Further Policy changes announced by the UK Border Agency

The Home Secretary has published a further Statement announcing changes to Tier 2 policy, many of which will take effect from 14 June 2012.

In particular the Statement makes reference to the following categories:

  1. Tier 2 CAP – effective  from 6 April 2012;
  2. Loss of SOC for NQF4 – effective from June 2012;
  3. Changes to the Resident Market Labour Test – effective from June 2012.

Tier 2 (General) Cap on Allocation

In 2011 the Home office introduced a cap on the number of new hire migrants that can be sponsored  to work in the UK under Tier 2 (General). The cap was set at 20,700 for the period April 2011 to April 2012. The Home office has now announced a departure from the current annual review cycle and confirmed the annual limit will remain the same until 5 April 2014.

This means that the limit for the period April 2012 - April 2013 is 20,700 and the limit for the period April 2013 - April 2014 will also be 20,700. The allocation will be split equally per month (i.e. 1750 per month) and any left over will be carried forward to the next month, until the end of the period. Any unused allocation at the end of the period will not be carried over from one year to the next.

Loss of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for NQF4

It was announced in the statement of intent that there would be a change to the minimum skills level for an eligible job under Tier 2 raising from NQF level 4 to NQF level 6. Therefore, as of 14 June 2012, only jobs at NQF level 6 will be eligible for new applicants within Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) categories.

Below are the occupations skilled to NQF4 which will not be eligible for Tier 2 after 14 June 2012:

SOC Code Occupation
1142 Customer care managers
1152 Office managers
1174 Security managers
1183 Healthcare practice managers
1185 Residential and daycare managers
1219 Managers in animal husbandry, forestry and fishing
1222 Conference and exhibition managers
1231 Property, housing and land managers
1235 Recycling and refuse disposal managers
1239 Managers and proprietors in other services not elsewhere classified
3121 Architectural technologists and town planning technicians
3123 Building inspectors
3131 IT operations technicians
3213 Paramedics
3218 Medical and dental technicians
3319 Protective service associate professionals not elsewhere classified
3513 Ship and hovercraft officers
3531 Estimators, valuers and assessors
3537 Financial and accounting technicians
3539 Business and related associate professionals
3541 Buyers and purchasing officers
3543 Marketing associate professionals
3551 Conservation and environmental protection officers
3561 Public service associate professionals
3564 Careers advisers and vocational guidance specialists
3566 Statutory examiners
3567 Occupational hygienists and safety offices (health and safety)

Changes to Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)

 As previously announced there have been changes made to the requirements of the RLMT. From 14 June 2012 the following changes will apply:

  • Jobs paying an annual salary of over £70,000 but less than £150,000 per annum or in PhD-level occupations will no longer need to be advertised in ‘Jobcentre Plus’ prior to a Certificate of Sponsorship being issued to a Tier 2 (General) migrant. Occupations paying £150,000 per annum or more continue to remain exempt from the Resident Labour Market test.
  • Sponsors will also be able to select the best candidate for PhD-level occupations, regardless of whether they are a resident worker.
  • The period for which the RMLT is also deemed to have been satisfied will be extended from 6 months to 12 months from the date the vacancy is first advertised for PhD-level occupations only.
  • PhD level occupations are as follows:.
  • Research and Development Managers
  • Chemists
  • Biological Scientists and BioChemists
  • Physicists, Geologists and Meteoroligists
  • Higher Education Teaching Professionals
  • Scientific Researchers
  • Social Science Researchers
  • Researchers not elsewhere classified.

For assistance with how these changes could affect you, contact our Immigration team