United Kingdom – Statement of Changes

What has changed

On March 16, 2017, the British government published a statement confirming a number of significant but expected changes to the Immigration Rules, including change minimum salary thresholds, a new immigration skills levy, changes to the legal definition of “overstaying,” and other changes to the Tier 2 General and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer immigration schemes. These changes will come into effect on April 6, 2017.

Who is affected?

  • Tier 2 General Migrants
  • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Migrants
  • Overstayers

What to expect

Tier 2 General

  • Subject to some minor exceptions, the minimum salary threshold for experienced workers is being increased from  £25,000 to £30,000. New entrants will continue to benefit from a lower threshold of £20,800.
  • Criminal record certificates will now need to be submitted with the visa application by the main applicants and their adult dependents for education, health and social care jobs.
  • There will now be a new Resident Labor Market Test exemption for overseas businesses that are entering the United Kingdom (UK) market investing at least £27 million in establishing their business here or creating at least twenty-one (21) new jobs in the UK.
  • Additional points will be allocated within the Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) processed for certain professions including paramedics, nurses, radiographers and certain secondary school teachers to bring them in line with higher paid professions.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer

  • The Short-Term Staff subcategory will be closed on April 6, 2017, which means that all new Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) migrants, with the exception of Graduate Trainees, will now need to meet the minimum salary threshold of £41,500.
  • ICT migrants with an annual salary of at least £120,000 will be able to extend their stay in the UK up to nine (9) years in total (under the current rules, those earning under £155,300 a year can only extend their stay for a maximum of five (5) years).
  • There will be no twelve (12) months’ pre-employment requirement for ICT migrants with a salary of £73,900 or above.

Tier 2 General and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer

  • Although not in the Statement of Changes, a reminder that Tier 2 ICT applications will be subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge beginning April 6, 2017. These will be required to pay £200 per person per year.
  • Annual updates are being made to the appropriate salary rates in the codes of practice.
  • Individuals will face a twelve (12) month re-entry ban if they remain in the UK for more than thirty (30) days after the expiry of their visa. This has been reduced from ninety (90) days.

Overstayers

  • The skills charge will not apply to existing Tier 2 migrants switching employers in the UK or extending their Tier 2 visas with their current employers. The exemption also extends to Tier 4 Students switching into Tier 2 General within the UK; Tier 2 (ICT – Graduate Trainees); certain PhD – level jobs; and dependents of Tier 2 migrants.
  • There is a concession for small and charitable organizations (i.e. those with no more than fifty (5) employees and an annual turnover of no more than £10,2 million). They will be subject to a skills charge of £364 per sponsored migrant per year.
  • This new levy will apply to both Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) migrants. The charge is £1,000 per skilled worker per year and is payable upfront.

Immigration Skills Charge

This new levy will apply to both Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) migrants. The charge is £1,000 per skilled worker per year and is payable upfront.

There is a concession for small and charitable organizations (i.e. those with no more than fifty (5) employees and an annual turnover of no more than £10,2 million). They will be subject to a skills charge of £364 per sponsored migrant per year.

The skills charge will not apply to existing Tier 2 migrants switching employers in the UK or extending their Tier 2 visas with their current employers. The exemption also extends to Tier 4 Students switching into Tier 2 General within the UK; Tier 2 (ICT – Graduate Trainees); certain PhD – level jobs; and dependents of Tier 2 migrants.

Overstayers

Individuals will face a twelve (12) month re-entry ban if they remain in the UK for more than thirty (30) days after the expiry of their visa. This has been reduced from ninety (90) days.

What you need to do                                                                                                                                         Planning Ahead

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