12 April 2012 #Employment
The Government announced last week further changes to the Immigration Rules in response to the MAC recommendations made in their report on the ‘Limit on Tier 2 (General) for 2012/13 and Associated Policies’ published in February 2012.
Please see below for a summary of the three changes to the Tier 2 route.
1) Restricted COS Annual limit
The annual limit of 20,700 Tier 2 (General) restricted certificate of sponsorships (CoS) will remain for two years from 6 April 2012 until 5 April 2014. This limit applies to those applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa from outside the UK and being offered a salary of less than £150,000 pa, Tier 4 dependants switching in country to Tier 2 General and overstayers who are allowed to switch in country to Tier 2 (General).
2) Increase in Tier 2 skill level
The minimum skill level for Tier 2 migrants will increase from National Qualification Framework (NQF) 4 to NQF 6 from 14 June 2012 (NB: This does not mean that the person must be educated to NQF6 but that the work itself is pitched at that level).
This will result in 27 occupations that are skilled to NQF 4 no longer being open to migrants applying for a Tier 2 visa. Click here to view a full list of these occupations, which can be found in the Statement of Intent.
There are four exceptions to the new minimum skill level. Companies will still be able to recruit migrants on a Tier 2 visa for jobs with a skill level lower than NQF 6 for:
a) Jobs on the shortage occupation list;
b) Creative sector SOC codes which are skilled to NQF 4 but not NQF 6 (such as SOC code 3411 Artists and 3412 Authors and Writers);
c) Migrants already in the UK on Tier 2 (General), (ICT), or a Work Permit where the leave was granted prior to 6 April 2011; and
d) Transitional arrangements for those under Tier 2 or work permit granted before 14/06/12.
3) Resident Labour Market Test
The rules on advertising for jobs are being relaxed for certain positions. From 14 June 2012 jobs with salaries between £70,000 pa and £150,000 pa or specific PhD level occupations, will no longer need to be advised in Jobcentre Plus, but still must be advertised.