Earlier this year, we reported on important changes to the Tier 2 regime - the migration route for those undertaking skilled work in the UK.
The first raft of these changes are coming into force next week on 24 November 2016, as follows:
Changes to Tier 2 General route
- Minimum salary threshold for experienced workers will increase to £25,000 for new applications made on or after 24 November 2016.
- Migrants who are already sponsored and seeking to extend their visas after 24 November will not be affected.
- There are some exceptions to the £25,000 salary threshold (eg for nurses) but these exceptions will only apply until July 2019.
- Minimum salary threshold for new entrants will remain at £20,800.
- Applications for restricted Certificates of Sponsorship for UK graduates who are returning from overseas will be weighted more heavily than non-UK graduates. Those UK Graduates who apply from inside the UK will continue to be exempt from the restricted certificate of sponsorship limit.
- Graduate Trainees changing occupation within or at the end of their programme will not require a new application or a further Resident Labour Market Test.
Changes to Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (“ICT”) route
- Minimum salary for short term applicants will increase to £30,000.
- ICT Skills Transfer route will close to new applicants.
- Minimum salary for ICT Graduate Trainees will reduce from £24,800 to £23,000.
- The number of ICT Graduate Trainee places an organisation can sponsor per year will increase from 5 to 20 places.
- Tier 2 ICT migrants will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
The second raft of changes will come into force in April 2017 and include:
- An increase to the minimum salary threshold for experienced workers under Tier 2 General from £25,000 to £30,000.
- Nursing will be retained on the Shortage Occupation List but will require a Resident Labour Market Test.
- Tier 2 ICT Short term route to be abolished, after which the minimum salary for all Tier 2 ICT candidates will be £41,500.
- Tier 2 ICT Long Term migrants earning over £73,900 will be exempt from the requirement to have 12 months experience with their overseas company before they can be sponsored in the UK.
- Introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per year, per migrant. There will be reduced rates for charities and small organisations, and exemptions to the fees for those switching to Tier 2 from Tier 4, ICT Graduate Trainees and PHD level jobs. This charge is to encourage employers to invest in training resident workers.
Are your illegal working checks compliant? - New power to be introduced in relation to Illegal Working
Next week also sees the introduction of a new power under the Immigration Act 2016, allowing immigration officers to close the premises of repeat offenders for up to 48 hours where illegal working is suspected and the employer cannot show evidence that right to work checks were carried out.
Employers’ right to work checks are an area which is under increased scrutiny by the UKVI with civil penalty fines of up to £20,000 per employee increasingly being issued. All employers should ensure that their right to work policies are fully compliant and up to date and that their staff are fully trained.
With recruiting from abroad becoming increasingly complex and costly it is more important than ever that employers ensure that they are fully aware of the impact of the latest changes on their recruitment, HR and mobility policies.
Right to Work and Document Verification Training
Boyes Turner Business Immigration Group provides Right to Work and Document Verification Training where our specialists provide interactive and practical training to ensure you and your managers have the proper procedures in place to protect your organisation.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.