17 June 2011 #Immigration
The government is proposing to reform the way in which settlement rights are afforded to non-EU nationals who come to work in the UK. They are looking to further restrict the number of migrants on temporary visas who will be able to apply for settlement.
It has launched a 12-week consultation which closes on 9 September 2011.
The proposal includes re-branding Tier 2 (the skilled worker route) as temporary to end the assumption that settlement will automatically be available for Tier 2 migrants. Under the proposals, many skilled workers who can currently apply for permanent settlement would be precluded from doing so and only exceptional skilled workers would be allowed to remain in the UK.
Under the proposed scheme, visas will be re-classified as either `temporary` or `permanent` and introduce stricter criteria for those who want to stay. The impact of this, the Government states, is after a maximum of five years, most Tier 2 migrants and their dependants will be expected to leave the United Kingdom.
Certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 per annum or in occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK, will retain an automatic route to settlement. A new category would also be created which exceptional Tier 2 migrants may switch into after three years in the UK and apply for settlement.
Immigration minister Damian Green said "the proposals I am making today are aimed at breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration".
However the British Chamber of Commerce has warned that such changes `would be incredibly disruptive to companies of all sizes`, and deter some skilled workers from coming to the UK in the first place`.