UK: New Tier 2 rules on the way

New rules relating to the Tier 2 Visa category were presented to Parliament today that will be effective on or after November 24, 2016. Key changes include the following:

  • Closure of the Tier 2 (Skills Transfer) category;
  • Increasing the minimum salary for the Tier 2 (General) category to GBP 25,000 with limited exemptions;
  • Increasing the minimum salary for the Tier 2 ICT (Short Term) category to GBP 30,000;
  • Decreasing the minimum salary to GBP 23,000 for the Tier 2 ICT (Graduate Trainee) category;
  • Increasing the allowable number of places per company from five to 20 per year for Tier 2 ICT (Graduate Trainees);
  • Increasing the points weighting for overseas graduates of UK universities within the monthly cap, provided the individual was recruited via a milkround (i.e. where employers tour universities to advertise job opportunities and recruit students); and
  • Allowing graduates who secured a permanent position within a company at the end of their training to switch roles.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The date from which Tier 2 ICT migrants will be subject to pay the immigration health surcharge was not specified in the changes, however an announcement is expected soon.

New Milkround Recruitment Rules

On or after April 2017, employers will only be able to rely on milkround recruitment where the applicant was offered a job within six months of the end of the company’s recruitment campaign. Currently, there is no such limitation.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers and foreign nationals should be prepared for changes to the eligibility requirements for Tier 2 migrants, and should contact their immigration professional to discuss the potential implications.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK