Changes to the Immigration Rules: Tier 2, Whats New?

The UK government recently announced changes to the Immigration Rules on the 15 June which came into force on the 6th July. Among these changes are, new settlement rules for Turkish workers and businessmen as well as changes to the Tier 2 route for skilled workers which will have direct implications to the UK as sponsoring employers.

Perhaps, the most important change that has come into effect this week, is  the removal of nurses and doctors  from the  overall 20,700 quota for Tier 2 (General) restricted certificates of sponsorship. This change comes following the due to the shortages and pressures faced by the National Health Service in the last 6 months. This will ultimately be a good thing for employers because it will mean that the overall demand for restricted certificates of sponsorship (CoS) will reduce. Moreover, the need for visas for skilled workers under Tier 2 (General) has now exceeded the Home Office's monthly allocation every month since December 2017, and figures show the number of refused restricted COS applications is increasing.

What does this mean?

This new change will mean that rather than having to obtain a restricted Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship,health sector employers will be able to sponsor doctors and nurses directly from the shortage occupation list and will reduce demand for places within the Tier 2 (General) monthly quota.

Those recruiting for NHS positions will still  need to undertake  the  resident labour market test to prove that they were unable to find a suitable UK worker. However, visas will now be allocated from the employer's unrestricted COS allocation.  The change is set to free up "about 40% of all Tier 2 places".

Other additional changes to Tier 2 include the following:

  • The Transitional rules on the skill level of roles suitable for sponsorship have closed—all roles must now be at NQF level 6, i.e,senior and skilled professional graduate level posts
  • The government has finally indicated that the 10% limit on shares which a Tier 2 migrant can hold in their sponsor includes shares held indirectly, as well as directly. This provision dates back to the old 'work permit' scheme, and it is surprising that it has taken so long to be addressed
  • Tier 2 applicants applying for settlement after 6 July 2018 who have been absent from work on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave will now need to submit documentary evidence of the birth or adoption
  • References to Find a Job, the service replacing Universal Jobmatch, have now been included for the Resident Labour Market Test
  • As of 1st July, Croatian nationals have aquired full status as EU nationals and will not be counted in the quota

For a full breakdown all changes to the Tier 2 Visa as well as other changes to the Immigration Rules, please see the Home Office’s published Statement of Changes: 15 June 2018.