Changes to the English Immigration Rules: for the better?
March 24, 2015
A Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules was published on 26 February 2015. The changes that will come into force on 6 April 2015 include:
- Waiving the Tier 2 “cooling-off period” where the period of time in the UK is three months or less. This will enable employers to sponsor interns and then bring them back to the UK for a permanent job within a year. It will also help global businesses who need to send employees to the UK for short periods each year.
- Updating annual minimum salary thresholds for Tier 2 and appropriate salary rates for individual occupations.
So what impact would these changes present on current employment law matters?
Stephen Calderbank says:
The waiving of the Tier 2 cooling off period is good news for employers!
Previously, the cooling off period prevented applicants from being granted Tier 2 leave when applying from outside the UK if they had been in the UK with Tier 2 leave within the previous 12 months.
After April the cooling off period will not apply to previous grants of Tier 2 leave of three months or less. This should give global businesses more flexibility to transfer key staff for very short periods, rather than having to fill on-going vacancies in the UK. It should also encourage the sponsorship of interns who can now be brought back into the UK within a year to fill a permanent role.
The Government’s stance on the cooling off period hopefully indicates a willingness to consider further relaxation of the Tier 2 category in the future, further helping businesses that operate in the UK.
In addition to changes to the cooling off rules, the changes also update the salary thresholds. The updates to salary thresholds are in line with changes in average weekly earnings for resident workers (a 1.2 per cent annual increase based on the 12 months ending November 2014), rounded to the nearest £100.
See the table below: