On 7 December 2017, the Home Office laid the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC309 which come into force from 2018.
A very important amendment has been made so that Tier 2 Migrants are no longer required to have been continuously employed throughout the qualifying period to be eligible for settlement. The provision is unnecessary as a Tier 2 migrant who is no longer working for their Sponsor is subject to curtailment.
According to the statement of changes, the following paragraph 245AAA(b) of the Immigration Rules is deleted:
(b) Except for periods when the applicant had leave as a Tier 1 (General) Migrant, a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant, a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Migrant or a highly skilled migrant, the applicant must have been employed in the UK continuously throughout the five years, under the terms of their Certificate of Sponsorship, work permit or in the employment for which they were given leave to enter or remain, except that any breaks in employment in which they applied for leave as a Tier 2 Migrant, or, under Tier 5 Temporary Worker (International Agreement) Migrant as a private servant in a diplomatic household, where in the latter case they applied to enter the UK before 6 April 2012, to work for a new employer shall be disregarded, provided this is within 60 days of the end of their employment with their previous employer or Sponsor.
This change means that those sponsored Tier 2 migrants who had a break between jobs of more than 60 days could not apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) after five years.
Under the current rules, a sponsored employee can only apply to renew Tier 2 (General) leave. However, the maximum period of leave under Tier 2 (General) is limited to a maximum of 6 years. Thus, migrants who had more than 60 days between jobs had no other choice than to leave the country after 6 years, and technically were deprived of a right to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
This change shall take effect on 11 January 2018.
However, if an application has been made for entry clearance or leave to enter or remain before 11 January 2018, the application will be decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules in force on 10 January 2018.
For expert advice and assistance in relation to your settlement application and relevant immigration requirements, please contact our immigration lawyers on 020 7822 8535 or via our online appointment booking form.