UK: Response to Advisory Committee recommendations announced

The Home Office has approved several policy changes recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee with the aim of substantially reducing skilled foreign workers entering the United Kingdom.

Tier 2 (Intra Company Transferee) Subcategories to Close

The Skills Transfer Category will close to new applications in autumn of 2016.

The minimum salary for the Short-Term Tier 2 Intra Company Transferee (ICT) category will increase to GBP 30,000 in autumn of 2016 and the category will be closed to new applications starting April 2017. 

Minimum Salary for Tier 2 (General) Category to Increase

The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) applications submitted starting autumn of 2016 will increase to GBP 25,000 and will increase to GBP 30,000 in April 2017. The current minimum threshold of GBP 20,800 will be maintained for new entrants. Nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and some secondary school teachers will be exempt from the increases until July 2019.

Other Policy Changes

Other policy changes include:

  • The Immigration Skills Charge will apply starting April 2017.
  • The salary threshold for ICT visa extensions beyond five years will be reduced from GBP 155,300 to GBP 120,000 starting April 2017.
  • The twelve-month experience requirement for ICTs will be eliminated for workers paid over GBP 73,900 starting April2017.
  • The minimum salary for the Graduate Trainee category will be reduced from GBP 24,800 to GBP 23,000 starting autumn of 2016 and the number of places available for companies to hire under this category will increase from five to 20 per year.
  • Overseas graduates will be given extra weight in the Tier 2 (General) monthly quota starting autumn of 2016.
  • Starting autumn of 2016, in-country graduates will be able to switch roles within a company once they have secured a permanent job at the end of their training program.
  • High-value businesses relocating to the United Kingdom will be given a waiver from the Resident Labour Market Test and priority in the Tier 2 (General) monthly quota starting April 2017.
  • Nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and some secondary school teachers will be given extra weight in the Tier 2 (General) monthly quota.
  • Nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupation List, but a Resident Labour Market Test will be required.
  • The Health Surcharge for ICTs will take effect autumn of 2016.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers should plan their salary structures for foreign workers under the Tier 2 category based on the future increases.

Affected employers and foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional to discuss the impact of the new policies.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK