UK Immigration Law
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Tier 1 visas don't need to be "activated" in my experience, they are valid from the date they are granted and stamped in your passport and remain so unless you are found in breach of the immigration rules (eg. crime).
Most Tier 1 visas are usually granted for two years, sometimes three. Check to ensure that it is valid for the whole three years. If this is the case then the visa will still be valid.
Your ability to extend your visa in country will be affected to the extent that your previous earnings for the 12 months before the date you submit your application to extend. If you still have the requisite amount of points then you should be fine. If the decrease of points takes you below the threshold then you won't be successful in extending your visa,
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If you look at Rule 245(D) (i-iv) you can see that you visa is subject to conditions. If the conditions are breached then this invalidates your visa. I assume you have not registered with the police but if you look at Rule 326 and then Appendix 2 you will see that as Australia is not listed as one of the countries and therefore there is no requirement upon you to do this unless it was made a specific term of your visa by the immigration officer acting in your original application.
I have had experience with persons who have been granted Tier 1 and have not exercised it in the normal way, yes. Not quite for as long as yours, one year is the longest.
It is worth noting that the UKBA retains discretion in all these matters. It is a possibility that you may be stopped and asked why you have not been in the UK for that period of time, but if you can offer a reasonably explanation as to why (eg. unforeseen change of circumstances at the time which have now resolved themselves) then this would usually be accepted. It would be preferable for you to have some documentary evidence to add credibility to your explanation.
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There is no express provision in the rules about no time limit or a mention of a specify time limit being imposed.. They retain discretion in this regard. If it were the case that your visa is automatically curtailed after an absence from the Uk then it would be mentioned in the rules.
If you are very worried then you can write to them, explaining your the absence and the reasons for it and requesting they confirm in writing that your visa is still valid.
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