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Christmas gift from the Home Office!

November 10, 2015 | Immigration, News

Additions to the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation list

The UK government has added four digital technology occupations to the Points Based System ‘Shortage Occupation List’, therefore allowing non-EU migrant applicants to fill positions without UK employers having to carry out the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’ by advertising the positions.

What are the implications of the above?

Employers based in the IT sector will be able to submit applications for Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship for the specific four IT-related occupations detailed below without the need to advertise first, assuming that no eligible resident workers have applied. These changes will apply to relevant applications submitted on or after 19 November 2015.

The following four jobs have been specifically designated shortage occupation categories and added to the list:

  • IT specialist managers- IT product manager in a job requiring five years of relevant experience and experience leading a team.
  • IT business analysts, architects and system designers- Systems engineers in visual effects animation for film, TV or video-games sectors or Data scientists in a job requiring five years of relevant experience and experience leading a team.
  • Programmers and software development professionals- Senior developer in a job requiring five years of relevant experience and experience leading a team or software developers, writers, or games designers.
  • IT and communications professionals not elsewhere classified- Cyber security specialists in a job requiring five years of experience and experience leading a team.

The addition of several jobs in the IT industry to the shortage occupation list is positive news, providing employers with higher flexibility when acquisitioning talent from abroad.

Increased salary threshold for Tier 2 migrants for settlement

As of 6 April 2016 onwards, any highly-skilled migrant in the UK under a Tier 2 visa wanting to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (“ILR”) will be required to be earning a minimum of £35,000 for their application to be considered. Once introduced, the new income threshold will affect many Tier 2 visa holders currently in the UK hoping to apply for ILR.

Why the increase?

The amended salary threshold is designed to reduce the number of non-EU nationals being granted ILR. The current number of granted applications stands at around 60,000 per year. It is hoped that that number will be slashed to 20,000. It comes as part of the government’s efforts to reduce the levels of UK net-migration to below 100,000 per year, a task which the government have failed to carry out in the past.

Who will it affect?

The change will affect anyone in the UK under a Tier 2 visa looking to obtain settlement through ILR. Those who will not be earning £35,000 at the time the change is introduced will have to find some other way to extend their stay in the UK.

Who will be exempt?

The new income threshold requirements will not apply to anyone in the UK under Tier 2 who is also in an occupation detailed on the shortage occupation list, nor will it apply to scientists or researchers in PhD level occupations.

What do we think?

As you can imagine, news of this upcoming change has been met with much criticism, especially from within the health and education sectors.

Cameron made mistakes. He promised to reduce net-migration levels in the UK to the tens of thousands and subsequently could not deliver. Now that he has remained in power he has actually carry out actions the yield real results. Taking stock of the skills shortage the UK has been experiencing for many years in various sectors, eliminating a route that provides for skilled migrants to contribute the growth of the UK economy and fill the gaps is not a wise move.

For further information, please get in touch with one of our London Immigration Lawyers on +44(0)20 3318 5794 or via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com.