With the release of the Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules in early September, we are seeing a complete re-write of the immigration white paper published by former Prime Minister Theresa May, starting with the new changes which took effect on 1 October 2019. More changes will follow, thanks in particular to recommendations made by the Migratory Advisory Committee and the introduction of the new Shortage Occupation List (“SOL”), which will supposedly take effect from 6 October 2019.
What are the advantages of the SOL?
Firstly, hiring migrants is administratively easier because Sponsors are exempt from conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (“RLMT”). The Home Office operates strict requirements with respect to carrying out a proper RLMT as part of the application process. The purpose of the RLMT is to ensure that foreign nationals are hired only when there are no British, EEA or settled candidates already in the UK with the required skills available for the role advertised. It is worth noting that whilst new job roles added to the SOL are exempt from the RLMT, the test still applies to nurses, a role which falls under the SOL category. This may change, however, in light of Brexit, so watch this space!
In addition to being exempt from the RLMT, job roles included on the SOL are also exempt from the minimum salary threshold that migrants are usually expected to meet when they come to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (i.e. to settle in the UK). As the law currently stands, the salary threshold affects non-EEA Tier 2 skilled workers who entered the UK workforce since April 2011.
The SOL is also more cost-effective as the Home Office visa application fees are lower than a standard Tier 2 application. For example, the fee for a standard Tier 2 (General) Entry Clearance application for 3 years is £610, whilst a similar application for a shortage occupation role is £464.
Lastly, if the monthly quota for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) is reached, the SOL roles would gain priority allocation. In accordance with the Rules, there is an annual limit of 20,700 RCoS divided into 12 monthly allocations. Usually, the sponsor needs to make the request for a RCoS by the 5th of each month in order to acquire it by the 11th of the same month. This means that in the event of the monthly allocation being reached, job roles under the SOL category would be given first priority and would not have to be fall under consideration for the following month’s allocation.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters and is monitoring the impact of Brexit on all immigration issues closely. We have a specialist corporate immigration team who service the needs of a large number of companies. If you would like to speak to a member of our corporate immigration team in respect of any of the issues raised in this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Paralegal in our general and corporate teams