UK Immigration changes including Tier 2 Visa changes 6 April 2015

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The UK Home office announced changes affecting Tier 2 visas and other UK Visas from 6 April 2015. While most of the changes are not significant, a new healthcare surcharge will mean much higher costs for Tier 2 visa applicants and for many other migrants.

Immigration Healthcare Surcharge

Home Office fees increased across the board from 5 April 2015. A new 'health surcharge' will be levied as part of the immigration application for many applicants who intend to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months. The cost imposed on most UK visa applicants will be £200 per year. It will be £150 per year for students. Dependents will also be charged the same amount as applicants.

The healthcare surcharge has to be paid in full to submit an immigration application. So for instance a Tier 2 applicant making a three year visa application has to pay £600 upfront while applying; The spouse and dependents will be charged the same as the principle applicant. This charge will be levied regardless of whether the applicant has private healthcare. Some visa applicants will be exempt from the surcharge such as Tier 2 ICT visa applicants, EU citizens and their dependents and those on visas valid for up to six months.

Tier 2 Visa Minimum Salary Thresholds Increases

The new rules include the following minor changes:

For Minimum Salary thresholds the following amendments have been implemented:

  • The minimum salary threshold for all Tier 2 General employees has been increased from £20,500 to £20,800
  • To seem exemption from the Jobcenter plus advertising requirement the minimum salary has increased from £71,600 to £72,500
  • High earner threshold changed from £153,500 to £155,300. No resident labour market test is required in this situation.
  • For Tier 2 ICT employees whose jobs qualify for Short Term Staff, Skills Transfer or Graduate Training category the minimum salary threshold increased from £24,500 to £24,800
  • For Tier 2 ICT employees under Long Term Staff qualification, the minimum salary threshold increased from £41,000 to £41,500

These changes apply to applications made after 6 April 2015. Additionally, all skilled workers who apply for settlement under Tier 2(General or Sportsperson) after April 6, 2020 will be subject to an increased minimum annual salary requirement of £36,200 when they apply. Currently many Tier 2 visa holders need to show that their salary over the past year has been at £35,000 or higher.

Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List amended slightly

Some minor changes to the Shortage Occupations List were also implemented:

  • Changes to graduate occupations in the health sector for UK and Scotland, including the addition of paramedics to the UK list
  • Other additions in the medical field include consultants in radiology, training roles in emergency medicine, non-consultant non training roles in paediatrics, non-consultant, non training roles in old age psychiatry and core trainees in psychiatry
  • New roles added to the list focusing on digital technology including product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security analyst.

No Cooling off period requirement for short term Tier 2 Visas

This change will benefit companies who wish to transfer employees to the UK for a period of three months or less; Previously, in this situation a migrant working in the UK under a Tier 2 visa had to wait for a 'cooling off 'period of 12 months before they were eligible to apply for a new Tier 2 visa.

This new rule provides companies with more flexibility when employing someone for a short-term assignment in the UK. can help with a Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licence

If you are an employer looking to hire professional level people in the UK from outside the EU we can help. We can help you with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and help with compliance. Call 0344 991 9222 for further details.