The Immigration White Paper & Tier 2 Visa

The Immigration White paper was published on the 19th December 2018. In light of what was published this article will highlight explain the changes of to the tier 2 visa and the potential ramifications this could have on the future sponsorship system for UK employers and the Tier 2 Visa.  The paper suggests that the EU migrants coming to the UK would come under the current Tier 2 migrant system. In act the paper welcomed Migration Advisory Committee's proposal, adding that EU migrants in the future can be expected to have to earn a minimum salary of £30,000 per annum in line with current Tier 2 guidelines. Low skilled migrants not earning this threshold” will in future be limited to a 12-month working visa. This will be “followed by a cooling off period of a further twelve months to prevent long-term working.

To summarise, the proposed changes are as follows:

  1. Scrapping of the annual cap of £207,000 - Whilst scrapping the cap may well be a good thing, as it will accommodate for the EU migrants that are set to come under the current Tier 2 Visa in place. The current Tier 2 is already admin heavy. The Government stated that they anticipate that skilled migrant applications to be processed “within two to three weeks.” UKVI routinely fail to meet their existing (longer) service standards, will the government commit to hiring and training significant numbers of caseworkers to meet these ambitious standard?

  2. More roles to be eligible for sponsorship - At, present except for a minority of exceptions, roles must be at level 6 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). These are generally senior and/or skilled roles. Under the new system, roles at RQF levels 3-5 will become eligible for sponsorship.

  3. The end of the Resident Labour Market Test - Page 51 of the White paper highlights the Government intentions for the sponsorship system. The scrapping of this cap can be viewed as a positive because the current  process means that a business needs to sponsor a migrant worker it must advertise the position for at least four weeks, in a way that meets the Home Office’s requirements, in order to prove that no settled worker can fill the role.

However, the Immigration Law Practitioners Association also highlighted its concerns minimum Threshold of £30,000, noting that 40% of existing jobs in the intermediate skills level meet the current salary threshold hat £30,000 is the level of a household income at which an average family of EEA migrants starts making a positive contribution to public finances.” - Important to note that this is the minority – the majority of jobs (60%) do not. Will this not be a threat to UK’s economy?