This GMS Flash Alert reports on several significant changes to the U.K. Immigration Rules for Tier 2 employer-sponsored migrants that are expected on 6 April 2017.
Significant changes to the U.K. Immigration Rules for Tier 2 employer-sponsored migrants are expected on 6 April 20171.
One of these is the introduction of an Immigration Skills Charge (“ISC”) payable by sponsors for each sponsored migrant. Additional information has recently been published on how this will work.2
The U.K. government has also clarified a recently introduced restriction on a sponsor’s ability to amend an employee’s start date in the U.K. on the Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”) beyond four weeks.3
The April changes to the U.K. Immigration Rules will significantly increase immigration costs, and are therefore likely to impact short- and long-term planning and budgeting within the private and public sectors. Some employers will find that their current approach to recruiting non-European Economic Area (EEA) employees or relying on overseas assignees to bring specific skills to their U.K. operations short-term may need to be updated or completely overhauled.
April 2017 will see the introduction of the ISC which will be levied on Tier 2 sponsors at a rate of GBP 1,000 per sponsored migrant per year. A reduced rate of GBP 364 per sponsored migrant per year will apply to small and charitable sponsors.
The U.K. government has confirmed that the ISC will be payable up-front for the total period of the CoS. It is not yet clear how this payment will be made: whether through the Sponsorship Management System where CoS are paid for, or as part of the visa application process, or through a separate portal.
However, the ISC will apply to all new Tier 2 CoS except the following:
The U.K. government recently sought to restrict the length of time a Tier 2 sponsored migrant’s start date can be delayed from the date originally declared on the CoS to a maximum of four weeks.
As it was possible to interpret the new rule in different ways, the government has now released further guidance to eliminate any ambiguity.
The start date stated on a CoS must be the date that a migrant will start working for a sponsor in the United Kingdom. Under the Immigration Rules, a migrant can be granted entry clearance no more than 14 days before the start date given on the CoS.
It is now clear that once the entry clearance visa has been granted, it is possible to delay the original start date but, in the case of a Tier 2 (General) migrant, any revised start date cannot be more than four weeks after the original start date stated on the CoS.
In the case of a Tier 2 (ICT) migrant, it is possible for the start date to be put back more than four weeks as long as the migrant continues to be paid by the sending overseas entity.
Increase in Minimum Salary Threshold – The minimum salary threshold will increase to GBP 30,000 for Tier 2 (General) experienced hires. The minimum threshold of GBP 20,800 will be maintained for new entrants.
Instances Where Resident Labour Market Test (“RLMT”) Requirement To Be Waived – The RLMT requirement will be waived where an application is made in support of the relocation of a high-value business to the U.K., or, potentially, in support of an inward investment and extra weighing will be given within the Tier 2 (General) monthly limit of available CoS for this category. No further information is currently available regarding the form the extra weighing will take.
The clarity provided on the ISC is welcome but there is still ambiguity over how it is going to be paid. This is going to be of concern to large sponsors (and their legal representatives) that may need to plan for a sudden increase in online payments. It is also unclear whether the ISC will apply to Tier 2 extension applications of Croatian nationals; but it would be surprising if they had to pay.
1 For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2016-046, 30 March 2016.
The KPMG Legal Services – Immigration Team has a wealth of experience in transactional, advisory, and compliance assurance services. We will be able to advise your business in relation to practical considerations in light of the above changes, as well as what this means for your long-term recruitment and compliance strategies.
Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the United Kingdom.
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