/The Government has announced changes to the Immigration Rules which will affect Tier 2 visa applications made on or after 24 November 2016.

These changes are predominately designed to streamline Tier 2 ICT into a single visa category. The changes will be introduced in November 2016 and April 2017.

The following changes will come into effect for all Certificates of Sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsor on or after 24 November 2016:

– Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000, with some exemptions;
– Increasing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000;
– Reducing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year; and
– Closing the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category.

The Government is due to announce the date from which Intra Company Transfers will be liable to pay for Immigration Health Surcharge.
The statement also includes a new English language requirement for partners and parents, which will be introduced on 1 May 2017, at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This will affect applicants for further leave to remain in the UK as a partner or parent, after completing 30 months (2.5 years) on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM.

The government will also not authorise Tier 4 visa holders to switch to Tier 2 if they hold a qualification from an institution which is not a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution.

What we would advice:

It is important that employers are aware of the changes. If you are an employer you will need to:

– assign Tier 2 General (experienced worker) Certificate of Sponsorships with salaries below £25,000;
– assign Certificates of Sponsorships for Tier 2 Intra Company Transferees in the short term staff category where their salary is less than £30,000; and
– assign Certificates of Sponsorship of any Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills route sub-category.
Employers need to do this by no later than 23 November 2016.
Please note that after 23 November 2016, the Tier 2 (ICT) skills transfer sub-category route will be closed.

Our Views:

These changes will make it difficult for employers to employ skilled workers. It will also make it tough for Tier 2 staff to be transferred. We believe that the government will completely abolish the Tier 2 ICT transferee’s short term staff sub-category by April 2017. As a result, employers will need to consider the implications on their businesses in the upcoming 6 months.
At LUPINS we understand that employers wanting to transfer short-term staff to the UK will find it more difficult to do so.

Key Contacts:
Lawrence Lupin – Founding Director/ Business Immigration Solicitor
020 8733 7200 / l.lupin@lupinslaw.com
Tamana Aziz – Senior Solicitor
020 8733 7216/ t.aziz@lupinslaw.com
Anitha Gopal: Immigration Caseworker
020 8733 7243/ a.gopal@lupinslaw.com

By | 2017-05-15T13:17:08+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|
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