On 16 March 2017, the Home Office has released a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. These new changes will affect those applications that need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship and these changes will be in effect on 06 April 2017.
As of the previously mentioned date, an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) of £364 will be applied to small and charitable organisations in all Tier 2 categories. All other sponsors in Tier 2 categories will need to pay £1000 per worker per annum.
However, some exemptions do exist for instance, Intra-company Transfer Graduate Trainees, PhD level roles and those individuals switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 within the UK.
There will be a new requirement to present an overseas criminal record certificate for Tier 2 (General) visa applications for those individuals who will be working in health and social care as well as education. This will also apply for adult dependants.
Some of the occupations that will include this requirement are as follows: Pharmacists, Social workers and Further education teaching professionals.
For partners who wish to join their Tier 2 (General) visa holding family members will also need to present a criminal record certificate if they are applying from outside of the UK and their partner works in any of the mentioned sectors.
Unfortunately, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is not going away anytime soon. The IHS has been introduced in 2015 and applies to those non-EEA individuals who wish to work, study or join their family in the UK.
At the moment, the individuals who are applying under Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) category, re exempt from the IHS. However, as of 06 April 2017, the Intra-company transfer category will no grant an exemption in this category. Applicants who wish to come to the UK under this category will need to pay £200 per individual per year. Dependants are also required to this.
For High-earners, the salary requirements for Intra-company long term staff visas will be reduced from £155,000 to £120,00. Furthermore, under this category high-earners, will be able to stay for a maximum of nine years instead of the usual five.
The Intra-Company short term staff category will be closed to streamline the process, the salary threshold will be £41,500.
The minimum salary requirement for Tier 2 (General) visa experienced workers will be higher, from £25,000 to £30,000. However, some exceptions will exist in education and health sectors until 01 July 2019.
A new waiver will be introduced for the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), as well as an exemption from the Tier 2 (General) limit for posts supporting the relocation of high value business to the UK.
The period of overstaying in the UK which is allowed to a re-entry ban will be reduced from 90 days to 30 days.
In conclusion, we at Mann's Solutions, suggest to all Tier 2 sponsors and Tier 2 type visa holder to review these changes and assess how it will affect you. Sponsors must ensure that their mechanisms to follow the new relevant rules will be updated and any extra necessary payment are made in a timely manner. Tier 2 visa holders should assess their future extensions and possible settlement application possibilities.