The Government has announced its response to two reviews of Tier 2 policy by the Migration Advisory Committee (‘MAC’).
The key points are below:
Tier 2 (General)
- The minimum annual salary threshold will increase to £25,000 in autumn 2016 and £30,000 in April 2017 for experienced workers. The current rate of £20,800 will remain in place for new entrants;
- Overseas graduates who are sponsored under a graduate training programme will find it easier to switch into Tier 2 (General) at the end of the training programme;
- High-value businesses relocating to the UK and those that support an inward investment will not have to perform a Resident Labour Market Test (‘RLMT’) and will be given extra weighting;
- Non-EEA nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupation List but employers must carry out a RLMT before sponsoring them;
- Students switching from Tier 4 into Tier 2 will not be included in the annual COS limit and employers will not have to conduct a RLMT.
Tier 2 (ICT)
- The current ICT routes (other than graduate trainees) will be merged into a single route with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500. In autumn 2016 the Skills Transfer route will close to new entrants. At the same time, the minimum salary threshold for the Short Term category will increase to £30,000 and the category will then close in April 2017;
- In autumn 2016, the minimum annual salary threshold under the ICT category for graduate trainees will be reduced to £23,000. Employers will be able to allocate 20 places rather than the current 5;
- The high earner threshold will be lowered to £120,000 for those remaining in the UK for 5 – 9 years as from April 2017;
- In April 2017, the minimum one year experience requirement will be removed for those paid over £73,900;
- Those coming under the ICT route will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (‘IHS’) as of autumn 2016 and the use of allowances will be reviewed.
- The IHS 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 (ICT – Graduate Trainees), and Tier 4 to Tier 2 switchers will be exempt;
If you need legal advice in relation to any of these changes, please contact us.