The UK government has closed the Tier 1 (General) route for applications made overseas as it expects the interim limit for Tier 1 (General) applications to be reached imminently. Since the Tier 1 (General) route will be closed permanently from April 2011, the overseas route will not reopen.
The UK Border Agency will stop accepting Tier 1 (General) applications made overseas from 00:01hrs (GMT) on 23 December 2010. Applications submitted and paid for overseas up until the end of 22 December 2010 will be processed as normal. Any applications received after this time will be rejected.
Please note that Tier 1 (General) applications made in the UK will remain open until 5 April 2011. Applications to extend existing Tier 1 (General) visas, applications to switch into Tier 1 (General) from a different immigration category, and applications from dependents can therefore be made as normal.
I realize people in the UK have a lot to worry about right now, from benefit cuts to the VAT increase to stagnant unemployment rates, and so probably no one cares but me.
It's hard to explain why, but this hurts. My Tier 1 (General) visa expires in 2012. After that, I have no choice but to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if I want to stay. It so happens that I've been here, and employed continuously, for long enough that I should qualify. It also happens that I plan to settle here. Somehow, though, I find the closure of the scheme tantamount to being told I'm unwelcome. At least when the HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) scheme was shut down, it was because it was replaced by the improved, streamlined Tier 1 scheme. This feels like having a door slammed in your face.