MAC Tier 2 Review

On Thursday 24th March, the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire announced the government’s response to two reviews of Tier 2 undertaken by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) last year.

The main changes will come into effect in two stages (autumn 2016 and April 2017).

An Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per Certificate of Sponsorship per year from April 2017. Smaller businesses and charities will be charged a lower amount of £364. There will be an exemption for PhD occupations, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainees and Tier 4 students switching to Tier 2.

Tier 2 (General) salary thresholds for experienced workers will be increased to £25,000 in autumn 2016, and £30,000 in April 2017. Some health and education professionals will be exempt from the higher threshold until July 2019. The minimum threshold for new entrants will remain at £20,800.

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

Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer is being simplified, as follows:

• All intra-company transferees will be required to qualify under a single visa category with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500, from April 2017.

• An exception to the above applies to the Graduate Trainee category, where the salary threshold will be reduced from £24,800 to £23,000. The number of trainees that an employer may bring to the UK will increase from 5 to 20.

• There will be a transitional period until April 2017 to allow those affected to plan for the changes.

• In autumn 2016, the Skills Transfer category will close to new applicants.

• Also in autumn 2016, the minimum salary threshold for the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category will be increased to £30,000. From April 2017, the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category will be closed to new applications.

• From April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for intra-company transferees working in the UK for between five and nine years will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000. The requirement for applicants to have one year’s experience where they are being paid over £73,900 will be removed.

There will be no change to the work rights of dependants of Tier 2 migrants.

Tier 4 students switching to a Tier 2 visa will not be subject to a limit on numbers and their sponsor will not have to carry out a RLMT.

For details of other UK immigration rule changes, see the Rules Changes section of our website, or contact your DWI advisor if you have any queries.

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