Is your business ready for the upcoming changes to the rules on Tier 2?
As part of the Government’s pledge to reduce net migration to the UK from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands, in March this year the Government announced a number of significant changes to the rules on sponsoring workers from outside the European Economic Area. A number of changes are due to come into force in autumn of this year:
- Those applying for a Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (“ICT”) visa will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per worker per year. Currently those applying for an ICT visa are exempt;
- From 24 November 2016, there will be significant changes to the Tier 2 ICT route – the skills transfer category will be closed to new applicants and the minimum salary for the short term staff route will increase to £30,000 (from £24,800);
- From 24 November, the minimum salary for experienced workers applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa will be increased to £25,000 (from £20,800); and
- The Government’s statement in March 2016 also said that extra weighting will be given to overseas graduates applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa and from 24 November they will be able to switch roles once they have completed training without applying for a new visa. The Government has not yet provided any further details on how this will be implemented in practice.
Businesses that are thinking about transferring staff to the UK under Tier 2 (ICT) visas may wish to apply now before these changes come into force.
In addition, employers should be aware of the new “skills levy” which the Government has said it will introduce in April 2017. When implemented, it is expected that organisations who sponsor workers on Tier 2 visas will have to pay an additional £1,000 per worker per year (save for small and charitable sponsors who will pay a lower charge of £364 per worker per year). Whilst some migrants will be exempt (those in PhD level occupations, on Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee visas and those transferring from student visas to Tier 2), for the majority of employers this will mean that the cost of employing someone from outside of the EEA will be significantly higher.
If your business relies on recruiting or transferring employees from outside of the EEA then you may have to review your recruitment practices, as well as budget for the increased costs of sponsoring workers once these changes take effect.
For further information on sponsoring migrant workers or advice on other immigration issues please contact Liz Timmins (Associate in the Business Immigration team): firstname.lastname@example.org or any member of the Business Immigration team.
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.