Today, 6th April, sees the new immigration rule changes come into effect which will have an impact, in the main, on those applications using a Certificate of Sponsorship.

At this late stage, we hope that the sponsors are ready to implement the new rules. If not they could risk facing refusal.

For those that are not yet organised, I thought it would be useful to provide a quick resume and check list as to what the new rules mean.

Immigration skills charge

  • Sponsors with workers in Tier 2 categories will have to pay workers an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) of a £1000 a year. There will be an exception for small and charitable organisations, which will have to pay £364.
  • Other exemptions to the charge will be for PhD level roles, intra-company transfer graduate trainees, and those moving from Tier 4 to Tier 2 within the UK.

Immigration health surcharge

  • A £200 a year health surcharge will apply to intra-company transfer (ICT) category applicants and their dependants.

Salary requirements for Tier 2

  • Salary requirements for high earners in the ICT long term staff category are to be reduced from £155,300 to £120,000. They will also be able to stay for a maximum of nine years from the previous five years.
  • The ICT short term visa category will be closed to new applications, which means, with the exception of graduate trainees, ICT applicants must qualify under a single route with a salary threshold of £41,500.
  • The minimum salary sponsors can offer general experience workers, with exemptions in education and health sectors, is to be increased from £25,000 to £30,000.
  • Those applicants earning £73,900 or more will no longer have to have one year’s employment experience working for the sponsor’s overseas entity before submitting their ICT application.
  • Allowances for the ICT migrant can now form only 30% of an applicant’s total salary, with graduate trainee roles having a 40% allowance.
  • There will also be annual updates to the salary rates within the appropriate standard occupational classification codes of practice for skilled workers.

Overseas criminal record certificates

  • Overseas criminal record certificates will now have to be presented by Tier 2 general applicants, working in health and social care, as well as education. This also applies to their adult dependants and partners, who may wish to join them in the UK.

Changes for overstayers

  • There will be a significant change for those overstaying in the UK. The period allowed prior to re-entry ban is to be reduced from 90 to 30 days. Apart from exclusions, those overstaying by more than the new 30 days will not be able to re-enter for a year.

Relocation of businesses

  • A waiver for the resident labour market test and an exemption from the Tier 2 general limit will be given for posts supporting the relocation of high value businesses to the UK.

There is certainly quite a lot to take in so if you are affected by these rule changes and would like clarification on any of the points, please contact Arif Khalfe, Director in the Disputes Management Team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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