As from 6 April 2014 it will be possible for individuals applying for the first time under Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT – Long term staff) to be granted leave to enter or remain for up to five years. Currently the maximum grant of leave is three years.
Whilst this change is good news as it saves the individual and the sponsor from having to spend time and incur Home Office fees on a fresh application after three years, there is a risk that during the five year period the job or salary could change in a manner that may require further approval by UKVI.
Currently it is often possible to identify and resolve such issues before they become problematic because a fresh application is needed after a relatively short period of time. The expiry of leave after three years provides an opportunity for the sponsor to undertake a review in order to ensure that the employment remains compliant with the Tier 2 scheme.
UKVI is applying the Tier 2 sponsor rules in an ever more stringent manner and we therefore recommend that, if possible, sponsors undertake annual compliance checks to ensure that any breaches of the rules are captured and resolved.
If you require advice on this change or any other aspect of Tier 2, please contact us.