New Tier 2 Visa Restrictions after MAC Reviews

Latest Immigration NewsLast year the Home Office commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on restricting Tier 2 visas to genuine skills shortages and highly specialised experts and to undertake a review of nursing shortages. The MAC’s reports can be found at www.gov.uk

As a  result, new immigration reforms will be introduced in two stages – in autumn 2016 and April 2017. The Immigration Rules for work categories will be simplified, making them easier for sponsors and applicants to understand. The transitional arrangements for workers sponsored at NQF levels 3 and 4 will be closed over the next two years.

Tier 2 employers (Tier 2 Sponsors or businesses) will have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge at a rate of £1,000 per person per year from April 2017. A reduced rate of £364 per person per year will apply to small and charitable sponsors. PhD roles, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainees, and Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa switchers will be exempt.

Other changes will also be made in order to up-skill the resident labour market:

Timing Policy
Autumn 2016 Increase the Tier 2 (General) threshold to £25,000 for experienced workers, maintaining the minimum threshold of £20,800 for new entrants.
Introduce exemptions from the increased Tier 2 (General) experienced threshold for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin. The exemption will end in July 2019.
Increase the salary threshold to £30,000 for the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term category.
Reduce the salary requirement for the Tier 2 (Graduate Trainee) category from £24,800 to £23,000 and increase the number of places available to companies from 5 to 20 per year.
Close the Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category to new applications.
Weight overseas graduates more heavily in the Tier 2 (General) monthly allocation rounds.
Enable graduates to switch roles once they secure a permanent job.
Remove the exemption for the Tier 2 (ICT) category paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.
April 2017 Increase the Tier 2 (General) threshold to £30,000 for experienced workers.
Close the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term category to new applications.
Introduce the Immigration Skills Charge.
Reduce the high-earners’ salary for Long-Term ICTs from £155,300 to £120,000.
Remove the one year experience requirement in the Long-Term category where the applicant is earning over £73,900.
Introduce a waiver for the Resident Labour Market Test and prioritise Tier 2 (General) places where the visa grant(s) are in support of the relocation of a high-value business to the UK or, potentially, an inward investment project.
Implement any recommendations as a result of the review of allowances under the Tier 2 (ICT) categories.

Feel free to contact us for help with preparing your Tier 2 application or any other immigration enquiries you might have. Or sign up to receive the latest immigration news.

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