04 Apr 2017, 30 mins ago

Upcoming changes that affect UK Sponsors and Tier 2 Migrants

The Home Office have issued a new Statement of Changes which has highlighted many changes that will affect UK Sponsors and Tier 2 migrants from April 2017 onwards.

The following changes are being made from April 2017:

Tier 2 General

  • The salary threshold for experienced workers is being increased to £30,000 for the majority of new applicants. The salary threshold for new entrants remains at £20,800.
  • Nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teaches in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin, are exempt from the new salary threshold until July 2019.

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer

  • The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (Short Term) Staff category is being closed
  • The salary threshold for Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff migrants to stay in the category up to nine years is being reduced from £155300 to £120000
  • Tier 2 ICT Migrants who are offered a salary above £73900, do not need to have a minimum of 12 months experience working for the sponsors linked overseas entity.

Immigration Skills Charge

The guidance states that subject to parliamentary approval, legislation expected to come into force on 6 April 2017 means that UK Sponsors may be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge when they sponsor a worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

The skills charge will apply to a sponsor of a Tier 2 worker assigned a certificate of sponsorship in the ‘General’ or ‘Intra-company Transfer’ route and who will be applying from:

  • outside the UK for a visa
  • inside the UK to switch to this visa from another
  • inside the UK to extend their existing visa

The skills charge does not apply if the UK Sponsor is sponsoring:

  • a non-EEA national who was sponsored in Tier 2 before 6 April 2017 and is applying from inside the UK to extend their Tier 2 stay with either the same sponsor or a different sponsor
  • a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainee
  • a worker to do a specified PhD level occupation
  • a Tier 4 student visa holder in the UK switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa

The Skills Charge does not apply to the workers family members ie their dependents.

The skills charge will be £1000 per year for medium or large sponsors and £364 per year for small or charitable sponsors. It will be payable upfront and for the total period of time covered by the certificate of sponsorship.

The Home Office consider the UK sponsor to be small business if: 

  • their annual turnover is £10.2 million or less 
  • they have 50 employees or fewer

Sponsors will need to pay the skills charge at the same time that they pay to assign a certificate of sponsorship to sponsor someone to do a skilled job in the UK. 

Reason for the Skills Charge: The money collected by the Home Office will be used by the Department for Education to address skills gaps in the UK workforce.