Automatic settlement for skilled workers to end
As part of the government's commitment to reviewing the immigration system, a consultation was launched last summer proposing reforms to employment-related settlement, Tier 5 and overseas domestic worker routes.
Immigration Minister Damian Green has now announced the government's response to this consultation. The proposed changes will mean that skilled migrant workers coming to the UK under Tier 2 of the points-based system will no longer be able to settle in the UK simply based on the amount of time they have spent in the UK.
A new minimum pay threshold will also mean that only the brightest and best workers, who strengthen the UK economy, will be able to apply to stay in the UK permanently.
The new rules will break the link between coming to the UK to work and staying forever. Exceptionally talented people, investors and entrepreneurs will continue to have the option to stay. Skilled temporary workers wanting to apply for settlement will have to earn at least £35,000 or the going rate for their job, whichever is higher.
Migrants doing jobs which are in shortage, and scientists and researchers in PhD-level roles, will be exempt from the £35,000 threshold. Temporary permission to enter and remain in the UK will be capped at six years, to reinforce the temporary nature of Tier 2.
The government also plans to make changes to the visitor rules to allow a defined group of professionals to undertake specific fee-paid activities for short stays of up to one month without formal sponsorship requirements.
Source: UK Border Agency