Statement of Changes in UK Immigration Rules: Summary of Key Changes for Tier 2

Last month, February 2015, the House of Commons ordered a change to the Immigration Rules. These will be implemented on the 6 April 2015 below we set  out the most important of the changes that Tier 2 sponsors should be aware of.

Annual allocation limit

This year”s annual allocation limit for Tier 2 (General) remains unchanged at 20,700  for the year. This allocation will run from 6 April 2015 to 5 April 2016. However, it is important to note that 2,550 of this allocation  is to be made available from 5 April to 4 May 2015. The remaining quota of 20,700 will be distributed over the remainder of the year with any unused allocation rolling over to the following month in the usual way.  On average this will allow 1650 CoS allocation over the remaining 11 months.

Cooling off period

The 12 month cooling off period will no longer apply to those who were granted Tier 2 visas for 3 months or less. Thus, allowing businesses to transfer key staff for a very short period of time without the migrant needing to “cool off” before they reapply to enter the UK. This will allow further flexibility as migrants will be able to come to the UK for multiple consecutive short assignments.

Minimum Qualifying Salary for Settlement

From April 2016, all eligible Tier 2 migrants who intend to apply for settlement will need to meet a basic salary requirement before they qualify to do so.

In 2016, the minimum threshold will be £35,000 and this will steadily increase over the years. Please see below:

–          2018: £35,500

–          2019: £35,800

–          2020: £36,200

Other changes in relation to applying for Settlement

The Statement of Changes also provides that, whilst for Tier 2 (and Tier 1) settlement applications the absences allowed are 180 days in each 12 month visa period, any days spent assisting with the Ebola Crisis in West Africa will be discounted.

Salary Threshold for Tier 2

The minimum salary thresholds for Tier 2 will be increased from 5 April 2015.



Current Threshold

New Threshold

Tier 2 (General)

Qualifying Tier 2 (General) jobs



Tier 2 (General)

Jobs which are exempt from advertising in Jobcentre plus (but must still meet the RLMT rules)



Tier 2 (General)

Jobs which are exempt from annual limit, 12 month cooling off period and RLMT



Tier 2 (ICT)

Short term staff, Skills Transfer or Graduate Trainee (max 6 months or 1 year)



Tier 2 (ICT)

Long Term (max 5 years)



Tier 2 (ICT)

Qualify for extension of up to 9 years and exempt from cooling off period




Changes to the Shortage Occupation List

From April 2015, jobs on the Shortage Occupation list will be given higher priority within the Tier 2 General annual limit and will more importantly exempt the jobholder from the earnings threshold when they apply for settlement. They must still however be paid according to the appropriate rate for the occupation.


Although we are seeing the usual increases in salary thresholds etc., most of the above changes are positive ones, especially the removal of the cooling off period for short assignments which will certainly be welcomes by employers whose migrants work on a project basis. However if a sponsor is concerned about the above, please contact us

Contact Newland Chase