The 6 April 2017 Immigration Changes: Charges, Closures and Criminal Record Checks
Tier 2 Sponsors should be aware of immigration changes coming into force on 6 April which could impact any future new hires or employee moves to the UK. We have highlighted the key changes below and what they will mean to your business:
- Immigration Skills Charge: A fee of up to £1,000 per skilled worker per year is being introduced for employers in the Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) routes. This will mean that where a large sponsor issues a three year Tier 2 visa, an extra fee of £3,000 will also need to be paid towards the skills charge. We would therefore recommend assigning certificates of sponsorship prior to 6 April 2017 to avoid this cost.
- IHS (NHS Charge): From 6 April 2017, those applying for a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) will also be required to pay a surcharge of £200 per person per year. Dependants will pay around the same amount as the main applicant. At the moment this only applies to Tier 2 General holders but from 6 April it is being extended to Intra-company Transfers too, so sponsors needs to factor in this extra cost.
- Closing the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Short Term Staff category, meaning that all ICT workers, except graduate trainees, must qualify under a single route with a salary threshold of £41,500. This means that sponsors can only bring persons on a long term visa or as graduate trainees, as there will now be no short term ICT option. This does not mean that someone cannot be brought to the UK for a short period of three months or six months, for example, it just means that their annual salary must now be at least £41,500 for a Tier 2 ICT Long term visa or £23,000 for graduate trainees or the SOC Code rate, whichever is the higher.
- Reducing the high-earners’ salary for the Intra-company Transfer Long Term Staff category from £155,300 to £120,000. These high earners can also stay in the route for up to nine years, rather than the usual five years. This will allow more employees to transfer under the ‘higher earner category’ and they can stay for nine years now instead of five.
- Removing the requirement for Intra-company Transfer workers to have at least one year’s experience working for the sponsor’s linked entity overseas, for applicants paid £73,900 or above. This enables more employees to fall under this category as there is no requirement to have worked for 12 months previously overseas if the employee is paid £73,900.
- Criminal Record Checks for Tier 2 applicants and dependants: From 6 April 2017, the requirement to provide a criminal record certificate will apply to those applying for entry clearance in the Tier 2 (General) route under certain SOC Codes for Tier 2 roles, including those in education, healthcare, pharmacy, social work, dentistry and radiography amongst other roles. Certain countries can take a long time to issue the certificates and this should therefore be factored in when determining the visa application date and work start date.
To summarise, these changes introduce additional fees and potentially criminal checks for certain Tier 2 roles. This information needs to be shared with the business in order to factor in any additional costs involved and potential delays to the employee start date.
The closure of Tier 2 ICT Short Term routes will also mean that in future employees will need to enter under the Long Term Route, but this is balanced with the removal of the need to demonstrate 12 months’ previous employment where the employee will be earning £73,900 or more, as well as with the reduction of high earner salaries from £155,300 to £120,000. This is particularly helpful where there are senior moves to the UK.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Business Immigration team at Doyle Clayton.
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.