Summary of the Changes (Autumn 2016)
The first set of changes are due to take effect this Autumn (most likely with the October rules change) and are as follows:
- The salary threshold for the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term route will increase to £30,000;
- The minimum salary requirement for the Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee category will be reduced from £24,800 to £23,000 and each multinational company will be permitted to transfer 20 graduates to the UK, rather than 5;
- The Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category will close; and
- All Tier 2 ICT applicants will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (currently £200 per year).
There is no doubt that these changes are focused on making it more expensive for employers to sponsor skilled staff. The MAC has indicated that in its view this is the single most effective means of restricting Tier 2 to the most highly skilled and highly paid non-EEA workers.
The Government has promised to simplify the immigration rules and guidance for skilled workers coming to the UK by April 2017 to make the system clearer and more user-friendly for employers and applicants.
Our business immigration team will be providing regular updates on the rule changes and are available to consult with you on how these changes (or the changes due in April 2017) may affect your business. Our business immigration team are also holding seminars in London and Reading next month where they will be discussing upcoming changes to the Tier 2 visa route – please see our Events page for more information or call us.