UK Government responds to Tier 2 policy reviews
The UK Government has now given its response to the reviews of the Tier 2 policy carried out by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
What is Tier 2?
Tier 2 is the principal route for immigration to the UK for people who are looking to work in the country who are not European Economic Area (EEA) nationals.
The proposed changes
The overall aims of the proposed changes are to make sure employers in the UK have sufficient incentive to train UK resident workers. At the same time, it should be ensuring employers can gain access to migrant workers when it is expedient to do so.
The changes are being phased in two separate stages (autumn 2016 and April 2017) to give employers sufficient time to get ready.
The main changes are that the Tier 2 salary threshold is upped to £25k this autumn and then £30k from April next year for experienced workers. For certain education and health professionals, however, the higher threshold won’t apply until July of 2019. The minimum salary threshold of £20.8k will also be kept for new entrants.
Meanwhile, Tier 4 students who are looking to change to a Tier 2 visa won’t now be limited in number and the students’ sponsors don’t need to do the Resident Labour Market Test.
At the same time, nurses stay on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List but their sponsors have to do a Resident Labour Market Test if they’re thinking about recruiting a nurse from outside of the EEA.
The provisions currently made for transfers within companies will also be simplified. Now, all such transferees will qualify under one visa category for which the salary threshold is £41.5k (excepting graduate trainees).
And, finally, the Immigration Skills Charge whose overall aim is to encourage employers to train British employees will now be imposed on Tier 2 employers at the rate of £1k per worker per annum. This charge will be introduced in April next year. There will be a lower charge of £364 for charities and smaller employers – with exemptions for Graduate Trainees and PhD occupations, along with Tier 4 students changing to Tier 2 and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees.
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