April Changes To Tier 2 Policy: An Immigration Update

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1 April 2014 Changes To Tier 2 Policy: An Immigration Update

2 Your Fragomen Team & Contacts Nadine Goldfoot Partner Natasha Catterson Senior Manager (Solicitor) Louise Carson Senior Manager (Solicitor) Overview of the current Tier 2 system (General) and (ICT) Future changes to the Tier 2 system to be implemented 6 April 2014 and 1 July 2014 Future changes to Tier 1 (General) to be implemented 6 April 2015 and 6 April

3 Overview of the Current Tier 2 System (General) and (ICT)

4 Overview of Tier 2 Route for skilled workers enables UK employers to employ foreign nationals to fill particular jobs which cannot be filled by settled workers Must be a Graduate level role as determined by the Home Office Sponsor must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) 2 categories: Tier 2 (General) Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) (ICT) 3

5 Overview of Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and Tier 2 (General) 4

6 Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer): 4 Subcategories Designed to enable companies to transfer internal staff to the UK from overseas group companies 5

7 Tier 2 (General) Designed for new hires and permanent transfers 6

8 Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT): Process Purpose to demonstrate that there is not a settled worker - i.e., a British, European or ILR holder who is suitably qualified for the role 7

9 Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS): Process Available for allocation Granted Apply by the 5 th of each month Outcome notified by the 11 th of each month

10 Tier 2 and the Cooling Off Period Designed to prevent repeat periods of leave under Tier 2 9

11 Future Changes to the Tier 2 System 6 April 2014

12 Key future changes 6 April 2014 and 1 July 2014 Salary Duration Advertising Maintenance 11

13 Increased Minimum Salary Requirements

14 The Home Office will increase the minimum salary in each Tier 2 sub-category by approximately 0.9% as from 6 April 2014 Category Criteria Current threshold New threshold The minimum rate for particular jobs will mean that employers naturally exceed most of these salary bands. However, employers will now need to pay 41,000 if they are sending e.g., a Marketing Manager to the UK for over a year through an internal transfer. 13

15 The Home Office will also increase the minimum salary rates for occupations as from 6 April 2014 Why this matters Employers must pay migrants at the appropriate minimum salary threshold for their visa category or at the minimum salary rate quoted in the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code for their job, whichever is higher. What this means Employers will need to pay increased minimum salaries to sponsor both Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) Migrants. The old minimum salary rates will apply for migrants whose Certificates of Sponsorship are assigned before 6 April 2014 even if their visa applications are made on or after 6 April If a migrant's Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned after 6 April 2014, then the new minimum salary rates will apply. The above also applies for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) which have been granted at the January, February or March 2014 allocation meetings. 14

16 5 Year Grants of Leave to Enter and Remain

17 The Home Office has changed the rules to allow Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) migrants to be granted 5 year visas as from 6 April 2014 This is a very helpful change Previously, Tier 2 (General) and (ICT) migrants were only allowed to apply for a maximum initial grant of leave of 3 years in the UK. This will be useful, and increase flexibility for Assignees and Sponsors especially in the context of long-term projects and assignments. Pragmatics of the change Renewal applications will not be required for specific Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT-Long Term Staff) migrants who wish to and/or are required to stay in the UK beyond 3 years. Tier 2 (General) applicants will be able to apply for ILR (Settlement) after their first 5 year initial grant of leave. New Government fees will be introduced for the new 5 year visas for both Tier 2 (General) and (ICT-Long Term Staff) out-of-country and in-country applications. Employers will not be able to get a 5 year visa for a sponsored worker paid at the new entrant rate. 16

18 New Government fees will be introduced for out of country and in country 5 year visas from 6 April 2014 Category Sub-category Old fee New fee 17

