net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015.

But Mr Harper said the UK was now 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,” he said. “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.”

Julia Onslow-Cole, head of global immigration at PwC, said she was pleased that the ministers had implemented many of the changes proposed. “By listening to business, the Home Office have demonstrated a real desire to support the growth agenda,” she said.

-FT

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