New year – new rules. The UK’s immigration rules constantly change and our immigration team continues to work closely with their business clients to ensure they continue to comply with the UK’s immigration rules.
Here, we discuss changes involving the Immigration Health Surcharge, Overseas Criminal Record Checks and document retention – changes which are expected to take place in April this year.
Immigration Health Surcharge
From the beginning of April, applicants applying for a Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa, will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The IHS, which also applies to Tier 2 ICT dependents, is currently set at £200 per annum.
This needs to be paid at the time of making an application; if applying from outside the UK via Visa4UK, this can be paid with the visa fee. If applying from inside the UK, you will need to register on the government’s website and after making payment, you must ensure you include the IHS reference number with your application. Once you have your visa, you will be able to use the NHS but will need to pay for certain types of services.
Overseas Criminal Record Certificates
For those of you who are SMS users, the Home Office would have alerted you to this change already via the Sponsorship Management System message board.
From 6 April 2017, those applying to come to the UK for employment under certain SOC codes, and their adult dependants, will be subject to the requirement under Paragraph 320(2A) of the Immigration Rules to produce a criminal record certificate from any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more, consecutively or cumulatively, in the previous 10 years, aged 18 or over.
We understand that at this stage this will only be applicable for Tier 2 migrants working in public sector roles, including the medical profession, teaching and social services.
The Home Office has recommended that from January, UK sponsors should start informing prospective employees at the
point they assign their CoS that they may become subject to this requirement by the time they make their application. This will enable prospective employees to begin seeking certificates where needed at the earliest opportunity, and to lodge a complete application for entry clearance sooner.
Tier 2 Sponsors and in particular HR staff will be aware of the need to retain documents listed in Appendix D. The rules were relaxed from the end of November last year with regards to the length of time the documents need to be retained. The Home Office’s guidance states that the documents should be retained for 1 year following the end of sponsorship of a migrant or until the documents have been viewed by a UK immigration compliance officer.
HR teams should bear in mind that documents retained following right to work checks should still be kept for at least 2 years following the termination of employment.
Sponsors requiring business immigration advice should contact our specialist business immigration team by telephone on 020 7539 8000 or by completing the form on this page.