Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Immigration Corner | I was offered a job in the UK

Published:Tuesday | November 8, 2016 | 11:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I was provisionally offered a job in the United Kingdom and I understand that there have been some changes to the rules that apply to the Tier 2 visa. I am hoping that you will be able to throw some light on this for me.

- VR

Dear VR,

You should be aware that the British Home Office is presently making changes to the immigration rules, which will affect a number of categories.

The British government has announced changes to the rules which will affect applications made on or after November 24, 2016 unless informed otherwise.

Persons should apply for a Tier 2 (general) visa if they have been offered a skilled job in the United Kingdom.

A review was done by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee and, subsequently, an announcement was made by the British government of the implementation of the first of two phases of changes to Tier 2.

The changes announced were as follows: an increase to the Tier 2 (general) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000 per annum, with some exemptions; an increase to the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short-term staff to £30,000 per annum; and a reduction to the Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 per annum and an increase in the number of places to 20 per company per year.

In addition, the British government plans to close the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category.

It should be noted that these changes will come into effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after November 24, 2016. The date from which intra-company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in the future.

Just for completeness, persons should be aware that changes to Tier 4 will also take place in the first phase.

Persons who are over 16 years of age and who are seeking to study in the United Kingdom will generally need to apply for a Tier 4 (general) student visa. There are a number of changes that are being made to this category and these include amendments to the academic progression rule and maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. It will also include evidence of overseas qualifications, United Kingdom qualifications used as evidence, and a series of minor and technical adjustments.

There will also be an amendment to the English language requirement. Persons should be aware that, as announced in January of this year, a new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is being introduced for non-EEA partners and parents. This change will affect those applying to extend their stay after two and a half years in the United Kingdom and who are on a five-year route to settlement under Appendix FM (family member) of the immigration rules.

It should be noted that the new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave under the family immigration rules is due to expire on or after May 1, 2017.

• John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com