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The following are changes proposed by Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The first changes to be introduced in Autumn 2016 and the second April 2017. Current licensed companies and future employers take note:

Autumn 2016 changes

  • There will be an increase in the Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold to £25,000 for experienced workers, maintaining the minimum threshold of £20,800 for new entrants.
  • There will be exemptions from the increased Tier 2 (General) experienced worker salary threshold for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin. The exemption will end in July 2019.
  • The salary threshold for the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term route will be raised to £30,000.
  • The minimum salary requirement for the Tier 2 ICT (Graduate Trainee) category will be reduced from £24,800 to £23,000 and the number of places available to companies will rise from 5 to 20 per year.
  • The Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category will be closed to new applications.
  • Extra weighting will be given to overseas graduates in the Tier 2 (General) monthly quota allocation, to make it easier for employers to score the necessary points to secure a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Employers will continue to be able to sponsor non-EEA graduates of UK universities without first testing the resident labour market and without being subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 (General) places. Graduates will also be able to switch roles once they secure a permanent job at the end of their training programme, without the Sponsor having to undertake a resident labour market test.
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge will be introduced for the Tier 2 (ICT) category.
  • Nurses will remain on the shortage occupation list but employers will need to carry out a resident labour market test before recruiting a non-EEA nurse.

April 2017 changes

  • The Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold will be raised to £30,000 for experienced workers.
  • The Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term category will be closed to new applications
  • The Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) will be introduced for employers of Tier 2 migrants. This will be £1,000 per migrant per annum (£364 for small businesses and those in the charitable sector). An exemption to the charge will apply to PhD-level jobs and international students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General).
  • The high-earners’ salary for Long-Term ICTs will be reduced from £155,300 to £120,000.
  • The one year experience requirement in the Long-Term ICT category will be removed where the applicant is earning over £73,900.
  • There will be a waiver of the Resident Labour Market Test and prioritisation for Tier 2 (General) places where the visa grant(s) are in support of the relocation of a high-value business to the UK or, potentially, an inward investment project.
  • The MAC’s recommendation of a 24 month period of employment to qualify for Tier 2 (ICT) will not be introduced.
  • Following a review of allowances under the Tier 2 (ICT) categories, there may be some changes to the type and amount of any allowance which can be amalgamated with the base salary, in order to meet the minimum salary threshold.

Looking to apply for licence? Contact tier2 (at) internationalworkpermits.com

 

The Home Office has announced that the online Points-Based Calculator used by immigration and visa applicants is to be switched off on 5 April 2016.

 

From 6 April, UK NARIC Visas and Nationality is the new designated service supporting individuals applying for UK visas or for settlement in the UK, provided on behalf of the Home Office.

 

Following the switch-off of the Points-Based Calculator, the new service launches on 6 April and is designed for those wishing to use qualifications to satisfy the immigration attribute requirements and/or English language proficiency requirements.

 

These individuals will no longer be able to use print-outs from the PBS calculator to support their applications.

 

Below is a brief guide to the qualifications and evidence requirements for the different immigration Tiers and Routes. In the absence of the Calculator, this may be helpful.

 

The web address for the new Visas and Nationality service is www.naric.org.uk/VisasAndNationality. The application portal for the new Visas and Nationality service will be available at that address from 6 April. The new portal is a guided application process which asks the applicant relevant questions (such as their country of study, nationality, their immigration Tier and Route) and outputs the statements they require – whether a qualifications level statement or statements, an English language proficiency statement, or both.

 

For Tier 1 applications

 

Some migrants wishing to apply through Tier 1 need to demonstrate their English language proficiency and those wishing to apply through the Graduate Entrepreneur route also need to demonstrate that they have a UK-recognised Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD. 

 

The VisasAndNationality service can confirm the level of qualifications and also provide a statement to those who hold an academic qualification (not a professional or vocational qualification) which is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree or a PhD in the UK, and with UK NARIC confirming that the degree was taught or researched in English.

 

For Workers & Tier 2 Sponsors

 

Under the existing policy guidance, Tier 2 applicants need to hold a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their employer, demonstrate that they have the necessary English language proficiency and that they are able to fund their stay in the UK.

 

Migrants can demonstrate their English language proficiency by:

 

-       holding an academic qualification (not a professional or vocational qualification) which is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree or a PhD in the UK; AND with UK NARIC confirming that the degree was taught or researched in English to level C1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language learning or above;

 

OR

 

-       holding an academic qualification (not a professional or vocational qualification) which is deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or a PhD in the UK; AND which is from an educational establishment in a majority English language speaking country (excluding Canada).  Please check the latest policy guidance on the Home Office website.

 

UK NARIC’s VisasAndNationality service will provide migrants with the necessary supporting statements relevant to their circumstances.

 

For Students & Tier 4 Sponsors

 

Under the existing policy guidance, Tier 4 applicants need to satisfy their sponsor that they are willing and able to complete the course to which they have applied, that they have the necessary English language proficiency and that they are able to fund their stay in the UK.

 

There is no need for Tier 4 applicants to use the new VisasAndNationality service. 

 

Tier 4 sponsors are permitted to determine a migrant’s suitability without specific reference to the information provided by UK NARIC.

 

Paragraph 134 of the Tier 4 Migrant Guidance explains how students need to know what evidence their sponsor has included on their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) so that they can provide it with their application. An overseas qualification, which has been accepted by the sponsor and recorded on the CAS, does not have to be accompanied by an equivalency statement from UK NARIC, and this will continue to be the case from 6 April.

 

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring institution to evaluate any overseas qualifications and be satisfied that they are sufficient to warrant issuing a CAS.

 

In some cases the Home Office advises that a UK NARIC statement is required to evidence an applicant’s English language proficiency.  The Home Office guidance states: “…if a Tier 4 student is using an overseas qualification to meet the English Language requirement, this should be accompanied by either a UK NARIC English Language Proficiency Statement or an Academic Qualification Level, or both, depending on the country of study…”.

 

Family Settlement and Citizenship / Nationality applications

 

Migrants wishing to join family members, settle in the UK (also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)), or apply for citizenship also need to demonstrate their English language proficiency. 

 

The VisasAndNationality service provides relevant supporting statements to holders of academic qualifications (not professional or vocational qualifications) deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree or a PhD in the UK, and with UK NARIC confirming that the degree was taught or researched in English.

 

The new service

The new VisasAndNationality service is an online service through which migrants can apply for official statements, custom-designed for immigration purposes, that confirm their academic qualification level and/or English language proficiency – as appropriate to the personal circumstances and immigration route.  All the key information required by Home Office UKVI immigration case workers is presented clearly.

The new VisasAndNationality web application process asks all the relevant questions and keeps the applicant on the right route to help ensure they get the correct paperwork to support their immigration application.

Multiple qualifications can be submitted for evaluation at the time of application.

The new VisasAndNationality paper statements have enhanced security features. UKVI case workers can check and verify paper statements direct with UK NARIC.

 

We understand that existing UK NARIC statements (blue in colour) will continue to be accepted by the Home Office after 6 April, for at least 3 months.

Do not risk the disappointment and stress of refusal, when this can be avoided by a simple, no-obligation phone call: +44 (0) 207 866 8170