UK: Home Office Announces Reforms to the Tier 2 Visa Category

The Home Office has announced the overall objective of the reforms to the Tier 2 visa category, following the recommendations presented by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in January 2016. They are to significantly reduce the reliance on foreign workers and to protect UK job opportunities for those not subject to immigration control in the UK. The changes are to be implemented in two phases: Autumn 2016 and April 2017.

Overview of Changes:
 

Autumn 2016

Tier 2 General:

  • Minimum category threshold for experienced workers to increase to £25,000

  • There will be an exemption to the increased rate for experienced workers for selected health and educational professionals – exemption will end in 2019

  • Minimum category threshold for new entrants is to be maintained at the current rate

  • Overseas graduates will be given extra weight in the Tier 2 General monthly allocation panel reviews

  • Graduates will be able to switch roles within a company once they have secured a permanent job

Tier 2 ICT:

  • The minimum threshold for the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category to increase to £30,000

  • The minimum threshold for the Tier 2 ICT Graduate Trainee category to reduce to £23,000, and the number of places available to sponsors will increase from 5 to 20 per year.

  • The Tier 2 ICT Skills Transfer Category will be abolished

  • Tier 2 ICT migrants will not longer be exempted from to the Immigration Health Surcharge payments
     

April 2017

Tier 2 General:

  • Minimum category threshold for experienced workers to increase to £30,000

  • An exemption will apply to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and priority will be given in the Tier 2 General monthly allocation panel reviews, where the request  concerns a relocation of a high-value business to the UK or a potential inward investment project.

Tier 2 ICT:

  • The Tier 2 ICT Short Term Category will be abolished

  • The 12 month-month experience requirement for ICT migrants will be removed for transferees paid over £73,900

  • The salary threshold for ICT high earners extending their visas beyond 5 years to a maximum of 9 years will be reduced from £155,300 to £120,000

Other changes:

  • Immigration Skills Charge will apply from  April 2017. The rate is set at £1,000 per person however, there is a reduced rate of £364 per person that will apply to small and charitable sponsors. An exemption will also apply to PhD roles, Tier 2 ICT Graduate Trainees and to those switching from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 visa.

  • Over the next two years the transitional arrangements in place for workers sponsored at NQF levels 3 and 4 will be closed out.

 

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss how the above changes may impact your business, please contact us at enquiries@newlandchase.com.

 

 

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