Don’t blink: The Immigration Rules are changing again
17 March 2017
The Home Office published the latest Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules yesterday, 16 March 2017. The changes take effect on 6 April 2017. We summarise here the changes that will affect you most.
If a sponsor fails to pay the Immigration Skills Charge, the relevant Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) will be considered invalid and the prospective migrant’s Tier 2 application will therefore be refused.
The types of allowances that can be considered against salary requirements are ‘clarified’ such that the following cannot be counted toward minimum salary requirements:
- One-off payments that do not form part of the applicant’s regular salary package. The Home Office gives the example of costs associated with relocation. However, ‘mobility premiums’ can count toward salary requirements for Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) migrants
- Payments which cannot be guaranteed, including bonus or incentive pay
- Overtime payments
- Payments to cover business expenses or any payment for which the migrant will need to reimburse the sponsor
- Employer pension contributions
- Medical benefits
- Payment of tuition fees
The minimum salary requirements specific to various roles listed in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes are being updated.
Tier 2 migrants sponsored to work in certain roles in the education, health care and social sector will be required to submit overseas criminal record certificates as part of the visa application process.
Tier 2 (General)
The salary threshold for experienced workers is increased to £30,000. The new salary requirement applies where a COS is assigned on or after 6 April 2017.
The salary threshold for high earners is increased to £159,600 from £155,300.
In re graduate recruitment, sponsors will be able to post advertisements on any freely-available, prominent graduate recruitment website, rather than being restricted to the current list of four websites.
Tier 2 (General) migrants will have to be earning at least £37,900 to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 2022. £37,900 will therefore be the threshold for Tier 2 (General) migrants who are sponsored this year to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 5 years’ time.
A new exemption from conducting the Resident Labour Market test will be available to encourage corporate investment or relocation to the UK. Businesses must have either registered as sponsors within the last 3 years or be subsidiaries of an overseas business to be eligible, and they must either invest £27 million or create 21 new UK jobs. Qualifying businesses will also benefit from being able to use unrestricted certificates of sponsorship.
Tier 2 (Intra company transfer)
The Short Term Staff sub-category will close. Migrants wishing to apply under the Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) Short Term Staff route must submit their applications before 6 April 2017. Note that the closure of the Short term Staff sub-category means that accommodation allowances will only be able to form 30% of a salary package for any Intra company transfer migrants, other than Graduate Trainees.
Intra-company transferees earning £73,900 or more will be exempted from the requirement to have worked for a sponsor’s related overseas company for one year.
The salary threshold for Tier 2 (Intra company migrants) to be eligible to extend their leave for up to 9 years will be reduced to £120,000, from the current level of £155,300.
Right to work
Many migrant students are authorised to work 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays. A week is being defined as a period of 7 days beginning on a Monday.
A migrant who overstays their leave in the UK by more than 30 days will be banned from returning to the UK for one year. Currently, migrants who overstay for more than 90 days are banned.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Osborne or the immigration team member you work with.