Rules announced!

The spring changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules have been announced and will be introduced on 6 April 2017.

The Statement of Changes confirms the completion of the government’s two-stage approach towards changing the UK’s skilled migration category Tier 2, as promised in March last year.

The main changes being introduced on 6 April:

Tier 2 (General)

  • Tier 2 applications could be refused if the new Immigration Skills Charge is not paid in full
  • The minimum salary requirement for experienced hires in Tier 2 (General) visa category will rise from £25,000 to £30,000 whilst the minimum salary threshold for new entrants will remain at £20,800
  • The minimum salary requirement for high earners, whose employers are exempt from conducting an RLMT as part of their application process, will increase from the current £155,300 to £159,600
  • Employers looking to employ an overseas national as part of a graduate recruitment programme will have a wider range of online platforms to choose from when conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)
  • It will no longer be necessary to conduct an RLMT or to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship if the role in question is associated with the relocation of a high-value business to the UK or a significant new inward investment project
  • Nursing, medical and teaching occupations will continue to be exempt from the increased Tier 2 minimum salary requirement and applications for such roles will be prioritised within the current points-based system

Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT)

  • The Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) Short Term visa category will close to all new applications
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per year will apply to applicants of the Tier 2 ICT category and their dependants
  • The accommodation allowances for a Tier 2 ICT migrant can now form only 30% of an applicant’s total salary package
  • Applicants earning £73,900 or above will no longer be required to have one year’s previous employment experience with the sponsor’s linked overseas entity prior to submitting their Tier 2 ICT application
  • The minimum salary requirement for Tier 2 ICT applicants wishing to extend their visa in this category for up to nine years has been reduced from £155,300 to £120,000

The government stated in its announcement that these changes are designed to “influence employer behaviour by incentivising businesses to reduce their reliance on migrant workers”.

We will soon release more detailed information on the changes being introduced in April this year.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your Smith Stone Walters immigration expert.

Click here for a full copy of the Statement of Changes.

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