Graeme Kirk published the following article in the Gross and Co, Immigration Newsletter for May 2016.
"Major Future Changes to Tier 2 Announced by Government"
In response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) Report published earlier this year, the Home Office has announced that reform of the Tier 2 category of the Points Based System will be implemented in two stages, later this year in the Autumn and then in April 2017.
The main changes include:-
Tier 2 (General)
Tier 2 (General) salary thresholds for experienced workers will be increased in two phases to £25,000 in autumn 2016 and to £30,000 in April 2017, although some health and education professionals will be exempt from the higher threshold until 2019. (The minimum threshold of £20,800 for new entrants will however be maintained).
Nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupation List, but Sponsors will need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test before recruiting a nurse who is a non- EEA national.
The Government will not be implementing changes recommended by the MAC for Tier 4 students switching to a Tier 2 visa and employers will be able to continue to recruit students without being subject to the annual cap on Tier 2 (General) and without having to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test.
The Tier 2 (General) annual limit of 20,700 for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship will remain in place.
Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers)
- The current Intra Company Transfer (ICT) sub-categories will be simplified by requiring all ICT migrants to qualify under a single visa category, with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500 and the provisions will be amended to provide a route for senior managers and specialists. The Tier 2 (ICT – Skills Transfer) will close to new applications in autumn 2016 and the Tier 2 (ICT- Short-Term Staff) category will close to new applications in April 2017.
- Tier 2 (ICT- Graduate Trainees) minimum salary threshold will be reduced from £24,800 to £23,000 and the number each employer may sponsor will be increased from five to twenty.
- From autumn 2016, all Tier 2 (ICT) migrants will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and the extent to which allowances may be counted towards a migrant’s salary package is under review.
- From April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) higher earners who are able to work in the UK between five and nine years will be reduced from £155,300 to £120,000 and the requirement for at least one year prior experience at the overseas entity will be removed for migrants whose salary in the UK will be £73,900 or over.
Immigration Skills Charge
An Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per person per year from April 2017, with a reduced rate of £364 for smaller businesses and charities. There will be an exemption for PhD occupations, Tier 2 (ICT – Graduate Trainees) and Tier 4 student switching to Tier 2.
The Government intends for the changes to the Immigration Rules for work categories to be fully implemented by April 2017 and for the changes to simplify the Rules. The Government has also announced that it would not restrict or remove dependents of Tier 2 migrants’ automatic right to work in the UK, as discussed in the MAC Report.
For further information on the changes and our services, please contact Graeme Kirk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sohan Sidhu on email@example.com, or Naomi Ogo on firstname.lastname@example.org