On 1 October the UKBA introduced a new tier 2 sponsor and policy guidance. Some of the main changes are outlined below:
- replacement of all references to the 'identity card for foreign nationals' to 'biometric residence permits' throughout the guidance;
- long-term sick leave that has lasted one month or longer has been added as an allowance in relation to the following:
- treatment of periods of long-term sick leave when switching into tier 2 (general) from certain other categories. Where the migrant has been doing the same job with the same employer and they have been employed in the UK for a continuous period of at least six months prior to the application then a resident labour market test is not required. The exception to this six months rule now includes a period of long-term leave provided the migrant has been employed six months out of the past 18 months;
- treatment of periods of long-term sick leave when assessing periods of past employment for eligibility for established staff under the tier 2 (ICT) category. The 12 month qualifying period now includes a period of long-term sick leave provided the migrant has been employed 12 months out of the past 24 months;
- treatment of periods of long-term sick leave in connection with whether a change in salary constitutes a change of employment. A change in salary due to a period of long-term sick leave does not constitute a change of employment where the migrants are continuing to work for the same sponsor but they have moved to a new job within the same SOC code and a new application will not need to be made;
- further clarification on how a migrant must meet the maintenance requirement if the sponsor is not certifying maintenance. The migrant must demonstrate that he/she has at least £800 of personal funds which have been held for at least a consecutive 90 day period ending no earlier than one calendar month before the date of application.
- Where the sponsor is subject to a downgrading to a B rating with an action plan, the cost of a sponsorship action plan has now increased to £1,000
- a screenshot of the advertisement to satisfy the resident labour market test can be taken at any period of the advertisement and kept as a document on file if the website clearly shows the date the vacancy was first advertised.