November 04, 2016

What Are the New Changes to the U.K. Immigration Rules?

On November 3, 2016, the U.K. Government made a Statement of Changes to Parliament, setting out changes to the Immigration Rules that will go into effect November 24, 2016, including:

  • Closing the Tier 2 ICT Skills Transfer sub-category to new applicants
  • Increasing the Tier 2 ICT Short Term Staff salary threshold from £24,800 to £30,000
  • Reducing the Tier 2 ICT Graduate Trainee salary threshold from £24,800 to £23,000
  • Increasing the number of Tier 2 ICT Graduate Trainee places from 5 to 20 per company per year
  • Increasing the Tier 2 General salary threshold for experienced workers from £20,800 to £25,000 (nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin are exempted from this increase until July 2019).
  • Nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupations List but will require a Resident Labour Market Test to be carried out before being assigned a Tier 2 General Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Extra weighting will be given for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship requests for graduates of U.K. universities who have returned to their home countries following completion of their studies (graduates applying in the U.K. will continue to be exempt from the Tier 2 General immigration cap)
  • Reducing the time given to applicants and sponsors to respond to the requests for further information in relation to the genuineness of their Tier 2 applications from 28 calendar days to 10 working days
  • Reducing the grace period for making an out of time application from 28 days to 14 days after expiry of the applicant’s leave

A further set of changes is anticipated in April 2017, including:

  • Closing the Tier 2 ICT Short Term Staff sub-category to new applicants
  • Requiring Tier 2 ICT applicants to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Reducing the salary threshold for remaining in the U.K. for 9 years under Tier 2 ICT from £155,300 to £120,000
  • Removing the 12 months’ prior employment with an overseas entity requirement for Tier 2 ICT applicants where the worker is paid an annual salary of over £73,900
  • Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers from £25,000 to £30,000 (nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin are exempted from this increase until July 2019).

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