On 9 September 2019 the Home Office published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. As a result, there have been some significant changes to the Immigration Rules which will come into effect between 1 October 2019 and 6 October 2019.
This blog covers changes to the work routes, with particular focus on the Shortage Occupation list and how this will affect future employers as well as employees.
Shortage Occupation List
The Shortage Occupation List sets out various job roles for which there are not enough British or settled workers in the UK to fill the available vacancies.
Jobs which fall under the Shortage Occupation List will be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test and are usually given priority within the Tier 2 (General) annual limit. In addition, these jobs will be exempt from the relevant Tier 2 salary threshold when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The recent Statement of Changes has implemented the following changes to the Shortage Occupation List:
- The Migration Advisory Committee has expended the Shortage Occupation List to include professions such as biological scientists, biochemists, psychologists, veterinarians, and architects.
- Certain jobs (including Production Managers and Directors in Mining & Energy) have been removed from the List.
- The majority of SOC Codes on the List have been extended to cover all jobs under that occupation code, rather than a specific selection.
- The criteria for sponsors to be identified as ‘qualifying companies’ for occupations in the Digital Technology sector has been removed. In light of this, companies will be able to hire migrants for roles in Digitech without express permission from the Department of International Trade, and without the need to meet any other specific requirements.
- An allowance has been made for chefs to work for a sponsor that does provide a takeaway service. This will inevitably open the route to more companies who are able to qualify as sponsors and who are able to hire skilled workers under the Shortage Occupation List.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
This route is designed to attract migrants who are exceptionally talented in the fields of Science, Humanities, Engineering, Medicine, Digital Technology or the Arts.
Applicants must first secure an endorsement from a specified Endorsing Body before applying for the relevant visa.
Whilst bodies such as The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy have reviewed their processes and requirements to be more generous, it would seem that Tech Nation has implemented more onerous and stringent conditions.
- The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering, and The British Academy have requested for the list of peer-reviewed fellowships to be expanded to allow more applicants under the fast-track process. These bodies will also allow applicants who have held a fellowship within the 12 months immediately prior to the date of application to apply.
- Tech Nation, one of the relevant Endorsing Bodies has amended its requirements to include three mandatory reference letters (instead of two) from established organisation and/or eminent individuals in the digital technology field.
- Tech Nation also includes a requirement for applicants to be ‘commercially savvy’ and to account for the commercial impact of their previous work and achievements, as well as of their proposed work in the UK.
Tier 5 Migrants
The Tier 5 route is designed for temporary migrants who intend to reside and work in the UK for a short time.
The Home Office has implemented certain changes to this route, making it more accessible:
- Applicants under the ‘UK Research and Innovation – Science, Research and Academia’ scheme are required to provide sponsorship from specific organisations. The list of sponsors is due to be expanded to permit a wider range of organisation to sponsor migrants under this category.
- Currently, applicants from South Korea who wish to apply under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) require express sponsorship from their government before submitting their visa application. From 1 January 2020, South Korean nationals will be able to apply under this route without the need for sponsorship. This visa allows South Korean nationals aged between 18 to 30 years to reside and work in the UK for a period of up to two years.
- The Foreign & Commonwealth Office government authorised exchange scheme has been removed and will no longer be a valid route for application.
What is clear from the recent Statement of Changes is that the Home Office has taken active steps towards making certain immigration routes within the Points Based System more accessible and friendly to migrants who intend to secure employment in the UK.
If you have any queries or questions relating to the impending changes to any of the Points Based System routes, 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.