March 27, 2017

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

The U.K. Government made a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules on 16 March 2017 and issued an Explanatory Note shortly afterward. The changes are due to take effect from 6 April 2017 and those applying to Tier 2 of the Points-Based System are summarised below.

Changes to Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer/ICT)

  • The Short Term Staff sub-category has been closed.
  • The minimum salary threshold has risen to £41,500 or the appropriate Code of Practice rate, whichever is higher.
  • The salary threshold has been reduced to £120,000 (from £155,300) for senior transferees who wish to extend their total stay in the category to up to nine years.
  • The requirement for transferees paid £73,900 or higher to have at least one year’s experience working for the sponsor’s linked entity overseas has been removed.
  • Changes to the types of allowance allowed to be considered against salary requirements (including that accommodation allowances can form a maximum of 30 percent rather than 40 percent of the total salary package for all ICT workers, except Graduate Trainees).
  • Applicants (including dependents) will now be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per person per year.

Changes to Tier 2 (General)

  • An increase of the salary threshold for experienced workers to £30,000. For new entrants it will remain at £20,800. Nurses, radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers of maths, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin are exempt from this until July 2019.
  • Changes are being made to support posts associated with the relocation of a high-value business to the U.K. or a significant new inward investment project, where the sponsor is a newly-registered (within the last three years) branch or subsidiary of an overseas business and the investment involves new capital expenditure of £27 million or the creation of at least 21 new U.K. jobs. Sponsors in such cases will be exempt from carrying out a Resident Labour Market Test and from the requirement to assign a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship under the Tier 2 (General) limit.
  • The high earner salary threshold has been increased to £159,600 (from £155,300) for those exempted from the Resident Labour Market Test and restricted Certificate of Sponsorship requirements.
  • Minor technical amendments are being made to the Resident Labour Market Test for the permitted websites in milkround recruitment.

Changes to both ICT and General

  • A Certificate of Sponsorship can be considered invalid if any charge applies to it which is not paid in full.
  • An Immigration Skills Charge will be introduced per employee per year of £364 (small/charitable sponsors) or £1,000 (other sponsors).

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