The UK Border Agency recently announced a new consultation on the possibility of restricting the right of skilled workers to settle permanently in the UK.

Among a raft of other potential policies designed to reduce net migration to the UK in accordance with one of the Conservative party's key election aims, is the idea of preventing those who come to the UK under Tier 2 (General) from obtaining indefinite leave to remain (ILR) when they complete five years' stay here. The UKBA is proposing an assumption that all those coming to the UK under Tier 2 will not qualify for ILR, while allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrants to apply to switch into a new category that leads to settlement after three years' stay in the UK.

The Kingsley Napley LLP immigration team is firmly of the view that a permanent migration route for skilled workers is essential to attract the best workers and employers to the UK. It would put UK employers at a disadvantage internationally if they were not able to offer their employees from overseas the option of settling in the UK.

Other proposals include introducing an English language requirements for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants who are settling in the UK, restricting the maximum period of grant of Tier 5 leave to 12 months and abolishing the domestic worker route.