UK likely to slash number of eligible Tier 2 visa occupations

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The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended reducing the number of occupations that are eligible for migration under Tier 2 of the points based immigration system.

The UK Coalition Government has been taking steps to reduce levels of immigration into the UK. The temporary immigration cap was put into place on 19 July 2010. The permanent immigration cap which will start in April 2011 will allow 20,700 visas under the Tier 2 (General) visa category. For Tier 2, only applicants of 'graduate level' will qualify.

Tier 2 visas allow employers to 'sponsor' non-EU citizens to come to the UK to work. The Tier 2 (General) visas will allow entry of graduate level skilled workers with a range of different skills. Tier 2 intra-company transfers, Sportspeople, and Ministers of Religion will not be subject to the immigration cap.

"Skilled foreign workers make a valuable contribution to the British economy but, in the context of limits on migration, it is essential that the immigration system is designed to select those migrants we need the most," said David Metcalf, MAC Chairman.

"We have recognised this by ensuring our recommendations will allow the most skilled to continue to come and work here," he added.

The MAC recommends slashing the number of eligible occupations from 192 to 121. Some of the occupations that will continue to be eligible for the Tier 2 (General) visa category, if the MAC recommendations go ahead include civil engineers, nurses, teaching professionals, and finance and investment analysts. Occupations that are likely to be removed from the list of eligible occupations include retail managers, hairdressing and beauty salon managers, laboratory technicians, and estate agents.

If you meet the current requirements for the Tier 2 visa category you should seriously consider applying soon under the current immigration rules. From April 2011 it will be difficult if not impossible for many people to come under the Tier 2 visa category. In addition the Tier 1 visa category will in effect end in April 2011.