From 06 April 2016 onwards, any migrant in the UK under a Tier 2 visa wanting to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (“ILR”) will be required to be earning a minimum of £35,000 for their application to be considered. Once introduced, the new income threshold will affect many Tier 2 visa holders currently in the UK hoping to apply for ILR.

Why the increase?

The amended salary threshold is designed to reduce the number of non-EU nationals granted ILR. The current number of granted applications stands at around 60,000 per year. It is hoped that that number will be slashed to 20,000. It comes as part of the government’s efforts to reduce the levels of UK net-migration to below 100,000 per year, a task which the government have failed to carry out in the past.

Who will it affect?

The change will affect anyone in the UK under a Tier 2 visa looking to obtain settlement through ILR. Those who will not be earning £35,000 at the time the change is introduced will have to find some other way to extend their stay in the UK.

Who will be exempt?

The new income threshold requirements will not apply to anyone in the UK under Tier 2 who is also in an occupation detailed on the shortage occupation list, nor will it apply to scientists or researchers in PhD level occupations.

What do we think?

As you can imagine, news of this upcoming change has been met with much criticism, especially from within the health and education sectors.

Cameron made mistakes. He promised to reduce net-migration levels in the UK to the tens of thousands and subsequently could not deliver. Now that he has remained in power he has actually carry out actions the yield real results. Taking stock of the skills shortage the UK has been experiencing for many years in various sectors, eliminating a route that provides for skilled migrants to contribute the growth of the UK economy and fill the gaps is not a wise move.