UK Immigration Rules - Changes to Tier 2

Following consultation and a report published by the independent Migration Advisory Committee in February, changes to the immigration rules were laid before Parliament on 4th April 2012. 

The UK government has after careful consideration, announced the following:

The Tier 2 (General) limit will remain at its current level of 20,700 for the next two years until April 2014.

The skills threshold for occupations in Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) categories will be raised from NQF level 4 to NQF level 6, except where the applicant is sponsored in a shortage occupation or specified creative sector occupation.  

The Statement of Intent, published on 4th April 2012, details changes to the requirements of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). For applications made from 14th June 2012, jobs paying an annual salary of over £70k but less than £150k, or PHD level occupations, will no longer need to be advertised in ‘Jobcentre Plus’ prior to a CoS being issued to a Tier 2 (General) migrant. The job must still be advertised in at least one medium as specified in the relevant Code of Practice.

For applications made from 14th June 2012, sponsors can select the best candidate for PhD-level occupations, regardless of whether they are a resident worker, which is a change from the current RLMT requirement where a suitably skilled settled worker must be selected, if one has been identified. 

Additionally, for PHD level occupations only, for applications made from 14th June 2012, the period for which the RLMT is deemed to have been satisfied will be extended from 6 months to 12 months from the date the vacancy is first advertised.

Immigration minister, Damian Green said “'The government has been clear that the UK is open for business and our limit has been designed with the industry's needs in mind. We believe there is no incompatibility between economic growth and controlling migration - our reformed, more selective immigration system can achieve both.' 

The Statement of Intent can be read here :

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/immigration/changes-tier-two/statment-of-intent-tier2?view=Binary

and the Statement of Changes can be read here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/statementsofchanges/2012/cm8337.pdf?view=Binary.

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