Further to our last Bulletin, we summarise below the recent, main changes to the Immigration Rules and Guidance as relevant to your business:

Tier 2 (General) 

Effective from 6 April 2014:

  • The minimum remuneration to be paid to a Migrant has increased to GBP 20,500. As usual, where the appropriate salary rates as stated in the relevant Code of Practice (COP) are higher, these higher rates will need to be paid to the Migrant
  • The remuneration threshold to be considered a ‘High Earner’ and thus exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), monthly Quota requirements and Cooling off ‘periods’ has increased to GBP 153,500 from GBP 152,100
  • Where the RLMT is applicable, roles offering salaries below GBP 71,600 (previously GBP 71,000) must be advertised on Universal Jobmatch/Job Centre Plus as well as one other approved forum
  • Tier 2 General Migrants can now be granted an initial period of leave for up to 5 years rather than 3 years. In applicable cases, this will obviate the cost and inconvenience of an extension. As always though, a Sponsor should only assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) for the period required.

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) 

Effective from 6 April 2014:

  • The minimum remuneration to be paid to the Migrant has increased to GBP 24,500 for Short Term Staff/Skills Transfer/Graduate Trainees and GBP 41,000 for the Long Term Staff sub-category. As above, where the appropriate salary rates as stated in the relevant COP are higher, these higher rates will need to be paid to the Migrant
  • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Migrants can now be granted an initial period of leave for up to five years rather than three years. As above, this may obviate the cost of an extension

Increased maintenance requirements for all Tier 2 Migrants/Dependants

As part of their applications, Tier 2 Migrants have always been required to meet the Maintenance Requirements whether from their own funds or by certification by their A-rated Sponsors. Effective 1 July 2014, the level of funds required for Tier 2 General/ICT Migrants will increase to GBP 945 from GBP 900 and to GBP 630 from GBP 600 for any dependants who apply for leave in parallel to the main applicant. 

Codes of Practice (COPs)

Effective 6 April 2014, certain COPs have been updated which may mean higher minimum rates of pay for Migrants. 

Preventing Illegal Working/Audit Issues

Those employers whose Migrant workers’ initial Tier 2 (PBS) applications were approved on or after 16 May 2014, the following changes should be noted:

  • There is no longer a requirement for anniversary checks of the acceptable documents as stated in List B attached here, however, employers must diarise the expiry date of the visa with periodic pre-expiry reminders
  • There are amended lists for those documents acceptable to confirm the Migrant’s right to work, abridged versions are attached here for reference
  • Those initial applications which were granted prior to 16 May 2014 should for good order continue to be governed by the old compliance rules

Tier 1 (General) 

This category of Highly Skilled workers is only currently open for extension applications. However with effect from 6 April 2015, the Government will close this category for any extension applications and 6 April 2018 for any settlement applications. Please check your records to ensure that all Tier 1 General Migrant employees’ status are suitably monitored.