UK Immigration changes from October 2016
Given we are half way through September, this is a quick refresher at to what changes employers should expect to see in October 2016 and consider how these changes will affect their plans of bringing migrants over to the UK on a permanent or temporary basis.
Increase in minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) & (ICT)
The Tier 2 minimum salary threshold will be increased to £30,000 for experienced workers, this will happen in two stages at present the minimum threshold is set at £20,800. This change will be phased in, with the minimum threshold increased to £25,000 in Autumn 2016 and to £30,000 in April 2017. The increase is a substantial one, which will no doubt lead businesses to suffer if they are unable to pay the additional £9,200.
At present employers are able to recruit non-EEA graduates of UK universities without first conducting the resident labour market and without being subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 (General) places, which remains at 20,700 places per year.
In addition to this, the government will give extra weighting within the Tier 2 (General) limit to businesses sponsoring overseas graduates, and will allow graduates to switch roles within a company once they have secured a permanent job at the end of their training programme. This is a positive change and will hopefully see more student being able to utilise their studies in the UK.
For those in the process of conducting the Resident Labour Market Test, bear the higher salary thresholds in mind to ensure the salary meets the new requirement.
There will be and increase the minimum salary threshold for the Short Term category to £30,000, this is presently set at £24,800.
Immigration Health Surcharge for Tier 2 ICT
Intra-company transferees will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. UK Visas and Immigration are yet to review the extent to which allowances may be counted as salary to ensure they have appropriate safeguards in place against undercutting of the resident labour market and consider how to take forward the MAC’s proposal for a review of skills in the IT sector.
Closure of Tier 2 ICT Skills Transfer
The subcategory, Tier 2 ICT Skills will be closing. Closing this subcategory is an attempt to simplify the route and ensure that only staff with specialist skills and senior management are transferred to the UK for legitimate business purposes.
Lower salary threshold for Tier 2 Graduate Trainees
The salary threshold for graduates, will be lowered from £24,800 to £23,000 per annum. UK Visas and Immigration expect to receive a higher number of applications for Tier 2 Graduate Trainee given the rules have been relaxed.
The government plans on increasing the number of Tier 2 Graduate Trainee positions for sponsors from 5 to 25, per sponsor.
If you wish to discuss any upcoming changes or new hires the business is considering, contact us on +44 (0) 20 3318 5794, one of our dedicated team will be able to assist and advise correctly on the steps you might need to take to avoid refusals.