Changes to the Immigration Rules: Tier 2 (General) Visa

The Home Office announced on 15 June 2018, changes to the Immigration Rules will affect a number of categories including Tier 2 of the Points-Based System.

Changes are being made to exempt doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 (General) limit. This is in response to the particular shortages and pressures facing the NHS at the current time, and the fact that the limit has been oversubscribed in each month since December 2017.

The changes will mean that health sector employers will be able to sponsor doctors and nurses without requiring restricted Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship or putting pressure on the limit. This will free up places within the limit for other key roles which contribute to the UK economy and other public services. The changes will be kept under review.

In all other respects, the change preserves the existing arrangements. This means that all applications for nurses, and all applications for doctors not currently recognised on the Shortage Occupation List, will continue to be required to demonstrate that they have met the requirements of the Resident Labour Market Test.

Doctors currently recognised on the Shortage Occupation List will continue to be exempt from the RLMT.

The following additional changes are being made to Tier 2 Visa category:

  • Amendments are being made so that applications for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship for Croatian nationals no longer count towards the Tier 2 limit. This is because Croatian nationals will no longer need to apply for work authorisation in this category, owing to the lifting of transitional controls on the work rights of Croatian nationals on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Croatia’s accession to the EU.
  • From 14 June 2012, the skills threshold for jobs sponsored under Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) increased from Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 4 to RQF level 6. The transitional arrangements, for those previously in these routes to extend their stay, are no longer needed and are being closed. Provisions for these migrants to apply for indefinite leave to remain are being retained. The Government signalled in March 2016 that this closure would take place in July 2018, and set this out in the published guidance for Tier 2 sponsors.
  • A change is being made to expand the restriction on Tier 2 migrants holding more than 10% of shares in their sponsor so as also to restrict such ownership being held indirectly, such as via another corporate entity.
  • A change is being made to the evidential requirements for Tier 2 migrants applying for settlement, who have been absent from work on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave. These applicants are additionally required to provide evidence of the underlying adoption or birth that necessitated their leave. These changes bring the requirements in line with similar requirements elsewhere in the Immigration Rules.
  • References to Find a Job, the service replacing Universal Jobmatch, have been included for the Resident Labour Market Test.
  • Minor drafting corrections are being made to correct the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code used for midwives. These corrections have no impact on the way applications for midwives are considered.

These changes to the Immigration Rules will come into effect on 6 July 2018.

More information is available in the statement of changes.

For more details, please feel free contact our please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.