// Tier 2 Visa Changes
by Linjie, 8th March 2017
The immigration landscape is now becoming more challenging, with “controlling immigration” being stated by Prime Minister Theresa May as one of Brexit's key goals. Despite the immigration changes that are about to take place, CIUK remains dedicated to helping international students secure jobs and a bright future in the UK.
CIUK was invited to attend an Immigration Club event organised by the legal team of top Professional Services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). It was held on the 6th of March, 2017, and was graced by speakers, including: Julia Onslow-Cole (Partner and Head of Global Immigration and Legal Markets Leader, PwC), Anna Soubry (MP), Neil Sherlock (Partner and Head of Reputational Strategy), Lord John Kerr of Kinlochard (Writer of Article 50) and James Brandon (Political & Security Risk). The purpose of the event was to give clarity on important geopolitical matters that are impacting mobility.
For the benefit of Tier 4 visa holders who wish to switch to a Tier 2 visa before their current visa expires, here are the Tier 2 Visa changes that are set to take place effective April 2017:
Tier 2 (General)
- The minimum salary threshold for graduates (switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2) will remain to be £ 20,800. Experienced workers’ minimum salary threshold will be increased from £ 25,000 to £ 30,000.
- Companies sponsoring employees’ Tier 2 Visas will have to spend £1,000 per year per worker.
- Reduced rate of £364 per year to apply to small companies and charity sponsors (not more than 50 employees).
- The ISS (Immigration Skills Surcharge) will need to be paid up-front at the point the Certificate of Sponsorship (‘CoS’) is issued (£1,000 per year in line with a length of CoS).
- Exemptions from the ISS will apply to those sponsoring jobs at Ph.D. level, the Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate trainee category and those who are switching in the UK from the Tier 4(General) category.
Tier 2 ICT (Intra Company Transfer)
- There used to be 4 kinds of Tier 2 ICT Visas: Long-Term Staff (for transfers of more than 12 months into a role that can’t be filled by a new UK recruit), Short-Term staff (for transfers up to and into a role that can’t be filled by a new UK recruit), Skills Transfer (for transfers that allow people to gain skills and knowledge needed to perform their role overseas, or to pass on their skills to UK colleagues) and Graduate Trainee (for transfers into graduate trainee programmes for specialist roles).
- The ICT route will now move to a single category route. All ICTs (regardless of industry) will need to earn £41,500 per annum. The only exception to this is the Graduate Trainee route.
- The salary threshold for the high earner category will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000.
- The requirement to have 12 months previous experience will be removed where the salary is £73,900 or above.