United Kingdom – Changes to Immigration Rules Announced

What has changed

The Home Office has announced changes to the immigration rules which affect the Tier 2 working route and family settlement applications.

Who is affected?

  • The Tier 2 working route and family settlement applications

What to expect

Tier 2:

From November 24, 2016, the following changes will apply:

  • An increase in the Tier 2 General salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000
  • An increase in the Tier 2 Short Term Intra Company Transfer salary threshold to £30,000
  • A reduction in the Tier 2 Graduate Trainee Intra Company Transfer salary threshold to £23,000 and an increase in the number of places per company per year from five (5) to twenty (20)
  • The closure of the Skills Transfer Intra Company Transfer route

The anticipated Immigration Health Surcharge for Intra Company Transfers will be announced in due course.

Also, from November 7, 2016, a new priority service for Tier 2 and 5 sponsors has been introduced:

For A rated sponsors, at a cost of £200 per request, the following can be requested:

  • In year certificate of sponsorship (CoS) allocation
  • Follow on CoS allocation
  • Add new Level 1 user
  • Replace an authorizing officer (AO)

Of particular importance is the follow on certificate of sponsorship allocation. Many sponsors throughout the year will run out of either Tier 2 General unrestricted certificates of sponsorship or Intra Company Transfers. This will be particularly useful as for a fee of £200 a request can be submitted for an increased allocation which will be dealt with in five (5) working days.

Partners of British or Settled persons:

From May 1, 2017, when those residing in the UK as partners of British or settled persons extend their leave in the UK, they will need to demonstrate that they can speak the English language at level A2 of the Common European Framework or above. Previously, the level required was A1 of the Common European Framework. At some point the Home Office will announce that this will refer to all new applications as well.

General immigration change:

A change to the period within which applications for further leave to remain can be made by over stayers:

The current twenty-eight (28) day grace period for the consideration of applications for further leave to remain where the person has overstayed will be abolished for applications made on or after November 24, 2016.  Instead, an out of time application will be accepted only where the client applies within fourteen (14) days and has a good reason for applying out of time that was beyond their or their representative’s control.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.