19 Resident Labour Market Test Requirements

20 No Resident Labour Market Test will be required when moving from any SOC 2000 code to any SOC 2010 code Extension applications will be allowed with no Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), where the applicant is moving from any SOC 2000 code to any SOC 2010 code. This is on the provision that the change is due solely to the move from SOC 2000 to SOC 2010, and not due to a change in the applicant s job. What this means: Employers will not need to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and submit a change of employment application for employees extending their current immigration permission where their current Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) was assigned before 6 April 2013, and their job has now moved to any new SOC 2010 code (provided that this is not attributable to a change in the employee s job). Previously, in such instances, employers were only exempt from the RLMT if the employee was moving to a job within one of the equivalent SOC 2010 codes (as detailed in the SOC Conversion table ). The SOC Conversion table will remain for cases where the employee s job changes but remains within the same occupation. 19

21 When a Resident Labour Market Test is required as from 6 April 2014 The job The advert RLMT Required Pays 153,500 or above No advertisement needed (RLMT) No A vacancy needs to be filled and the employer realises or expects that they will need to sponsor a non-eu worker: Tier 2 (General) Is a Shortage occupation Pays 71,600 or above Is a Graduate level position No advertisement needed (RLMT) Must advertise in two prescribed locations. But exempt from advertising in JobCentre Plus (now known as Universal Jobmatch) Must advertise unless they hold a Tier 4 visa and completed a degree at a UK university/12 months PhD study, or hold a Tier 1 (Post-study work) visa No Yes Yes, other than where switching from Tier 4 having completed a course of study or Tier 1 (Post-study work) A Tier 2 job but does not fall in these categories Must advertise in JobCentre Plus (now known as Universal Jobmatch) and one other media for 28 days Yes These categories are not exhaustive. Please contact Fragomen for a specific assessment. Until 5 April 2014, jobs paying 152,100 or above will continue to be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). Until 5 April 2014, jobs paying 71,000 or above will be exempt from advertising in JobCentre Plus (now known as Universal Jobmatch). Advertising will continue to be need to be mandatorily advertised in two locations. 20

22 Maintenance Funds Thresholds Increases

23 The Home Office will increase maintenance funds thresholds for Tier 2 migrants and their dependants from 1 July 2014 Category Current funds threshold New funds threshold Period required As previously, if the employer is an A Rated Sponsor, they can certify maintenance on the employee s Certificate of Sponsorship to the above amount. Sponsors may continue to limit the amount of the undertaking but any limit must be at least 945 for Tier 2 migrants as from 1 July As previously, for dependants, sufficient funds will be deemed to be available where the employer of the Tier 2 migrant is A-rated and that Sponsor has certified on the employee s Certificate of Sponsorship that it will maintain the dependants to the above amount. The undertaking may be limited provided that the limit is at least 630 per dependant as from 1 July

24 New Premium Services and Fees

25 Outside of the UK, the Home Office is expanding a number of premium services which are currently only available in a limited number of countries, and is introducing a global fee for services that are currently charged at local rates Service Description Government Fee 24

26 As from 6 April 2014, the Home Office will also increase most fees by 4% and remove the current 25% discount given to dependants when applying with a main applicant in the UK Category Current Fee New Fee % Increase 25

27 Tier 1 (General) Closure

28 The Home Office has decided to close the Tier 1 (General) visa category to extension and settlement applications as from 6 April 2015 and 6 April 2018 This is a potentially problematic change Tier 1 (General) category allows highly skilled individuals to look for work or self-employment opportunities in the UK without a sponsor. The category was closed to new applicants in April The Home Office has now announced that it will close the category for extension applications on 6 th April 2015, and for settlement applications on 6 th April Pragmatics of the change Many Tier 1 (General) migrants are highly skilled, travel frequently for business, and spend extended time outside of the UK in the absence of sponsorship. Such migrants will only have until 6 th April 2018 to apply for settlement. Many Tier 1 (General) migrants may not meet the statutory absence requirements to qualify for settlement by this date (180 days in each of the previous 5 years). The Home Office knows that some individuals will not be able to apply for settlement before Tier 1 General closes (e.g., due to absences). They are unmoved by this and applicants will need to switch or go home. 27

29 Questions and thank you 28

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