UK: Tier 2 restrictions proposed

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has proposed Tier 2 restrictions including a higher minimum salary level, an Immigration Skills Charge and a greater work experience requirement, among other recommendations aimed at limiting foreign workers in the United Kingdom.

Key proposals include the following:

  • Increasing the minimum salary for Tier 2 (General) and short-term Intra-company Transfer (ICT) categories to GBP 30,000;
  • Implementing a minimum salary of GBP 23,000 for new entrants under the Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Graduate Trainee) categories;
  • Implementing a labour market test requirement for in-country Tier 2 status transfers except shortage occupations;
  • Increasing the minimum work experience requirement for the Tier 2 (ICT) category from twelve to 24 months, except graduate trainee and skills transfer sub-categories;
  • Creating a new category for third-party contractors with a minimum salary of GBP 41,500;
  • Extending the Immigration Health Surcharge to the Tier 2 (ICT) category;
  • Implementing an Immigration Skills Charge for some Tier 2 applicants;
  • Extending and increasing the quota for Tier 2 (General) applicants to those applying within the United Kingdom; and
  • Requiring employers to explain the need for and specific skills of an intra-company transferee when assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Time-frame for Proposed Changes

Some of these recommendations, if accepted by the Home Office, would be introduced in April 2016, while others – such as the skills levy, which requires legislative action – would not be implemented until October at the earliest.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers and foreign nationals should be prepared for possible restrictions to Tier 2 (General) and (ICT) workers, and should contact their immigration professional to discuss the potential implications.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK