The United Kingdom enjoys a pool of international workforce and qualified professionals coming from all over the world. London is a place of opportunity and has the highest number of foreign professionals in the country. In the recent years, the government has openly committed itself to establish a greater control over immigration, and thus have introduced new stricter legislation. The most recent and significant changes introduced in the skilled worker visa category apply from 6th April 2017 and affect employees from outside the European Union. The two routes in question are Tier 2 General and Tier 2 Intra-Transfer Company.
The most notable changes for Tier 2 General applications are the increase of the minimum salary threshold from £25,000 to £30,000 per year and the introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge (“ISC”). The salary increase will not apply to certain medical and nursing professionals and positions within the education sector are exempt until at least until 2019. From 6th April 2017, employers are required to pay a yearly ISC charge of £1,000 per Tier 2 migrant. One of the exemptions to the ISC is where an applicant switches from Tier 4 to Tier 2 General visa within the UK.
The Tier 2 ICT category short term visa (up to 12 months) is now closed to new applicants meaning that from now on all Tier 2 ICT applicants have to qualify under the same conditions. In addition, the main applicant and their dependents have to pay an Immigration Healthcare Surcharge fee of £200 GBP per year, this was introduced in 2015 for all applicants outside the European Union applying for a UK visa for more than 6 months.
According to the government, the purpose of introducing tighter Immigration Rules is to enhance the local workforce and to reduce the dependency of UK based companies on foreign talent. Despite this policy, we believe that the UK will continue to attract foreign professionals with London being the epicentre of a booming economy. Legal Case Management works with corporate and individual clients providing dedicated and efficient support throughout the entire process of visa applications both to the sponsor and their employees.