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 If the sponsored worker is unpaid for more than 4 weeks from the original start date, the sponsorship must be withdrawn.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