We would like to draw your attention to several recent changes to the rules governing the grant of Tier 2 visas by the UK government. The rules were introduced on December 13th 2012.
Perhaps the change that will affect the most people is a new rule allowing skilled workers who hold Tier 2 visas to travel abroad, whether for work or pleasure, for up to 180 days per year without compromising their right to apply to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for indefinite leave to remain at a later date.
There will also be a change to the rules for those applying for a Tier 2 visa after already having worked in the UK with a similar visa in the past.
Under the old rules, someone who had worked in the UK on a Tier 2 visa would be obliged to leave the country and would not be entitled to apply for a second Tier 2 visa until one year after the original visa had expired.
The UKBA has now changed the rules so that the one year exclusion period runs not from the point at which the previous visa expires but from the date on which the worker actually left the UK.
The change has been made to help people who left the country before their first visa expired. A Tier 2 visa lasts for a maximum of three years and one month. If someone was granted a Tier 2 visa and then came to work in the UK but then left the country after two years, (after, say, being made redundant) they would, under the old rules, have had to wait for two years and one month before applying for a second visa. (The remaining one year and one month of the original visa and one year exclusion). Under the new rules, they will be entitled to return one year after they left the country.
Longer lasting visa for high paid workers
There is also a change to the length of time for which a worker who comes to the UK on a Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visa and earns more than £150,000 a year can remain in the country. Until the rules were changed, these workers were only allowed to stay for five years. Workers applying after 22nd November 2012 are able to stay for nine years.
The UK government said that it was responding to the requests of international businesses when introducing these minor changes. The UK immigration minister, Mark Harper, said that the changes would 'ensure that Britain remain[s] an attractive destination for global talent' but he also said that the government remains committed to cutting annual net immigration to below 100,000 per year.
Workpermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with visa applications. We are OISC registered. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to the UK or your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.