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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.

How to complete the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) before employing a worker under Tier 2 (General).

What is the resident labour market test?

Before you assign a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a migrant from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), the RLMT normally must be carried out. Exceptions to this rule are:

  • jobs on the shortage occupation list
  • where a migrant is switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General) and meets certain requirements.

Undertaking the RLMT ensures that no suitably qualified settled worker is displaced by a migrant worker. If you carry out the RLMT and can show that there are no suitable qualified settled workers to fill the job, we can assign a Tier 2 CoS, however exceptions apply for PhD level roles.

You can meet the resident labour market test by advertising the vacancy. All vacancies must be advertised to settled workers for 28 calendar days. You can choose to do this in one of two ways by:

  1. Advertising the vacancy for a single continuous period, with a minimum closing date of 28 calendar days from the date the advertisement first appeared.
  2. Advertising the vacancy in two stages, where each stage lasts no less than 7 calendar days and both stages added together total a minimum of 28 calendar days.
    1. For example, you can initially advertise the vacancy for 14 calendar days. If a suitable settled worker is identified, you can appoint them straight away.
    2. However, if no suitable settled worker is identified, you cannot appoint a migrant worker who applies at this stage - you must advertise the vacancy for a further 14 days, making 28 calendar days in total. If no suitable settled workers are identified during either the first or second stage, the resident labour market test has been completed and you can appoint a Tier 2 migrant.

Please note that usually a CoS must be applied for within 6 months of the date when the post was first advertised. However for PhD level jobs, the period for which the RLMT is deemed to have been satisfied is 12 rather than 6 months.

The migrant worker must apply for entry clearance/leave to remain within 3 months of the date the CoS is issued; they must also apply no more than 3 months before the start date on the CoS.

The period of advertising starts from the date the advertisement first appears.

Advertising a vacancy

To complete a RMLT for any job in the Tier 2 (General) category, you must place two job advertisements using the methods permitted by the UKVI.

Jobs must be advertised with the Job Centre and one other method which includes:

National Newspaper - which must be published at least once a week and is marketed throughout the UK or throughout the devolved nation in which the job is located

Professional Journal - which is published for a particular field and is available nationally either through retail outlets or subscriptions. The journal must be published at least once a month and be relevant to the nature of the job.

Internet - there are no restrictions on the specific website but it must be an online version of a national newspaper, online version of a professional journal or the website of a prominent or professional recruitment organisation.

Organisations which have over 250 permanent employees in the UK are also permitted to advertise the job on their own website.

The advertisement must include the following:

  • the job title
  • the main duties and responsibilities of the job (the job description)
  • the location of the job
  • an indication of the salary package or salary range or terms on offer
  • the skills, qualifications and experience needed
  • the closing date for applications, unless the job is part of a rolling recruitment programme (in which case the advertisement should state the period of the recruitment programme)

PhD Level Roles - Exceptions

For jobs requiring PhD level skills, employers may recruit the most suitable person for the job not necessarily the most suitable person from the resident labour force.

The period of validity for the RLMT is 12 rather than 6 months.

PhD level jobs will still need to be advertised but are no longer required to be advertised in Jobcentre Plus, however, it is University policy to do so unless in exceptional circumstances and in agreement with your local HR team. If the job is exempt from advertising through the Job Centre, you must advertise the vacancy using two other media meeting the UKVI requirements. They do not have to be two different methods, for example you could advertise in two different professional journals.

Named Researchers

If you want to employ someone who is a Named Researcher you do not need to advertise the vacancy.

'Named Researchers' are defined as those whose employment is linked to specific research grants awarded to Higher Education Institutions or Research Institutes by external organisations.

They will be named specifically on the research grant because their knowledge and expertise in the relevant field means they are the only person able to undertake the research. If they are unable to come to the UK the research grant would be cancelled.

The UKVI require that evidence is kept of the competitive process that took place. For example, an advertisement for the grant, a programme for the selection process, the judging criteria or any other evidence.

Academic Leave

You do not have to carry out a resident labour market test if you are a Higher Education Institution and were previously sponsoring a migrant who is returning to resume their post following a period of academic leave.

The migrant must have previously been granted entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 2 (General) migrant and the break in their employment must have been solely due to a period of academic leave.

This does not override the rules on cooling off periods which will still apply if the migrant is still applying to return to the UK.

Shortage Occupations

You do not need to advertise a positon if the job is on the shortage occupation list.

For an up to date list of jobs on the Shortage Occupation list see:

Skill Level and Salary

You cannot apply for a CoS for a post which is below graduate level. All migrants must be paid the appropriate salary rate, to ensure that the resident labour market is not undercut. The salary for the position must be at least £20,800 per annum or at least the minimum rate quoted in the relevant Code of Practice, whichever is higher. This means only jobs of grade 6 and above, which are graduate level and above and meet the appropriate salary rate, can be sponsored under Tier 2.

Further information and guidance can be found on the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration website:

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