16 March 2017, the Home Office has laid before Parliament a package of changes to the Immigration Rules. These changes mainly affect applications using Certificates of Sponsorship assinged by sponsors on or after 6 April 2017, the main changes are oulined below.
Oversea criminal record certificates
The Home Office are extending the requirement to provide a criminal records certificate to Tier 2 (General) applicants coming to work in the education, health and social care sectors and to their adult dependents.
A certificate will be required for applicants sponsored in these Standard Pccupation Classification codes. Applicants in these codes outside of the Tier 2 (General) route, such as Intra-company Transfers are not affected.
Certificates will also be required from partners applying from overseas, on or after 6 April 2017 who want to join an existing Tier 2 ( General) visa holder working in one of these sectors.
Immigrations Skills Charge
The Home Office announced in March 2016, an Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per skilled worker per year is being introduced for employers in the Tier 2 ( General) and Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) routes. The charge is £364 for small and charitable sponsors. However there are some exemptions for:
Intra-company Transfer Graduate Trainees;
Switching from Tier4 to Tier 2 in the UK
Immigration Health Surcharge
Introduced on 2015, the surcharge in paid by non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join family for a period of more than 6 months. It is also paid by non-EEA nationals who are already in the UK and apply to extend to their stay.
From 6 April 2017, those applying for a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) will be required to pay a surcharge of £200 per person per year. Dependents pay around the same amount as the main applicant.
Other changes to Tier 2 applications
Secondary school teachers in combined science, computer and Mandarin are being added to the Shortage Occupation List. Secondary school teachers in chemistry are being removed from the list;
Increasing the minimum salary that sponsors can offer a Tier 2 (General) worker from £25,000 to £30,000 for experienced workers. Some jobs in the health and educations sectors are exempt until 1 July 2019;
Closing the Tier 2(Intra-company Transfer) Short Term Staff category, meaning that all ICT workers, except graduate trainees, must qualify under a single route with a salary threhold of £41,500;
Reducing the high-earners' salary for the Intra-company Transfer Long Term Staff category from £155,300 to £120,000. These high earners can stay in the route for up to nine years, rather than the usual five years;
Removing the requirement for Intra-company Transfer workers to have at least one year's experiences working for the sponsor's linked entity overseas, for applicants paid£73,900 or above;
Introducing a waiver for the Resident Labour Market Test and an exemption from the Tier 2 (General) limit for posts which support the relocation of a high value business to the UK or a significant new inward investment project;
Annual updates to the occupational salary rates in the codes of practice;
Changes to provide greater clarity and condidtency as to which types of allowance will be considered against the salary requirements.