Immigration newsflash: Important Tier 2 changes due to be brought in on 24 November 2016
In March 2016 the government announced how it intended to implement the Migration Advisory Committee’s report into changes to Tier 2 and sponsorship of non-EEA nationals by UK businesses. As we reported at the time, the government’s position contained both positive and negative implications for business.
The government decided that the changes would be introduced in two tranches, the first in ‘Autumn 2016’ and the second in April 2017. The details have just been announced and the key implementation date for the first set of changes will be 24 November 2016. All certificates of sponsorship assigned on or after 24 November must comply with the new rules. The main changes are:
- Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000. The rate for New Entrants remains at £20,800. The Experienced rate will be increased further to £30,000 in April 2017. Note that there are some exemptions in place for certain roles including nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers.
- Increasing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000.
- Closing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category.
- Reducing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places available to 20 per company per year.
- Applicants sponsored in graduate training programmes may change occupation within the programme or at the end of the programme without their sponsor needing to carry out a further Resident Labour Market Test or to make a new application. This is a fairly narrow interpretation of the initial announcement but will be useful in some cases.
- Nurses are retained on the Shortage Occupation List but the rules are changed to require a Resident Labour Market Test to be carried out before a nurse is assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship. The rules on pre-registration nurses are also consolidated.
- The rule governing when students are permitted to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 will change. This will now only be allowed where the student studied at a ‘UK recognised body or body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution’.
Please note that the date from which Intra-Company Transfers will be liable for the Immigration Health Surcharge (£200 per year) has not yet been announced but we will let you know once it has been.
There are also a number of small amendments to various rules and we await the publication of the new guidance documents to assess their practical impact. Please do contact us for detailed advice. It remains of utmost importance that sponsors only assign certificates of sponsorship in the correct circumstances - failure to do so will lead to the Home Office investigating and implementing sanctions against the sponsor. Getting it right first time is key.
The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.