Nov04

Immigration Changes

A Ministerial Statement issued yesterday, 3 November 2016, has brought in a number of Immigration Changes relevant to our clients.

The 28 day grace period for the consideration of applications for further leave to remain where the client has overstayed will be abolished for applications made on or after 24 November 2016.  Instead, an out of time application will only not be refused where the client applies within 14 days and has a good reason for applying out of time that was beyond their or their representative’s control.  The changes will not affect periods of time prior to 24 November 2016 that will be disregarded for indefinite leave to remain applications based on continuous lawful residence.

The statement of changes implements the first of two phases of changes to Tier 2 of the Points-Based system that were announced by the Government on 24 March 2016.  It also makes further changes to Tier 2 and other areas of the Points Based System.

Changes made following the Migration Advisory Committee review include:

Tier 2 (General)

  • Increased salary threshold for experienced workers of £25,000 (but not new entrants where the threshold is held at £20,800).  Exemptions for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and Mandarin ending in July 2019.
  • As a transitional arrangement, the £25,000 threshold will not apply to workers sponsored in Tier 2 (General) before 24 November 2016, if they apply to extend their stay in the category. The Government intends to increase the threshold to £30,000 in April 2017.
  • Changes are made to switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 to permit this only where the applicant studied at a UK recognised body or body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution and to also prevent an applicant relying on a qualification obtained via supplementary study.

Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)

  • The salary for short term ICT applicants has been increased to £30,000 for new applicants. A transitional arrangement applies for those already in the UK under the short term route.
  • The closure of the Skills Transfer sub-category to new applicants.
  • Changes to the Graduate Trainee sub-category. The salary threshold has been reduced from £24,800 to £23,000 and the number of places a sponsor can use has been increased from 5 to 20 per year.
  • In addition, a redundant paragraph relating to time spent working in the UK for the Sponsor is being removed, and amendments are being made to the evidential requirements to more accurately reflect the criteria relating to previous working for a business linked to the Sponsor.

There are additional changes made to the following areas of the points-based system:

  • General provisions on applications, including clarification of evidence relating to English language requirements;
  • Tier 1 (entrepreneur);
  • Tier 1 (exceptional talent);
  • Tier 4 (students);
  • Tier 5 (youth mobility scheme and temporary worker categories).

The Immigration Rules on overseas domestic workers have also been amended.

The full ministerial statement can be found at the following link:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564933/57079_-_HC_667_-_Web_Accessible.pdf

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