New Immigration Rules are being introduced on 6 April 2017 and affect most if not all UK visa categories.

Major changes are being made to the UK’s skilled worker visa categories, Tier 2 General and Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT).

Below, we look specifically at what will come into play for Tier 2 (General) applications as of 6 April.

Immigration Skills Charge
An Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) of £1,000 per skilled worker per year will apply to employers of Tier 2 migrants. A lesser charge of £364 will apply to small and charitable sponsors. Applications for PhD and Graduate Trainee roles will be exempt from the charge. Applications may be refused if the required ISC is not paid in full.

Higher minimum salary requirement for experienced hires
the minimum salary requirement for experienced hires in the Tier 2 (General) visa category will rise from £25,000 to £30,000. Some jobs in the health and education sectors will be exempt from this increase until July 2019 and the minimum salary requirement for new entrants will remain at £20,800.

Higher minimum salary requirement for high earners
The minimum salary requirement for high earners, whose employers are exempt from conducting an Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) as part of their application process, is increasing from the current £155,300 to £159,600.

Higher salary rates in the occupational codes of practice
Due to annual updates to the minimum salary rates stated in the Standard Occupational Classification Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers, the majority of occupations will see an increase.

Widening the choice of RLMT advertising websites for graduate recruitment programmes
UK employers will be able to choose from an array of reputable recruitment websites when placing advertisements as part of the Resident Labour Market Test process for graduate recruitment programmes. Currently they are only allowed to choose from a list of four specific websites.

Supporting the relocation of high-value business
The new rules will waive the need for an RLMT to be conducted before hiring a Tier 2 migrant if the role supports the relocation of high value business to the UK or a significant new inward investment project (specified as involving capital expenditure of £27 million or the creation of at least 21 new UK jobs).

Criminal record certificates
Applicants for roles within the education, health or social care sectors will now need to provide criminal record certificate(s) as part of their application. Dependants of Tier 2 (General) workers in this sector will also have to provide a criminal record certificate as part of their application to join them in the UK.

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