Changes to UK business immigration
08 April 2010
On 6 April 2010 some significant changes to Tiers 1 and 2 of the UK's points-based immigration system took place. These changes follow on from a limitation of the working hours of foreign students that the Government introduced in March 2010. There are a number of changes, and the key ones are:
Tier 1 - Highly Skilled Workers
Bachelor's degrees will once again earn points under Tier 1. This will make Tier 1 a realistic route for a much wider range of individuals as well as meaning that employers do not need to have sponsorship licences to employ those individuals.
Tier 2 - Skilled Workers
Three new sub-categories will be introduced in relation to intra-company transfers (ICTs):
• Established Staff
This sub-category will largely mirror the existing ICT category. However, the qualifying period with the overseas employer will be increased from 6 to 12 months. Also, critically, time spent under this sub-category will not count towards settlement and individuals will be expected to leave the UK employer at the end of the Tier 2 period.
• Graduate Trainees
This sub-category is designed for individuals coming to the UK to participate in a structured graduate training programme, with a clearly defined progression to a management or specialist role. The applicant must have been employed by the company overseas for a minimum of 3 months and will be unable to extend their stay beyond a 12 month period.
• Skills Transfer
This sub-category is to enable those who have been newly recruited overseas by a multinational company to transfer temporarily to the UK to acquire or impart skills and knowledge relevant to their new role. No previous experience with the company is required although the maximum period of leave to remain will be 6 months.
The new rules mean that foreign students studying below first degree level or on their foundation degree course will be limited to working just 10 hours per week during term time (the maximum level used to be 20 hours per week). Employers should continue checking that any students (as well as other individuals) that they employ have the right to work for them.