The lambs are leaping, the daffodils are blooming and the sales of chocolate are soaring. That can only mean that spring is finally upon us. Change is also around the corner in the immigration world, with some fairly important changes in the Points Based System on 6 April. Those changes will need to be firmly on the radars of HR teams and in-house counsel, aside from the obvious importance of the Government formally firing the Brexit starting gun. A summary of the main changes are as follows:

  • An Immigration Skills Charge will apply to certificates of sponsorship assigned on or after 6 April. The charge will amount to £1,000 per year of leave under the certificate, or £364 for charities and small businesses (broadly speaking, if your business’s annual turnover is £10.2m or less and it has 50 employees or fewer it will qualify as a small business). The charge does not apply to those already sponsored under Tier 2 and so to avoid these potentially quite significant costs, it is important that any granted certificates are assigned by 5 April.
  • The minimum annual salary threshold for most Tier 2 ‘experienced’ workers will increase from £25,000 to £30,000.
  • The Short-Term Staff subcategory of Intra-Company Transfers will close, leaving one Intra-Company category with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500.
  • The obligation for visa applicants to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (£200 per year of leave) will be extended to include the Intra-Company Transfer subcategory.
  • However, Intra-Company Transfer applicants earning £73,900 or above will not have to have one year’s service with a group company overseas before applying for a visa.
  • The requirement for visa applicants to provide a criminal record certificate as part of the application process will be extended to a number of SOC codes in the healthcare and education sectors.
  • The high-earner threshold for Tier 2 will increase from £155,300 to £159,600, although the threshold for Intra-Company Transfer applicants wishing to remain in the UK for longer than five years will drop to £120,000.
  • The period of overstay before a 12-month re-entry ban is imposed will be cut from 90 days to 30.

If you have any queries on how these changes could impact your business or you have any other immigration queries, just contact Tim Hayes on our Immigration Team.