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Published 3 April 2017
Employers who hold sponsorship licences need to be alerted to the further key changes being introduced to Tier 2 from 6 April and this is in addition to those covered in our recent alert, which included details of the Immigration Skills Charge. These include:
It is expected that new versions of the guidance documents will be available from the GOV.UK website on 06 April 2017.
Although there are some positive changes in terms of compliance with the RLMT, removal of qualifying employment and the reduction in high earners' salary threshold for the ICT category, on the whole employers are going to find the changes will inhibit their ability to bring non-EU nationals into the UK and increase their recruitment costs. In particular, with the changes to the ICT route, employers will struggle to find routes into the UK for short term assignments or more junior positions and are going to have to either increase salary levels to meet the Long Term ICT category or rely on the very restrictive Visitors visa category.
Payment of Immigration Skills Charge – This is payable by debit or credit card only. Employers and applicants are advised to make arrangements with their bank to ensure the card transaction limit is sufficient. This is particularly relevant for employers assigning a large number of CoS at one time or large family groups applying together. It is important to note that CoS will be considered invalid (leading to application refusal) if any charge that applies is not paid in full.
Priority Change of Circumstances – For a £200 processing fee the following sponsorship licence actions will be considered within 5 working days as opposed to the 18 weeks service standard: a) in-year CoS increase; b) follow-on CoS allocation; c) add a new level 1 user; d) replace an authorising officer.
Premium Service Centre (PSC) – Dedicated to Tier 2 and 5 applications, a PSC is now in operation in (Victoria) Central London.
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