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Changes that came into effect to the Immigration Rules on 13 December 2012 which HR Advisors and their international staff must know
1. Changes to Tier 2
- Intra company transferee’s who are earning a salary of £150k+ can now remain in the UK for a maximum of 9 years (5 years previously).
- A clarification was given with regard to those on a Tier 2 visa who need to return after a maximum period of stay. The “cooling off period” before they are able to return back to the UK under Tier 2 is 12 months and it was clarified that the earliest date that the applicant can show for the cooling off period to take effect is the date that the applicant left the UK and not the date that their previous leave expired.
- On 14 June 2012 the minimum skills threshold to qualify under Tier 2 (General) and (ICT) was raised from NQF Level 4 to NQF Level 6. A minor correction was given in the Rules in December 2012 for those who entered under Tier 2 between 06/04/2012 and 13/06/2012 who will continue to be subject to the NQF Level 4 requirements at the time of their extension.
- On 06 April 2011 a £40k salary threshold was introduced for Tier 2 (ICT) migrants who were coming to the UK for more than one year. A correction was made to the Rules in December 2012 confirming that those who came to the UK under Tier 2 (ICT) before this change are able to make more than one extension in the UK without being subject to the new salary threshold.
- It was confirmed Tier 2 (General) sponsors do not need to appoint a suitable settled worker when carrying out the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) for PhD level occupations if a migrant applicant is better qualified for the post.
- If the Tier 2 (General) post on offer is for a named researcher or is covered by the creative sector codes of practice then such roles will be exempt from the normal RLMT.
- The December 2012 changes also clarified that the use of head hunters is permitted as part of the RLMT process but that head hunters must then advertise the role on behalf of the Tier 2 sponsor.
- The December 2012 changes also confirm that employers pension contributions do not count towards appropriate salary points for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT).
2. Indefinite Leave to Remain after a period of stay in the UK under a work
based immigration status
- The December 2012 changes confirm that 180 days absence is allowed in any of the 12 month periods preceding the date of an application for ILR provided that the absences are due to employment, annual leave, business related reason or there are serious or compelling reasons for the absence.
3. Supplementary Employment
- Migrants who are sponsored under Tier 2 and Tier 5 may take supplementary employment of up to 20 hours per week provided it is in the same occupation and same professional level for which they are being sponsored and now they are also able to take supplementary employment in a “shortage” occupation even if the occupation is different to that for which they are being sponsored.
Please note that this is a bullet point summary of the main changes that took place in December 2012 and therefore if you would like further expansion or clarification on any of the points raised in this document please contact the