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UK Tier 2 visas: Changes underway

by John Dunn | Oct 31, 2016
  • The Tier 2 visa is one of the most popular immigration routes for nationals from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) to live and work in the UK. The UK’s Home Office has recently revealed their planned changes to this category.
  • Tier 2 visa changes underway

    Stage 1

    The first stage of these changes is set to take place in Autumn 2016, while the second will come into effect in April 2017.

    The key changes taking place in stage one, from Autumn 2016, include:

    • An increase in salary thresholds from £20,800 to £25,000 for experienced workers. Certain education and health professionals will be exempt until July 2019.
    • A resident labour market test, which will need to be carried out when nurses from outside the EEA are recruited. However, nursing will remain on the shortage occupation list (SOL).
    • The payment of the immigration health surcharge, which will be mandatory for all Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) applicants.
    • The closure of applications for the Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category.
    • An increase in the minimum salary threshold for the Tier 2 (ICT) visa for short-term staff to £30,000.

    Stage 2

    From April 2017, the following changes will be implemented:

    • All ICT visas will be processed through one category and applicants will need to earn £41,500 per year. The Graduate Trainee route is the only exception to this requirement.
    • The salary requirement for the high earner category will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000.
    • Candidates will not need to have 12 months’ previous experience when earning a salary of £73,900 or higher.
    • The minimum salary threshold will be increased to £30,000 for experienced workers.

    The Immigration Skills Charge

    The Immigration Act of 2016 was updated earlier this year, to introduce an immigration skills charge, with the aim of discouraging UK companies from hiring foreign citizens. This means that employers have to pay £1,000 per year for each Tier 2 employee they sponsor.

    From April 2017, there will also be a few changes to the ISC, including:

    • A flat charge of £1,000 per person, per year will need to be paid upfront when a company assigns a certificate of sponsorship to an individual.

    Companies sponsoring jobs requiring a PhD, for the Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee category and those switching from the Tier 4 (General) category will be exempt from the ISC.

    Autumn 2016 April 2017
    Monetary requirements
    Salary threshold £20,800 £30,000
    ICT salary requirements £24,500 – £41,500 £41,500
    High earner threshold £155,300 £120,000
    Other requirements
    Experience for ICT 12 months N/A*
    Resident labour marked test for nursing staff No Yes
    Immigration health surcharge (Tier 2 ICT) No Yes

    Get your Tier 2 visa application in before it gets any more difficult. We’ll handle the process from start to finish. Send one of our immigration experts an email or give us a call on 0800 003 163 (in South Africa), or 1800 039 300 (in Australia).

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