A number of immigration changes came into force in November 2014 which employers should be aware of.

Tier 2

The following changes may impact employers who wish to sponsor employees under Tier 2. This is the category that applies to skilled workers who are sponsored to work in the UK by their employer:

  • The Home Office will be able to conduct checks to ensure that vacancies advertised are "genuine" in relation to Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer). The change now makes it explicitly clear that Entry Clearance officers and caseworkers can refuse applications if they have reasonable grounds to believe that:
    • the vacancy does not genuinely exist; 
    • the skills required for the job have been exaggerated to meet the Tier 2 requirements; 
    • the job advert has been tailored to exclude resident workers; 
    • there are grounds to believe that the applicant is not qualified to do the job.

Additional information and evidence can be requested and if such information is not submitted within 28 days, the application may be refused.

  • Tier 2 migrants who make an application for extension (to work in the same job with the same sponsor) do not have to satisfy the Resident Market Labour Test as long as the application is made within 28 days of the expiry date of their visa.

Business Visas

  • The permitted activities under Business visas have been widened to allow additional categories of business visitor including:
    • overseas scientists and researchers who are visiting the UK for the purposes of sharing knowledge or advising on an international project in some cases; and 
    • Overseas lawyers advising UK clients in some cases.

Tier 5

  • The annual allocations under Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) have been increased in some cases.  This scheme is for those who are between 18-30 years old from the following countries who want to come to the UK for a temporary period to work: 
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Japan
    • Monaco
    • New Zealand
    • Hong Kong
    • Republic of Korea
    • Taiwan

Tier 1

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) –5 year grants of leave are now available.   This category is for those who have been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in their field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.
  • Tier 1 (Investor) –the criteria applicable to this category have changed (including an increase on the amount that requires to be invested in the UK (to £2M)).