Tag Archives: immigration

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 If the sponsored worker is unpaid for more than 4 weeks from the original start date, the sponsorship must be withdrawn.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.

EEA PR: Nationality applications ‘rejected’ by the Nationality Checking Service

September 2016 – Naturalisation applications from EEA nationals ‘rejected’ by the Nationality Checking Service.

We have recently come across a large number of EEA applicants who have found their applications for nationality turned down by the NCS on the grounds that they have held their Permanent Residence card for less then 12 months.

This is usually the case even when the applicant is in a position to show that they were granted permanent residence by the operation of law more than 12 months from attempting to file for naturalisation.

Following one of our client’s recent experience at the NCS where they were told that ‘the records showed that permanent residence had been held for less than 12 months’, we decided to contact the UKVI to seek clarification as to whether the Local Authority NCS did indeed have access to applicants’ details.

Their response reads as follows: ‘The Local Authority Nationality Checking Service (NCS) are not allowed to give any unsolicited advice on nationality or immigration matters.  As it is an unwaivable requirement that applicants have settled status they are expected to demonstrate this at the appointment.  However, if an EEA national has only held their Permanent Residence card for less than 12 months, the LA (with the applicant’s permission) can call us to see how early they were considered to be settled to enable them to apply under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.’

 To avoid delays and additional costs, applicants should make use of the Subject Access Request to confirm the date they are deemed to have gained permanent residence 12 months or more from filing for naturalisation.

When filing for permanent residence, it is highly advisable to enclose a letter highlighting the 5 years the UKVI should take into account when assessing the application. This especially when submitting supporting documentation that runs all the way to the date of submission of the permanent residence applications.

Should the UKVI have entered an incorrect date, applicants should seek to get the said date corrected before proceeding with their naturalisation application.

For further information, please contact us.

Changes to Tier 2 as early as autumn 2016!

March 2016 -The Government has today announced its response to two reviews of Tier 2 policy by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

The changes are as follows:

For Tier 2 (General)

The government will increase the Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold to £25,000 in autumn 2016, and £30,000 in April 2017 for experienced workers, whilst maintaining the current threshold of £20,800 for new entrants.

The government will weight overseas graduates more heavily in the Tier 2 (General) limit and enable graduates to switch roles within a company once they have secured a permanent role at the end of their training programme.

The government will waive the Resident Labour Market Test and give extra weighting within the Tier 2 (General) limit where the allocation of places is associated with the relocation of a high-value business to the UK or, potentially, supports an inward investment.

Nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin, will be exempt from the new salary threshold until 2019.

Nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupation List but employers will need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test before recruiting a non-EEA nurse.

The government will not implement the MAC’s recommendations that students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 should be included in the annual limit and be subject to the Resident Labour Market Test.

For Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer

All intra-company transferees (except graduate trainees) will have to qualify under a single route with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500. By April 2017, the government will have closed the Skills Transfer and Short Term visa categories to new applications.

There will continue to be a separate ICT category for graduate trainees, with a lower salary threshold of £23,000 and an increased limit of 20 places per company per year, rather than 5 places as at present.

The high earners’ threshold will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000 for transferees looking to stay in the UK for between 5 and 9 years.

The government will remove the one year experience requirement for transferees paid over £73,900.

All transferees will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and there will be a review of the use of allowances.

The government will not implement the MAC’s recommendations that ICTs should be required to have worked for their company for two years, rather than 12 months, or that transferees working on third party contracts should be restricted to a separate category.

Across both Tier 2 routes

The Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per person per year from April 2017. A reduced rate of £364 per person per year will apply to small and charitable sponsors. PhD roles, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainees, and Tier 4 to Tier 2 switchers will be exempt.

The transitional arrangements for workers sponsored at NQF levels 3 and 4 will be closed over the next two years.

The Immigration Rules for work categories will be simplified, making them easier for sponsors and applicants to understand.

To give sponsors time to prepare, the government are not making changes immediately and will introduce their reforms in two stages – in autumn 2016 and April 2017.

The written ministerial statement is available on www.parliament.uk

For further information or an assessment of the chances of your application being approved, please contact us.

MAC report on Tier 2: more bad news for SME sponsors

January 2016 – The MAC have issued their report today. Essentially their advice is to restrict the usage of the scheme by making it financially prohibitive to sponsor migrant workers.

Their recommendations include:

– The cost of Tier 2 recruitment should be raised by imposing a higher overall minimum salary thresholds (from £20,800 to £30,000 with a minimum of £23,000 for graduates ) and introducing an Immigration Skills Charge (£1000 per year for each Tier 2 migrant);

– A new Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) category should be created for those using the route for third-party contracting and a higher salary threshold (of £41,500) should be applied.


Contrary to earlier suggestions, they do not recommend that Tier 2 (General) be restricted only to occupations on an expanded shortage occupation list, or that automatic work rights for dependants should be restricted or that they should be an automatic sunsetting of occupations on the shortage occupation list.


The report has now been sent to government for consideration. Based on how the previous MAC proposals were received, it is highly likely that these new recommendation will be implemented within the changes to the Immigration Rules in April 2016.


To avoid the new Immigration Skills Charge or / and the new salary threshold, employers who are currently considering sponsoring a migrant would be well advised to start the process now.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact us.


Express Online Checking Service – from £250

Express Checking Service clinic every Thursday – From £250 – EEA (PR), SET (O), SET (M), Tier 1 G, Tier 2, PBS dependant, Entry Clearance Applications.

Our express Checking Service is an optional service, which is available for a fee of £250 to £450 to applicants using the SET (O), SET (M), Tier 1, Tier 2, PBS dependant, Entry Clearance, application forms only.

This service is available by formal instruction only.

This service includes:

– checking you qualify under the immigration rules;
– checking you have filled the relevant form correctly;
– checking you have included the necessary documents;
– for Tier 2, checking that the certificate of sponsorship has been issued correctly, with the correct SOC code; and
– ensure your application is valid.

As part of our assessment, we will address issues such as criminal records, prolonged and / or unpaid absences, maintenance, self-employment, missing documents, unpaid NHS bills, recourse to public funds, SA200 discrepancies,..etc

Following our assessment you will be provided with a checking data sheet report including our comments and advice.

If following our report, you need further assistance from us, you will be charged the fees for the full service which will vary depending of the type of application you are filing.

The Checking Service will give you reassurance and peace of mind that your application is complete and correct.

Using the Checking Service does not guarantee your application will be successful as ultimately the decision lies with authorities.

For further information please contact us.