Following a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules on 3 November 2016, we write to remind you that these changes came into force yesterday. We highlight the pertinent changes below and encourage you to contact us for further details.
- 28 Day Grace Period Abolished
The 28 day grace period for the consideration of applications for further leave to remain where the client has overstayed is abolished for applications made on or after today. Instead, applications will fall for refusal unless submitted within 14 days and there is a good reason for applying out of time which is beyond their or their representative’s control.
- Salary Thresholds for Tier 2 (General) Migrants
The Government has adopted the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee review and have increased the salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000. However, the threshold for new entrants is held at £20,800 and there are some professions exempt from the increase. The Government intends to increase the threshold to £30,000 in April 2017.
- Salary Thresholds for Tier 2 (ICT) Migrants
The salary for Tier 2 Short Term Staff ICT applicants has been increased to £30,000 for new applicants from £24,800 whilst the salary threshold for the Graduate Trainee sub-category has been reduced to £23,000 and the number of trainees each employer may sponsor has increased from 5 to 20 per year. Furthermore, the Skills Transfer sub-category is now closed to new applicants.
- Tier 5
The Immigration Rules are amended to provide for the operation of arrangements to manage the allocation of places under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) allocation for Japan, where demand is expected to exceed supply and to specify new allocations of places to participating countries for 2017 in the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) category.
- Future Planning
Although it remains the Government's intention, the introduction of the Immigration Health Surcharge (the "IHS") to Tier 2 (ICT) migrants and their dependants has not been introduced. The possible introduction of the IHS to Tier 2 (ICT) migrants combined with the new Immigration Skills Charge (proposed at £1,000 per year per sponsored worker) due to be implemented in April 2017 may act as a trigger for many employers to consider assignments sooner rather than later. In addition to the future financial burden, it is worth remembering that the Government also wish to streamline the Tier 2 (ICT) route by closing the Short Term Staff route next Spring.
Employers should also bear in mind that further changes are due to take effect on 1 December 2016 including a new power for immigration officers to close down business premises for up to an initial maximum of 48 hours if an employer has committed immigration offences.
Should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact Lynn McCloghry or Gillian McKearney.