Thursday, April 06, 2017

How will UK Immigration changes on 6 April affect you?

This year the Home Office has implemented a number of key changes to the UK Immigration Rules, including introducing recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee to managed migration and Tier 2 working visas, most of which will take effect on 6 April 2017.

Tier 2 sponsoring employers and those applying or Tier 2 working visas or work permits to work in the UK should take note of the following new requirements:

Immigration Skills Charge

As announced by UK Immigration Matters last month, an Immigration Skills Charge of £1000 per skilled worker per year will be levied on employers in the Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) categories, reduced to £364 for small and charitable sponsors.  The money raised by the tax will be used  for training to help reduce skills gaps in the UK workforce. The charge will not apply to Ph.D.-level occupations, ICT graduate trainees, and those switching in country from Tier 4 student visas to Tier 2

Overseas Criminal Record Certificates

The UK Home Office is extending the requirement to provide criminal record certificates for certain occupations to Tier 2 (General) applicants and their adult dependent partners. The requirement will not apply to those applying under the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer (ICT)) route.

Migrants applying from overseas after 6 April 2017 where the main applicant is coming to work in the UK in the education, health, or social care sector will be required to obtain criminal record certificates.

Immigration Health Surcharge

First introduced in 2015, non-EEA migrants applying for Tier 2 (ICT) and their dependants will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per person per year. This also applies to non-EEA nationals in the UK and applying to extend their visas.

Tier 2 Application changes

The Home Office frequently change application forms, so always check the latest version before submitting an application. Minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) experienced workers is increasing by £5000 from £25,000 to £30,000, but will be held at £20,800 for “new entrants”.

The Tier 2 category covers UK companies employing or “sponsoring” non-EEA nationals to work in skilled jobs in the UK. The threshold and entry bar has been rising for a number of years for non-EEA workers and there are far less migrants coming to work or study in the UK, in comparison to the Blair government years and we are now seeing net migration falling.

The main changes include:

  • A temporary exemption to the Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold will apply for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics, and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and Mandarin until July 2019.
  • The Shortage Occupation List (jobs listed in this list mean sponsors do not have to carry out Resident Labour Market Tests) has been amended to include secondary school teachers in combined science, computer science, and Mandarin. However, secondary school teachers in chemistry are being removed from the Shortage Occupation List.
  • The minimum salary for indefinite leave to remain applicants submitted on or after 6 April 2022 will increase to £37,900.

Relocation of High-value Business to the UK

In order to encourage the relocation of a high-value business and significant new inward investment projects into the UK, some changes are being made to Resident Labour Market Test where the sponsor is a newly registered  branch or subsidiary of an overseas business and the investment involves new capital of £27 million or the creation of at least 21 new British jobs.

Visitor visa rules have been changed so applications for visitor visas can be made at any post in the world designated by the UK Home Office.



EU Passport in 6 Months

Britain is not the only country trying to attract high net worth individuals and businesses. EU countries like Cyprus, Malta and Portugal all offer citizenship, and EU passports in return for varying levels of direct investment,

EU member Cyprus offers probably the fastest and most flexible route to citizenship with no residency requirement and a 6 month application process for individuals with at least 2 million Euros to invest in Cypriot property via their investor programme.

See also:

Fines issued to landlords under right-to-rent offences

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