There are various types of visa which allow nationals of other countries to come to the UK for several reasons. One of the reasons why people of other nations want to come to the UK is when they get a job in UK, which comes under the Tier 2 category. However, there have been recent changes to immigration rules for this category of visa.
UK tier 2 visa categories allow skilled professionals who are from outside European Economic Area (EEA) to come to UK in order to work. If an individual gets a job offer from a UK employer then he or she can apply for a UK Tier 2 visa. The UK employer who is offering the job must also have a Tier 2 Sponsor License, which enables the employer to legally employ migrants in the UK.
Recently, there have been a series of changes under the 2016 Immigration Act. These include changes to Tier 2 immigration rules which have become applicable after 6th April 2017. These changes are as follows:
- The minimum salary threshold for experienced workers who are applying under Tier 2 General route has been increased to £ 30,000.
- The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer salary threshold for short term staff has been increased to £30,000, meaning that applicants must be paid a minimum of £30,000 for their application to be considered by the Home Office.
- The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer salary threshold for graduate trainees has been reduced to £23,000, while the number of places available for graduate trainees to per company per year has been increased to 20.
- The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer for the sub category Skills Transfer has been closed to the new applications. Under this category previously, overseas employees were transferred to UK for a maximum period of six months for acquiring new skills or knowledge for their job role overseas.
- As announced in March 2016, an Immigration Skills Charge of between £364 and £5000 per skilled worker per year is being introduced for employers in the Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) routes, depending on the length of employment and sponsor’s profile.
- Applicants applying for a Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer will have to pay a surcharge of £200 per person per year, including their dependents.
All these changes will substantially increase the cost of applications for Tier 2 visas by overseas employees and UK employers. These efforts have been made to reduce UK reliance on non-EU workers. Increases in salary thresholds will make the cost of sponsoring overseas employees more expensive. Particularly in the Intra Company Route, employees will find it tough to find routes in the UK for short term assignments or more junior positions, while they will also need to decide whether to increase the salary levels to meet the long term Intra Company Transfer category or depend on the very restrictive visitor visa category.
However, these changes should not create panic as there are ways in which the potential impact on recruiters and employees can be minimised. Get in touch with us to find out how we can support your Tier 2 visa application in light of these recent immigration changes.