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Key Immigration law changes occuring from April 2017

In March 2016 the Government announced changes to Tier 2 General and Tier 2 (ICT) visas. These changes were to be introduced in two stages, in November 2016 and April 2017.

Below are the key changes occurring in April 2017 which may affect your business:

Tier 2 General 

  • The minimum salary threshold will increased to £30,000 for experienced workers. However, the threshold for new graduates will remain at £20,800.
  • The Resident Labour Market Test will be waived and prioritisation given for Tier 2 (General) places where the visa grants are in support of relocation of a high-value business to the UK or, potentially, an inward investment project.
  • Those applying to work within certain education and health sectors (and their adult dependants) will have to provide a criminal record certificate from any country in which they have resided within the past 10 years. The Standard Occupation Codes affected are detailed here.

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers (ICT) 

  • The ICT route will move to a single category route with the minimum salary being £41,500 per annum.
  • The salary threshold for the high earner category will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000.  
  • There will be no requirement to have 12 months previous experience where the salary is £73,900 or above.  

Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) 

  • The ISC will be charged to employers at a rate of £1,000 per year per worker. 
  • A reduced rate of £364 per year will apply to small companies and charity sponsors (ie those with no more than 50 employees). 
  • The ISC will have to be paid at the point the Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned. 
  • Exemptions from the ISC will apply to those sponsoring jobs at PhD level, the Tier 2 ICT Graduate trainee category and those who are switching in the UK from the Tier 4 General category.  

Businesses are likely to feel the effect of these higher salary requirements. The Government has stated an intention of the ISC is to encourage British businesses to recruit and train UK employees.

Employers should, therefore, consult with SA Law to manage any upcoming non-EEA hires to mitigate against upcoming changes.