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.

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