6 April 2017
The latest changes to the Immigration Rules come into force today, together with a range of fee increases. The main changes for employers and sponsored workers include:
Tier 2 (General)
- The minimum salary threshold for experienced workers has increased to £30,000 (subject to certain exceptions, remaining at £20,800, including new entrants (eg those under the age of 26 or students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2) and certain medical and teaching roles).
- The minimum salary threshold for "high-earners" (the benefits of which include exemption from the Resident Labour Market Test (“RLMT”)) has increased to £159,600 (currently £155,300).
- Websites which may be used for graduate recruitment to satisfy the RLMT now include any freely-available, prominent graduate recruitment website.
- A new exemption from the RLMT and the annual cap on restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) applies to posts which support the relocation of a high value business to the UK or significant new inward investment project - of at least £27 million and leading to the creation of at least 21 new UK jobs.
Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)
- Tier 2 (ICT - Short Term) has closed – for CoS assigned from 6 April 2017, the Tier 2 (ICT – Long Term) criteria must be satisfied, including the higher minimum salary of £41,500.
- The minimum salary threshold for "high-earners" is reduced to £120,000 (from £155,300), allowing more intra-company transferees to extend their stay up to a maximum of nine years (rather than five).
- The requirement to have been employed by the sponsor for a minimum of 12 months has been removed for applicants with an annual salary of £73,900+.
- The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £200 per year now applies to Tier 2 (ICT) migrants and their dependants.
Immigration Skills Charge (ISC)
- The new Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) imposes a levy of £1,000 per year for each Tier 2 migrant (or £364 for small businesses (with annual turnover £10.2million or less and 50 employees or fewer) and those in the charitable sector). PhD-level roles and students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General) are exempt.
Criminal record certificates
- The criminal record certificates requirement is extended to certain healthcare, education and social welfare professionals applying for entry clearance under Tier 2 (and their adult dependents).
Important changes relating to overstay
- The period of overstay before a re-entry ban of 12 months is triggered has been reduced to 30 days (from 90).
If you have any queries in relation to any of the changes, please contact your usual LDS lawyer or firstname.lastname@example.org.