Following the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee’s (“MAC”) recommendations last year, the UK Border Agency (“UKBA”) has today issued a Statement of Intent which for the most part follows the MAC’s recommendations.

For Tier 2, the UKBA is proposing to introduce a minimum salary threshold of £35,000 for settlement or permanent residence applications and this will apply to all Tier 2 General migrants who entered the UK or switched into Tier 2 General on or after 6 April 2011.  Sponsors will need to confirm in writing at the time of application that the migrant is being paid the salary stipulated on the Certificate of Sponsorship.  This will need to be at least £35,000 or the minimum salary specified by the Code of Practice, whichever is the higher.  Those migrants who hold a PhD level or shortage occupation role will be exempt from this requirement.

Further changes include introducing a maximum stay of 6 years from 6 April 2012, after which time a migrant must either apply for settlement or leave the UK.  Furthermore, a cooling off period of 12 months is proposed for those that leave the UK and thus continuity of leave will be broken for the purposes of settlement.

These proposed changes will not apply to the Tier 1 category migrants.

A new Graduate Entrepreneurs route will be introduced but time spent in this category will not count towards settlement.

Finally, the Domestic Worker category in its current form will close to all new applicants from 6 April, and from this date these migrants will only be permitted to enter the UK at the same time as their employer enters as a visitor.  Maximum stay will be 6 months, with no extensions and no rights to settlement.  It will no longer be possible to switch employer in the UK during this 6 month period.

These changes will be discussed at our Breakfast Seminar on 21 March and we hope you will be able to attend but in the meantime please click here for the Statement of Intent for further information.