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Changes to Tier 2

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On 4 April 2012, the UK Border Agency announced changes to Tier 2 of the Points Based System.

These changes are part of the Government’s radical overhaul of the immigration which has already seen changes to the student and settlement routes, further changes will be announced on the family migration route this Summer.

The changes to the Tier 2 route are as follows:

The Tier 2 (General) limit remains at 20,700 for the next 2 years until April 2014.

From 14 June 2012, the current skill level required by migrants who wish to work in the UK will increase from NQF level 4 to NQF level 6.

There will be exceptions for jobs in shortage occupations and the creative sector.

In addition from 14 June, the rules around advertising highly paid and PhD jobs will be relaxed. This means that employers offering jobs with a salary of £70,000 or more,  or where they require a PhD-level of skills, will no longer need to advertise through JobCentre Plus/JobCentre Online where they are unlikely to get applicants for these types of jobs. Employers will still need to advertise more widely elsewhere.

For jobs requiring PhD-level skills, employers will be permitted to recruit the most suitable person for the job, not necessarily the most suitable person from the resident labour force (if there is one), and allow recruitment to begin up to 12 months before the start date of the job, rather than 6 months which is what is required currently.

All prospective workers will still need to have a graduate level job, speak an intermediate level of English and meet specific salary and employment requirements before they are able to work in the UK. Those earning a salary of £150,000 or more, will not be subject to the limit. Tier 1 (post study work) route closed on 6 April 2012 Employers should be aware that the Tier 1 (post study work) route closed on 6 April 2012.

Applications submitted to the UKBA on or before 5 April will still be considered.  From this date, if individuals have graduated after studying in the UK under Tier 4, they will be entitled to apply for leave to remain under the Tier 2 route, if they meet the criteria required for that route.

KC Law Chambers Solicitors

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