Recommended changes Tier 2 Skilled Workers & Tier 2 Intra Company Transferees

Recommended changes Tier 2

The Migration Advisory Committee advise the government on Migration to the UK, particularly under the worker routes. They have set out this years’ recommendations to the government for the Tier 2 category. Usually if the government is in agreement with these recommendations please expect to see changes to the rules on or after the 6th April 2016.

Please note these changes may not occur retrospectively, therefore anyone who currently holds Tier 2, its unlikely they will be affected. Usually these recommendations are for new applicants or those applying to extend their Tier 2 visa. We will know much more on 6th April 2016.

Recommended Changes Tier 2

1. Recommendations – Salary Thresholds

The Advisory Committee has recommended that the overall minimum salary threshold reflects the skill requirement of NQF6+. Therefore the recommended salary threshold may be as follows:

Tier 2 (General)

Experienced £30,000
New Entrants £23,000

Tier 2 Intra Company Transferees

Long Term – Conventional £41,500
3rd Party Contracting £41,500
Short Term – Graduate Trainee £23,000
Skills Transfer £30,000
Short Term (Conventional) £30,000
Third Party contracting £41,500

2. Recommendations – Immigration Skills Surcharge

The Migration Advisory Committee has recommended that the government introduce an Immigration Skills Charge – The charge will be an upfront cost payable at the time the Migrants Certificate of Sponsorship is issued.

The charge per year for employing a skilled individual should be enough to have a significant impact on the employers’ decision making processes for employing a Non-EU Migrant.

Please note that the HM Treasury will determine the level of the Immigration Skills Charge and how the revenue will be spent. The Migration Advisory Committee has advocated £1,000 per Tier 2 migrant per year.

3. Recommendations – Restrictions to Tier 2 (General)

Tier 2 will not be limited to a list of genuine skills shortages and highly specialist expertise. The Resident Labour Market Test should be rolled out to In-country switchers from Tier 1, 4 & 5. The annual Tier 2 limit will be increased to accommodate this.

They would like to see a regular review of the Shortage Occupations list (SOL)  to ensure the list is still relevant and companies which fall under SOL may be asked to provide evidence on their recruitment drives in order to demonstrate that they are actively trying to resolve the shortages within their sector.

4. Recommendations – Restrictions to Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers)

The amount of prior experience required for a candidate applying for Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer should be raised to 24 months, however this should not apply to the graduate and skills transfers route.

All ITC’s should pay the Immigration Health surcharge to bring it inline with all other visa applications.

The Home Office and HMRC to join forces in establishing whether allowances and payment of National Insurance contributions are not being undercut.

Third Party Contracting – MAC would like to see a separate route for third party contracting to be established.

5. Recommendations – Restrictions to Tier 2 Dependants

NO  RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Tier 2 DEPENDANTS

Can the UK afford to penalise emerging markets?

 

UK Tech Industry

The Migration Advisory Committee, have been commissioned by the government to continue to reduce net level migration from outside the Economic Union, the focus in their report is to review the points based system Tier 2 category, and advise on new processes which may subsequently boost the Human Capital of UK residents, an ethos the Prime Minister holds dear. While this is the Conservatives primary motive, there still leaves the underlying question can UK Businesses grow without access to niche skills they urgently need?

MAC have advised the government of an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC). The Skills levy is designed for firms who use Migrant Labour. While the levy will not be applied retrospectively. They are advising the government to apply a charge to the company for each employee who is considered a migrant under visa control. The charge may be applied for each year in line with the number of years on their visa.

For example:

No. Migrants       Tier 2 Visa Term       Cost to Employer
1 x Migrant            5 Year Term                  £5000
2 x Migrants          2 x 3 Year Term            £6000

How does this levy penalise emerging markets?

The charge in affect raises the cost of migrant labour thus deterring companies from tapping into the international skills pool in favour of recruiting a UK resident. MAC has calculated that £200 million worth of revenue will be raised per year and the money will be put back into the system for supporting the UK Resident Labour Market.

Essentially, industries who fall under the Skills Shortage categories will be penalised, It will also hamper growth in the emerging markets. This is clearly the wrong message for UK industry and our attempt at keeping up with international competition.

In our next blog we will be reviewing the Engineering Report 2016 released a week ago to establish whether the Engineering sector continues to suffer from the absence of an absolute skill set.

If the government is in agreement with the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, expect to see changes after 6th April 2016.