Immigration Update: Home Office Publish New Immigration Rules
New immigration rules recently published by the Home Office will be effective from 24th November 2016. While we were expecting the skilled worker reforms, following the Migration Advisory Committee’s independent review that announced two phases to be implemented in Autumn 2016 and April 2017, there are some surprises that will impact both businesses employing foreign nationals as well as migrants themselves. The points below summarise the key imminent changes that will influence both economic and family migration in the next year with more changes to follow in spring.
- The 28 day grace period for overstayers has been abolished. Leave to remain applications submitted out of time on or after 24 November 2016 will be automatically refused unless made within 14 days of their visa expiry where they have a good reason that the delay was beyond their control.
- Tier 2 General – the minimum salary threshold increases to £25,000 for experienced workers (with the exception of nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and Mandarin) and the Government intends to increase this to £30,000 in April 2017. The salary threshold for new entrants is being held at £20,800.
- Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer – the salary minimum threshold increases to £30,000 for Short Term Staff and reduces to £23,000 for Graduate Trainees while increasing the number of places available to companies from 5 to 20. The Skills Transfer sub-category is to be closed from 24 November 2016 and the date from which all intra company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in due course.
- Nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupation List but the rules have changed to require a Resident Labour Market Test to be carried out before a nurse is assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship.
- Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 is to be prevented where the applicant is relying on a qualification obtained via supplementary study and clarification will be required that an applicant must have studied at a UK recognised body or body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution.
- Family extension applications who can apply after two and a half years residence, on route to settlement must meet a new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This applies to partners and parents whose current leave is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017.
- A child will only be eligible to apply for entry clearance or leave to remain under the family rules (Appendix FM) when their parent is applying for or has leave under Appendix FM.
- The provisions on minimum income thresholds have been amended, to be met in respect of “all relevant dependant children”.
- There have been changes to the specified evidence required in respect of meeting the minimum income threshold and changes to the provision on when an application will normally be refused on suitability grounds due to false representations or failure to disclose a material fact.