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Further changes to the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer and Tier 2 General routes

February 2017 –

The new Tier 2 & 5 Guidance has now been published following the changes introduced in November 2016.

Change of circumstance requests normally take up to 16 weeks to be processed. The Home Office has now launched a new fee paying service to expedite certain types of requests, which include requests for an increase of an unrestricted CoS allocation, requests to replace the Authorising Officer, requests to add a new Level 1 user etc… The service offers a 5 working day turn around at a cost of £200 per request.

The start date on the CoS can no longer be delayed by more than 4 weeks. If the sponsored worker is unpaid for more than 4 weeks from the original start date, the sponsorship must be withdrawn. It is therefore pivotal that the start date be chosen carefully bearing in mind possible delays with the entry clearance process resulting from, for example: – delays with IETLS score / police clearance; – no priority service availability; – prolonged notice periods etc..

The new guidance states that for compliance purposes all documents listed in Appendix D must now be kept for one year from the date the sponsor ends the sponsorship or until a compliance officer has approved them, whichever is the shorter period.

Keeping a detailed job description is no longer required as long as the copy of the advert includes the job title, main duties and responsibilities, skills, qualifications and experience needed together with an indication of salary package or salary range and the closing date for applications. A job description must still be held on file where no Resident Labour Market test has been undertaken.

Whilst there is still a requirement for sponsors to keep all applications shortlisted for final interview, the ‘interview notes’ are now only required for rejected settled worker applicants. It follows that if no settled workers have been interviewed, the sponsor is not required to retain reasons as to why other applicants were not offered the role. Settled workers are EEA nationals, British nationals and applicants with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom.

Tier 2 (General)

The minimum salary threshold has increased from £20,800 to £25,000 per annum.

The following professions are exempt from meeting the new salary threshold until July 2019: Nurses, medical radiographer, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and mandarin.

Roles aimed at UK graduates overseas will be granted additional points in the restricted CoS allocation assessment table.

Graduate trainees will be permitted to change their occupation within the graduate programme without having to undergo the Tier 2 process again.

Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)

The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term Staff has increased from £24,800 to £30,000 per annum.

The Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category is now closed to new applicants.

The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee category has decreased from £24,800 to £23,000 per annum. The cap has also increased from 5 to 20 graduate trainees per annum for each licenced sponsor.

Further changes to come in 2017

It is anticipated that by April 2017 further changes will be implemented. These changes will include:

– further increases to the minimum salary thresholds;
– closure the Tier 2 (ICT) short term category;
– introduction of a mandatory Immigration Skills Charge (‘ISC’) for all Tier 2 migrants, set at £1000 per annum at present.

If you need Immigration legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

March 2014 Important changes to Restricted Certificates

As set out in paragraph 203 of the Sponsor Guidance, the UKVI intend to update the salary rates set out in the codes of practice for skilled employees on 6 April 2014.

At the same time they will replace the following Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes with multiple options to correspond with the various job levels within those occupations, as set out in the codes of practice:

2123 Electrical engineers

2211 Medical practitioners

2213 Pharmacists

2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified

2231 Nurses

2442 Social workers

The transition to the new salary rates means that the UKVI need to adjust the arrangements for RCoS in April and May 2014.

Allocating a RCoS before 6 April 2014

If you have been, or are granted an RCoS at the January, February or March 2014 allocation meetings, the UKVI strongly advise you to consider assigning it by 5 April 2014.  If it is not assigned by this date you will need to ensure that the salary is in line with the revised salaries set out in the code of practice for the SOC code in question.

However, the introduction of multiple options for the SOC codes listed above will not prevent sponsors from assigning CoS after 6 April, based on RCoS applications submitted before that date.

Timing of the monthly allocation of restricted certificates of sponsorship

Because of this update the UKVI will also be making changes to the timings of the monthly allocation of RCoS for April and May 2014.

April 2014 allocation

The UKVI will only accept applications for the April allocation period from 6 April to 16 April 2014. Decisions on these applications will be made on 18 April 2014.

May 2014 allocation

The UKVI will accept applications for the May allocation period from 17 April to 5 May 2014. Decisions on these applications will be made on 12 May 2014.

The changes are summarised in the timetable below.

 

Published allocation dates Revised application dates Original monthly allocation date Revised monthly allocation date
6 March – 5 April 6 – 16 April 11 April 18 April
6 April – 5 May 17 April – 5 May 12 May No change
6 May – 5 June 6 May – 5 June 11 June No change

 

Urgent restricted certificates of sponsorship

If you urgently need to request a restricted certificate of sponsorship between 6 March and 16 April, you must submit an application and request exceptional consideration. To do this you must email the reasons for exceptional consideration to Tier2Limits@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. The request for exceptional consideration must be made on the same day that you submit your application or your application for exceptional consideration may be rejected.

Requests for urgent consideration will be considered in line with the criteria set out in paragraphs 262 – 267 of the published guidance.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.