Upcoming Changes To Tier 2 Immigration Rules
On 16 March 2017, the Government presented a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 1078). Guided by the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, these changes are likely to affect business immigration, in particular those migrating to the UK under the Tier 2 points based system.
Changes to Tier 2 (General) Immigration
Tier 2 (General) migrant workers are those with an offer of a skilled job from a licensed employer. In this category:
- The salary threshold for experienced workers will increase to £30,000 for the majority of new applicants, whilst the salary threshold for new entrants will remain at £20,800;
- Nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and Mandarin will be exempted from the new salary threshold until July 2019. In addition, these professions will be allocated additional points to put them at the same level as higher paid posts;
- Posts which relate to the relocation of a high value business to the UK or a significant new investment project with a newly registered sponsor;
- Migrants who are sponsored due to the creation of a new branch or subsidiary of an overseas business and the investment involves new capital expenditure of £27 million or the creation of at least 21 new UK jobs will be exempt from carrying out a Resident Labour Market Test and from the requirement to assign a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship under the Tier 2 (General) limit;
- The Shortage Occupation List will be reviewed. Secondary school teachers in chemistry will be removed and secondary school teachers in combined science (which involve physics teaching), computer science and Mandarin will now be included;
- There will be future updates to the salary thresholds for high earners and for indefinite leave to remain applications. These will use the latest available Average Weekly Earnings data;
- Any Tier 4 migrants (Students) who wish to switch into Tier 2 (General) must have satisfied certain study requirements during their continuous stay in the UK.
Changes to Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Immigration
This group includes migrants moving between different branches of an international company.
- The Short-Term Staff sub-category, for employees who only wish to stay in the UK for twelve months, is being abolished;
- The salary threshold for senior transferees who wish to extend their stay in the UK for nine years or more is being reduced from £155,300 to £120,000;
- Transferees will no longer need to have at least one year’s experience working for the sponsor’s company overseas if they are paid £73,900 or above.
Tier 2 Criminality Requirement
From April 2017, Tier 2 visa applicants who are entering the UK to work in education, health and social care sectors, as well as any adult dependants accompanying them, will need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the past 10 years.
Changes to all Tier 2 Immigration
In addition, due to the introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge, applications will be refused if the charge is not paid by their employer.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice in relation to any aspect of skilled migration, contact our business immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.