UK Business Immigration Update Part 2: New Statement of Changes for Tier 2 Visa Applications

Last week, the Home Office published a new Statement of Changes HC309 to the UK Immigration Rules and we outlined its key changes relating to Tier 1 Visa applications. This new UK Business Immigration Update also brings about changes for Tier 2 Visa Applicants under the Points-Based System, in respect of Tier 2 (General) Visas, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) (“ICT”) Visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) or settlement under the Tier 2 Visa route. Changes for Tier 2 Visa applications will come into effect from 11 January 2018.

UK Business Immigration Update: Tier 2 (General) Visa Applications

Tier 2 (General) Visas are issued to skilled migrant workers who have been offered a job position that cannot be filled by a resident worker, from a UK business who holds a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The key amendments that the recent Statement of Changes has made to the Tier 2 (General) category include:

  • A provision which is set out in the Sponsor Guidance has been incorporated into the Immigration Rules which restricts how far a Tier 2 (General) migrant’s start date can be put back after leave has been granted, before it is deemed to be a prohibited change;
  • Tier 4 Students are now able to switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa following the completion of their course, as currently, non-PHD students are unable to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa within the UK before they have received their final results;
  • Exemptions will be added to the Resident Labour Market Test for posts held by researcher applicants who are the recipient of excessive research fellowships and awards and established research team members who are either sponsored by a Higher Education Institution or Research Council; and
  • A minor change to the Shortage Occupation List in regard to the date being amended from 6 April 2022 to 6 April 2023 for Secondary Education Teaching Professionals and Secondary Education Teachers in the subject of Chemistry.

UK Business Immigration Update: Tier 2 (ICT) Visa Applications

Tier 2 (ICT) visas allow migrant workers to transfer from an overseas branch of a UK company to the UK in order to undertake work on a specific project. There are now only 2 active categories under the Tier 2 (ICT) visa route which are the Long Term Staff category and the Graduate Trainee Programme. Long Term Staff applicants will need to have worked for the company for more than 12 months, whilst Graduate Trainee applicants must be recently graduated with at least 3 months’ experience with the UK employer overseas.

The Short Term Staff route allowed transfers up to and including 12 months into a role that cannot be filled by a UK resident. Applicants need to have worked for the employer overseas for a minimum of 12 months. Applicants can now only apply under the Short Term Staff route if the Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”) was assigned on or before 5 April 2017 and employers are no longer permitted to offer a new CoS under this route since it has been closed since 6 April this year. The new Statement of Changes has now altered the definition of the Long Term Staff category in order to reflect the closure of the Short Term Staff category.

UK Business Immigration Update: Tier 2 Settlement Applications

Under the current UK Immigration Rules, Tier 2 migrants who are wishing to apply for settlement in the UK are required to have no more than 180 absences from the UK per year. This requirement will now be extended to the partners of these Tier 2 migrants and the 180 days absences from the UK will only be counted for periods of leave granted under the rules in place from 11 January 2018. The 180 days absences requirement waiver will be extended to circumstances where Tier 2 Applicants was assisted with any national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis.

Tier 2 migrants are no longer required to have been in continuous employment throughout the qualifying period in order to be eligible for settlement as Tier 2 migrants have ceased working for their Tier 2 Sponsor are subject to curtailment.

Using Legal Representation to submit Successful Tier 2 Visa Applications following the UK Business Immigration Update

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 2 Visa application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided. This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Tier 2 Visa Applications following the UK Business Immigration Update

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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